Internet Video

New Approaches for MTVN Sales

2/28/2007 8:43 AM Eastern

MTV Networks and BET Networks followed recent cutbacks by reorganizing their affiliate-sales and marketing and advertising-sales teams and trying a series of upfront “events” rather than one big presentation for media buyers.

The Viacom programming stable said it was:

• Renaming the affiliate-sales and marketing unit content distribution and marketing, under executive vice president Denise Dahldorf, who has three newly minted senior VPs under her: Samantha Cooper, Meg Lowe and Courtney Menzel.

The department, following the recent staff cutbacks, is shifting from a regional approach (such as selling to West Coast or Northeast companies) to an “account-focused” method (such as catering to Comcast or DirecTV). MTVN didn’t say which executives would focus on which accounts.

• Revamping ad sales so that network sales staffs are lumped into demographic “clusters” rather than each network having its own head of ad sales making individual pitches. MTVN clearly is concerned that buyers aren’t being overwhelmed by its salespeople: The press release on the topic referred to “allowing clients to develop partnerships across MTVN’s brands through minimized, focused touch points.”

The clusters are: Kids and Family, with the ad-sales organizations of Nickelodeon brands and Nick at Nite under EVP Jim Perry; an MTV, The N, Logo and VH1 cluster, under EVP Sean Moran; and Entertainment, with Comedy Central, Spike TV, CMT and TV Land sales crews under EVP Jeff Lucas. Those EVPs report to U.S. advertising-sales president Hank Close.

• Dropping the big cross-network presentation (other than Nickelodeon’s Kids and Family presentation March 8) for media buyers usually held in early May in New York and embracing “a series of interactive ad-sales events held throughout the year that reflect the marketplace’s continued evolution to a year-round selling model” and “rolling out in four phases across the calendar year.”

The interactive ad events are Brand Roadshows, previewing marketing and programming initiatives at the networks; Digi-Tours that promote multiplatform options and include technology demonstrations; Demo Summits providing extensive research on reaching targeted audience groups; and a summit for chief marketing officers, to be held in the fall.

MTVN said, for example, that TV Land March 23 in New York will highlight that brand’s expanding reach within the sizable Baby Boomer audience via original and acquired programming, and that VH1’s roadshow will be modeled after its Best Week Ever program and show how the channel can “help clients to develop customized marketing solutions.”

October