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Zagin: A&E’s Authenticated Strategy Still Evolving

5/07/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

A&E Networks is talking
to operators about an authenticated,
“TV Everywhere” strategy for
its portfolio of networks that delivers
value in the digital space
but does not compromise the
linear channel business, newly
minted A&E Networks president
of distribution David Zagin said.

In his new position, the A&E
veteran, promoted from executive
vice president, will have oversight
of business distribution — including
digital media — marketing,
business development and analytics
for A&E’s roster of networks,
such as History, Lifetime, Bio, H2 and Lifetime
Movie Network.

“David has done an outstanding job over the
last 13 years … He has positioned A&E Networks
for future success with his outstanding relationships
in the distribution community,” Abbe Raven,
president and CEO of A&E Networks, told
Multichannel News in a statement. “David and
his team have helped grow the A&E Networks
portfolio into one of the strongest
in cable with some of the
best brands on the media
landscape. He clearly demonstrates
to our distribution
partners the value of growing
our businesses together,
which is why he is a leading
voice in our industry.”

Zagin identified a top priority:
“On both the VOD and
TV Everywhere side we want
to make sure that we’re smart
about how we’re working with
our distributors — we want to
support their platforms because
it’s very important for
them to maintain and to grow
their business.

“On the flip side, viewership on the linear
networks is where we generate the most revenue
for this company as it relates to advertising
sales,” Zagin continued. “So we want to
make sure that we’re not cannibalizing what
we’re doing on the linear side, but also we’re
supporting what our distributors are looking
for on the TV Everywhere side.”

Zagin said the plans continue to “evolve”
and he doesn’t believe a complete strategy
will emerge before the end of the year.
Zagin also said he’s in discussions with
several operators regarding overall contract
renewals for A&E, History and Lifetime, although
he would not reveal specific details.
He did say the company is negotiating from a
position of strength given the ratings performances
of its major networks.

Both A&E and History set primetime ratings
records among total viewers and in key
demos during the first quarter, while Lifetime
— which A&E Networks absorbed
into its portfolio in 2009 — had its best fi rstquarter
growth among its core female 25-54
and 18-49 demos in seven years.

“The networks are doing unbelievably well,
and with Lifetime really making a lot of inroads
under [History and Lifetime Networks
president and general manager] Nancy Dubuc,
and what we’re doing with History, and
the track record we’ve had with A&E over the
past few years,” he said. “It’s really a great
story as we head into the [Cable] Show. Our
distributors want to hear about our entire
portfolio and not just about it in piecemeal,
so when we go into these meetings, it’s to talk
about the entire bouquet of services.”


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