Bob Turner, an old radio hand, was named Azteca America’s president of network sales in July following a short stint in charge of spot sales that began last December. Turner recently spoke with Hispanic Television Update. An edited transcript follows:
Q: Is the upfront all wrapped up?
A: The upfront is still ongoing. It is coming to an end soon but still going. This I am told, this being my first upfront, this one has gone on a little longer than years past but it should really wrap up within the next two weeks at the latest. Our cutoff is Sept. 15.
Q: Why is it taking longer?
A: It is just really because the general market and Hispanic upfronts [were] both happening at the same time. Evidently the general market just took a little bit longer and slower than years past, as well. No other reason than that. Nobody changed the strategy. No.
Q: You’ve done an awful lot of radio sales. How is selling television different?
A: There’s not much difference at all, really … it is all about delivering the viewers or listeners in the case of radio to the advertisers to sell their product. In the end, that is really what it comes down to. TV has become much more of a creative sell along with radio.
Q: When you say a “creative sell” what do you mean?
A: TV is becoming much more promotionally oriented. Selling a 30- or a 60-second spot in TV just doesn’t really satisfy the consumer. What we do at Azteca is we include a lot more promotions. We include a lot more product integration. That creative way of selling is becoming more and more attractive to the advertiser today. And that is very similar to what local radio has built their success on for years and years.
Q: There was a lot of talk during the upfront about multiple platforms. How important is that for Azteca America in particular?
A: I think the platform sell, the platform pitch, sounds terrific. Our competitors use it, but in the end I am not sure if it is really implemented as much as it is talked about. So, the answer is it really hasn’t affected us either way.
Q: What is your most significant challenge from a sales perspective for Azteca America?
A: I’ve traveled the country over the last four weeks, and I have met with every major advertiser that is out there in every major city. What I found is that these advertisers want to continue to invest in Azteca America. They want to spend more money in Azteca America. What we need to do is to make sure our infrastructure continues to build. That our people, our systems are all in place to be able to handle the growth we are currently experiencing. We are doing that, we are adding people across the country. Our systems are improving every day.
Q: How about Azteca America’s switch to Nielsen Media Research’s National People Meter ratings service, or National Television Index?
A: First of all, our position is we are supportive of this transition. That said, we remain optimistic and concerned. We are concerned about sample size. We have been watching the trends of this change since April. Depending on the daypart or the demo there are some concerns we have in the overall numbers we have for ourselves that we are watching.
Q: How did you do in the upfront?
A: We’ve done very well. We’ve done incredible in fact. We are looking at twenty to 25% growth in number of clients, and we are looking at upwards of a 75% increase in actual dollars.