Ed Dunbar, who officially stepped into his new position as
MediaOne's first corporate vice president of ad sales Jan. 5, is looking at
traffic-and-billing and electronic-data-interchange improvements, plus good old-fashioned
selling, to bolster ad-sales volume in 1998 and beyond.
Dunbar's first priority will be 'to visit our
ad-sales operations,' he said. Those offices undoubtedly will want to know if
MediaOne's sales operations might now become more centralized. Dunbar didn't
answer that question directly, instead emphasizing the importance of its 'excellent,
first-rate' regional offices. (Two regional vice presidents in MediaOne's
Northeastern and Southeastern regions -- Steve Feingold and Michael Anapolsky,
respectively -- were among the strongest contenders for the post that Dunbar landed just
Over the longer term, Dunbar said, his priorities will be
coordinating the regions' efforts and 'growing the business' for the 5
million-subscriber MSO locally, regionally and nationally.
Although MediaOne is heavily equipped for digital ad
insertion, Dunbar said shortcomings in the backroom have been 'impediments to growth.
We've grown in spite of those.'
When asked how his newly created post will affect
operations at the MSO, he deferred to the quote from his boss -- Julie Dexter Berg,
MediaOne's executive vice president and chief marketing officer -- in the
announcement of his appointment: 'We need a high-profile, central point of contact to
manage a myriad of issues around advertising sales.'
The cable ad-sales veteran declined to get into many
specifics about his plans at the third-largest MSO, pointing out that last week was only
his first on the job and that he was still in temporary quarters at MediaOne's Denver
headquarters and 'using someone else's phone.'
Overseeing improvements in traffic-and-billing software was
an area of responsibility cited in MediaOne's announcement. Dunbar foresaw even
healthier sales gains ahead as improvements are made in traffic and billing and in EDI. He
praised spot-cable rep firms National Cable Communications and Cable Networks Inc. for
their new EDI initiatives, as well as the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau for pressing
for more widespread implementation of EDI.
One step in that anticipated improvement was taken early
last week, when MediaOne's Southeastern region, after an 'extensive'
evaluation of several suppliers' wares, named Summit Software Systems Inc. of
Boulder, Colo., as its ad-sales automation and traffic-and-billing vendor. That region
encompasses systems in Jacksonville, Pompano and Hialeah, Fla., and Richmond, Va.
Dunbar, looking back at his years at CAMA/MediaOne
(formerly Cable Advertising of Metro Atlanta), which he just left as vice president and
general manager, said, 'Everything about my CAMA days will help me' in his new
role. Dunbar, who will define standards for market analysis at MediaOne, spent eight years
at CAMA and its predecessor, Wometco Cable, where he concentrated on profit/loss
management, operations management and business development.
CAMA finished last year in 'great' shape, but
Dunbar begged off discussing ad-sales specifics for MediaOne's 1997 by reiterating
that he'd only begun his first week there.
For 1998, 'I'm counting on it being a great
[sales] year,' he said, alluding to unspecified 'aggressive plans' to help
make it so. Speaking in broad-stroke terms, he expected MediaOne systems to continue to
benefit from such strong categories as automotive and telecommunications, while also
seeking out promising new ones.
'I'm a believer in leaving no stone
unturned,' he added.
Like other cable sales executives -- notably Ken Little,
vice president of NCC's interconnect unit, and David Kline, president and CEO of
Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp. -- Dunbar felt that there may yet be potential in linking
interconnects regionally for interested accounts. But, he stressed, 'interest among
advertisers -- that's the determining factor.'