DirecTV reorganizes ad sales division

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DirecTV announced that it is bringing its entire advertising sales division in-house. As part of the reorganization of the ad sales function, DirecTV, El Segundo, CA, will combine its existing ad sales team with a group of account executives who serviced the company's account at its previous ad sales vendor, Twentieth Television.

The newly combined team will operate out of DirecTV offices in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, and be responsible for attracting new national advertisers to DirecTV and creating new partnerships and revenue sources.

Bob Riordan, who previously was responsible for annual gross ad sales revenues at Twentieth Television, joins DirecTV as senior vice president of advertising sales in New York, and will report to Eric Shanks, executive vice-president of DirecTV Entertainment. Mr. Riordan will be responsible for all aspects of advertising sales, including traditional media sales, advanced services applications, sports, pricing, planning and research - including the company's relationship with Nielsen Media Research.

Alison Pascola, vice president of ad sales, will report to Mr. Riordan and focus on ad sales marketing and research - shifting from her current role at DirecTV while continuing as the internal point of contact for employees in Los Angeles. Ms. Pascola and her team will also be responsible for developing and presenting ad sales promotional opportunities directly to clients and their advertising agencies.

Also joining DirecTV from Twentieth Television and reporting to Mr. Riordan are: Rich Forester, vice president of new business development in New York; Jamie Calandruccio, vice president of planning and operations in New York; Steve Fish, vice president of the Midwest region, based in Chicago; and J.C. Kawalec, vice president of the Western region, based in Los Angeles.

Although ad sales currently only accounts for about 1 percent of DirecTV's $13 billion annual revenues, it's a rapidly growing, highly profitable area, according to Mr. Riordan.

"Ad sales is no longer just about selling 30, 60 and 90 second spots; it's also about interactive and transactional media, which are some of the faster growing areas of the media market," Mr. Riordan said. "The growth is going to be explosive over the next two to five years, providing enormous opportunity for DirecTV."

The growth potential of interactive media as well as the huge opportunities presented by the company's sports channel 101, which features all original content, including "My Project/My World" and "True Fizz" were driving forces behind the decision to take ad sales in-house.

"Given the growth in this area in the last two years, it just was more economically feasible to bring the ad sales function in-house," Mr. Riordan said. "We believe growth in interactive and transactional media will outstrip the growth of other media."

DirecTV's corporate strategy to be what Mr. Riordan calls a "subscriber-centric" company hasn't changed, however.

"We hope to bring the same high quality service we give to our subscribers to our advertisers," he said.

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