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A&E Networks Ramps Up Ad Sales Force

Amid ratings success and growth at its networks, A+E Networks said it has ramped up its ad sales force – promoting four industry veterans to executive vice president: Jim Agius of A&E/Bio; Amy Baker of Lifetime/LMN; Peter Olsen of History/H2 and Michael Peretz of ad sales revenue management and operations, A+E Networks, respectively. 

The announcement was made today by Mel Berning, president, ad sales, A+E Networks, under whose leadership revenues have never been more robust, according to the networks group.

Agius, Baker and Olsen are primarily responsible for spearheading the three brand groups, A&E, Lifetime and History, across linear and non-linear platforms. Peretz works across all ad platforms to maximize both short and long-term advertising revenues across all media devices from a pricing, inventory and systems perspective; and will work closely with outside vendors and measurement companies to scale up the digital revenue sales processes. They will continue to report directly to Berning.

“The media marketplace now is moving faster and demanding greater capabilities than ever before," Berning said in a release. "And the tremendous success that our brands have enjoyed has moved them front and center in media plans. Our brands and characters are the stuff social media is buzzing about. In response to those needs, we’re making a big investment in people and tools to step up our capabilities on many fronts. We’re no longer just selling TV ratings points. We’re selling content and media solutions across a lot of different delivery platforms tailored to drive the results against our clients’ marketing needs.”

The ad sales group under Berning is making investments in partnerships and research. The partnerships group, led by David DeSocio, senior vice president, partnership marketing, has made strides with the development of custom creative executions in some of the networks’ biggest specials, A&E said.

The research team, led by Michael Greco, executive vice president, corporate research, is identifying connections between our brand enthusiasts and brand targets for our clients. The team is taking several proprietary studies to clients with insights about viewer passions, and marketing to men and women, A&E said.

A+E Networks said it is becoming much more focused on selling content rather than focusing wholly on TV programs.

With this in mind, Berning announced the hiring of two new vice presidents of business development, a newly formed business development group which will spearhead outreach to senior advertising and planning managers. Their mandate is to make clear how much of the buzz in social media is driven by our content, and how ubiquitous our content is on the new platforms. The new VPs include, Louis Jerome (for A+E/Bio, reporting to Agius) and Susan Webber Gatto (for Lifetime reporting to Baker). The move re-positions Chris Lenge, VP of business affairs, who will now focus on History/H2 reporting to Olsen. 

Agius, previously SVP of ad sales at A&E, will continue to oversee A&E and BIO. Agius has been with A&E since March 2005. Baker, who became SVP of ad sales at Lifetime in 2010, will continue to oversee sales of Lifetime and LMN. She joined A+E Networks as SVP, ad sales, History, in 2005, a time when the network emerged as an unprecedented (and ongoing) ratings success story. Olsen, previously the SVP, ad sales, History, will continue to oversee sales at History and H2. Prior to coming to A+E Networks in 2005, Olsen was EVP/director of national broadcast at MediaCom.

The new executive vice president of ad sales revenue management and operations, A+E Networks is Michael Peretz. He was previously SVP, sales revenue management at A+E Networks and his served in other capacities at the company.

Also key to the realignment are the two men attached to partnership marketing and research operations, A+E Networks said. DeSocio, who previously was SVP, ad sales marketing and partnerships, joined A+E in 2008. Greco, previously EVP, research, at A+E Networks, joined A+E in 2007. Lenge previously was VP, sales strategy, since joining A+E in 2008. Originally part of the development of all presentations to the sales community, he more recently has focused on new business and business development for History and H2. Jerome recently joined A+E Networks in his new role of  VP, business development, ad sales, A&E/Bio. He came to A+E from CNBC. Gatto recently joined A+E Networks in her new role of VP, business development, ad sales, Lifetime/LMN Networks. Prior to joining A+E, she was associate publisher, W Magazine.

Pictured from top: Jim Agius, credit: Zach Dilgard/A+E Networks; Amy Baker (A+E Networks); Peter Olsen (A+E Networks); Michael Peretz: (A+E Networks).