Dollars & Sense: The Top Cable Execs

Joe Abruzzese

Title: President, advertising sales

Company: Discovery Communications

2013 Ad Revenue: $1.6 billion*

Outlook: Some of Discovery’s emerging networks— Destination America, ID, OWN—have grown up to become material revenue generators. Discovery doesn’t have sports, but it’s increasing its live programming, such as last year’s Grand Canyon tightrope walk, as a way to attract live viewers advertisers crave.

Mel Berning

Title: President, ad sales

Company: A+E Networks

2013 Ad Revenue: $1.8 billion*

Outlook: Launch of lifestyle channel FYI creates new opportunities. With History skewing male, Lifetime for women and A&E going down the middle, the group is a solid buy for a broad swath of advertisers.

Louis Carr

Title: President, ad sales, BET Networks

Company: Viacom

2013 Ad Revenue: $360.9 million*

Outlook: Original programming remains key to keeping African-American consumers hooked on the BET brand.

Ed Erhardt

Title: President, global consumer marketing and sales, ESPN

Company: Walt Disney Co.

2013 Ad Revenue: $1.7 billion*

Outlook: Next season ESPN adds the college football championship playoffs to an already strong lineup. Live programming combined with multiplatform scale is a golden goose likely to thrive for the foreseeable future.

Ed Georger

Title: Executive VP, advertising sales

Company: Crown Media Family Networks

2013 Ad Revenue: $294.8 million*

Outlook: With its original series taking off, Hallmark Channel should be able to push prices higher in the upfront. Renamed movie channel Hallmark Movies and Mysteries becomes a better-defined option for advertisers.

Steve Gigliotti

Title: President, national ad sales and marketing

Company: Scripps Networks Interactive

2013 Ad Revenue: $1.7 billion*

Outlook: Fast-growing flankers—DIY and Cooking Channel— bolster position in food and home categories as competition in lifestyle category grows. Scripps is also pushing weekend as primetime for its viewers.

Lou LaTorre

Title: President, advertising sales, Fox Cable Networks Group

Company: 21st Century Fox

2013 Ad Revenue: $1.3 billion*

Outlook: Fox Cable has a lot of Simpsons to sell. The animated classic gives FXX an identity, while FX continues to roll out high-quality original series that command premium pricing.

Jeff Lucas

Title: Head of sales, Viacom Media Networks, Music and Entertainment

Company: Viacom

2013 Advertising Revenue: $3.0 billion*

Outlook: Despite ratings issues, MTV remains a mustbuy. Lucas keeps advertisers in-house with Velocity unit that creates integrated campaigns with digital and social boosters.

Arlene Manos

Title: President, national advertising sales

Company: AMC Networks

2013 Ad Revenue: $663 million*

Outlook: The Walking Dead is keeping AMC strong as the network reloads its original programming roster following the smashing finale of Breaking Bad and the impending end of MadMen. Move into comedy presents new possibilities.

Laura Nathanson

Title: Executive VP ad sales, ABC Family

Company: Walt Disney Co.

2013 Ad Revenue: $438.4 million*

Outlook: ABC Family greenlit three new drama pilots aimed at maintaining its focus on young women 18-34. One pilot, Alice in Arabia, was pulled after protests over anti-Islamic dialogue.

Jim Perry

Title: Head of sales, Nickelodeon Group

Company: Viacom

2013 Ad Revenue: $1 billion*

Outlook: Nickelodeon appears to have bounced back from the sudden ratings drop that cut into ad revenue and threatened its spot as the top kids’ network. New series and new live events have advertisers seeing orange again.

Paul Rittenberg

Title: Executive VP, advertising sales, Fox News

Company: 21st Century Fox

2013 Ad Revenue: $776.4 million*

Outlook: After a tough fourth quarter, Fox News Channel is bouncing back with congressional elections ahead this fall. The news leader also has a new lineup with Elisabeth Hasselbeck in the morning and Megyn Kelly in prime.

Donna Speciale

Title: President of advertising sales, Turner Broadcasting

Company: Time Warner

2013 Ad Revenue: $3.9 billion*

Outlook: Recent ad sales reorganization puts respected former media buyer Speciale in charge of entertainment, news and digital. Ratings issues at TNT and CNN need to be addressed.

Linda Yaccarino

Title: President of ad sales, NBCUniversal

Company: Comcast

2013 Ad Revenue: $3.6 billion*

Outlook: NBCUniversal is putting its cable networks together for one big event at the end of broadcast upfront week. Pricing remains an issue for top-rated USA, while Bravo and E! get into the scripted programming game.

*Source: Company reports, SNL Kagan and B&C estimates

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.