Fox Cable Duo to Promote Affiliate Growth

Fox Cable Networks Group has promoted from within, naming two new senior vice presidents of affiliate sales to bolster a team that will generate more than $1.1 billion in revenue this year.

Mike Hopkins, most recently vice president of national accounts, has been named senior vice president, as has Sean Riley, formerly vice president of sales operations in the affiliate-sales department. Both executives will continue to report to Lindsay Gardner, Fox Cable's executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing.

Fox Cable has been in a growth mode of late. It's planning to launch services, like its new extreme-sports network; acquiring such outlets as Speed Channel; and trying to bolster carriage for growing networks such as FX, National Geographic Channel, Fox Movie Channel, Fox Sports World, Fox Sports en Español, and its Fox Sports Net regional services. Fox Cable is also moving into new-media offerings such as video-on-demand and interactivity.

All that necessitated some change and restructuring in the affiliate-sales department, according to Gardner.

"We've gotten too big," he said. "Now we've shrunk my number of direct reports. We're streamlining and [have] made our organization easier to understand."

In his new post, Hopkins will lead Fox Cable's national accounts team in negotiating and managing the programmer's master affiliation deals with the major distributors, roughly a dozen cable and direct-broadcast satellite providers. He will also be responsible for the group's sales strategy and alternative distribution areas.

Riley's duties include overseeing and managing Fox Cable's 12 regional offices, working to improve the revenue they generate. In his new role, Riley will oversee 40 affiliate sales-people.

Essentially, Hopkins and Riley are splitting up the duties of Ray Hopkins [no relation to Mike Hopkins], who left Fox Cable more than a month ago to join Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. as executive vice president of affiliate sales and marketing.

The division of duties between Riley and Hopkins is meant to help Fox Cable in "advancing our linear channels, introducing new linear channels and helping us to invest in the future, with video-on-demand, interactivity and high-definition options," said Gardner.

In addition to Riley and Hopkins, Gardner's team includes senior vice president of affiliate marketing Janice Arouh.