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Market Movers: Cable Network Sales Execs

Related: Buyers Downplay Strong Scatter On Eve of Upfront

Joe Abruzzese

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: Discovery Communications
2015 Ad Revenue: $1.650 billion*
Outlook: New Discovery Channel and Investigation Discovery growing with men and women, respectively. Company dove into data and client service with new Discovery One suite, TV Everywhere, analytics, web-native networks, branded content and even virtual reality—all the bells and whistles media buyers and their clients seem to be looking for.

Toby Byrne

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: Fox Networks Group
2015 Ad Revenue: $1.168 billion*
Outlook: Fox consolidated its broadcast, cable and digital sales staffs into a single unit in 2014. FX had big hit with The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and is working on the next installment focusing on Hurricane Katrina. National Geographic Channels, now controlled by Fox, moving in a new direction that emphasizes the quality of original project rather than having a huge number of them. David Letterman will be a celebrity correspondent for Years of Living Dangerously.

Louis Carr

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: BET
2015 Ad Revenue: $399 million*
Outlook: BET is promising more in this year’s upfront in order to maintain its position as the top media outlet reaching African-Americans. It’s making big bets on movie and miniseries about Nelson Mandela and New Edition, but limiting sponsorship opportunities. BET has created a new website and a new app and has made new deals with Snapchat and Whosay in social.

Ed Erhardt

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: ESPN
2015 Ad Revenue: $2.393 billion* Outlook: Ratings fell off for the college football playoff and championship game as they moved to New Year’s Eve, making some media buyers unhappy and resulting in big make-good activity. And while there are questions about distribution and cord-cutting, advertisers flock to ESPN for its live viewing on TV and for the ways it can mount multiplatform campaigns that reach sports fans on digital, social, print.

Ed Georger

Title: executive VP, advertising sales
Company: Crown Media Family Networks
2015 Ad Revenue: $415 million*
Outlook: The family friendly Hallmark channels posted an industry leading increase in advertising revenue last year. This upfront, Hallmark will focus on raising its prices on a CPM basis, citing the value in buying a network where ratings are rising and schedules reach the guaranteed number of viewer while the campaign’s running. Hallmark plans to have original series and movies all year round, with specials on additional holidays.

Jeff Lucas

Title: Head, advertising sales
Company: Viacom Media Networks
2015 Ad Revenue: $3.989 billion*
Outlook: Viacom continues to push data products like Viacom Vantage, Viacom Velocity and Viacom Echo as a way to focus advertisers on the young consumers its networks reach, as opposed to the audience erosion indicated by traditional ratings. New leadership at MTV is looking to bring the buzz back to the brand with a new primetime live music series.

Arlene Manos

Title: President, nation advertising sales
Company: AMC Networks
2015 Ad Revenue: $857 millon
Outlook: Original programming continues to fuel growth in advertising revenue. Ratings may have peaked for The Walking Dead, but it’s still TV’s highest rated drama, enabling AMC to get broadcast-level pricing. The Walking Dead has proved to be a good launchpad for other shows. AMC is also ramping up original programming on its other channels, IFC, Sundance, BBC America and WE tv.

Laura Molen, Dan Lovinger

Titles: Executive VPs, advertising sales
Company: NBCUniversal
2015 Ad Revenue: $3.616.5 billion*
Outlook: There will not be a separate upfront for NBCUniversal’s cable networks this year. Instead, USA, Syfy, Bravo et al will be part of the NBCU family on Monday May 16, when NBC primetime broadcast schedule is introduced to media buyers. Flagship USA is trying to find new creative mojo, starting with acclaimed series Mr. Robot, a dystopian departure from the network’s old sunnier approach.

Laura Nathanson

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: Freeform
2015 Ad Revenue: $503.2 million*
Outlook: Rebranded from ABC Family, Freeform might be a better fit for the network’s dramas about teens on the young end of the millennial generation. The network is big on social media and looks to help advertisers engage its audience when they’re away from the TV. Like ABC Family Freeform will look to cash in at holiday time with its 25 Days of Christmas block.

Peter Olsen

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: A+E Networks
2015 Ad Revenue: $1.812 billion*
Outlook: Ratings at A+E’s networks continue to fall, but the company is hoping for its updated version of Roots to make a big impression. The company seems to be increasing its commercial load in traditional, which won’t make it more popular with viewers or advertisers. Meanwhile, its new Vice channel is looking to make money by creating sponsored content, though it’s off to a slow start.

Paul Rittenberg

Company: Fox News
Title: President, advertising sales
2015 Ad Revenue: $1.003 million*
Outlook: Fox News got a huge boost during the election season, despite or because of its on and off-again feud with surprise Republican front-runner Donald Trump. Its GOP debate last August drew 24 million people and debates and town hall have been drawing viewers ever since. Debates also brought new viewers to Fox Business News.

Donna Speciale

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: Turner Broadcasting
2015 Ad Revenue: $4.017 billion*
Outlook: Turner is cutting the number of commercials it runs on some of the shows on some of its networks. Big cuts on ad loads at truTV as it tries to attract young viewers with a comedy-reality format. Meanwhile originals on TNT will also have fewer commercials. Speciale is also big on data products to help advertisers reach their target audiences with schedules that span Turner’s networks and dayparts.

Jon Steinlauf

Title: President, advertising sales
Company: Scripps Networks Interactive
2015 Ad Revenue: $1.808 billion*
Outlook: Ratings were up for the first quarter at all of Scripps Networks lifestyle channels, which reach an affluent audience filled with people just itching to buy the products they see advertised on shows like Property Brothers on HGTV. Programming focused on family and kids has also begun to attract younger viewers, especially during the early part of primetime. *Sources: SNL Kagan, MoffettNathanson Research and company reports.