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Media Giants Restructure Their Cross-Platform Units

Major media groups are rethinking and retooling their integrated-marketing efforts, seeking to make them more efficient. News Corp., NBC and AOL Time Warner have all changed the structure of their integrated-marketing and cross-platform units.

After months of internal pondering, News Corp. One has been split up, with sales reporting to Fox Networks Group CEO Tony Vinciquerra and to Fox Broadcasting President of Sales Jon Nesvig. The News Corp. One marketing segment will report to Anthea Disney, the News Corp. executive in charge of the company's strategic alliances worldwide.

Previously, the combined unit had reported to News Corp. Deputy Chief Operating Officer Lachlan Murdoch.

Out altogether is Kayne Lanahan, the executive who developed and ran the day-to-day operation for five years. She indicated last fall that she was moving on but stayed through the completion of the transition last month.

She said last week she had concluded that it made more sense for the marketing and sales components of News Corp. One to operate separately, especially now that Vinciquerra has responsibility for both cable and broadcast sales. "It's a different marketplace and economy than it was three years ago."

Cross-platform and integrated marketing arrangements match an advertiser with several parts of a media company's components. For example, at Viacom, which has made several cross-platform deals, an advertiser might launch a campaign on Infinity Broadcasting, CBS broadcast network and MTV cable channel.

At NBC, the network has moved its NBC Connect to the marketing unit within the sales division, under Senior Vice President, Marketing, Ed O'Donnell, with Stu Ballatt running the day-to-day operation. Before, it had reported directly to NBC Sales President Keith Turner.

Jay Linden, who ran NBC Connect, has been named executive vice president, Strategic Alliance Group, and oversees a new initiative called "At the Client for the Client," which extends across all GE units. The idea is that a lot of GE units support industries that are major advertisers (for example, GE's plastics, lighting and financing divisions all do business with the auto industry).

"We're going to approach clients as GE to see what kind of partnerships we can forge," says Turner. "In effect, it's an extension of NBC Connect."

Sources familiar with the News Corp. restructuring say the review there was prompted by the turmoil at AOL Time Warner, including the perception that some of the integrated deals coming out of that company were "more spin than reality."

"It made everybody in the industry ask what's working and what's not working," says one ad/marketing executive. "Does any of the AOL fallout rub off negatively on us, and just what should this integrated marketing operation naturally morph into?"

At AOL Time Warner, Mike Kelly was named to head the company's Global Marketing Solutions unit six months ago, and Goodman is "quite pleased" by its progress. "Had we had this conversation six months ago, I would have probably asked it to be off the record and told you how miserable it was with that group and all it was doing. It's been quite a nice turnaround."

Viacom Plus has a different integrated-marketing story: It's working well, and the company is talking to Procter & Gamble about extending its cross-platform advertising deal (estimated at $300 million annually) for a third year. Lisa McCarthy, the unit's executive vice president, notes confidently, "It's very much part of the fabric of Viacom."