Riordan to top DirecTV's new advertising ops

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NEW YORK -- Satellite TV giant DirecTV Group is aggressively pushing to further expand its fast-growing advertising business.

The company, controlled by News Corp., said Tuesday that its DirecTV service is streamlining its advertising sales operations by bringing it all in-house via the combination of its ad sales team with account executives from its former ad sales vendor, Twentieth Television, which is part of News Corp.

In a statement, DirecTV said the move signals "an aggressive new strategy to generate more national ad sales and revenue."

The newly combined DirecTV Advertising Sales team will operate out of the company offices in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago and focus on, among other things, attracting new national advertisers as well as creating partnerships and revenue sources.

"Fully insourcing our ad sales team enables DirecTV to implement an aggressive new advertising sales strategy with more control and better efficiency," DirecTV Entertainment executive vp Eric Shanks said.

Bob Riordan will head the new group as senior vp advertising sales, based in New York. He reports to Shanks.

DirecTV is set to report third-quarter earnings today. Wall Street observers have said they have been impressed by the firm's advertising revenue growth in recent quarters.

In the company's second-quarter earnings call in August, DirecTV chief financial officer Michael Palkovic said ad revenue for the quarter again was in the low-$60 million range, which he said was "pretty consistent" with the first quarter. "Year-to-date, we're up by 25% over last year," he added.

Riordan said in a recent interview that his team is looking to use all existing DirecTV platforms to effectively sell ad inventory to marketing clients. In addition, he said the ad sales team will continue to explore digital and interactive opportunities for ad partners as well as new forms of packaging marketing messages.
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