Turner Broadcasting is consolidating oversight of the company’s domestic revenue streams, tapping veteran Turner executive David Levy to lead the company’s distribution sales unit, Turner Network Sales.
In the newly created position of president of sales, distribution and sports for TBS, Inc., Levy will direct advertising sales strategy and operations and all affiliate sales, marketing promotion, interactive television and technology business development for the Turner Broadcasting domestic news, entertainment and animation and young adults networks and businesses.
Levy, most recently president of Turner Broadcasting Sales, Inc. and president of Turner Sports, will continue to oversee Turner Sports, the company’s sports programming acquisitions, production, marketing, league relations and sports ad sales unit.
On a conference call Tuesday, TBS, Inc.’s chairman and CEO Phil Kent said that while Turner is a bigger part of the more content-focused Time Warner after its spin-off of TW Cable, this didn’t drive the decision in favor of the new management setup. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time” and just waited for the right time, he said. “I wanted to have a single point of accountability for domestic revenue.”
While Levy is taking over distribution, TBS’ former distribution head Andrew T. Heller has been promoted to vice chairman of TBS, Inc., assuming a coordinating role within Time Warner on the industry-wide “TV Everywhere” initiative.
Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeffrey Bewkes’ recent push to get more TV content online for multi-channel subscribers now needs a dedicated executive in Heller, which was one impetus for the change, Kent said.
“TV Everywhere as a concept is getting a lot of traction, but must now be made a reality,” he said.
Following Levy’s promotion, Coleman Breland is being upped to chief operating officer of Turner Network Sales, with day-to-day leadership responsibility for the unit.
Among the broader industry changes that have made the rejig a logical move, he cited the fact that “most major distributors are now also major advertisers.” Also, when Turner looks at acquiring sports rights, it must consider monetization opportunities across ad sales and other areas.
“It’s a cleaner, more accountable management structure,” Kent said.
He also promised reporters on the call that “David is going to be very hands-on” in the upcoming upfront.
“This is going to be additive,” said Levy about his expanded business portfolio, adding he is confident about Turner’s ability to bring in another strong upfront haul.