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Turner Broadcasting is consolidating oversight of its domestic revenue streams, tapping veteran company executive David Levy for the new position of president of sales, distribution and sports at TBS Inc.
Levy will shepherd ad sales strategy and operations, affiliate sales, marketing promotion, interactive television and technology business development for Turner Broadcasting’s domestic news, entertainment and animation and young-adults networks and businesses.
Levy, most recently president of Turner Broadcasting Sales and Turner Sports, also will continue to oversee Turner Sports, the company’s sports programming acquisitions, production, marketing, league relations and ad sales unit.
During a conference call Tuesday, TBS Inc. chairman and CEO Phil Kent said that while Turner is a bigger part of the more content-focused Time Warner after its spinoff of TW Cable, that 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.”
With Levy taking over distribution, former TBS distribution head Andrew Heller has been promoted to vice chairman of TBS Inc., assuming a coordinating role within Time Warner on the industrywide TV Everywhere initiative.
Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeffrey Bewkes’ recent push to get more TV content online for multichannel subscribers needed a dedicated executive like Heller, which was one impetus for the appointment, Kent said.
“TV Everywhere as a concept is getting a lot of traction but must now be made a reality,” he said.
With Levy’s promotion, Coleman Breland is being upped to COO at Turner Network Sales, with day-to-day leadership responsibility for the unit.
Among broader industry changes that have made the restructuring a logical move, Kent 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” at the upcoming upfront.
“This is going to be additive,” Levy said of his expanded business portfolio, adding that he is confident about Turner’s ability to bring in another strong upfront haul.
Georg Szalai reported from New York; Nellie Andreeva reported from Los Angeles.
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