Sony Pictures Television's Carney looks beyond the 30-second spot
By Jim Benson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 10/29/2006 7:00:00 PM
Ad-sales executives are known for their capacity to wine and dine. But Amy Carney may be the only one who actually owns a vineyard. Carney, executive VP of advertiser sales and operations for Sony Pictures Television (SPT), has a family farm outside of Charlottesville, Va., where she bottles 1,000 cases a year under her Green Springs Winery label.
Her weekends at the vineyard are a leisurely departure from the hectic weeks in New York, where she works to move the Culver City, Calif.-based Sony studio beyond the world of 30-second national barter spots.
In addition to selling SPT's first-run and off-network commercial inventory, Carney is looking to monetize Sony Pictures Entertainment's new-media platforms, including video channels on AOL and In Demand Network's high-definition channel, INHD. Moreover, she is carving out paid-ad campaigns across many of Sony's entertainment properties and 10-second paid announcements in such programs as Seinfeld, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.
Growing up with Bozo
Growing up in Pelham, N.Y., Carney was exposed to the TV business early on. Her father, the late Don Carney, was a director on Bozo the Clown and a longtime executive producer and director of Yankees games on WPIX New York.
“Although I grew up in a control booth, I never really considered production as a career,” she says. “I did get to mix the Bosco [chocolate syrup] on the Bozo the Clown show when I was a little girl. Maybe that is what steered me toward advertising as a career.”
After graduating in 1980 with a degree in business administration and political science, Carney listened to her father, who saw the makings of a TV sales executive in her.
She soon landed a job as an assistant at station-rep firm TeleRep. Back then, TV-ad sales offered Carney few prominent female role models, but she was confident she had made the right choice. “Watching the account executives there,” she says, “it didn't take too long for me to figure out that I could do that, too.”
After 13 years at TeleRep, where she rose to VP/general sales manager, Carney left in 1994 to be a full-time mother to her two children. Despite four years out of the business, she landed a spot as VP/general sales manager of CBS affiliate WTVR Richmond, Va.
“Getting back into the work force after four years off was like riding a bike,” she says. “The hardest part was, and continues to be, leaving my kids every day.”
In 1999, media mogul Barry Diller tapped her to be general manager of online entertainment guide CitySearch. Her tenure was brief, but Carney recalls the welcome gift that Diller sent her: a crystal disco ball that she hung in her office.
Converging old and new media
After nearly three years at Univision Online, where she launched a sales division, Carney left in September 2003 to join SPT, where the convergence of old and new media is a big priority.
“The merging of the two for me is like the perfect storm,” she says. “The traditional and new media all coming together in one place makes my job exciting.”
With studios and networks still feeling their way with new media, SPT has been particularly cautious about moving forward with a formal digital strategy, perhaps due to its independent status in Hollywood. But SPT President Steve Mosko trusts Carney's sense of adaptability. A friend for more than two decades, he praises her “ability to grasp new situations quickly and make them work.”
And the uncertainty doesn't faze Carney. “I don't ever remember a time when this business seemed like it was easy,” she says. “There's always a new challenge and growth to achieve. It doesn't feel that different to me.”
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