Walker Jacobs: Turner's Digital 'Mad Man'
Sales executive is bullish on new Bleacher Report acquisition
By Tim Baysinger -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/20/2012 12:01:00 AMB&C's 2012 Digital All-Stars
As the head of one of the fastest- growing areas of Turner Broadcasting System’s business, Walker Jacobs, executive VP, Turner digital ad sales, is always looking for ways to better service advertisers.
Jacobs leads all sales efforts across Turner’s portfolio of sports and entertainment digital properties, including NBA.com, NCAA.com (with March Madness Live and CBSSports.com part of that workload), teamcoco.com and more.
With football season right around the corner, Jacobs thinks the recent acquisition of the digital sports property Bleacher Report will finally make Turner a big pigskin player this fall. “Digitally, historically we haven’t had a strong football footprint,” he says, adding that Turner wants to get those digital clients that have new product launches during this part of the calendar.
Jacobs is bullish on Bleacher Report’s potential. “It’s going to bolster everything we’re trying to do here, in terms of making sure we’re serving the sports fan across all of their interests,” he says.
Turner, in fact, had been looking at different businesses to add to its portfolio for some time, and [Bleacher Report] “was just the perfect match for us,” Jacobs says. Turner’s digital assets already reach 100 million unique visitors each month. The acquisition of Bleacher Report— with its 10 million uniques—will move that number downfield like a well-executed draw play. “This delivers us an audience at scale,” says Jacobs. “My team and I are overwhelmingly excited about how this enhances what we’re doing in the sports space.”
While the digital properties Turner has are thriving, Jacobs says he wants more from its sports division.
“We didn’t have a scale to really deliver the maximum value to the digital advertising marketplace,” he says, pointing out that Turner’s sports properties didn’t expand year-round. “We’re very strong [during] the college basketball tournament, we’re very strong in the NBA season, and we’re very strong in golf and NASCAR.” Jacobs is certain that Bleacher Report will separate Turner from the competition, noting: “It’s a fundamentally different offering than a lot of what our competition is doing on the Web.”
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