Lefkowitz Gets No. 2 Post in New Fox Ad Structure

Teams aligned by agency to sell all broadcast, cable, sports, Spanish-language and non-linear assets

Fox Networks Group said that Bruce Lefkowitz has been promoted to executive VP, advertising sales, making him the No. 2 executive in the newly consolidated organization.

Lefkowitz reports to Toby Byrne, who last year was named president of advertising sales as the company's broadcast and cable sales groups were combined into a single unit.

In addition to being in charge of ad revenue and sales strategy for Fox Networks Group's broadcast, cable, sports, Spanish-language, and non-linear assets, Lefkowitz will oversee a structure that features six teams, each focused on a set of media-buying agencies and its clients.

Lefkowitz, who had been executive VP, advertising sales for Fox Cable Entertainment, will also supervise Fox sales offices in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Fox News maintains a separate ad sales operation.

"The realities of the marketplace and our goals made this the right time to bring the teams together," said Byrne. "Breaking down the silos has a lot of upside for us and our clients and agency partners."

Byrne also plans to expand the sales groups' marketing staff so it can do more custom promotions and to innovate new ways to serve clients using data and technology.

Fox parent 21st Century Fox acquired TrueX last year, a company that creates engaging advertising platforms in digital content. "We'll be trying to develop other ad products and innovate in this space," Byrne said. "It's unique and it's daring and it creates an environment that's engaging and sets the Fox Network Group apart."

Byrne said Lefkowitz was filling a critical post. "I think he'll bring great expertise, enthusiasm and energy to the role."

Lefkowitz said it no longer made sense to put broadcasting, cable and digital content into separate silos. "The business is changing so rapidly and the focus is moving toward buying audiences. We're changing the conversation from efficiency to effectiveness, using big data and deeper dive analysis," Lefkowitz said. "We really think you have to think about the business differently and our structure should allow this."

Lefkowitz, who was an All-Ivy League basketball player at the University of Pennsylvania, joined Fox Cable Networks in 2002. Previously he served as senior VP, national advertising sales for Discovery Networks. Before that he'd been VP, syndication ad sales and business development for New World Sales and Marketing. He began his sales career at Turner Broadcasting.

The decision to consolidate the ad sales operation led to a round of both voluntary buyouts late last year and layoffs earlier this month. Several veteran ad sales executives left the company including former Fox Cable Entertainment Network president Lou LaTorre, who opted to accept the buyout offer.

After the industry endured a disappointing upfront and a slow fourth quarter, Byrne said it seemed to him like "the marketplace is starting to warm up a bit."

He added that things were looking up at the broadcast net where ratings and ad revenue were down double digits last year. "We're thrilled with Empire. We were thrilled with Gotham in the fall. Backstrom had a good first episode last week and American Idol appears to have found its level after three weeks."