Exclusive: Viacom Dials Up New Mobile Ad Sales Team

Pete Chelala joins from Weather Channel; promotes Deborah Schlessinger Brett to VP of mobile sales
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With mobile becoming an increasingly important part of consumers’ lives, Viacom Media Networks has put together a new mobile ad sales executive team to create products and sign sponsors.

Viacom has hired Pete Chelala as VP of mobile product and sales, from Weather Channel. Since people often want forecasts while on the go, the Weather Channel was an early leader in the mobile space.

Viacom has also promoted Deborah Schlessinger Brett to VP, mobile sales. Schlessinger Brett has had several jobs at Viacom and was most recently director of new business for Viacom’s Nickelodeon group. She will be responsible for selling mobile inventory and ad products across the company’s music and entertainment brands, including MTV.

“Our audiences are among the most voracious consumers of mobile content,” Jeff Lucas, head of sales, Viacom Media Networks Music and Entertainment Group, said in a statement. “Pete and Deb give us the combination of marketplace knowledge and product expertise to ensure we’re connecting our clients to our consumers wherever they are, in the most impactful ways possible.”

Chelala said being at the Weather Channel got him into mobile early, and that mobile now has reached critical mass with 130 million unique users. “As we look at usage, we’re seeing a blend of utility and content now,” Chelala said. “Sports scores, news and weather are obviously going to be utility-based and accessed frequently. But people are diving into content, they’re searching for stuff, they’re emailing. There’s a lot more happening across mobile.”

Schlessinger Brett pointed to apps like MTV’s Watch With as an example of how Viacom content is being consumed across multiple platforms. “To be social in today’s digital landscape, you really must be mobile,” she said. “[We are] innovating products that allow us to engage in that social conversation in new ways, bringing advertisers along and helping them connect with our fans.”

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