MTVN Overhauls Ad, Affliliate Sales Divisions, Ditches Upfront Show


Following a round of cost-cutting layoffs, MTV Networks is overhauling its ad and affiliate sales divisions, and changing the way it presents content to advertisers.

The company will start selling ads based on psychographic groups, rather than individual brands. Ad sales teams will work for three clusters - Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, under Jim Perry; MTV/VH1/The N/Logo, under Sean Moran; and Comedy Central/Spike/CMT and TV Land, under Jeff Lucas. All three groups will work with three specialized ad sales divisions devoted to emerging media.

MTVN will shift its affiliate sales focus from geographic regions to specific clients. Accounts will center on individual affiliates, like Comcast and Cablevision, rather than on groups of different affiliates within a given city.

The division will work for both Viacom's MTVN and BET Networks, and change its name from "Affiliate Sales and Marketing" to "Content Distribution and Marketing."

Affiliate sales was one of the hardest hit divisions when the company cut 250 employees in February. Several

long-time executives left the company

the remaining division VP, Denise Dahldorf, will head the new affiliate group as its EVP.

Following what has emerged as a trend in cable this year, MTVN is abandoning its flashy upfront stage show in favor of several types of smaller meetings with clients throughout the year. Cable networks including TNT and TBS, A&E and Nat Geo have this year decided to ditch upfront stage presentations in favor of more

intimate shows for with media buyers 

In the spring, MTVN plans roadshows and client meetings to preview new programming, as well as a week of "Digi-Tours" to showcase inventory on emerging media. Three demo-focused research presentations are planned for the fall, as well as a summit for chief marketing officers to discuss broad issues in the advertising marketplace.
The small shows both save money and give networks a chance to explain advertising opportunities on the new digital products they are all introducing. As buyers and sellers try to make sense of an increasingly complex marketplace, they are being forced to reevaluate and restructure internally .

As part of its changes, MTVN has created three specialized sales units devoted to platforms beyond linear TV. Digital Ad Sales will work to create marketing opportunities across MTVN's websites, broadband channels and other digital products. Brand Solutions will work with heavy advertisers looking for cross-brand and cross-platform buys. Generator will look to develop new advertisers for digital offerings.