Greg Regis Named Travel Channel Ad Sales Chief

A month after completing its acquisition of Travel Channel, Scripps Networks Interactive has lined up a dedicated ad sales chief for the property, naming Greg Regis senior vp, advertising sales.

Based in New York, Regis most recently served as vp, ad sales for Food Network, eastern region. Prior to that, he held the same position at Food Net sibling HGTV.

On Dec. 15, 2009, Scripps Nets finalized its deal to buy a $1.1 billion controlling stake in Travel Channel from Cox Communications. Cox, which flipped the asset some two years after acquiring Travel from Discovery, retains a 35 percent share of the network.

Per terms of the original Cox deal, all ad sales activity for Travel Channel had been managed by Discovery. Regis’ promotion gives Travel its first in-house ad sales chief since May 2007.

The announcement came on the heels of a report issued by UBS analyst Michael Morris, who predicted that “once Travel’s ads are sold as part of Scripps’ total offering, we believe that advertising at Travel could grow even if ratings do not.” Per UBS estimates, Travel in 2009 took in $120 million in ad sales revenue, on average prime time deliveries of 265,000 adults 25-54 (up 20 percent from its year-ago average).

By comparison, Food Net took in $391 million in ad sales last year, while drawing 590,000 adults 25-54 (up 26 percent), while HGTV earned $425 million during a year it saw demo deliveries rise 6 percent to 526,000.

For 2010, Morris anticipates further ad sales gains for Travel, predicting an 8 percent increase in ad sales revenue, to $130 million. Looking further ahead, UBS sees Travel raising its carriage fees from 8 cents per sub per month to 14 cents, although the network shouldn’t have any outstanding affiliate deals to see to until 2012.

Before joining Scripps Nets, Regis was vp, programming for the early interactive TV firm Wink Communications, which was absorbed by OpenTV in 2002. He has also held senior sales posts at NBC Interactive and the ESPN/ABC Internet groups.

“Greg is a visionary when it comes to successful ways to position brands in the marketplace,” said Jon Steinlauf, senior vp of ad sales, Scripps Nets. “He thinks strategically and has demonstrated a great ability to lead and manage people.”

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