Turner’s Levy Assumes Oversight of Affiliate Relations

Turner Broadcasting System ad sales chief David Levy is taking on additional responsibility at the networks group, assuming oversight of all affiliate-related activity.

Levy, who has served as president of Turner Broadcasting sales and president of Turner Sports since 2003, has been elevated to the newly-created position of president of sales, distribution and sports for TBS, Inc. Effective immediately, the 23-year Turner vet will oversee the company’s distribution sales unit, Turner Network Sales.

Turner chairman and CEO Phil Kent on Tuesday said that Levy would continue to lead ad sales strategy and operations at the entertainment networks and sports properties.

“It’s a model I’ve long wanted to put into place, as it consolidates oversight of our domestic revenue to a single point of accountability,” Kent said. “It’s a much cleaner, more accountable system.”

Levy also retains oversight of Turner Sports, the company’s acquisitions, production, marketing and ad sales unit. Kent added that Levy’s new responsibilities will in no way diminish his role as the company’s primary dealmaker.  

“David will continue to be very hands-on in presenting our strategy for the upfront,” Kent said.

Concurrent with Levy’s promotion, Coleman Breland will become chief operating officer of Turner Network Sales, overseeing day-to-day operations. Breland reports directly to Levy.

Previously, Breland had served as executive vp of sales and marketing of the distribution sales unit.

In addition to consolidating all ad sales and affiliate activity under Levy, the move frees up Andy Heller to assume a coordinating role within Time Warner’s “TV Everywhere” initiative, which aims to increase online distribution of cable content without jeopardizing subscription revenue.

As vice chairman, Heller will serve as a senior adviser to Kent.

While the timing of the announcement was unexpected––Turner’s New York upfront presentation will be held just eight days from today, on May 20––Kent said exterior forces didn’t play a part in the executive shift.

“We always have carriage deals coming up,” Kent said. “This was as good a time as any.”

Kent added that there’s quite a bit of overlap between the affiliate and ad-sales sides of the business, especially when sports properties are in play. “Many of our major distributors are now major advertisers, whether you’re talking about Comcast or DirecTV,” Kent said, adding distribution and advertising factors inform all decisions related to sports acquisitions and investments.

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