Viveat Susan Pinto

Turner beefs up ad sales team

The company has hired three new professionals, who will head different business groups in the ad sales department

Turner International has inducted three new members in its ad sales team. These include Avinash Pillai, Saurabh Singh and Anil Mathew, who will be in charge of ad sales for distinct business groups – kids’ entertainment (that is Cartoon Network and POGO); English entertainment (HBO); and news (CNN) respectively.

Pillai will be based in Mumbai, while his colleagues Singh and Mathew will be based in Delhi and Bangalore. The three will report in to Monica Tata, vice-president, ad sales, Turner International.

Though the development appears routine on the face of it, the induction, in reality, is tied in with the company’s efforts of pushing the network as a whole. According to Tata, the company is open to network deals, and is scouting for opportunities to include more channels in the bouquet.

Turner recently shifted from selling timebands to selling programmes on lead channel Cartoon Network, which has resulted in a “higher yield” for the company. Ad revenues increased by 35 per cent between 2003 and 2004, and the company hopes to continue with the trend this year too.

On POGO, the no.2 kids’ channel, the company is looking to add about 4-5 locally produced shows to beef up indigenous content. Currently, foreign shows dubbed in Hindi reign supreme on POGO. However, Turner did make an attempt to add a bit of local flavour with the Prime Pogo band, launched a few months ago, which had Indian hosts Niall Sadh and Chinu Vaze. In December 2004, it launched another local initiative the Amazing Kids Awards that got a good response from viewers and advertisers.

The presenting sponsors for the Awards were Candyman from ITC and Horlicks. The associate sponsors were Jini & Jony and Maruti Suzuki respectively.

The company, incidentally, has plans to make the Amazing Kids Awards an annual event, and will kick-off the initiative on a bigger scale this year. Another interesting tie-up is that with NGO Sesame Workshop for the co-production of 'Sesame Street' in India. The programme, for the uninitiated, is a ground-breaking 35 year-old educational show for young children. The show has bagged numerous Emmy Awards over the years and is telecast in more than 120 countries.

In India, 'Sesame Street' will be telecast on Cartoon Network and Pogo in 2006 as a series featuring new Indian muppet characters, locally produced live action and animation segments. Classic moments from the original show will also be part of the package.

© 2005 agencyfaqs!