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PR: Disney Integrates Kids- and Family-Focused Ad Sales Teams

by on February 13, 2007


BURBANK, February 6, 2007 . . . The Walt Disney Company (NYSEIS) announced today the merging of its advertising sales and promotions teams for kids- and family-focused television, online, radio and publishing businesses. The newly integrated sales structure, Disney Media Advertising Sales and Marketing Group, will focus resources and fully empower one team to drive all advertising sales, marketing and promotions business for The Walt Disney Company’s kid-driven and family-inclusive TV platforms, its wide range of online offerings, its kid-focused publishing business, and its kid- and mom-focused radio platform.

Leading the unit is Tricia Wilber who has been elevated to Executive Vice President, Disney Media Advertising Sales and Marketing Group. She will report to three business unit leaders — Rich Ross, President, Disney Channel Worldwide; Steve Wadsworth, President, Walt Disney Internet Group; and Russell Hampton, President, Disney Publishing Worldwide.

Ross said, “The most powerful media reaching kids and families is now working in concert to deliver creative, customized and integrated marketing solutions to advertisers who are increasingly evolving away from the traditional media buying model. With our unparalleled global brand that kids love and parents trust and this enterprising team joining forces under Tricia’s leadership, we are confident we will best serve our clients and reach our consumers no matter what medium they are using.”

Wadsworth said, “This is about delivering the best marketing solutions for advertisers. The penetration of broadband and development of applications that make it easy to view video and create user-generated content are driving significant numbers of people to turn to the Internet for entertainment. As we continue to integrate our entertainment content across multiple technology platforms it’s important that our ad sales efforts be coordinated as well.”

Hampton commented, “We are very pleased to be part of an integrated sales team that will promote and leverage our content across several mediums.” “I’m confident that this new cross-platform structure will expand the reach of Disney Publishing’s brands, and enable us to more effectively and efficiently meet our customers’ needs.”

Wilber said, “Our new structure enables best practice sharing across media, sharpens the focus on our powerful consumer base of kids and families and will better serve our clients who are moving away from traditional media buying and increasingly seeking to invest in behavior-focused, multi-platform marketing solutions. By unifying our sales efforts and aligning exemplary, strategic people in key roles, we can expand the scale of these relationships and increase the effectiveness of our brand and franchise strategies.”

As part of the reorganization, Tricia Wilber has named a senior team to lead each business area and to guide multi-platform opportunities. They are: Michele Scarola, Brad Davis, Jon Sayer, Mary Beth Wright, Kara Rousseau, Julie Watkins and John Spadaro.

Michelle Scarola has been promoted to Senior Vice President, TV Sales and Eastern Multimedia Leader. She will oversee three TV platforms with a 39% share of viewing in the Kids 6-11 marketplace. They are: the flagship Disney Channel and its Playhouse Disney programming block, both which accept select partnerships; advertising on Toon Disney and its Jetix programming block; and the Saturday morning ABC Kids daypart on the ABC Television Network. Scarola will also have responsibility for the East Coast Multi-Platform team. She was most recently Vice President, Ad Sales, Disney ABC Kids Networks.

Brad Davis has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Online Sales and Western Multimedia Leader. He will oversee the media sales efforts for all Disney-branded Internet websites, including the new Disney.com. With a combined reach of over 31 million unique visitors each month (18% of all online traffic, 28% of Kids 2-14 and 20% of Moms/Women 18+ with children), the websites include: Disneychannel.com; Disney XD; Disney’s Family.com; Familyfun.com; Wondertime.com; Movies.com; and Go.com. He is also responsible for advertising sales on Jetix.tv. He will also have responsibility for all cross-media sales (Cable, Online, Print and Radio) for clients on the West Coast. Davis was most recently Vice President, Advertising Sales, Disney Online.

Jon Sayer has been named Vice President, Ad Sales, Radio Disney, and Midwest Multimedia Leader. In his new role, he will oversee the Radio Sales team for the 24 hour network which is the No. 1 destination for kids, tweens and families on the radio. It is available to 97% percent of the U.S. on over 50 terrestrial radio stations and via XM and Sirius satellite radio. He will also oversee the cross-platform team in the Midwest region. Sayer, based in Chicago, was most recently Vice President, Advertising Sales, Disney ABC Kids Networks, Midwest region.

Mary Beth Wright, publisher of Disney Adventures and FamilyFun magazines, will lead the unit’s publishing sales team on behalf of Disney Publishing, working closely with Dave Mevorah, publisher of Wondertime. With a circulation of 1.2 million (BPA, 12/2005), Disney Adventures has an audience of 5.1 million kids 6-14 (MRI 2006 6-19 Report) and is the largest-selling kids’ magazine on the newsstand. FamilyFun is the largest magazine in the U.S. for parents of children 3-12, with a circulation of two million (June 2006 ABC) and an audience of 4.3 million (MRI Fall 2006). Wondertime, an award-winning new magazine reaching mothers of infants to 8 year olds, focuses on childhood development.

Three executives will also direct multi-platform support areas that will leverage the expertise of the group:

Kara Rousseau has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales Development and will lead the cross-team. Based in New York, she was most recently Vice President, Ad Sales Marketing, Disney ABC Kids Networks.

Julie Watkins, Vice President, Revenue Planning, will lead the sales and revenue planning team across all areas.

John Spadaro, Vice President, Research, will lead all advertising sales research to support the multiple areas.

Laura Nathanson will continue to oversee the ABC Family and abcfamily.com Ad Sales group focusing on Adult Millennial audiences. She will now report to Paul Lee, President, ABC Family.

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