In January 2009, AT&T wanted to build a local advertising business for its U-verse pay television platform. While AT&T owned a very large local advertising sales organization in Yellow Pages, they lacked the television advertising sales expertise necessary to generate the magnitude of revenue contemplated in AT&T’s plan. Instead of adding television to the Yellow Pages sales organization’s product set, the company decided to start a new organization that would hire the necessary advertising sales talent and industry experience.
Senior Vice President Television Ad Sales & Business Development
Within the AdWorks startup, my group developed the television advertising sales strategy and created the tactical roadmap that would deliver on the company’s revenue and profit goals. As local television advertising is typically sold by the largest cable operator in each market, we met with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter and Bright House to negotiate the terms of a representation agreement. Once AT&T corporate agreed to partner rather than compete with the cable operators in the local advertising space, we signed representation agreements with the operators in all of the AT&T local markets.
Between 2009 and 2011, we grew television advertising revenue from less than $25 million to $185 million in 2010 and $304 million in 2011. More importantly, AT&T AdWorks exceeded corporate budgets by 42 percent in 2010, 20 percent in 2011, and 17 percent in 2012. Additionally, by exploring all options related to advertising revenue generation, AT&T was exposed to a variety of executives, partners and opportunities that opened the door for eventual acquisitions such as Warner Media and DirecTV.