Channel 4′s programming might not be brave but its sales strategy is
It was certainly a brave decision to get rid of so many people who have spent the greater part of their careers loyally toiling for Channel 4 and helping to give it some point of differentiation as one of the smarter TV sales points.
It was also contradictory to what Allan told me when I asked him if he was planning on making any changes to the sales team when I saw him shortly after he took the job.
But then again Allan had also denied that he was joining Channel 4 on the morning of the day that the announcement was made so perhaps I shouldn’t be that surprised.
Having cleared out so many of the old guard he has now made his first hiring to replace them with Damon Lafford, formerly of Viacom Brand Solutions and most recently Sky Media, joining as head of agency sales.
By all accounts he’s a good appointment – having worked at VBS I expect he’ll bring a fresh perspective and encourage the sales team to work harder for their money (something that critics say that they have traditionally and generally not been very good at).
He also forms part of a new sales structure that comprises a head of trading, a head of digital and partnership innovation and a second head of agency sales. These will run six agency teams that, we are told, include specialists in trading, AFP, product placement, creative solutions and digital.
In short, everything that is exciting in the shiny new world of TV.
Good luck to Allan and Channel 4. But the cynic in me thinks that it does look like it has – for now at least – over-resourced its non-traditional revenue streams, so the need for a hard-hitting trading director seems more pressing than ever.
That is, unless, a greater level of AFP, product placement and partnership innovation becomes apparent than under the previous regime.