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Microsoft beefs up ad sales efforts to better compete against big media

February 6, 2012 | 12:13 pm

Microsoft wants to compete against cable TV
In its latest move to compete head-to-head with traditional media, Microsoft is beefing up its ad sales team.

The software giant, which is aggressively using its various holdings to establish entertainment platforms that compete with multichannel video programming distributors, has tapped veteran cable and broadcast industry executive Yoav Shahar as video specialist for Microsoft's video advertising unit.

Shahar, who spent 15 years at Turner Broadcasting in various ad sales positions, will be responsible for selling advertising for Microsoft's MSN, Xbox and Microsoft Video Network. Shahar said he sees similarities in Microsoft's push to what the cable industry did in the 1980s and 1990s in terms of taking ad dollars away from the broadcast networks. 

Microsoft is also still poking around Hollywood for a top programming executive who has relationships with key industry players. The company even has called some top executives describing its prototype candidates as people like Jeff Gaspin, the former NBCUniversal Television chief, and Peter Liguori, the one-time chief operating officer of Discovery Communications.

-- Joe Flint

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