Media: Double Standards - Embrace differences that make Europe what it is

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 05 November 2010 12:00AM

The ad directors from ESPN and Discovery Channel talk about the joys and perils of working across European networks.

ALAN FAGAN - GROUP DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING AND SPONSORSHIP SALES FOR EMEA, ESPN

- What does your job involve?

I oversee the day-to-day management of all of ESPN's advertising and sponsorship sales in the UK and EMEA - on TV, online and mobile. I will be working closely with UKand EMEA-based clients and agencies to develop integrated multi-platform media solutions across the rapidly expanding ESPN portfolio. Additionally, I will be looking to help drive international sales from Europe-based clients for all ESPN products worldwide.

- How many channels do you represent and what is their reach?

In the UK, ESPN now operates five television channels - ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Classic, ESPN America and ESPN America HD. We also operate a portfolio of market-leading digital brands, including ESPN.co.uk, ESPNCricinfo.com, ESPNSoccernet.com, ESPNScrum.com, ESPNF1.com and ESPN Player. Across Europe, ESPN operates six networks - ESPN (UK), ESPN America, ESPN Classic, ESPN (Africa), ESPN (Middle East), ESPN Israel - and two HD simulcasts (ESPN UK, ESPN America). ESPN America and ESPN America HD are available to 19 million homes in more than 40 countries. ESPN Classic is available in more than 40 countries, reaching more than 22 million homes.

- What do they offer to advertisers that they can't get elsewhere?

ESPN is a global sports channel that also offers local relevance. We provide a creative solutions-based approach, giving advertisers the opportunity to connect with loyal and passionate sports fans across the world, and across the best available screen. Through our unparalleled coverage of global sporting events on TV, our portfolio of world-class websites, extensive highlights and updates on mobile, and live play via broadband, we have a passion for sport and serving our fans and our advertisers that runs to the core of everything we do here.

- How big is the market for pan-European advertisers and is it changing?

As pay-TV continues to expand internationally, clients are increasingly looking to take advantage of the scale offered by networks such as ESPN. Many media owners are boosting their sales teams to deal with rising demand from brands for multi-region ad campaigns. We are seeing a significant increase in the number of brands buying multi-territory campaigns across our many platforms.

- Are there many differences between each market in terms of audiences and agencies?

The ESPN audience in all markets share very valuable characteristics - characteristics valuable to both ESPN and to our advertisers: ESPN delivers loyal, passionate and engaged sports fans. Our fans are predominately male, who are affluent early adopters and influencers. They seek out ESPN on the best available screen possible - be it TV, online, mobile or broadband.

- Sky Media represents you in the UK - how do you measure its success?

Sky is a great partner and we work very closely with it as it represents ESPN's on-air sales in the UK. ESPN is focused on ensuring we serve all of our partners - be they fans or clients - with everything in our power to bring the best in sports to fans. We look forward to working with Sky to deliver clients great sports opportunities.

- What programme do you watch the most?

ESPN's Talk Of The Terrace, of course ... and if that's not on, I never miss an episode of The Inbetweeners.

CHRIS SHAW - SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT, COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT EMEA, DISCOVERY EUROPE

- What does your job involve?

It depends who you ask. HR would say that I'm "responsible and accountable for driving ad sales growth across the region". Our corporate centre would say that I'm "on the hook with skin in the game". My colleagues in the region would say that I'm researching a book entitled Glasses Of Cheeky Red I Have Known. My wife would say that I flit about Europe pretending to know something about advertising. My kids think I'm always on holiday. They're all correct.

- How many channels do you represent and what is their reach?

Discovery Networks Europe has 17 channel brands distributed across EMEA reaching most demographics. Our reach varies enormously by market and as we are locally distributed and sold, we tend not to concern ourselves with pan-European reach.

- What do they offer to advertisers that they can't get elsewhere?

Generally speaking, some of the finest, thought- provoking and uplifting factual programming on the planet. We already have more native HD material than anyone else, have more than 60 HD channels in EMEA and are pioneers in 3D programming.

- How big is the market for pan-European advertisers and is it changing?

The vast majority of our ad sales occur locally to local clients. That said, we do carry pan-European advertising but it is becoming thin on the ground. The majority of advertisers want localisation (of copy, timing, laydown of spots etc) even when they book pan-regionally. Some go as far as to set up pan-regional deals with multiple access points for agencies within the network.

- Are there many differences between each market in terms of audiences and agencies?

When I started out in EMEA working for media agencies, I spent a lot of time trying to find "fundamental commonalities" in media practice. Eventually, I listened to a wise old bugger called David Warden at McCann Erickson who explained, very patiently, that I was missing the whole point. It is the differences that make us and make Europe what it is.

- Sky Media represents you in the UK - how do you measure its success?

The UK has quite easily the most transparent TV trading system in Europe so judging Sky Media's performance is relatively straightforward. Nick Milligan and the team live and die by what share of revenue they can command, how they manage their inventory of airtime and how innovative they can be in adding value. Sounds simple. Really isn't.

- What programme do you watch the most?

I've loved bikes since I was a kid so on Discovery it would have to be American Chopper.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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