United Artists Programming has raided the agency world for a sales
controller for its new airtime sales house, hiring Tony Wheble from
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO.
Wheble, currently the broadcast director of AMV, joins the Flextech-
owned sales operation in the next few weeks as the number two to the
vice-president of sales, Richard Burdett.
The newly-created position reflects the change in the nature of the
sales operation since it announced plans to launch as a standalone
(Campaign, 29 March).
The sales house is being created to maximise ad revenue for all of UAP’s
portfolio of cable and satellite channels, including Bravo, the
Discovery Channel and TLC, while still ensuring that they are positioned
and sold as brands in their own right.
Burdett said that the decision to hire a sales controller from within an
ad agency reflected the nature of the branding strategy.
‘Tony comes from an agency with one of the strongest branding heritages
in town, and as we move to building an ever-stronger service ethic, his
background will be invaluable,’ Burdett commented.
Wheble will oversee negotiations for all of the channels. He is the
second agency man in recent weeks to move from buying TV airtime into
sales. Mark Swift, a group head at BMP DDB, is set to join Channel 5 as
an account director.
Wheble’s arrival will allow Burdett to expand his portfolio to take on
new channels not owned or managed by Flextech.
Brent Harman, the managing director of Flextech, confirmed that
Burdett’s role will now encompass managing the transition to a sales
house as well as spearheading the drive for third-party business.