Weber Departs AT&T Role Overseeing U-Verse Content

Jeff Weber, president of content and advertising sales at AT&T, has left the position. Weber oversaw program negotiations for the U-verse TV service as well as the AdWorks operations.

Aaron Slator has replaced Weber, who has moved to a special project role, AT&T said. The company declined to provide more detail.

Slator had been managing director in corporate development, overseeing mergers and acquisitions, business development and strategy for the Business Services unit. He joined AT&T in 1999 and held several roles involving media and advertising, among other responsibilities. In 2008, he moved to a mining equipment company that was eventually sold to Caterpillar, then came back to AT&T in 2012.

Weber took the post last year, succeeding Dan York, now at DirecTV. He had been vice president of U-verse and video products. He joined SBC, which later purchased AT&T and took its name, in 1986.

U-verse had more than 4.7 million TV subscribers at the end of March, making it one of the 10 largest TV service operators.

At a recent investor event, Weber spoke about how U-verse tracks viewership via set-top-box (STB) data to help determine whether to meet programmers’ demands to carry certain networks.

“It gives us much greater insight in terms of the value of a particular channel or piece of content, and we’ve been able to get real clarity on whether we should pay that rate, whether we should ask for a lower rate, whether it’s something that we have to carry -- it works both ways,” Weber said. “It’s been very beneficial for us in terms of the decisions we’ve made.”

In a high-profile move in Houston, U-verse has declined to carry a regional sports network (RSN) in the market.

AdWorks offers inventory across TV, online and mobile platforms. Weber said AT&T is looking to sell audiences across the portfolio, which could redirect an advertiser away from TV.

“If an advertiser wanted to buy ‘Ellen’ … we know based on our data who that audience is,” Weber said. "We can go find that same audience outside of the ‘Ellen’ show and maybe extend reach or drive price a little bit better … Typically, people buy a show, we’re able to turn that show into an audience -- go find that audience online, on mobile or on TV.”

AdWorks has pushed interactive ad options on U-Verse TV, including t-commerce and branded channel options. AT&T operates ad networks in the online and mobile arenas.

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