Current TV Taps Janneman As Ad Sales Prez

Trumpeting its viewer-created ad program as ideal for demonstrating high levels of engagement to advertisers, industry veteran Liz Janneman is joining Current TV as ad sales president.

Janneman, senior vice president-ad sales at the Weather Channel, joins the network known for its link to former Vice President Al Gore, its chairman. She comes onboard April 30 and will oversee its second upfront this spring. Current, now in 50 million homes, launched in August 2005 and entered the upfront fray in 2006.

A Weather Channel rep declined comment on who would replace Janneman or when, as well as the potential impact her departure means for the TWC upfront. Paul Iaffaldano is expected to assume Janneman's duties for now and may oversee the coming upfront there. Iaffaldano, executive vice president/GM of TWC Media Solutions, has been a visible proponent of deals based on engagement metrics, first making them in 2005. Engagement guarantees are expected to be a critical aspect of the coming spring bazaar.

Janneman, who was a top sales executive at Turner before joining TWC, will be based in New York and report to Current COO Mark Goldman. Her role is newly created at the network.

Current offers marketers the opportunity for viewers to create some of the ads it airs, and advertisers such as Toyota, Sony and Mountain Dew have taken advantage of the V-CAM (viewer-created ad messages) program. Janneman expects more to sign on. "How engaged is your audience when they're creating the ads for you?" Janneman asked. "Peer-to-peer marketing is incredibly strong."

Janneman also said Current, which targets the 18-to-34 demo, fills an unmet need in the market. "They've really figured out what this young adult audience is searching for." Current was founded with the promise of giving young people some "ownership" of a network's programming -- before the term "user-generated content" was in vogue. In 2006, YouTube had a meteoric rise, arguably taking stealing some of Current's thunder. But Janneman said Current's business model -- about one-third of its programming is viewer-created -- is sounder. "YouTube is trying to figure out how to make money for advertisers."

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