NBC Taps Bo Argentino As Syndication Ad Sales Chief

NBC Television Domestic Universal Distribution has hired Sony Pictures Television advertising executive Barbara "Bo" Argentino as its senior vp of advertising and media sales. She will replace Chris Kager, who held a similar post. He is "pursuing other opportunities," said a NBC spokesman.

Analysts say NBC pulls in just north of $100 million in annual advertising billings from shows such as "Blind Date," "Maury," "The Jerry Springer Show," "Starting Over," "George Michael's Sports Machine" and "The Chris Matthews Show." "Maury" and "Springer" don't get many Fortune 500 companies--because of their rough and tough content, which scares away many package good advertisers and big retailers.

Instead, those two shows get a lot of business from more modest direct response advertisers. Still, analysts say that because of their high ratings, each can pull in about $20 million or more in annual advertising revenues.

NBC would like to sell two other syndicated shows that have better advertising appeal: "Access Hollywood" and "Martha." NBC, with Warner Bros., owns "Access Hollywood." Warner Bros. sells the show's advertising time; NBC sells the show to stations. Because the show is a partnership, executives say NBC will soon get its turn to sell the shows--which would be a boom to NBC's advertising portfolio. An NBC spokesman had no comment.



"Martha," the rookie Martha Stewart daytime show produced by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has been performing well in its first season. NBC only gets a station distribution fee for its work in selling the show to stations. MSLO sells the advertising time in the show itself.

Argentino has been senior vp of advertising sales for Sony Pictures Television since 1994--first as senior vp of advertiser sales, then senior VP of advertiser solutions. She was key in winning DirecTV's advertising sales business.

Advertiser Solutions was a division that put together diverse multimedia advertising and product integration and deals. Argentino wants to continue to pursue this at NBC: "I believe it's one of the key areas for growth."

NBC has been slowly building its stable of Monday to Friday shows--the big moneymakers for the syndication advertising sales unit. Next year, NBC will launch the new daytime entry "The Megan Mullally Show." Argentino also held executive positions at NBC, LBS Communications, Grey Advertising, and CBS.

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