NBCU Names Telemundo Vet To Lead Head Cable Ad Sales

Weeks after naming a new head of ad sales at its flagship network, NBC Universal has a new chief for its entertainment cable properties. Steve Mandala, a veteran at NBCU's Telemundo, takes oversight of a portfolio highlighted by USA and Bravo.

As executive vice president of cable ad sales--a role that doesn't include cable news outlets--Mandala will report to NBCU sales head Mike Pilot. Last month, Pilot promoted Marianne Gambelli to head of sales for the NBC network operations.

Mandala has recently overseen some well-publicized initiatives at the Spanish-language network looking to build viewer retention, including plans to air a telenovela this spring that will be essentially commercial-free with product integration driving revenues--as well as launching what the network bills as a "Power Pod," where the first break in prime time is capped at 60 seconds.

Mandala, senior vice president of sales at Telemundo, has worked at the network that NBC purchased in 2001 for a decade, and is a former Univision executive.



No replacement has been named at Telemundo, and Mandala will continue to work with the network until one is named.

Mandala occupies a key position at NBCU, where entertainment cable networks are accounting for a significant percentage of the group's profits, the company has said--especially as NBC's fortunes have hit sustained bumps.

Entertainment cable includes USA and Bravo as well as Sci-Fi and Universal HD, plus the smaller Chiller and Sleuth. Pilot said Mandala has "demonstrated great success in handling the complexities of a broadcast network, a cable network and a digital business ... (and) also done a great job in partnering with our clients to create a deeper and more innovative connection with Telemundo's programming, while also taking a leading role in expanding our existing client base."

Telemundo is a broadcast network with owned-and-operated stations, along with the younger-targeted cable network mun2. Online, Telemundo and Yahoo have a partnership.

Ad revenues at the Telemundo network declined to $817.3 million in 2006, from $886.8 million the year before--but are on pace to top 2005 this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Competitor Univision continues to generate more than double Telemundo's take.

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