Melinda McLaughlin will head the team as the newly named senior vice president, insights and marketing solutions. The company said the group will include executives with expertise in marketplace insights, as well as sales research, strategy and marketing.
Mel Berning, AETN executive vice president of ad sales, said the new unit will knit "together all of our resources to (develop) solutions to benefit our advertisers" and will be rooted in "deep audience insight"--which dovetails with agencies' increased focus on audience engagement. He said advertisers "now look to content companies for richer audience profiles beyond the standard metrics and more granular insight into ad effectiveness."
AETN, with its eponymous flagship network and History Channel, has recently been dipping its toe into the streaming of episodes on the Web. (The History Channel has invested in original programming, leading to high-concept reality series, such as "Ice Road Truckers.")
McLaughlin spent 15 years on the agency side before holding many positions at AETN, including heading research, creative services and multiple sales operations. The latter roles included duties related to her new post, such as crafting "customized sales and packaging efforts" and facilitating product placement and sponsorship opportunities.
Joining McLaughlin is A&E veteran Don Robert--who will offer insight into audience, programming and other areas--along with several new hires. (Robert has worked on the re-focusing of first A&E and then History.)
Another member of the team is Marcela Tabares, new to AETN as vice president, ad sales research after joining from MTV. At MTV, she conducted research into the value of branded entertainment and marketing integration. Chris Lenge, who joins AETN as vice president, sales strategy after multiple positions at Omnicom agencies, is also on board.
A fifth member is Debby Tarnok, who has been promoted to senior director, ad sales marketing, after eight years at AETN.
All executives will work closely with the AETN sales force.