WBTVG now responsible for online ads

Warner Bros. TV Group is launching a unit devoted to digital media sales and has tapped Rich Sutton to run it.

Ads for online sites linked to WBTVG programs such as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” had been handled outside of the TV division by Warner Bros. Online. New structure will put that responsibility under the WBTVG, headed by prexy Bruce Rosenblum.

Sutton — until recently part of Warners’ domestic cable distribution group — will serve as senior veepee for digital media sales. He’ll report to Michael Teicher, exec VP of WBTV’s media sales unit.

“It made perfect sense for us to take the television-based new media opportunities and have the ads associated with those sold by this newly established digital sales team,” Rosenblum told Daily Variety. “They’re familiar with the content and their knowledge is a key element in recognizing potential for advertisers.”

Working under Sutton in the new unit will be Angela Gaspar and Mary Ann Branco, who’ll serve as VP and account exec, respectively. Sutton will be based in Gotham, while Gaspar and Branco will be located in Burbank.

New unit will work with all of WBTVG’s companies, including Warner Bros. Television, Telepictures Prods. and Studio 2.0.

For now, the ad unit will focus mostly on Warners’ syndie and off-net properties, since broadcast and cable nets tend to retain advertising rights for online broadcasts of programs.

But as Studio 2.0 and WBTVG begin creating more original Web content — and perhaps original Web sites — Sutton’s unit will have more potential ad availabilities.

In his past role as senior VP of sales and marketing for cable distribution, Sutton helped launch Warners’ In2TV service and brokered branded entertainment deals with companies such as DirecTV and Bank of America.

Gaspar, meanwhile, had recently been director of sales and business development for Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. Branco joins the studio from AOL, where she was regional manager of sales planning from 2003 until last year.

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