CBS, best known for its prowess with TV programs, is reworking its longstanding ad-sales department to accommodate viewers who no longer only watch that familiar living-room screen.
The network that airs well-watched shows like “NCIS” and “The Big Bang Theory” said it would add the former head of ad sales for Facebook to oversee a new push to gain revenue for the audiences that watch CBS programming via growing digital behaviors. David Lawenda was named executive vice president of digital sales and sales strategy, who will report to Jo Ann Ross, the company’s longtime ad sales chief, who was promoted to president and chief advertising revenue officer, CBS Corp.
Dave Morris, previously chief revenue officer, CBS Interactive, was named executive vice president, advanced advertising and client partnerships. In this new role, he will lead CBS’ efforts in the evolving video space as it relates to ad innovation and audience planning,
“We have a tremendous opportunity to grow CBS’ advertising revenue by working with clients to realize value from every impression across all platforms,” said Leslie Moonves, Chairman and CEO, CBS Corporation, in a prepared statement. “This new structure, headed by the incomparable Jo Ann Ross, is the most advantageous way to achieve that goal. I am also pleased to have David Lawenda join the best ad sales team in the business to help accelerate our multiplatform sales effort with his remarkable linear and digital experience. This is the right team and the right structure to position CBS for maximum growth as viewer habits continue to change.”
Ad buyers have often wondered when CBS might integrate its advertising outreach for its TV and digital assets. As rivals like NBCUniversal and Fox Networks Group have reworked their ad-sales structure several times in recent years, CBS has stayed stable. The same team has been in place to call on, say, Procter & Gamble or Pfizer for years, creating longstanding relationships.
But buyers have noted that executives from CBS’ digital unit and its flagship TV network might call upon clients separately – though they coordinated efforts when a potential sponsor desired. That is, increasingly, no longer the norm. And CBS Interactive has begun to oversee products that use more content directly created by the network and the company’s production and news unit, such as CBSN, a streaming video newsfeed from CBS News, or CBS All Access, a subscription video-on-demand product that allows for viewing of CBS programming.
“Combining these two world class teams will lead to a faster and more effective way for us to do business with our clients. I am particularly pleased with what David brings to CBS, including his intimate knowledge of how the digital marketplace works, his relationships and his experience working on all sides of the business,” said Ross, in a statement. “We expect a seamless transition, and together we expect an even greater momentum using the advances in data and measurement to help our clients target audiences across all CBS channels, linear and digital.
As part of the new structure, Lawenda will oversee CBS’ digital advertising sales business and multiplatform sales strategy, including existing sales and marketing efforts of CBS Interactive. He most recently served as head of U.S. and global marketing solutions at Facebook, which he left in March of this year. Prior to that, he was president of ad sales and marketing at Univision. He will supervise executives at CBS Interactive, including Ken Lagana, senior vice resident, global advertising sales and marketing, CBS Digital Media; Katie Kulik, senior vice president, global advertising sales and marketing, CNET Media Group; Jason White, senior vice president and general manager, revenue operations; and Dennis Colon, vice president, sales operations and strategy.
Ross will continue to run the CBS network sales team, including John Bogusz, executive vice president, sports sales and marketing; Dean Kaplan, executive vice president, sales strategy, planning and administration; Linda Rene, executive vice president, primetime sales and innovation; and Chris Simon, executive vice president, network sales.
(Pictured, above: Jo Ann Ross at CBS’ 2017 upfront)