Cisneros takes ax to ad staffers

Focus on 'multiplatform team,' Haiek sez

MIAMI — Pay TV programmer Cisneros TV Group, which is merging with Internet site El Sitio to form Claxson Interactive Group, has begun its restructuring by firing its Miami-based ad and research staff.

“We want to concentrate on a multiplatform team,” Cisneros TV COO Ralph Haiek tells Variety. The exec is overseeing the restructuring and will become Claxson prexy of pay TV.

Cisneros TV has hired Damaris Valero as its senior VP of ad sales and marketing. Most recently an ad sales exec at Spanish-lingo Web site Yupi, Valero did earlier stints at Universal TV Latin America and MTV Latin America.

Once the merger goes through, Valero will become chief marketing officer, overseeing marketing and ad sales at Claxson.

Claxson’s main shareholders will be Venezuelan conglom Cisneros Group with 37% and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst with 29%.

Valero will be charged with cross-selling various media properties, Haiek says.

Claxson is seeking agreements to sell on behalf of properties owned by its investors, such as Cisneros’ Venezuelan broadcaster Venevision and Hicks, Muse’s fast-growing sports feevee PSN.

Cisneros TV already represents MGM on panregional ad sales. Haiek aims to put more staff in Brazil and Mexico, a move that pre-dates the restructuring announcement.