David Levy, the long-serving supervisor of ad sales, affilate relations and sports programming at Time Warner’s Turner cable-network unit, is being upped to president in a move that brings an important player at the company closer into its fold during a time of transition.
Levy adds oversight of the company’s domestic entertainment and animation & young adults networks and business portfolios, and reports to Phil Kent, the chairman and chief executive of Turner Broadcasting, who is expected to move into a chairman role in 2014 as current Time Warner CFO John Martin assumed the unit’s chief-executive duties, Levy’s promotion is effective immediately, the company said.
In addition to all of Turner’s domestic revenue, Levy now oversees all creative and business activity of the unit’s signature networks: TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Adult Swim, as well as their digital brand extensions. This new role has full accountability for a majority of Turner’s domestic business.. With his promotion, Levy adds Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, and Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer of Turner Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media, to his direct-report team of business-unit heads, which also includes Donna Speciale, who oversees ad sales for Turner Entertainment and Animation; Greg D’Alba, CNN ad sales and Turner Digital; Coleman Breland, who supervises sales for Turner Network; and Lenny Daniels, who supervises Turner Sports.
Levy’s promotion comes as part of a broader executive shift at Time Warner. CEO Jeff Bewkes has orchestrated a wave of succession at the company’s Warner Brothers movie and TV-production studio and has put in place new management at Time Inc. in advance of a proposed spin-off of the storied publishing company. Turner has become more important to Time Warner as management has withdrawn from certain businesses – Time Warner Cable and AOL among them – and focused more intently on the production of video content.
There has been speculation among high-level media executives that Levy may have been viewed as a potential successor to Kent. His promotion would seem to ensure an executive with a great deal of corporate memory in its operations at a time when more media conglomerates are trying to reduce their reliance on advertising revenue while increasing the cash flows they get from subscriptions as well as sales of the content they produce in different markets.
Levy has intensive experience in negotiating with cable and satellite distributors as well as building Turner’s sports presence, which in recent years has come to include a significant portion of the attractive NCAA men’s basketball championships franchise. During this time at Turner, Levy has helped expand Turner programming and rights relationships with the NBA, Major League Baseball, the PGA and the NCAA. Sports programming has been seen as a major driver in recent years of the programming fees TV networks can secure from their distributors.