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Twitter Lures Top Google Exec to Focus on Entertainment Biz (Exclusive)

Jennifer Prince to head social media company's ad sales efforts in movie, TV biz

Looking to win more Hollywood followers, Twitter has hired Jennifer Prince, formerly Google’s head of media and entertainment ad sales, to pitch new ways movie and TV marketers can use the social giant’s platform.

Prince will lead Twitter’s entertainment sales, based in Santa Monica. Exec officially starts Aug. 19 and reports to Robert Pietsch, director of West Coast sales.

SEE ALSO: Twittervision: How Video + Social Media Will Change Twitter (and Entertainment)

“All entertainment brands are working with Twitter, but they’re just scratching the surface,” Prince said. Over the next few months, she plans to hire a sales team to widen Twitter’s coverage of movies and TV and possibly expand into the videogame biz.

As director of entertainment industry sales, Prince will promote Twitter as the “social soundtrack” that can enhance marketing of TV shows and pics. Twitter sells “promoted tweets,” and last month debuted a TV ad targeting product that pushes sponsored messages in real time to users who appear to be following specific shows.

In addition, the Twitter Amplify initiative lets media partners sell ads in video clips embedded in tweets. And this fall, company plans to launch the Nielsen Twitter TV rating in partnership with Nielsen, aiming to provide metrics reflecting shows’ social engagement.

Are Twitter ads targeted to moviegoers in the offing? All Prince will say is that there will be future “innovation” in company’s ad products.

Prince’s hiring marks the first time Twitter is targeting a vertical industry segment. Until now, company’s ad sales in the U.S. have been regionally focused.

“In my first two weeks, I’m going to meet with key entertainment brands to find out what exactly what they’re doing with Twitter today and where they want to go,” Prince said.

Hiring away a top exec from an even bigger tech titan with which it competes for ad dollars is just the latest sign of Twitter’s aggressiveness, amid speculation mounts that it plans an IPO sometime next year. The company is on track to generate $950 million in global ad revenue in 2014, eMarketer estimates.

Twitter maintains it has no designs on becoming a media platform and isn’t seeking content-licensing deals. “This is not a content play,” a company rep said.

SEE ALSO: Twitter Drives Up TV Ratings for Only 29% of Shows: Nielsen Study

Prince worked briefly for YouTube in early 2007 as a sales team manager, then joined Demand Media as head of branded ad sales before coming to Google in April 2011. She also has worked at Dow Jones & Co., Red Herring, American Greetings, TBWA/Chiat/Day and Ziff-Davis.

“Jen Prince has worked with Sony for more than the past decade, and her deep knowledge of the movie studio category makes her a perfect fit for the entertainment industry director role at Twitter,” Elias Plishner, Sony Pictures Entertainment senior veep worldwide digital marketing, said in a statement. “We couldn’t respect her insight more and look forward to working with her in this new role.”

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