Jean-Paul Colaco, an experienced hand in the emerging practice of gaining ad support for streaming-video content, will serve as the new head of advertising sales at WarnerMedia, filling a role that has been left open for more than a year.
Colaco, known to many as “JP,” has a history with WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar. He had been serving as head of partner development in North America for Apple search ads and one of Hulu’s first employees, Colaco rose to become Hulu’s top ad executive before leaving the company in 2013. Kilar foundedHulu as its CEO in 2007. He joins just as WarnerMedia is expected to ramp up advertising sales behind HBO Max, the streaming-video outlet it launched in May.
“We are in the midst of the next chapter of media transformation and advertising is a critical component to the fabric of the ecosystem. We have the opportunity to connect marketing messages to consumers, winning over their hearts and minds, in innovative ways that have never been done before,” Colaco said in a prepared statement. “I am excited to join this talented team and collectively build a customer-centric advertising experience delivering powerful and relevant brand messaging across platforms.”
The AT&T-controlled media conglomerate has not had an ad-sales chief for months, an absence that has been indicative of some of the recent chaos at the company as the telecommunications giant has grappled with a ongoing exodus of top WarnerMedia executives and round of restructuring. AT&T abruptly cut ties with Colaco’s predecessor, Donna Speciale, in 2019, then proceeded to fold its Xandr ad-tech business into WarnerMedia ad sales.
Colaco will report to Tony Goncalves, who oversees WarnerMedia’s commercial operations, including ad sales, distribution, Otter Media, home entertainment and content licensing.
The new executive will likely have his hands full. Media buying executives have been talking for weeks with WarnerMedia sales staff about possibilities for HBO Max, which will launch an ad-supported version sometime in early 2021. In surveys sent to consumers, WarnerMedia has already suggested that the platform supported version of its could potentially carry just two to four minutes of advertising per viewing hour, a figure that would be less than the five minutes per hour that runs on NBCUniversal’s Peacock and the nine minutes per hour often utilized on Disney’s Hulu. And while commercials are not likely to appear in any original HBO programs, or the most recent movies playing on HBO, the survey suggested ads could surface alongside content from WarnerMedia’s other TV networks; in original series that launch on HBO Max only; and in older films, which currently include classics shown commercial-free on the company’s Turner Classic Movies cable network.
WarnerMedia said its current senior ad-sales staff will remain. Amit Chaturvedi will supervise revenue operations and product management. Katrina Cukaj supervises ad sales strategy and network partnerships. Joe Hogan runs sales and client Partnerships. Amy Leifer will run operations and services. All four will report directly to Colaco.
While at Hulu, he grew annual sales from zero to $500 million, and was responsible for business development at Vessel, a new business Kilar started and which was sold to Verizon in 2016. He has also worked at Radio Disney.