Q&A with
Vice President Mike Peretz
and Director Claire Maguire of Integrated Sales & Strategic Partnerships 


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A&E; Television Networks has made creating deep branded entertainment partnerships one of its main business goals in recent years, teaming up with brands like Southwest airlines and L’Oreal to develop programming.

The network’s Integrated Sales & Strategic Partnerships team, formed in 2002, continues to perfect its strategy for partnering with brands.

Tune into this audio interview with the team’s top executives to find out how their branded “Airline” series took off, how A&E; views and manages campaigns, why cable networks can offer more product exposure, who to contact at A&E; to pitch your product integration and more!

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Interview Highlights:

About A&E; Television Networks

  • A&E; Television Networks is a partnership owned by Disney, Hearst and NBC, but operates independently.
  • A&E; encompasses the History Channel, History International, the Biography Channel, broadband sites, VOD and magazines.


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Department’s Strategy and Structure

  • A&E; Television used to be considered a costume drama network. When its core audience (45- to 55- years-old) changed their viewing patterns, a new management team reenergized the network to focus on storytelling and real-life series programming.
  • The network’s second strategy phase focuses on stripping CSI Miami and airing the Sopranos. The last phase involves developing more original scripted dramas.
  • A&E; Television Networks developed an integrated sales and marketing team that gathers information for its internal brands’ sales force.
  • Additionally, integrated sales managers who are category experts along with account executives take specific brand driven ideas out into the market place.

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Catching on to the Trend

  • The Integrated Sales & Strategic Partnerships department has had great support and collaboration from senior management and programming, because the market place is demanding branded entertainment ventures.
  • Currently, the ad-sales team gets in early in the development process — in and outside the programs.

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Working with Cable Vs. Broadcast

  • Similarities:
    1. Its still about matching brands with the right programming environments.
    2. There are the same restrictions, i.e., talent endorsements.
  • Differences:
    1. With cable, there is a lot more flexibility and hours to offer on the schedule.
    2. Audience levels are less rigid and the networks can take more risks.
    3. Cable networks create programming that might not be ratings-driven, but drive more revenue.
    4. The doors are more open to advertisers who have smaller budgets.


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Making a Branded Match

  • Opportunities come through all channels at A&E.;
  • To develop opportunities with A&E;, a brand manager can contact:
    1. Michael Peretz VP, Integrated Sales & Strategic Partnerships at Michael.Peretz@aetn.com
    2. Claire Maguire, Director, Integrated Sales & Marketing at Claire.Maguire@aetn.com
    3. Melinda McLaughlin, SVP, Integrated Sales & Marketing at Melinda.McLaughlin@aetn.com
  • To create deeper relationships with brands, find out how to share and exchange real estate in the venture, i.e., programming, on-air promotion, VOD.

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Managing the Process

  • Managers are realistic with advertising about what they can provide them, and they get producers involved early the process.
  • Recently, the Integrated Sales & Strategic Partnerships team worked with legal to build out a contract for advertisers and producers that lists all deliverables, in order to keep everyone informed and on target.

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Deciphering the Deal

  • Financial models are different for every partner but usually involve a CPM premium.
  • In some cases, for non-national advertising campaigns, A&E; networks allow producers to deal directly with brands as a trade out or product placement purchase.

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Partnering with Southwest

  • The reality show ‘Airline’, a UK production with Virgin, was presented to different carriers in America. Southwest was the best candidate for this show because they wanted to become a marketing partner to help launch the show and fully opened their doors to programming.

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Other Shows in the Hopper

  • Next year, the Integrated Sales & Strategic Partnerships team is looking to do music specials in a big way with a partner (unable to disclose). The campaign will involve on-air components, onsite elements, broadband, radio, a national magazine and sweepstakes.
  • Shelter block show with a “cool” twist. They are working with a major branded entertainment agency that will come on and bring their key advertising clients to create integrations with the show. A&E; Networks is benefiting from this partnership because of the exposure from the marketing activities outside of the show.
  • An episodic multi-player free video game will be created online relating to the launch of one of A&E;’s history shows. Using a video game platform will create buzz and target a younger demographic.
  • “Class of 07” on A&E; Networks, a partnership with US magazine that looks at tomorrow’s superstars in film, fashion, movies and T.V. and showcases them today. US editors will appear in the program and magazine. L’Oreal was sold a package that will include a 60 segment, profiling an up and coming L’Oreal spokesperson. Ovarian cancer PSAs, a big push for L’Oreal, will be running as well.

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Measuring Success

  • They have had some discussions with measurement companies like ITVX, but advertisers have not demanded metrics from A&E; networks for now. However, they are dipping their toes in the water in regards to measurement and preparing for it.

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What’s the Consumer Tipping Point?

  • There are mixed messages coming from the consumer, however; most of the research they have seen suggests that consumers are not opposed to branded entertainment.
  • It really depends on the context. Campaigns needs to be organic to the storyline, which is important to A&E;’s producers as well as to advertisers.
  • A&E; network usually targets no more than one large partner in prime programming. In the lifestyle area, they have pushed it as far as 2-3 organic product placements.