From ESPN to Disney to Marvel, The Walt Disney Company is “a house of brands, not a branded house,” says sales chief Rita Ferro. “And we think about each one of those brands and the power that each one of them mean to the customer.”
The house of brands is now more unified than ever following the consolidation of sales efforts this fall under Ferro, who is President of Advertising Sales & Sponsorships in a unit called Disney Advertising Sales. In this interview with Beet.TV, Ferro recalls taking over the ABC/Disney/Freeform portfolio about 18 months ago and having happy advertisers respond “Where’s ESPN?”
At that point, “we slowly started working toward understand that this was going to come together because the marketplace was asking for it,” she says of the inclusion of ESPN in the unified sales structure.
“It really is about bringing all the best of the brands and storytelling of the Walt Disney Company together so that advertisers can reach audiences across all dayparts, all lifestyles, all genres, in the best way possible.”
Asked about differentiation from other multi-brand publishers, Ferro says it all comes down to one word: Disney.
“I think when you talk about data and technology, everyone has their flavor. I think the difference is Disney. The way we tell stories and connections we have with our fans and our brands, no company has that,” says Ferro. “You name it, we talk to that audience. It’s great storytelling that has really differentiated us and I think bringing it all together only allows us to really accelerate what that’s going to be for partnerships and brands.”
Now that advertising sales, data and technology sit under the purview of Kevin Mayer, who is Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer and International, the company’s products and services are now aligned “under one opportunity to make sure that we can sell you across the portfolio and you have visibility to that. So we’ll have better metrics, better targeting, we’re building out better vendor relationships and better technology partners.”
One recent tech change was Disney ending its involvement with FreeWheel in favor of Google Ad Manager to manage and deliver all online ad campaigns. Disney has worked with both FreeWheel and Google Ad Manager in the past, as The Wall Street Journal reports.
The efforts under Mayer will “allow more visibility, more targeting, better metrics and also allow us to launch new products like programmatic linear television, which we’ll be bringing to market,” Ferro says.