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AT & T cuts the point of sale at WarnerMedia Unit



AT&T
Inc.

s WarnerMedia began making significant job cuts in its ad sales division Wednesday, according to people who are familiar with the case, as it continues to transform the companies it bought into as part of the Time Warner Inc. agreement last year.

The layoffs are focused on ad sales, but do not stop there as AT&T continues to eliminate redundancies created when it merged most of Time Warner's HBO and Turner companies into WarnerMedia.

"Today's reorganization included less than 20 job eliminations out of 700+ domestic ad sales force," says a WarnerMedia ad sales spokeswoman. "We do not expect further job cuts at this time."

Donna Speciale, WarnerMedia's top advertising manager, is among those who leave the business. Her departure was first reported by The Information.

Dan Riess, managing director of the Turner Ignite business, also leaves employees within different sub-sections of Turner Ignite, including content partnerships and product marketing.

WarnerMedia employees and industry guards have been expecting redundancies in various Turner business units, including the sale of ads, since AT & T restructured WarnerMedia in March.

AT & T has great ambitions to increase the advertising service at the company, but has greatly emphasized its ad unit Xandr in that effort. The company created Xandr last year to offer high quality media inventory from WarnerMedia TV networks and digital platforms, as well as media owned by other content producers, enriched with data from AT&T mobile and broadband devices.

Turner's existing sales of sales were left virtually untouched as it served through this year's television outlook when advertisers reserve large portions of ad inventory in the upcoming season. The business negotiations were recently concluded.

"The ad sales were in a hold pattern until the negotiations were wrapped," a person familiar with the case tells.

WarnerMedia earlier this week published new details about its upcoming subscription streaming video service, including its name, HBO Max.

The service is a priority, as WarnerMedia and AT & T are preparing for battle Netflix and other upcoming streaming competitors. Advertising is expected to be an important part of WarnerMedia's streaming plans, although the company has not yet described its advertising plans for advertising on HBO Max.

Write to Sahil Patel at Sahil.Patel@wsj.com

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