By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Discovery Communications has hired former AOL advertising executive Kathleen Kayse to run the Silver Spring cable giant's digital ad sales operation.
Kayse is a Time Warner veteran, having held a number of positions there, including publisher of People magazine.
Most recently, she has been a marketing executive at AOL's Platform A advertising business. Among other functions, Platform A serves advertising to online sites such as Facebook. Time Warner announced on Wednesday that it would split AOL into two pieces, "access" and "audience," the latter of which includes the Platform A properties.
Discovery has 100 networks in 173 nations and claims a worldwide audience of 1.5 billion. The company has undergone a seismic upheaval since chief executive David M. Zaslav took over in January 2007. It closed all of its retail stores, laid off 1,000 employees and made a number of acquisitions and rebranding moves.
Zaslav said one of his top priorities was expanding Discovery's content and brand into the digital space and finding new ways to sell advertising around it. Kayse will lead Discovery's ad-selling ventures on the Web.
"Discovery has some of the most powerful brands in all of media, and having watched the company's recent expansion in the digital space, I was immediately drawn to the role," Kayse said in a written statement. "Discovery's mix of unmatched quality TV programming plus deeply contextual digital offerings equals countless opportunities for clients."
Joseph Abruzzese, Discovery's top ad executive, said Kayse "is at the top of her game."
She will work in Discovery's New York advertising offices.