DIRECTV NAMES NEW TOP MARKETING EXECUTIVE

Neal Tiles Was With Fox Sports

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- News Corp-owned satellite carrier DirecTV continues to bolster its sales and marketing ranks as it looks to compete with cable systems.

According to executives familiar with the matter, Neal Tiles, a marketing executive at News Corp's Fox Sports Marketing Group, will become executive vice president of marketing for DirecTV, a new position, effective next week

In-house ad sales unit
The move follows the hiring of Bob Riordan as senior VP ad sales. Mr. Riordan, who was executive vice president of national broadcast at Havas' MPG USA, is spearheading the creation of an in-house ad sales unit.

DirecTV spent $131 million in measured media for the first 10 months of 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

A spokesman at Fox Sports refused comment. Executives at DirecTV did not return phone calls at press time.

Fox Sports ad campaign
Mr. Tiles was instrumental in helping to make Fox Sports competitive with long-established rival ESPN. Fox hired Mr. Tiles in 1997 away from ESPN, where he had been senior vice president of marketing. At Fox, Mr. Tiles awarded the network's advertising account to Cliff Freeman & Partners, an independent ad shop known for its creative work. The agency created award-winning campaigns for Fox Sports' hockey coverage and news show The Regional Sports Report.

The regional sports spots featured a series of bizarre, fictional broadcasts of Third World sporting events. Each spot featured an announcer talking in his native language apparently introducing events that ranged from a Russian face-slapping contest to a Chinese lumberjack-falling-tree-catch event to a Turkish high dive into solid ground. The tagline: "Sports news from the only region you care about ... Yours."

MPG hire
Separately, Bill McGowan, co-director of national broadcast at MPG, will replace Mr. Riordan at MPG, according to executives familiar with the matter. Mr. McGowan, 38, will relocate from Boston to the agency's main office in New York. A spokesman for the agency refused comment.

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