At Court TV, Debbie Reichig must be feeling a bit like an "it girl" these days as the role of research gains importance. "The business has gotten so much more complicated to wade through that research is almost the sexy place to be," says the senior VP-sales strategy.
|Debbie Reichig, senior VP-sales strategy, Court TV
Ms. Reichig recalls that when she started, researchers were just considered numbers crunchers of only moderate import to sales departments. But now, "Nobody makes a decision anymore without checking with their research person, and that's a 180-degree change."
She heads up both the ad sales marketing and research areas of Court TV, and has developed an industry task force, the ROI Council.
"She singlehandedly brought the best agency minds together to come up with ways to advance learning," says Shari Anne Brill, VP-director of programming at Carat USA, New York. "She makes it exciting to be in research."
Ms. Brill notes Ms. Reichig developed Court TV's offer to guarantee not only the ratings performance of its shows to advertisers but also certain levels of engagement. Last year, four media agencies, including Carat, took Court TV up on the proposition. "It was a big risk for us," Ms. Reichig allows. "But it's fun to take risks."
It must have been a whole lot more fun when the results came in: 97% of the brand schedules of the four ad partners met or exceeded the ROI guarantee.
Ms. Reichig got her research chops at New York University and Brooklyn College, where she met her husband, a movie set dresser who's brought home goodies like a painting from Martin Scorsese's "The Age of Innocence."
She'll need plenty of skills during the 2006 upfront. Not only are there new ROI guarantees to consider, but also new "live-plus-seven" data and the addition of college viewing to the sample. "There are so many different facets ... it's very different," she says.