Grant's Sony Exclusive

Ex-MediaVest programming maven hangs shingle

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%%STORYIMAGE_LEFT%% "We always just called it programming," says Jeff Grant, referring to current buzzwords, branded entertainment and product placement. Grant has resurfaced after leaving long-time employer, Publicis Groupe's MediaVest, where he last served as president of worldwide programming. He now has his own programming consulting company called Totem and was just hired by Sony Pictures Television in an exclusive consulting deal to explore client-supplied programming opportunities.

"Sony has tremendous capabilities and talent and can service the needs and appetites of advertisers on a bigger, broader scale…What I am doing is building a paradigm so that we can begin to service the needs of clients in an efficient way," said Grant.

Grant is also closely aligned to Procter & Gamble, for whom he consults on programming. When he was at MediaVest, Grant and P&G created the 1999 Christopher Award-winning CBS movie "About Sarah."

When asked if this means Sony and P&G will soon embark on a formal programming relationship similar to the ABC-MindShare arrangement crafted at the end of last year, Grant said, "No, I will not comment on that. Basically, what I'm working on is essentially building a bridge between Sony and the advertising community."

Grant says he is working on programming deals already, but would not identify them.

"Advertisers don't move as quickly as networks move. Clients have to make one or two programming decisions a year and they have to make the right decision. They don't make the decision simply because something is going to be a hit. It has to address their marketing objectives."

Grant said advertisers measure the success of their programming projects based not only on Nielsen ratings, but also the effectiveness of the campaigns surrounding the programming.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% "There have to be all sorts of marketing platforms to support the show, and my colleagues at Sony understand that."

Some observers have suggested that Grant walked away from MediaVest after being locked out of a top spot in the gestating Publicis Entertainment unit, which is being spearheaded by Nick Brien, President, Corporate Business Development at Starcom MediaVest Group and Tim Jones, president of sister shop Zenith Media. But Brien put that speculation to rest.

"Jeff was going to be very involved in strategy," said Brien. "In terms of the broader entertainment marketing arena, Jeff was more of a specialist in programming. However, he decided to go his own way."

"My contract was up on December 31," said Grant. "It was time to go. Everything has its season."

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