Savvy Listener Acts to Extend Leverage

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Bombast can emerge at the height of TV ad-time negotiations. So it's somewhat surprising the woman who oversees more than $1 billion in annual sales for Turner Broadcasting System tends toward the pleasant, composed and low-volume -- even in the heat of the wheeling and dealing.

"People don't understand how someone as soft-spoken as me can handle such a high-pressure job," volunteers Liz Janneman, exec VP of Turner Entertainment Sales, which sells the time for TBS Superstation and TNT.

When pressed, Ms. Janneman says there are moments when she does blow her stack. "Do I yell at people sometimes? Yes," she says. "But I apologize because I feel bad."

A billion on table
She handles the oversight, under Turner Entertainment Sales President Joe Uva, for the $1.1 billion-plus in ad revenue the two Turner networks generate, making her one of the top women in TV ad sales.

But these days, Ms. Janneman, 40, also is one to watch by the sheer fact that she holds a crucial post inside the fledgling AOL Time Warner empire.

Increasingly, TBS and TNT are finding heightened roles within the synergy movement led by AOL Time Warner Co-Chief Operating Officer Bob Pittman. It's a movement that calls for the various units to work together as much as possible to generate revenue.

She finds herself in constant contact with newfound compatriots from the WB, the broadcast network that's part of a new networks division within AOL Time Warner. The Turner networks and the WB -- with the prodding and leadership of Turner Chairman-CEO Jamie Kellner -- are exploring ways to cross-promote one another. And Ms. Janneman is finding that she can serve as a sort of new-business guidebook for her ad sales counterparts at the WB: The broadcast network has a roster of 130 advertisers, while Turner, which has two cable networks to program 24/7, relies on more than 1,100.

"We are introducing them to the other 980 advertisers they don't have deep relationships with," she says.

Creating new business has been a hallmark of Ms. Janneman's Turner tenure. Ad sales revenue has more than doubled since she moved into her current role in 1996. She's constantly on the lookout for new ways to leverage a relationship with an advertiser. She's particularly fond of product placement, which was used in the TNT series Bull. Turner says there are more than 300 promo opportunities available to advertisers across TBS and TNT, many developed under Ms. Janneman.

Leaving L.A.
Before joining Turner as an account exec for CNN in 1989, Ms. Janneman oversaw cable buying at Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi. At Turner, she's worked in each of the company's three content areas: news, sports and entertainment. She began with CNN in New York before a stint in Los Angeles, which sent the 1982 Hofstra University graduate scurrying back East.

"I went through the earthquake in L.A., and that's when I realized I didn't want to live there the rest of my life," Ms. Janneman says.

A developing passion is trying to serve as a mentor to young women building careers at Turner. Ms. Janneman hopes to begin holding New York meetings of a group called Turner Women Today, which is active in Turner's Atlanta offices in holding networking and motivational breakfasts there once each quarter.

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