Jim Keller is exiting Hulu after almost seven years to join Discovery as executive VP, digital ad sales and advanced advertising — coming on board less than a month before the debut of the cabler’s Discovery Plus direct-to-consumer service.
In the new role, Keller will lead the strategic development of all Discovery’s U.S. digital ad sales, spanning Discovery Plus (launching Jan. 4) as well as the company’s streaming TV Everywhere Go apps, VOD, owned sites, programmatic and social.
Like Hulu, Discovery Plus will have a two-tiered model, priced at $4.99/month with ads and $6.99/month without ads. Among his duties, Keller will be tasked with guiding Discovery Plus’s data-driven approach to ad sales.
Keller leaves Hulu after Disney — which controls the streaming service — folded the Hulu ad-sales team under the oversight of Rita Ferro, president of advertising sales for the Walt Disney Co. Peter Naylor, previously Hulu’s SVP and head of ad sales, exited this spring to join Snap.
At Discovery, Keller will be based in New York City and report to John Steinlauf, chief U.S. ad sales officer.
“Jim is one of the most experienced advanced advertising sales leaders in the business and he joins Discovery at a critical time, as we launch Discovery Plus in January and begin scaling our direct-to-consumer advertising opportunities,” Steinlauf said in announcing the hire. “Our ambition is to drive both rapid growth in DTC ad sales for Discovery Plus and utilize Jim’s deep expertise to accelerate our advanced advertising and data-driven cross platform sales solutions, while growing Discovery’s high-quality audience, especially with female and family demographics.”
Keller most recently was Hulu’s VP, head of national advertising sales, where he was responsible for monetization strategies across all parts of the advertising sales business including national, local, integrated performance marketing and programmatic channels.
Before joining Hulu in 2014, Keller served in senior leadership roles at NBCUniversal, where he was responsible for Bravo’s digital and linear entities. He also held ad sales roles at MTV Networks, NBC Sports and NBC Olympics, and Fox Sports Networks.
“Discovery’s quality programming across verticals, combined with top talent and valuable brands, offer a marketing space that is one of the broadest and safest in digital video, which will soon be expanded with the launch of Discovery Plus,” Keller said in a statement. “I am thrilled to be joining a great management team that is methodically preparing to bring to market a world-class product with a ton of opportunities for advertising partners, as well as creating innovative solutions for marketers, as Discovery embarks upon an exciting next chapter.”
Keller holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Providence College. He lives in Melville, N.Y., with his wife and two children.
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