/// Discovery Gets Ready for Another Record Upfront
On the eve of the upfront strategy sessions that he likes to characterize as “actuary meetings,” Joe Abruzzese is in a particularly expansive mood. He’s just returned from Chicago, where Discovery Communications works the kinks out of its New York upfront presentation, and a leather case embossed with the name of his favorite Windy City steak house, The Capital Grille, crouches on his desk. Opening the case with a flourish, the Discovery ad sales president reveals four steak knives nestled in a bed of velvet. “This is my motivational tool for our next sales meeting. ‘Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives,’” Abruzzese joked, riffing on the Alec Baldwin monologue from Glengarry Glen Ross . “‘Third prize is you’re fired.’ Sorry, wrong business.” Clearly, no one in the Discovery sales apparatus is in danger of getting tossed out into the street. Last year, Abruzzese and his team generated a record $1.46 billion in ad sales, an increase of 9 percent versus 2011. And if the scatter market is any indication, there’s every reason to expect more of the same this time around. When he takes the stage at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall on April 4, Abruzzese will offer advertisers an opportunity to invest in the first-ever Discovery-minted scripted projects.
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Discovery Gets Ready for Another Record Upfront