Eric Koepele, the former head of ad sales for CNET Networks, will oversee sales strategy for the station group’s digital media businesses, including local Web sites and NBC Weather Plus.
Hearst-Argyle has hired Eric Koepele as director of digital media sales, effective July 31, according to Terry Mackin, executive vice president of digital media initiatives for the station group.
In his new role, Koepele will oversee sales strategy and execution for Hearst-Argyle’s various digital-media businesses, including the company’s local websites and its Weather Plus digital television channels developed in partnership with NBC.
“Eric’s experience and success in developing advertising revenues for well branded news-oriented websites at CNET makes him an ideal executive to direct our digital sales efforts,” Mackin said. “He’ll be a valuable resource and liaison to all of our stations, as well as to our partners at Internet Broadcasting and Ripe Digital Entertainment, as we continue to allocate resources to capture the revenue growth opportunity of our digital businesses.”
During the second quarter, the Hearst-Argyle station websites generated more than 330 million page views (PVs), up from 315 million PVs in the first quarter, each from an average of more than 8 million monthly unique visitors (UVs), according to WebTrends. Internet Broadcasting (IB), in which Hearst- Argyle holds a 38 percent equity interest, celebrated its tenth anniversary during the quarter and has grown from serving 11 million page views in all of 1996 to serving nearly 11 million page views per hour in 2006. IB now consistently ranks as the No. 3 news-and-information content provider on the Web, behind only MSNBC.com and CNN.com, and is recognized as the nation’s largest publisher of local online news.
Most of the 30 Hearst-Argyle TV station websites rank No. 1 or No. 2 among all TV-station sites in their markets; all now offer local video content on demand, with many featuring popular “blogs”, audio and/or video “podcasts”, and Web-based newscasts. Numerous Hearst-Argyle stations are providing content to cell phones via wireless application protocol (WAP) technology, and Hearst-Argyle’s NBC stations’ digital Weather Plus channels are gaining carriage on many local cable systems, attracting viewers and revenues to this new digital television service.
As vice president, advertising sales at CNET, Koepele developed and installed the sales team structure for CNET.com, Download.com and News.com, co-developing sales training programs and executing a strategy for revenue growth in non-technology advertiser categories including auto, telecom, beverages and packaged goods. He joined CNET in 1999 and rose rapidly through the ranks in various sales positions including account executive, regional sales manager and sales director. Over the course of this time he actively worked within CNET and with his clients on a number of initiatives that have shaped today’s online advertising marketplace. Before CNET, Koepele served in sales, marketing and other management capacities in the hospitality and apparel industries. An alumnus of the University of Colorado, where he studied Economics and Chinese, Koepele completed the Immersive Chinese Language Program at Taipei’s National Taiwan Normal University.
“I’m looking forward to working with Hearst-Argyle’s team and building out multi-platform media distribution strategies that deliver better access and convenience for Hearst-Argyle’s audience while creating engaging and effective marketing platforms for the company’s clients,” Koepele said. “The strength of Hearst-Argyle’s local content and community relationships is unmatched. Digital distribution of that great content will allow us to further strengthen the company’s relationship with its audience and clients.”