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Member Spotlight: A+E Networks

Member Spotlight: A+E Networks 2

Learn, Lead, Succeed

The IAB Member Spotlight highlights members’ exceptional efforts to learn, lead, and succeed by leveraging IAB member resources and thought leadership channels.


Participation in our initiatives not only empowers committees & councils to create industry specifications, guidelines, and best practices, but also gives members the opportunity to have their voice heard and receive visibility for their efforts.

In this Member Spotlight, we spoke with representatives of A+E Networks. A+E Networks is a global entertainment company with among the most powerful brands: A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, LMN, FYI, Crime+Investigation, History en Espanol, H2 and VICELAND. A+E has been devoted to IAB volunteerism since joining in 2008. A+E helps to guide IAB’s video strategy by sitting on the IAB’s Video Center Board and has been active in the development of the IAB’s Digital Video Glossary, not to mention their contributions to many more key IAB initiatives.

Read on to learn exactly how A+E Networks uses the IAB to Learn, Lead, and Succeed.

Member: A+E Networks

Member Since: 2008

Staff Involved (2016): 13

IAB Initiatives (2016): 14

Events Attended (2016): 18

Interested in being featured in a future member spotlight? Email [email protected].

What does your company do, and specifically how does it serve the digital ecosystem?

Member Spotlight: A+E NetworksSarah Shriver, Vice President of Digital Ad Sales

“A+E Networks provides top quality, professionally produced live linear and on demand programming. We provide a premium, clean environment across all platforms, devices and points of access for the consumer to enjoy in a multi-screen world. As an organization we embrace the digital ecosystem with its opportunities and challenges as consumer behavior, consumption patterns and monetization models evolve. We embrace our ability to be a fast mover on the front lines of new partnerships and platforms in an effort to keep our brands top of mind with consumers and advertisers. We strive to deliver a quality user experience while maximizing our monetization capabilities.”

What are some recent accomplishments worth noting?

Member Spotlight: A+E Networks 1R. Lee Barstow, Vice President of Digital Ad Operations & Solutions

“A+E Networks continues to update and shift based on marketplace demands. There are a number of recent accomplishments to highlight:

  • In an effort to deliver cutting edge content we recently opened 45th & Dean which is our multi-platform video storytelling hub and social media agency.
  • We’ve been aggressive in our implementation of Programmatic solutions as well as the expansion of TV Everywhere authentication to increase yield and maximize monetization strategies.
  • Through partnerships with leading technology companies like Krux and Yieldex we’ve been able to refine and improve our audience targeting, forecasting, optimization and reporting capabilities across our brands and screens.
  • We are early adopters to Operationalize Set Top Box Dynamic Ad Insertion capabilities on Day 4 + video assets across the Canoe/Freewheel footprint.
  • We’ve implemented Video Player Improvement Plan (VPIP) to improve consumer experience through quality of service area’s such as repetitive ads and latency.
  • A+E has aggressively acted on Consumer Ad Blocking mitigation strategies to educate, inform and change consumer behavior when consuming A+E Video assets.
  • We’ve addressed buy side viewability concerns by proactively engaging MRC accredited solutions (Moat) to report out at campaign level across Desktop, Mobile Aps and OTT/CTV platforms.”


How did you/your team leverage IAB resources over the past year to learn and what was your take-away from the experience?

Sarah Shriver

“There were numerous IAB learning opportunities that our organization tapped into over the past year. Here are a few:

  • In an effort to keep our entire sales force informed on the latest digital trends our linear sales and partnerships teams participated in a modified IAB certification program.
  • Our trafficking team recently earned their Ad Ops Certification and participated in Ad Blocking Lean Principles Documentation and Paper development.
  • Employees across the organization attended several industry events including: the Leadership Summit, Ad Operations Summit, Ad Blocking Summit, Sales Leadership Event and numerous educational webinars.”


How have you leveraged a leadership role at IAB over the past year and what was your take-away from the experience?

R. Lee Barstow

“The ability to discuss, compare and contrast issues relevant and impactful with other senior advertising executives across buy side, sell side and ad tech is invaluable from my perspective. The opportunity to impact and drive the ad eco system to improve the consumer experience while maintaining and growing revenue streams is facilitated through the IAB and its members. For me personally it has provided a great two-way information exchange that has helped drive strategic development and our ever evolving road map in the IP and STB VOD space as we prepare for the convergence of traditional linear and digital worlds. Specifically, participating in the IAB’s Ad Blocking working group helped expedite our strategic development in this space and allowed us to take action in line with industry guidance. This has had on immediate positive impact on our revenue.”

What initiatives is A+E looking forward to working with the IAB and its member companies on; and how do you motivate your colleagues to get involved?

R. Lee Barstow

“We continue to support the ad blocking initiatives as well as IAB’s efforts to bring consistent and accurate measurement to the OTT space. Additionally, we are champions of the Vast 4.0 agenda in an effort to get all parties within the digital video ecosystem to embrace it. This will help the industry to evolve; improving the user experience through improved ad quality and reduce fraud and non-human traffic, all in line with the IAB’s focus on user experience.


How has your engagement with IAB supported your company’s growth in the digital ecosystem?

Sarah Shriver

“From the ad tech side it has allowed us to surface and escalate issues internally regarding ad blocking and viewability, providing the internal checks-and-balances needed to ensure that we’re on top of our game. Among our clients and agencies it has given us a foundation for best practices, and that gives us the confidence that with the IAB’s resources and support we can go about our business effectively.”


Sarah Shriver, Vice President of Digital Ad Sales

Sarah Shriver is a strategic business leader with over 10 years of digital industry experience. Shriver leads digital sales strategy and business growth across the A+E Networks portfolio of digital properties and platforms. Prior to joining A+E in 2008, Shriver sold digital media at iVillage/NBCUniversal, and has represented business-to-business and niche print publishers, including iVillage Parenting Network, Scholastic Parent & Child and Crain’s New York Business.

R. Lee Barstow, Vice President of Digital Ad Operations & Solutions

R. Lee Barstow oversees Ad Operations and Ad Product Development for A+E Networks across web, mobile web, mobile applications, OTT/CTV and STB VOD DAI for among the company’s biggest brands including A&E, History, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, Viceland  and FYI. Prior to his current role Mr. Barstow was the Senior Director of Digital Media, Marketing and Distribution for A&E Networks (AEN), where he built and lead a team of marketing professionals specialized in Audience Development and Revenue optimization across new digital media technologies and platforms for the linear networks of A&E, History and Biography.

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