As the media recession slowly subsides, or, depending on who you talk to, rests on pause, CEOs, owners and directors who have seen their companies come though the wilderness obviously are beholden to the people who help lead the way out.
Mediaweek 50, AdweekMedia’s annual compilation of these “indispensables,” focuses on individuals that advanced innovation, revenue and influence for their companies, often under a ton of pressure. Many on this list—compiled, debated and packaged by Mediaweek’s editors Jim Cooper, Anthony Crupi, Mike Shields, Lucia Moses, Katy Bachman, Marc Berman, Alan Frutkin and Adweek network TV and media agency editor Steve McClellan—are new, running breakout businesses like Twitter and Huffington Post that were the stuff of fervent whispers and rushed signatures on NDAs just a few years ago.
The list is increasingly focused on digital innovators as companies such as Condé Nast and traditional media agencies advance themselves by transitioning to an online and mobile reality. On the other hand the list is also TV heavy, reflecting the medium’s resurgence in both the upfront and scatter market. Cable is especially ascendant, with momentum that is embodied by the dynamic duo of Turner’s David Levy and Steven Koonin in the No. 1 slot.
They reached that perch by convincing Conan O’Brien to make his new late-night home on cable, playing big in sports with a groundbreaking pact with CBS on NCAA hoops and nearing pricing parity with broadcasters in this year’s upfront. —Editors
For a two-part, introductory Mediaweek 50 video click below:
Here's the 2010 Mediaweek 50 list:
1. David Levy: president, sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting; and Steve Koonin: president, Turner Entertainment Networks
Conan O’Brien looks like a guy who’s lived out every road cliché in the American metal songbook. The day is heaving itself toward noon and the talk-show host is leaning his Giacometti frame against a wall near the foot of the staircase at New York’s Del Posto restaurant. As he begins chatting to a scrum of reporters, O’Brien looks at once world-weary and ebullient.
It turns out he’s humming along on about two hours of sleep, having flown in to New York in the midst of a 32-city comedy tour. O’Brien had assured Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin that he would kick off the company’s upfront presentation, and while he continues in the same arch and goofy vein that informed his routine earlier in the morning, the snappy patter accordions in on itself once he’s asked about his split with NBC.
“I want to move on,” he says, brushing the question aside. “I really just want to be funny on television. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Koonin is more than happy to help O’Brien move on, ushering him away from the huddle of outstretched tape recorders and spiral notepads. The juxtaposition of the comedian, who stands 6’ 4” in his stocking feet, and Koonin, who most assuredly does not, is mildly funny in and of itself. When Koonin returns, he’s beaming.
“If you had told me five years ago that we’d be working with Conan and Andre [Braugher] and Kyra Sedgwick, I would have asked you to submit to a drug test,” he says.
A few months later, after David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting, has wrapped the group’s most lucrative upfront in its history, Koonin still sounds like he can’t quite get his head around his own good fortune. “It’s almost surreal: In 60 days [on Nov. 8], Conan launches on TBS. The network has never had that one definitive element, that defining personality. Conan is the absolute epitome of smart, funny TV, and for us to be in cahoots with him is a terrific accomplishment.”
Landing O’Brien was no mean feat. This spring, while the former Tonight Show host was in serious talks with Fox, Turner programming chief Michael Wright pitched an 11 p.m. TBS show to O’Brien’s manager. When Team Coco voiced its concerns about George Lopez getting shoved out of the time slot (much the same circumstances had aggrieved O’Brien while NBC attempted to mop up its Leno mess), Koonin flew in to Los Angeles to give the comic his personal assurances that Lopez was willing to do whatever it took to accommodate TBS’ new star.
Talks proceeded so expeditiously that the story did not have time to leak out through the usual media channels. In fact, once Turner announced the hire, Levy was immediately deluged with queries from clients looking to get in on the fun. “I was like, ‘You guys, we haven’t even settled on a date.’” Levy recalls. “That there was already so much interest in Conan as a person and as a comedy brand, I just knew that the demand for ad time was going to be off-the-charts huge.”
In addition to setting the stage for what could be the start of another cable heist––late-night may be the next block to get whisked away from the base of broadcast’s Jenga tower, joining news, kids and, in large part, sports––for Levy, the Conan deal marks a turning point for the ad sales market.
“This is the first program on ad-supported cable to get broadcast CPMs,” he says. In securing CPMs in Letterman and Leno territory, Levy won the first victory in his ongoing battle to repeal what he calls TV’s legacy tax. “We’re still not at a parity with all our original series, but we’re getting closer all the time,” Levy says. “Conan’s the proof we have when we say you can’t just throw all this stuff in a separate cable bucket. That’s just not going to work anymore.’”
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is another ostrich feather in Turner’s cap. When CBS looked to shore up its stewardship of March Madness, the broadcaster saw that it could use some help carrying the load. In a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal, CBS and Turner agreed to share the rights to the tourney, which will bring the National Championship game to cable for the first time in 2016.
Not surprisingly, Levy is commanding broadcast bucks for NCAA games on TNT, TBS and truTV. “We’re not selling our time any differently than CBS,” Levy says. “The CPMs for the tournament will be uniform across all four networks.”
Conan’s not the only story to tell about Turner, but he certainly is the sexiest, even if his capricious red beard puts one in mind of a Boston-Irish Unabomber. But money’s pretty damn sexy too, and the Koonin-Levy battery is nothing if not a hypercaffeinated ATM that spits out twenties embossed with Angie Harmon’s picture.
Per Time Warner’s most recent earnings, the Turner nets tallied up $1 billion in ad sales in the second quarter, an improvement of 14 percent over the year-ago $876 million. During the summer bazaar, Levy locked in CPM increases of 9-10 percent above last year’s upfront, on the way to pumping up overall dollar volume by 20 percent.
As long as ad sales and affiliate revenue continue to climb, parent company Time Warner will have the checkbook at the ready. “Increased investment in originals is a key element in our strategy,” says chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes, adding that the greater the selection of original programs that hit Turner’s air, the greater the potential profits.
In July, the net launched the highest-rated new cable series of the summer, Harmon’s Rizzoli & Isles, and as the sun sets on the hot season, TNT and TBS are ranked No. 2 and No. 3 among the crucial 18-49 demo.
Koonin, who is perhaps nearly as competitive as Levy (who is roughly as combative as, say, Kobe Bryant), can’t resist cracking wise when he talks about his competition.
“Honestly, I only hope the same people who are running the broadcast networks today can stay in their jobs for the next 10 years,” he jokes. “I’ll be bloody rich.” —Anthony Crupi
2. Steve Burke: COO, Comcast Corp. and president of Comcast Cable
The ultimate executive behind the executive, Burke, under the watchful eye of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, has the singularly complicated and groundbreaking task of marrying both the businesses and cultures of the Philadelphia-based cable giant and the far-flung content assets of NBC Univeral. The task falls to an unflappable family man who has been the steadfast captain of Comcast’s rapid expansion; in the past decade, annual revenue has increased sixfold to $35.8 billion.
It’s unclear exactly what role Burke, often seen these days at 30 Rock, might play in the merged company. The flagship net has endured a bumpy ride of late and the NBC affiliate group, like all TV-station holdings, weathered a dire stretch during the recession. While his boss has pledged loyalty to the TV-station business, it’ll be up to Burke to make it work.
In the positive column, Comcast, as a distributor, gets an unprecedented content suite to add to its other entertainment and sports holdings. The dual revenue stream of advertising and sub fees, both at huge scale, will keep the lights on in Philly, New York and L.A. for a long while.
Lampooned by Tina Fey in NBC’s 30 Rock—“It’s Kabletown, with a ‘K.’”—Comcast should make for a sober, steady counterpoint to the GE culture the series so deliciously skewers. 2009 RANK: New
3. Sheryl Sandberg: COO, Facebook
As Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg has sway over everything from business and product development to advertising. After several years of fielding the question ‘Can social networking sites actually cash in on all their traffic?' Facebook’s ad outlook has brightened considerably—due in large part to Sandberg’s influence.
Per eMarketer, the site should pull in $1.2 billion in ad revenue this year. Zuckerberg and Sandberg have smartly resisted plastering the site with massive takeover ads or banners. Instead, they've pushed the concept of engagement, encouraging advertisers to take advantage of the site's organic, sharing nature.
Besides the ad turnaround, Facebook membership recently eclipsed a staggering 500 million globally. At the same time, Facebook’s Web footprint has continued to balloon. The site’s Facebook Connect product is fast becoming a universal log-in platform for the Web, having been integrated on properties including NYTimes.com, The Huffington Post and TVGuide.com.
And now the company is going after location-based platforms like Foursquare with the launch of Facebook Places, which allows users to alert their friends of their whereabouts as they check in to various locations. As a result, many observers anticipate a boom of local ads on the site. 2009 RANK: 8
4. Arianna Huffington: editor in chief, HuffingtonPost.com
A recent article in The New York Times discussed how several newspapers are starting to use traffic patterns to help guide their news coverage. Imagine that! A publisher analyzing what people are actually reading on their site, and responding accordingly.
Huffington Post, the self-named Internet newspaper, has been doing that for years. The site constantly analyzes what stories and headlines readers are responding to, and isn’t afraid to shift gears in the course of a day.
Thinking like that has made HuffPo revolutionary in online media and Huffington herself something of a visionary. Launched in 2005 as a mostly left-leaning political blog forum, Huffington Post now covers everything from sports to style to religion and the arts. The site reached 24.4 million unique users in August (comScore) while generating a staggering 3.4 million comments during the same month. By year's end, it should pull in $30 million in revenue. Meanwhile, Huffington continues to pen best-selling books, make regular appearances on shows like MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and contribute frequently to HuffPo.
Still, it’s the Web where Huffington continues to have her greatest impact. While traditional publishers hem and haw over whether they should blog or aggregate, her team has helped weaved social media into the very fabric of Huffington Post. Maybe she’s a progressive after all. 2009 RANK: 15
5. Dave Cassaro: president of Comcast Network Advertising Sales
It’s a tricky thing, succession, particularly when the exec who appears poised to make the most progress up the ladder isn’t officially aligned with the division he’s expected to lead. Suffice it to say that those in the know believe it’s a safe bet that Dave Cassaro will be handling as much as $10 billion in ad sales once the Comcast-NBC Universal deal is approved by federal regulators.
Leaving aside Cassaro’s long-overdue ascension—Comcast can’t formally address any housekeeping matters until the merger is signed, sealed and delivered—the veteran’s track record speaks for itself. Responsible for managing inventory on E!, Style Network, Versus, Golf Channel, G4, and all Comcast Nets video-on-demand platforms, Cassaro oversees nearly three-quarters of a billion in annual ad sales revenue.
Under Cassaro, the Comcast nets rebounded from last year’s recession, boasting the greatest growth (percentile) in second quarter, as a 21 percent gain in ad sales dollars contributed to an overall haul of $454 million.
With the NBCU nets, Cassaro will have the opportunity to sell the Comcast sports portfolio with premiere holdings like NBC’s Sunday Night Football, Notre Dame football, Wimbledon and the Olympics. He’ll also have Bravo and Oxygen to pair with E! and Style, not to mention NBC’s 18 hours of prime-time drama, comedy and reality series. 2009 RANK: 22
6. Jeff Gaspin: chairman, NBCU Television Entertainment
Elevated to his current post in July ’09, Gaspin oversees all business, creative, production, distribution and marketing for NBC Entertainment, as well as the cable outlets USA Network, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen and Spanish-language outlets Telemundo and Mun2—and the roll call doesn’t end there. You could say that Gaspin has an awful lot on his plate.
In January, Gaspin was charged with the thankless task of cleaning up after the Conan-Leno debacle. Ever the straight shooter, Gaspin last week said that NBC had probably pushed its penny-pinching ways too far, adding that the increased investment in original programming would be manifest throughout the 2010-11 prime-time lineup. (Analysts estimate the net has committed an additional $150 million to the budget versus a year ago.)
While media buyers have been rather underwhelmed by the net’s fall lineup, the good news is that the fourth-place broadcaster finished the season just behind ABC among the core 18-49 demo. If new series like The Event, Chase and Undercovers can find an audience, NBC has a shot at redeeming itself with viewers and advertisers.
Gaspin has little to fear on the cable side of the ledger. USA Network dominates the basic-cable lineup, winning its fifth straight summer in prime with total viewers and the three top demos. 2009 RANK: 1
7. Rino Scanzoni: CIO, GroupM/Chairman Mediaedge:cia
With oversight of annual client expenditures of nearly $25 billion, Rino Scanzoni is one agency exec that North America media firms would be bonkers to ignore.
And when he’s not helping to make the market during the upfront, Scanzoni is leading the charge on any number of industry issues. Earlier this year, for example, Scanzoni was a vocal opponent of Nielsen’s decision to eliminate live local ratings for spot TV. Scanzoni argued the proposed measurement would force clients to pay for viewing they weren’t getting because it included viewers who were skipping ads. Ultimately, the ratings company reversed its decision.
Scanzoni has also been busy streamlining the buying operations he oversees at the four GroupM media agencies, Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom and Maxus. Under his watch, a number of functions have been pulled out of the agencies and brought to the GroupM level, including spot TV, where two units now handle trading for all four shops.
The 30-year media veteran has his eye on the industry’s future, when ad buying in the TV sector, he believes, will be all about targetability: marrying set-top box measurement capabilities with addressable technologies to get relevant ads in front of viewers.
And as the industry grapples with addressability and other key issues, Scanzoni will surely continue to be front and center in the debates. 2009 RANK: 7
8. Scott Dadich: corporate executive director of digital magazine development, Condé Nast
Condé Nast has hardly been seen as a pioneer when it comes to digital media. Until this year, that is. Instrumental in that change was Scott Dadich, whose work on a digital version of Wired ended up becoming the foundation for the company’s e-reader strategy.
Dadich originally started thinking about e-reader tablets as part of a side project for Wired two years ago. But Condé Nast corporate bigs quickly saw his work could help the company adapt its other titles to future e-readers and help recapture the revenue that all publishers are losing to the Web.
Wired’s iPad app sold around 107,000 downloads at $4.99 apiece when it launched in June, well above its average newsstand sales and putting it at the high end of paid magazine app downloads. July’s sales were reported at 30,000 at $3.99 per.
It’s widely assumed that based on the Wired app’s positive reviews, the rest of CN’s titles will eventually follow the Adobe model. (The New Yorker’s app is set to roll out soon on the Adobe track.)
Dadich was promoted to his corporate title (while keeping his Wired creative director duties) in July in recognition of his work on the Adobe Wired app.
Certainly not bad for Dadich, and further validation for Wired in the Condé Nast rarefied and fashion-focused realm. 2009 RANK: New
9. John Partilla: president, global media sales, Clear Channel
Named in June 2009 to the new position of global media sales, responsible for cross-platform sales across the company's radio, outdoor and digital assets, Partilla has been able to leverage Clear Channel's multimedia assets when repeated attempts over the years failed.
Instead of merely bundling assets, the company is now offering its assets as solutions to marketing problems in an attempt to change the paradigm of how radio and outdoor go to market.
Partilla also launched Clear Channel Create, a council of creative experts across the company to help develop stand-out creative campaign approaches for advertisers. To kick-start the strategy, the former Time Warner exec set up an upfront-like effort to get the nation's biggest advertisers to think more long-term about radio and outdoor and ultimately sign yearlong commitments.
Initiated in early summer, the company's sales effort recognized that the industry's biggest, national customers should get priority treatment and preferred access and pricing, similar to TV.
So far, the company’s “upfront” has resulted in earlier bookings and 20 new assignments in excess of $10 million in commitments going into 2011 from advertisers such as Kodak, Qwest, Dunkin' Donuts, AOL and Ask.com. 2009 RANK: New
10. Alan Cohen: CEO, OMD USA
From so-called “pod-puncher” ads on network TV to the use of micro-digital technology to enhance the impact of print media, Alan Cohen, CEO of OMD USA, has been ahead of the pack in helping clients find innovative ways to use media to market their products. And there’s more to come.
Cohen had been a senior marketing executive for ABC, NBC and other media companies before joining Interpublic’s Initiative back in 2005. Two years ago he was recruited to Omnicom’s OMD as U.S. CEO, where he continues to find new ways for clients to use media.
One of his first moves was to set up an innovations unit called the Ignition Factory. Last year it created a groundbreaking tactic that paired two clients—CBS and Pepsi—in a single campaign that promotes the net’s new lineup and Pepsi’s zero-calorie drink Pepsi Max. The media vehicle: the first-time use of a micro video player in the fall preview issue of Entertainment Weekly.
Another first last year was Ignition Factory’s deal for the first ad campaign on Kindle. The work was for client Showtime that promoted the series Nurse Jackie.
Under Cohen’s helm, the shop has picked up a bundle of new business, including Dockers and Tobacco Free Florida earlier this year and last year’s $85 million Pepsi digital assignment. Next up: a new specialty marketing practice designed to help clients launch startup brands. 2009 RANK: New
11. Sue Naegel: president, HBO Entertainment; David Nevins: entertainment president, Showtime; Chris Albrecht, president Starz
OVERSIGHT: Naegle oversees series programming/development at HBO. Nevins does the same at Showtime, as does Albrecht at Starz. IMPACT: With 28.6 million subscribers, HBO remains the leader in pay cable, thanks to hit series like True Blood. (The vampire drama drew 5.38 million viewers with its season 3 finale.) At Showtime, series like Dexter, Weeds and Nurse Jackie have helped boost subs to 18.2 million. And despite offering the least amount of original programming of the three, Starz boasts 17.3 million subs. TRACTION: Although subscriptions are slightly down versus a year ago, HBO continues to set the standard for quality TV. Over at Showtime, Nevins has big shoes to fill, having replaced Robert Greenblatt as the net’s chief programmer. Meanwhile, HBO’s ex-chief Albrecht recently acquired U.S. TV rights for big foreign series for Starz. 2009 RANK: Naegle, 12; Nevins and Albrecht, New
12. Bonnie Hammer: president of NBCU, cable entertainment/cable studio
OVERSIGHT: Besides helming USA Network and SyFy, Hammer also rides herd on all original scripted content for NBCU’s cable group and emerging nets Chiller, Sleuth and Universal HD. IMPACT: The USA skipper is batting 1.000 with her original series, a roster of ratings sluggers that includes Royal Pains, Burn Notice and newcomer Covert Affairs. TRACTION: This summer USA averaged 3.46 million viewers in prime, beating its closest rival by nearly 1 million. The net has won core 18-49/25-54 demos five years running. Up next: sexy courtroom romp Facing Kate. 2009 RANK: 6
13. Joe Abruzzese: president of ad sales, Discovery Networks
OVERSIGHT: Sells 13 national nets, including megabrands Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, as well as emerging property OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. IMPACT: Discovery in the first half of 2010 generated $595 million in ad revenue, an 11 percent lift from ’09. Some eight months before OWN’s launch, Abruzzese and OWN evp, ad sales Kathleen Kayse hashed out a $100 million deal with Procter & Gamble, making investors breathe a little easier about the net’s viability. TRACTION: GM and Kohl’s followed suit, and insiders estimate that 45 percent of the startup’s 2011 inventory is already sold out. 2009 RANK: 19
14. Ed Erhardt: president, ESPN consumer marketing and sales
OVERSIGHT: Erhardt manages inventory for all Disney sports assets across all media platforms. IMPACT: Even the guy who sells Monday Night Football faced some belt-tightening during the recession. With auto and insurance dollars having gone the way of the USFL, Erhardt deftly replaced those endemics with packaged goods and a haul of female-targeted brands. (Last season, women accounted for 33% of all NFL viewers.) TRACTION: With auto back, Erhardt is raking it in; ESPN enjoyed a 31 percent lift in (FY) Q3 ad sales. 2009 RANK: New
15. Suzie Reider: advertising director display, North America, YouTube/GDN
OVERSIGHT: Reider oversees YouTube’s ad sales operations. IMPACT: The question hanging over YouTube: Will Google ever be able to monetize all those video views? Instead of trying, YouTube smartly carved up a lot of the space around its video player, making the site a must-buy for high-reach-focused advertisers, including most movies. TRACTION: YouTube is the second-largest search engine and single most important video property on the Web, reaching 144 million unique monthly users (comScore) and generating 2 billion video views per day. 2009 RANK: New
16. Tracey Scheppach: director of innovation, VivaKi
OVERSIGHT: Along with Curt Hecht, CEO of the VivaKi Nerve Center, Scheppach formulated The Pool, a massive research effort aimed at finding the most effective creative executions for online video. IMPACT: Scheppach has influence over $100 million of spending for brands like Procter & Gamble. TRACTION: Companies ranging from Microsoft to Yahoo to CBS are set to roll out campaigns using The Pool-recommended Ad-Selector unit this fall. 2009 RANK: New
17. Cliff Marks: president, sales and marketing, National CineMedia
OVERSIGHT: Helms all sales and marketing for NCM’s media network. IMPACT: Now that cinema has caught the attention of TV buyers, Marks is wasting no time in turning the buy into an integrated one that includes movie advertising outside the theater. TRACTION: In 2009 NCM sold 10 integrated deals taking advertising beyond the screen to Web, mobile and lobby. This year, NCM expects that to grow to 25 and increase to 40 in 2010. 2009 RANK: 35
18. Steven Friedman: general manager, MTV
OVERSIGHT: Runs resurgent Viacom jewel, which, thanks to the out-of-nowhere success of Jersey Shore, has big ratings to sell against. IMPACT: The success of the GTL crew—as well as Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant, which have also resonated with the 12-34 set—helped boost Viacom’s Q2 profits by more than 50 percent, with CEO Philippe Dauman saying advertisers were “scrambling” to get into the show. TRACTION: Fresh off a ratings win for the 2010 Video Music Awards, which gave MTV its biggest audience since ’02, Friedman must ensure that Snookie and The Situation don’t, um, fade over the winter while developing beyond the reality genre. Solid pro-social work is a nice touch as well. 2009 RANK: New
19. Jon Nesvig: president of sales, Fox Broadcasting
OVERSIGHT: Head of ad sales for Fox, which in May finished first in adults 18-49 for the sixth consecutive broadcast season. IMPACT: Triggered the upfront this year, shortly after the networks unveiled their new prime-time schedules in May. By the first week of June, Fox was done, having collected price increases of 8 percent to 9 percent and setting the tone for the market. Buyers are high on the net’s prospects. Questions persist about Idol’s ratings. TRACTION: Net has the upcoming Super Bowl, which is practically selling itself; the game was 80 percent sold coming out of the upfront. 2009 RANK: 7
20. Jo Ann Ross: president, network sales, CBS
OVERSIGHT: Helms ad sales for the CBS Television Network. IMPACT: Last year, in the throes of the recession, Ross and her team slugged it out with buyers, eventually ceding some price breaks but probably the lowest of all the broadcast nets. This year, as the most-watched net, CBS nailed market-leading prime-time CPM hikes of 9 percent to 10 percent. TRACTION: Didn’t age down its slate with stars like William Shatner and Tom Selleck, but its “most watched” crown is probably secure for another season. 2009 RANK: 16
21. Nancy Dubuc: president/gm, History and Lifetime
OVERSIGHT: Dubuc leads programming and day-to-day operations at History and Lifetime. IMPACT: Since Dubuc assumed command of History in ’07, the net has rapidly built a following among younger viewers with Pawn Stars, American Pickers and Ice Road Truckers. History averaged 751,000 adults 18-49 in the summer, an increase of 30 percent over the year-ago period. TRACTION: Having spun unscripted series into gold at A&E and History, Dubuc is now charged with righting the ship at the faltering women’s net Lifetime. 2009 RANK: 39
22. David Lawenda: president, Univision Ad Sales
OVERSIGHT: Lawenda steers ad sales for all Univision media assets, including the flagship broadcaster, TeleFutura and Galavisión. IMPACT: During the 2010-11 upfront, Lawenda convinced marketers to shift money from the big four English-language nets to Univision, growing the network’s overall dollar volume by 20 percent. TRACTION: The 2010 Census is going to count 50 million U.S. Hispanics, a 42 percent lift from 10 years ago. Univision is well positioned to make the most of that shift. 2009 RANK: New
23. John Nogawski: president, CBS TV Distribution
OVERSIGHT: Manages the most extensive programming inventory of any distributor, with 12 first-run strips and nine different off-net entries. IMPACT: Oprah will be gone soon, but CBS will still be the dominant force in first-run in game, court and magazine (and potentially talk). Priority for Nogawski: Get Judge Judy Sheindlin to resign. TRACTION: With eight of the top 10 shows in households (and dominance in all key demos in the 2009-10 season), CBSTD has an unprecedented lock in syndie. 2009 RANK: New
24. Bill Koenigsberg: founder and CEO, Horizon Media
OVERSIGHT: Runs the largest independent media agency in the U.S. IMPACT: The shop, founded by Koenigsberg in 1989, has grown to more than 90 clients with billings of around $2.5 billion. The big “get” this year for Horizon: DISH Network's $270 million planning and buying business. TRACTION: Never one to shy away from expressing his views on industry issues, Koenigsberg was appointed earlier this year to chair the media policy committee at the 4A’s. 2009 RANK: 27
25. Mark Ford: president, Time Inc.'s News & Sports Group
OVERSIGHT: Runs sales for Sports Illustrated, Time, Fortune and Money magazines. IMPACT: Industry pioneer in creating multiplatform sales force in 2005. Now reviving Time Inc.’s recession-weary titles via cross-platform sales, expanded event marketing business, iPad apps sponsorships. TRACTION: Instrumental in aligning SI Digital with TV partner Turner Sports, ensuring increased digital revenue for leading sports newsweekly. 2009 RANK: New
26. Joanne Bradford: chief revenue officer, Demand Media
OVERSIGHT: Former top sales exec at both Microsoft and Yahoo, Bradford is charged with selling Demand Media’s unique model—thousands of search-driven articles produced by freelancers—to brand-conscious advertisers. IMPACT: In June the company attracted 54.6 million unique users, making it the 17th largest U.S. property on the Web, per comScore. TRACTION: Now that it’s prepping for an IPO, Demand needs to prove it can be profitable. That means attracting big traditional brands, a Bradford specialty. 2009 RANK: New
27. Lauren Zalaznick: president, NBCU Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks
OVERSIGHT: Helms Bravo Media, Oxygen Media, iVillage and NBCU’s Green Is Universal initiative. IMPACT: Created Women@NBCU, a content and marketing effort to develop innovative ways for advertisers to connect with key female demos across all NBCU brands. Green focus broadens her influence. TRACTION: Zalaznick’s trajectory remains fueled by Bravo, which continues to burn hot, improving its delivery of viewers 18-49 by an impressive 21 percent versus last summer. 2009 RANK: New
28. Sarah Levy: COO, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group
OVERSIGHT: The Harvard Business School grad steers finance, strategic planning and business operations for the flagship, as well as Nick Jr., TeenNick and Nicktoons. IMPACT: A quiet force that has helped cement Nickelodeon’s dominance in the kids space, Levy has extended the brand throughout the digital arena and spearheaded the acquisition of Noggin and NeoPets. TRACTION: Led the $62 million acquisition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, attaining all licensing/merchandising rights. Is developing a new CG-animated TMNT series and a feature film in partnership with Paramount Pictures. 2009 RANK: New
29. Kate Juergens: evp, original series programming & development, ABC Family
OVERSIGHT: Responsible for the creation of prime-time original movies, series and specials. IMPACT: In her six years as ABC Family’s resident programming dynamo, Juergens has transformed the net from a sleepy outpost to the hottest destination in cable for young women and viewers 18-34. TRACTION: As ABC Family has made itself can’t-miss TV for the Silly Bandz set, the net’s deliveries have skyrocketed. This summer, among viewers 18-34, the net hit the No. 5 slot, drawing 394,000 in prime, an increase of 18 percent. 2009 RANK: New
30. John Landgraf: president/gm, FX
OVERSIGHT: Steers all entertainment and business operations at FX, Fox Movie Channel and FX Productions. IMPACT: FX’s first post-Shield year was also its most lucrative. Landgraf, looking to offer a broader slate, invested $600 million to secure the rights to films like Avatar and Twilight. FX isn’t turning away from gritty fare, as its biggest draws include Sons of Anarchy and Justified. TRACTION: Outré comedies are hits, but quirky crime drama Terriers showed little bite in its Sept. 8 premiere, drawing 1.61 million. 2009 RANK: New
31. Geri Wang: president, sales & marketing, ABC TV
OVERSIGHT: All network TV sales and marketing activity, including digital, cross-platform and integrated marketing. IMPACT: As the newest network ad sales chief, the industry will be watching closely to get a sense of her style and how she’ll recast the net’s sales. Biggest move: replacing herself with Debbie Richman as head of prime-time sales. TRACTION: Wang got off to a strong start in the upfront, securing CPM hikes of 8 percent to 9 percent. 2009 RANK: New
32. Lou LaTorre: president, ad sales, Fox Cable Networks
OVERSIGHT: Directs sales/operations for FX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Big Ten Network, Speed and Fuel TV. IMPACT: LaTorre’s portfolio includes a top-10 powerhouse in FX and a channel repping an august brand (Nat Geo) that enjoyed its most profitable year yet, despite the recession. LaTorre’s empire brings in nearly $1 billion in sales revenue per year. TRACTION: Growth at FX, Nat Geo believed to have outpaced the cable marketplace in Q2. 2009 RANK: 29
33. Jason Kilar: CEO, Hulu
OVERSIGHT: He’s the driving force behind Hulu, one of the fastest-growing Web brands over the past few years. IMPACT: Besides the broadcast nets’ sites, Hulu is the first stop for traditional TV brands looking to extend their campaigns online. TRACTION: Site’s growth has slowed, and it continues to struggle to monetize all of its content. Some of its network
partners concerned with how streaming free episodes of their top shows will impact ratings. Kilar answered with Hulu Plus, which gives subscribers access to full seasons of favorite shows for $9.99 per month. 2009 RANK: 5
34. Dick Costolo: COO, Twitter
OVERSIGHT: Runs one of the most-buzzed-about digital media properties of the past year. IMPACT: Twitter claims over 160 million registered users and generates 90 million tweets per day. TRACTION: Only just started discussing monetization strategies after testing promoted tweets in April. And while there would appear to be a big opportunity for contextually relevant ads, it's too soon to talk about ad revenue success. Regardless, most traditional brands are intrigued. 2009 RANK: New
35. Eric Koepele: director, digital media sales, Hearst Television
OVERSIGHT: In charge of sales strategy and execution for Hearst's digital media. IMPACT: Introduced new research that tracked impact of advertising beyond the click by correlating a visitor’s exposure to an ad on the Hearst local Web site to a visit on the advertiser’s Web site within 30 days. First time a media company has provided “view-through data” at the local level. TRACTION: Revenue for Web display ads is up well into the double digits; several dozen new advertisers are on board. 2009 RANK: New
36. Robin Steinberg: svp/director of print investment and activation, MediaVest
OVERSIGHT: Manages $1 billion in print spending for clients including Wal-Mart, Kraft and Coca-Cola. IMPACT: Leads way with unconventional print ad units; chairs the 4A’s print committee; sits on Audit Bureau of Circulations and Advertising Club of New York boards. TRACTION: Led development of SMG pilot program with Time Inc. in which magazines will guarantee reader engagement. 2009 RANK: 42
37. Quentin George: chief digital officer, Mediabrands
OVERSIGHT: In charge of all aspects of Mediabrands’ digital business development and strategy. Until recently, George was the CEO of Cadreon, Interpublic’s real-time trading desk. IMPACT: A major proponent of data-infused online buying, George has led the push for IPG agencies and clients to begin serious testing in this arena. TRACTION: Unlike some agency trading desks, or demand-side buying platforms, Cadreon was launched after nine months worth of testing and has executed on over 300 campaigns for more than a dozen clients. 2009 RANK: New
38. Brenda White: svp, publishing activation director, Starcom USA
OVERSIGHT: Helms $1 billion in print spending for clients including P&G, GM, Bank of America and Kellogg’s. IMPACT: Champions proof of performance with measurement tools A.C.E. and PROOF; sits on Audit Bureau of Circulations board. TRACTION: Helped develop SMG magazine measurement program with Time Inc. that guarantees ROI for advertisers. Early supporter of Affinity readership survey that will quantify a magazine’s digital audience. 2009 RANK: 43
39. Jacki Kelly: president, North America, UM
OVERSIGHT: Oversees all operations for UM in North America. IMPACT: Working closely with global CEO Matt Seiler, Kelly hired Michael Siegenthaler from Microsoft to run team of media-owner experts to foster strategic partnership with media owners. Established UM Canada as a standalone agency; strengthening U.S. offices. TRACTION: Coming off Wells Fargo, Ethan Allen and Mastercard U.S. wins, Kelly will continue to shape and expand UM’s postion in the media-owner space and institutionalize Seiler’s vision for UM. 2009 RANK: New
40. Mike Rosen: president, Starcom USA GM Team, New York
OVERSIGHT: Ad buying for General Motors. IMPACT: The slimmed-down carmaker has a slimmed-down ad budget to match, but its fortunes are still eyed by many for clues to the health of the broader economy. Last year, it spent $1.6 billion on ads, per Nielsen. That’s down sharply from the $3 billion-plus annual ad budget that the pre-Chapter 11 GM wielded just a few years ago. TRACTION: But spending is climbing again, albeit at a measured pace. GM says it will spend 3 percent to 5 percent more this year than last. And it’s back in the Super Bowl again after a two-year hiatus. 2009 RANK: New
41. Les Hinton: CEO, Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal
OVERSIGHT: Runs The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones & Co.’s other business units. IMPACT: The Wall Street Journal’s Web site remains one of few well-established paid models in the industry. TRACTION: At a time when most U.S. newspapers are contracting, WSJ is spending to add content, with introduction of NYC and other local editions. 2009 RANK: New
42. Jon Steinlauf: svp, ad sales, Scripps Networks Interactive
OVERSIGHT: Brands under Steinlauf’s stewardship include Food Network, HGTV, Cooking Channel, DIY Network and GAC. IMPACT: This summer, HGTV finished No. 11 in prime with an average 1.28 million viewers; immediately behind it was sibling Food Net (1.27 million). TRACTION: HGTV and Food boast some of TV’s most engaged, upscale viewers, and no group has better tailored the commercial environment to suit the needs of its clients. The result? In Q2 Steinlauf helped boost ad revenue 27 percent year-over-year, as SNI took in $331 million in sales. 2009 RANK: New
43. Martin Reidy: president, Meredith Integrated Marketing
OVERSIGHT: Runs Meredith National Media Group’s B2B unit, serving clients like Chrysler, Kraft Foods and Wells Fargo. IMPACT: Making MIM a growth engine for Meredith by developing unit into full-service marketing services arm. TRACTION: Poised for further growth through Meredith’s purchase of The Hyperfactory, a mobile marketing company, in July. 2009 RANK: New
44. Lexi Reese: head of DoubleClick Ad Exchange
OVERSIGHT: Reese, former head of Google’s content network, heads up the company’s push into the exchange arena. IMPACT: It’s early, as the exchange has only been live for about a year, but Google is the clear leader in a segment most Web observers expect to explode. TRACTION: While some publishers remain wary, nearly every major ad agency holding company has plugged into the exchange in some fashion. 2009 RANK: New
45. Charlie Collier: president and gm, AMC
OVERSIGHT: Turned the clearinghouse for B-movies into the destination for smart, compelling drama. IMPACT: Mad Men might not be a ratings giant—the season-four premiere drew a series high 2.9 million viewers—but the period piece is an unquestionable succès d’estime. Breaking Bad may be an even greater achievement; Emmy certainly seems to think so. TRACTION: Rubicon is struggling to find viewers, but all eyes will be on AMC this Halloween when zombie strip The Walking Dead bows. 2009 RANK: New
46. Paul Karpowicz: president, Meredith's Local Media Group
OVERSIGHT: Runs Meredith’s broadcast business. IMPACT: Focused on growing second revenue stream via the company’s TV-station Web sites. Created Meredith Video Solutions, the company’s video syndication arm. TRACTION: Launched local online/on-air obituary service at WNEM, the CBS affiliate in Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Mich., rolled it out to the company’s other nine markets, and syndicated it to other non-Meredith stations. The service is now syndicated to 50 stations. 2009 RANK: New
47. Marc Whitten: corporate vp, Xbox Live
OVERSIGHT: Whitten is the man behind Xbox Live, Microsoft's gaming/media subscription service. IMPACT: Xbox Live now boasts 25 million members across 26 countries. Media partners range from MTV Networks to ESPN, which recently made its digital network ESPN3 available via the platform. TRACTION: Microsoft constantly touts Xbox Live as a differentiator for its online ad sales team, claiming an ability to deliver brands to an audience on three screens. That strategy has yielded major campaigns from Discovery, ABC and Chevrolet. 2009 RANK: New
48. Steve Levitan: creator of ABC's Modern Family; Ryan Murphy: creator of Fox's Glee
OVERSIGHT: The two biggest new hits of the 2009-10 season, Modern Family and Glee, fall under their jurisdiction. IMPACT: Viewers have responded bigtime, but the icing on the cake is the ongoing critical accolades, with six Emmy wins for Modern Family (including Outstanding Comedy Series) and four for Glee. TRACTION: With season one a true success story for both series, the recent Emmy momentum could result in a sophomore surge and future prime-time series commitments for both Levitan and Murphy. 2009 RANK: New
49. Seth Haberman: CEO, Visible World
OVERSIGHT: Runs the targeted TV ad company he founded a decade ago. IMPACT: Marketers and agencies have been clamoring for techniques that deliver ads to viewers who actually care about them, and Visible World is well ahead of others that have joined the fray as the sense that TV needs to get targeted or lose its relevancy as an ad medium grows. TRACTION: Breakthrough deal this summer lets Interpublic Group clients (via Cadreon) target Visible World’s 100 million–household base. When will cable and broadcast networks get on board? 2009 RANK: New
50. Traug Keller: svp, ESPN Radio/ESPN Deportes
OVERSIGHT: Helms the effort to expand the brands of both franchises. IMPACT: In the past year, ESPN Radio has more than doubled its FM affiliates, from 45 to 105, representing 21 percent of the total affiliate lineup. So far in 2010, ESPN Deportes has launched in five top-20 markets to reach more than 50 percent of U.S. population. TRACTION: In April, ESPN launched the fifth radio-station–powered local Web site in New York in time for its telecasts of the World Cup to reach 5.7 million unique visitors, shattering digital audio records.
2009 RANK: 17
Mediaweek 50: 20 to Watch
NBC entertainment president
This fall, post Leno in prime time, the net returns with big, splashy, escapist fare like the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced FBI drama Chase and the J.J. Abrams-produced spy drama Undercovers. Whether viewers embrace these shows remains to be seen.
President, Hearst Magazines
Hearst plucked him from rival Condé Nast earlier this year. After a successful run publishing print magazines, he now has to figure out how to grow Hearst’s share of clients’ digital ad budgets.
General manager, revenue, Zynga
After Google and Facebook, Zynga might be the third-hottest digital media company in 2010. Now it’s time to figure out how big brands play in FarmVille.
President of programming, Tribune
Compton, recently promoted, is making waves in TV programming for WGN America, comprised of 23 TV stations and WGN-AM. So far, Compton has freshened up WGNA’s tired lineup and is readying, for next year, a morning show and Talk show for syndication.
Global ad sales leaders, Microsoft
Everson, formerly MTV Networks’ COO and evp of U.S. Ad Sales, took on a huge challenge back in June—how to convince Madison Avenue that Microsoft is a committed content and ad company.
CEO, Time Inc.
Time Warner magazine unit tapped the rising star at Meredith to accelerate its titles’ expansion across digital platforms.
President, Meredith’s consumer magazines
Credited with developing Meredith’s digital strategy and growing its print market share, Harty has big shoes to fill as he succeeds Jack Griffin at the heartland publisher.
Evp, Turner Sports/Entertainment Digital
Turner’s online ad network—defiantly pro traditional context-based selling and anti third-party sellers—continues to expand its clout, buoyed by recent addition of Sports Illustrated’s digital properties.
Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci
Show runners of Hawaii Five-0
Kurtzman and Orci got their start on the syndicated classics Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Soon after, they joined forces with J.J. Abrams, writing and producing on Alias, and co-creating Fox’s returning sci-fi procedural Fringe. With CBS’s remake of Hawaii Five-0, the two step out on their own, and may prove to be one of Hollywood’s most formidable producing teams.
Vp, mobile advertising, Apple
Mobile advertising is finally getting exciting with the birth of Apple’s iAd. Miller's team now needs to prove that mobile ads are more than just small banners.
Evp, sales, MTV Music Group
Evp, sales, MTV Entertainment Group
Evp, sales, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group
Repping a roster that runs the gamut from Snooki to SpongeBob, the three sales chiefs took in a combined $1 billion in ad sales revenue in Q2. Moran is making the most of MTV’s resurgence—the flagship grew its summertime 18-34 deliveries 31 percent—while Lucas is the beneficiary of huge gains at Comedy Central and TV Land. In total day, no one touches Perry’s brand; in the upfront, he secured the kids market’s highest CPM hikes (8-9 percent). Can they repeat perform?
Svp digital media sales, NBC Universal
Naylor has stewarded NBCU’s successful Web video ad sales, while recently spearheading the launch of the company's NBCU Universal Audience Platform, which embraces data and audience selling.
Svp, managing dir., digital, Zenithoptimedia
Following a career at American Express, Y&R, others, Nitti was tapped to lead digital, print integration at the Publicis Group SA-owned media shop.
CEO of OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
Norman joined the startup in February 2009, after a two-decade run at MTV. Norman is charged with creating the OWN template from scratch. The personalities Norman has lined up in advance of the Jan. 1 launch date include Rosie O’Donnell, Sarah Ferguson and Shania Twain.
Vp of media, Yahoo
He has skillfully managed the growth of Yahoo’s top properties—Finance, Sports and News—while attracting more editorial talent and nurturing several video hits. Next up: making brands believe in Associated Content.
Vp of engineering at Google, head of Android
As hyped as the iPhone is, Google’s Android mobile software is growing faster as its distributed on numerous devices. Coming soon is an Android tablet that will square off with the iPad.
President, Condé Nast
Publisher of glitzy brands like Vogue and Vanity Fair tapped its consumer marketing guru to shift its entrenched advertising-dependent business model to a more consumer-driven one. First up: a social networking site based on the erstwhile Gourmet magazine.
Evp, audience measurement innovation and analytics, Univision
2011 promises to be a watershed year on the research front as Univision begins to receive and analyze the 2010 Census data. Shagrin will be instrumental in providing insight and analysis based on the numbers, which are expected to reaffirm the explosive growth of Hispanics in the U.S.
CEO, Canoe Ventures
Prior to joining Canoe in 2009, Verklin steered Carat North America for a decade, growing the agency’s billings to $300 million annually. In his current role, he is moving well beyond the linear ad market, working to deliver interactive and addressable advertising to cablers and consumers alike. Anticipation to see what he creates is building.
Head of business development at Foursquare
It’s 2 million users and counting for the red-hot app that has already changed user behavior (i.e., checking in to local businesses) and attracted partners such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal—while causing Facebook to play copycat.