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Digital Dynamos Driving TV's Future

18/03/2019

Contents

CHRISTINE COOK

FARSHAD FAMILY

JOHN FINLEY

JENNIFER KOESTER

KAREN LEEVER

ARI LEWINE

DIANA PESSIN

DAVID RUDNICK

BRIAN SWARTH

JOANIE VASILIADIS

YALE WANG

VICTOR WONG

The digital domain continues to be where the action is in the TV industry, with Apple's reported announcement of a new OTT platform later this month just the newest development in video's ongoing transformation.

Keeping their fingers on the pulse of this rapid change are B&C's 2019 Digital All-Stars, a dozen front-line executives representing a range of disciplines: advertising/media, content, distribution, local TV, entrepreneurship, technology and more.

These honorees have made a tremendous impact over the past year and they're charting the course ahead, too. Read more about them in the pages that follow in profiles compiled by B&C contributor Stuart Miller.

CHRISTINE COOKSenior VP and Chief Revenue Officer, CNN Digital

Christine Cook

BACKGROUND: Christine Cook oversees sales strategy for CNN's overall digital portfolio, which includes premium verticals, mobile products, programmatic, emerging businesses and Great Big Story. She started her career as a teacher and then moved into the media world, with her first job with the Convenience Store News website. She founded the first New York Times Digital international sales office, in London. Then, she worked for The Financial Times, IAC/InterActiveCorp, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, The Daily and Flipboard. She was senior VP and global head of advertising partnerships at Flipboard.

The common bond between all those jobs was that they were all about the transformation and evolution of how consumers consume content in a digital world, Cook said, adding that she always loved journalism. It's exciting to find new platforms and new angles, making the most of digital video on websites, on apps, now on PlayStation, Apple TV and in other OTT opportunities. The fragmentation of platforms is my sweet spot.

ALL-STAR STATUS: Cook joined Turner in this newly developed job last year, to oversee a holistic sales approach across CNN's digital businesses and bolster revenue opportunities. Cook also partners with the Content Partnerships team and Courageous Studio to activate the KPIs [key performance indicators] of ad partners across CNN's digital footprint.

When I was a teacher I saw that everyone learns differently, and I've applied that here when setting up the new team, she said, adding that the company is sitting on a gold mine of information about their consumers and her team needs leverage that data. Now my job is to find how we go to market in the best interest of both the client and consumer, to ensure the assets are delivered for each RFP and we are not just selling products.

INNOVATION: My job is new, but it's what's old is new again,' she said. The company used to be focused on digital, then it switched to go for crossplatform sales. Now we're back, creating my position where all I do is think with a laser focus about what can the network do for anyone who does anything digitally with us.

FARSHAD FAMILYManaging Director, Communications, Media and Technology, Accenture

Farshad Family

BACKGROUND: Early in his career, Farshad Family was a leader in McKinsey's Global Media, Entertainment and Information practice, serving clients in the media and telecom sectors. McKinsey gave me a good overview of the media space from broadcast and cable to digital startups to even outdoor and newspapers and radio, he said.

From there, Family went to Nielsen, where he built a business in India serving clients in television, online and telecom. He then managed the U.S. local media measurement business before becoming senior VP of digital enablement, overseeing development of such products as client-facing APIs, mobile apps and analytics.

Nielsen took me quite deep in the TV space, grappling with how technology is changing things and how to work with media companies, he said. It has been an interesting journey.

ALL-STAR STATUS: Family has scaled up consumer-facing internet businesses and has worked on sales-force effectiveness in digital and television businesses. I spend a lot of my time on advanced advertising in the television and video space, helping media companies tell richer stories that go beyond age and gender as a way to compete against the pure-play digital competition, he said. The traditional guys' still have tremendous scale and compelling content and a brand-safe environment, but they need to layer on new segments. I also help advertisers target more effectively.

INNOVATION: At Accenture, Family has led OpenAP, the advanced advertising platform launched by Fox, Turner and Viacom, and joined by NBCUniversal and Univision. It has proved to be a great forum to have all these companies coming at this to address the competition more effectively, he said. It's about expanding the pie.

JOHN FINLEY Executive VP of Development, Fox News Channel and Fox Nation

John Finley

BACKGROUND: John Finley has been with Fox News since 2000, beginning as an executive producer on shows such as Hannity & Colmes and Hannity's America, and later working his way up to senior VP of development and production, bearing responsibility for the creation of Hannity, The Five, Outnumbered and The Greg Gutfeld Show. He also helped develop The Man Who Killed Usama Bin Laden, a documentary about Navy SEAL Robert O'Neill, and helped plan the network's 2016 presidential debates.

ALL-STAR STATUS: Finley was promoted in February to his new title. He has overseen the development of the streaming service Fox Nation, including all short- and long-form programming on the platform. The service launched in late November with the stated goal of creating a Netflix for Conservatives.

I'
LINK: https://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/digital-dynamos-driving-tvs-fut...
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