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Media and Entertainment Alliance
10th Anniversary
Fordham Graduate School of Business

Moderator: Gerry Byrne, Chairman of AdGenesis Digital and former head of Nielsen’s Media & Entertainment Group
Panelists:
Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc.
J. Brendan Ryan, Vice Chairman, Draft FCB
Rishi Malhotra, Managing Partner, 212MEDIA
Warren Wasp, President, WTW Associates (executive search firm)

Executive Summary:
The key themes that unfolded during the panel discussion were change, relationships, changing media and career implications.

Change: harder and slower than one would expect, even when the new technology appears to be far superior to the current one. This reminds me of a passage from The Prince by Machiavelli that captures the essence of change. “It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents – who have the laws on their side – and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.”

Career: The key to success is in one’s ability to build a bridge between traditional media and Web 2.O. media. This individual is someone who respects and understands the power of traditional media and the business model, but who’s also aware of the power of Web 2.O technologies and how they bring incremental value to the business model. This individual can effectively communicate with those of us who work in traditional media by taking the middle ground to build the bridge to success.

Relationships: Web 2.0 technology notwithstanding, professional and personal relationships still matter a lot!

Best Practice: The Huffington Post is mentioned multiple times as a successful media outlet, who is leveraging Web 2.0 and social media while continuing to provide traditional news reporting.

The panelists offered insightful comments, which are excerpted below.
When discussing change, Mr. Ryan called the introduction of Web 2.O technologies the biggest change since the 1850 Industrial Revolution. He went on to say that while those in power have been resistant to change, the rate of technological change is the fastest we’ve ever seen. So we should embrace it and jump in (Join a start-up firm!), but don’t forget about traditional media.

Mr. Warren Wasp suggested that we not run away from traditional media companies, but that we should work for them, learn from them and try to prove that taking advantage of Web2.0 capabilities can provide many opportunities. When hiring managers are looking for talent, they are looking for someone who knows all about traditional media, but also knows Web 2.0 applications. The start-up companies love to have experienced sales reps; however, enticing those sales reps to leave their well-paying jobs can be very difficult. The reason why they want experienced sales reps is for their relationships with buyers.

In the past, large organizations such as General Foods were training grounds for many people who ended up working in the media world. Today, the training ground is much smaller or may not exist at all. For example Brendan worked as a product manager at General Foods early in his career.

According to Malhotra, what’s most important in today’s market is share of time, not share of market wallet. The most limited resource for your customers and prospects is the number of hours a day. Customers are being inundated with information as an outcome of Web 2.O. tools and applications.

Your product and or service is at the epicenter; content and product is synonymous. Conversion of customer to buy is important. Creating sticky content is the key.
Web 2.0 nanotechnology allows you to capture micro data about your customers and to reach them very effectively through targeted niche marketing. We know more today about our clients than ever before, and we need to improve on how to use this information to serve clients the information they want, when they want it and how they want it. Because we have all this information, it has become much easier to calculate the ROI on a marketing campaign.

Because there are few barriers to entry in Web 2.0 environment there is more competition. Commercialization or commoditization of media products happens very rapidly, so one solution is to create one of a kind content, which is continuously refreshed.

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