Click here to read profiles of this year's inductees.
There is an old adage in sports, frequently cited by coaches and
managers seeking victories and championships: You dance with
the one that brung ya. It’s an axiom that well applies to business
in our industry today: If you want to succeed, especially in these
times of strange fluctuations, you had best apply the knowledge and talents
of visionaries who got you where you are now.
That perhaps best explains an annual tradition of ours; in this case, asking the
2010 inductees in the B&C Hall of Fame to answer a bit of a stumper:
“What is the most important thing you learned in 2010 that will inform your
decision-making in 2011?”
The class of 2010, thankfully, has the chops to take on such an unwieldy,
wide-ranging question, and the answers reflect this. Certainly, we could use
the global, historical perspective: People have stopped carrying umbrellas even
though Chicken Little is still shouting loud and clear. So, is it time for a kind
of stasis, or stirring action? Will shifts after Election Day lead to shifts in the
media? And what big short-term ideas will bring about long-term solutions?
The class of 2010 is filled with chance-takers and change agents; decisive, reliable
executives with a great belief in the power and future of the industry. Their
answers offer a snapshot of where we are and a vision of where we’re headed.
Producer, the Today
show (on behalf
In 2010, I learned that
broadcast television is
far from dead. And trying to make sense of the world
every morning requires a healthy fear of what you don’t
know. In 2010, who could have predicted the BP oil
disaster, the rise of the Tea Party or the resurgence of
Betty White? Millions of viewers watch Today every
morning, and millions more come to us throughout the
day online for news and information. The success of the
TV broadcast drives robust growth into new frontiers.
The Today show interviews everyone from President
Obama to the Dalai Lama and Lady Gaga, and these
interviews live on long after the show is over.
President & CEO, BMI
I think there’s something becoming more and
more apparent to me, and this year, I think
it’s most apparent—that no one knows what’s
going to happen. You can’t ever suspect that anyone has the answer. You can’t ever count out anything,
and just as sure as you are that the one thing will
happen, the other thing just might. And that’s not a
It’s just becoming more and more apparent to
me that nobody knows which way it’s going to fall.
And there are tremendous amounts of opportunities
available when things seem the bleakest.
If you believe in something: Charge. I just know
that you still have to have a plan and work it. And
that’s more clear today
than ever before. Half the
things you see today say
you just can’t make plans
the way you used to; you
have to be agile on your
feet. And you have to be,
certainly, but more than
ever, you have to have a
plan and you have to be
committed to working it
in this immense clutter that is so confusing
that if you’re not careful, you damn near
believe your plan has already failed before
you’ve even worked it, before it’s even had a
chance to work. It’s easy to announce the patient’s
dead before the patient’s ready to die.
Chief Operating Officer, Time Warner Cable
The biggest lesson I’ve
learned is that even in a
very tough economy, we
can continue to deliver
value to our customers. It’s
still tough out there right
now. Aside from what you
hear on television, Main Street is still struggling. Our
products are fundamental to our customers, but we
have to continue to deliver that value.
Founder and former
President, Hearst Entertainment
With the marriage of my
last single child in 2009
and, as you might expect,
the birth of my sixth
grandchild in 2010, I am
even more sure than before
that my life is my family.
Paul Karpowicz, President,
I learned never to take
anything for granted, to be flexible, and be able to shift
strategy very quickly. You
have to be willing to take
chances. Our business is
changing, it has changed,
and it will continue to change. We went through a
significant shift in the business. We have to continue
to be flexible, figure out where the business is going,
and be in a position to take advantage of it.
Chairman and Chief
I’ve learned to be more
responsive to our audience.
I think the research we’ve
done in 2010 has been
helpful in focusing us on
who our audience really is.
I think going into 2011 we know the segments that
we want to appeal to and we have a clearer vision of all the different programming that we can do. It’s been
hard to have two networks now and to try to service so
many different segments of an audience. I think that’s
been a big burden that we carry, because now everyone
wants to come to BET and get something from it. So I
think with the research that we’ve done we’re finally at
the point where we’re able to deliver on that.
President, CBS News
What I learned in 2010
is that to survive in the
broadcast business, you
and your team have to be
nimble, aggressive and
totally open to new ways
of doing business—and
that is true for News and
for Sports. The old model may not be broken, but it
has to be re-molded, shaken up and tested in every
way. The only viable way for CBS Sports to retain the
broadcast rights to the NCAA basketball championship
was to create a partnership with Turner Sports where
we will jointly present and market this great event.
We are tasked with retaining our marquee sports
events and covering the news in the most responsible,
comprehensive way, while also managing these businesses
in the most ef! cient, creative, forward-thinking
way. New technologies are breathtaking, but how
can they be utilized to reach more people, cover the
news in a deeper and more complete way…and yes, to
generate additional revenue?
2010 again proved that you don’t fix what isn’t
broken, as some of the legendary CBS News franchises
continued delivering remarkable success. This year also
reaffirmed my strong belief in the importance and
relevance of both network sports and news, but also
the reality that in this business each day’s mandate is
to find new and creative ways to manage and grow, to
remain viable, strong and impactful. Finally, I learned
that if you produce the most compelling Super Bowl
in years, an awful lot of people will tune in.
Fox Broadcasting Co.
and Executive VP,
I don’t know if I learned
this in 2010, but I think
2010 reinforces it—trust
your own judgment and
act rather than wait for
conventional wisdom to make decisions for you.
Chief Executive Officer,
To me it’s all about observation
the environment you’re
in. It’s understanding
where people are coming
from if you’re marketing
to them, and observing what’s connecting
with people and what’s important to them,
and bringing all that forward in whatever
you’re trying to do. You can’t force things
on people that they don’t want to accept, but they’ll
clearly embrace things you’ve connected to them
somehow emotionally. That’s what I’d like to see more
of, and I try to bring this to the things I’m doing now.
Research is good, numbers are good, technical effort
is good, but at the end of the day, keeping the human
dimension in it—the observation of us as humans and
how we react and what we react to—is going to be
key to any successful project.
Global Marketing and Brand Building Officer,
Procter & Gamble (on behalf of P&G)
I think I knew this, but I don’t think I knew just
how powerful it was: the fact that brands are really
judged by the company they keep. And that context
really matters, because I saw such extraordinary engagement
in the Olympics, and the People’s Choice
Awards and the Family
Movie Night and how
it had a positive impact
on our brands and our
company, and P&G
in total. It was beyond
what I expected. So I think it really did prove for me
the importance of the context, and making sure then
that we get the right content with our broadcasting
and cable partners. I think those partnerships will
continue to get stronger as a result of this, because
I’m really looking for innovation in the future. We
have an opportunity here to really change the landscape
for the better going forward, and so I’m hoping
we can do that.
President and General Manager,
ID, Military Channel and HD Theater
I learned in 2010 when I started here at Discovery
that, in fact, you can “go home” again. Like my experience
at HBO in 1980 when I started there or Court TV
in 1998 or even Hallmark in 2006, I learned that the real excitement
and, indeed, fun
is being part of a team
that builds up or turns
around a cable network.
That’s not only where the
feeling of accomplishment
is, but also where all the
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
The American people increasingly don’t believe what
we’re saying in advertising, and they don’t think
advertisers are on the up and up. And if those two
things are true, then how are we ever going to recruit
the best and brightest into a profession that people
think is dishonest? We’ve got to change that, and it’s a
huge job over the next 10 years. If we don’t change it,
I think we’re in a lot of trouble. And it’s gotten worse
because of a lot of things, but the thing I’d point my
finger at is political advertising. Both Republican
and Democratic candidates have run ads
that are deceptive and
half-truths about their opponents.
And I think the
public understands that,
but it leads to a mistrust of
all advertisers. What they
say about their opponent
is out of context and only
half of the truth, and once
you accept that about political
advertising, you say,
‘Well, the people trying to
get me to buy this car, are they telling me the truth?’
and it leads to a degree of skepticism that I think is
unhealthy. I’ve seen a lot of it in 2010, part of it based
on the recession, and we’ve got to fix this.
We’re trying to develop a statement of principles
that can be broadly adopted by the industry and,
along with that, a statement that all companies would
sign that commit them to ethical behavior and eventually
an awards program that would acknowledge companies
that are doing a great job in the area of ethical
behavior and advertising.
I’m a small voice in this industry, and I think it
would be important to get some of the people who are
more broadly recognized in broadcast and cable to say
they agree with some of these things.
Executive VP and
Officer, Comcast Cable
This year showed how
pervasive and impactful the
tablet form factor will be to
media. I believe the platform
will soon be second
only to the TV for video
consumption in homes that
purchase a tablet. This new platform will change the
way we think about a lot of things in 2011, including
media distribution and navigation.
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