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Playing Up to Her Potential in Ad Tech

NAME: Dina Weisberger
TITLE: Head of TV Partner Strategy & Development
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Joined Google in 2014 and was business lead for Google Ad Manager’s linear, addressable TV solutions for set-tops, including leading the launch of Android TV’s monetization efforts. Prior to Google, led ESPN’s TV and multimedia ad product strategy. Began her career as a national TV buyer at MediaVest, and has over 20 years’ experience in TV advertising buying and selling.
QUOTABLE: “I enjoy working as a team, being in a supportive environment where everyone is pitching in toward the same goal, moving the ball forward in small ways every day.”

Dina Weisberger

Dina Weisberger

Growing up in an Orthodox Jewish household in New Jersey, Dina Weisberger didn’t play much organized basketball as a kid. At New York University, though, she became a point guard and then spent two years as an assistant coach.

“Basketball definitely shaped me — as a person and who I am professionally,” Weisberger, the head of TV partner strategy and development at Google, said. “Playing taught me what my limits are and aren’t: if I was thinking I could do X, I learned I really could go above that. And coaching taught me not just value of teamwork but that every person on the team has a role, and it’s essential to ensure that everybody understands their value.”

Weisberger’s leadership skills have led her from an early ad-agency role onto ESPN and now to Google. In her current role, she bridges the digital TV and traditional linear TV ecosystems through partner engagements with TV technology providers (Operative, Imagine and clypd among them) while also finding next-generation solutions for television. She was the business lead for Google Ad Manager’s linear addressable TV solutions for set-top-boxes, and most recently led the launch of Android TV’s monetization efforts. She has also contributed to Google’s efforts across programmatic TV and measurement and is a go-to subject matter expert for TV business requirements at Google.

“Dina has been a crucial and critical partner in helping to lead the path forward on all of Google’s efforts in the TV space, especially with traditional linear and now with smart TV sets,” said Stella Loh, product manager at Google, who works closely with Weisberger. “Dina’s expertise in traditional TV monetization proved invaluable when we first embarked on developing a linear addressable solution for TV operators.”

Weisberger joined Google in 2014 after 13 years at ESPN, seeking a different challenge in the realm of advertising technology. “I wanted to get more involved with where I felt the future of ad tech was going,” she said. “I’d just finished a pretty sizable endeavor at ESPN, laying the framework for a tech, TV and multimedia perspective. But I was ahead of where they were. I wanted to go where the industry was headed.”

Weisberger, who began her career as a national TV buyer at MediaVest, didn’t have a plan, nor did she imagine herself at Google. Yet it was the perfect next step. “Google afforded me the opportunity to be forward-thinking about TV, to be thinking about what’s next instead of about what’s out,” she said. “That’s what I’ve always liked to do. I just stay curious and follow my passion and allow that to be my guiding light.”

She sought her current role to better grow “the partner-facing side of what I was doing,” she said. “I also felt there were emerging areas that no one was focusing on from a technology perspective.”

Weisberger, who with her wife has a 4-year-old daughter and a baby girl, is not a vocal or animated leader, but instead leads through her actions. “Dina is very inclusive,” Loh said. “She makes sure that everyone’s opinions and thoughts are heard and that whatever decisions need to be made are made with everyone’s input and considerations.”

It’s essential to be honest and a clear communicator, Weisberger said. “There are lots of smoke and mirrors in ad tech, but if I say we’re going to do something we actually do it — that’s hard to find.”

Tech Translator

She also prides herself on her ability to translate the business side for the technology side, and vice versa. “I’ve been more right than wrong about decisions about technology and business,” she said, which enables her to figure out a game plan for the team she has built.

That said, she’s always a little impatient, hoping to reach the future already. “I have an idea of what I want to happen and obviously I want things to happen quicker,” she said.

Weisberger realized she needed to lay a solid foundation, identifying new partners for Google. “We had to create a stronger partner base to push our product forward in the TV ecosystem,” she said. “My first couple of years, our time was spent getting those partners, like Univision, MLB and Disney. Now we’re really starting to explore what our role could be in this converged world — how we could help in a unified monetization system across TV and digital.”

Weisberger said she’s confident the industry will find ways to measure viewership and performance while respecting privacy, and that a new targeted ad experience will soon emerge.

“We don’t even know what it will be yet,” she said, but accelerating the programmatic monetization of OTT platforms is essential. “Viewership and engagement is still far above where monetization is today. It will take time. I hope over the next three years those become more aligned. It will have to get fixed.”

Stuart Miller has been writing about television for 30 years since he first joined Variety as a staff writer. He has written about television for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, Vulture and numerous other publications.