Media Industry Trade Association Leaders to Speak at Media Finance Focus 2018

Representatives from media industry trade organizations will come together to share their viewpoints concerning its changing landscape at Media Finance Focus 2018, the 58 annual conference for MFM and its BCCA subsidiary, the media industry’s credit association. The conference will be held from May 21-22 at The Hyatt Regency Crystal City (Arlington, VA).

Comprising the keynote panel are Gordon Smith, president & CEO of NAB, the National Association of Broadcasters; James M. Assey, executive vice president of NCTA, the Internet and Television Association, David Chavern, president & CEO of the News Media Alliance, and longtime video game developer Guha Bala, president of Velan Ventures, Inc., who will provide the perspective of the entertainment software community.

Moderated by Sara Fischer, a media reporter for Axios, the industry outlook discussion will occur on Tuesday morning May 22, following an 8:00 a.m. breakfast sponsored by Chubb. MFM has endorsed Chubb as the preferred commercial insurer for its members.

“Perhaps nowhere is the term ‘frenemies” more appropriate than when we consider the interrelationship between trade organizations representing certain facets of the media industry. While there are times when they take different points of view on regulatory matters, they are also part of a converging landscape that blurs the lines between the creation and distribution of media content,” said Mary M. Collins, president & CEO of MFM and BCCA. “We look forward to hearing their collective viewpoints on such matters as the impact of consolidation; how the move to digital delivery is affecting media, and which innovations they find the most interesting.”

About the panelists:

Former U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters, the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters, as president and CEO in November 2009. Prior to joining NAB, Senator Smith served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Smith's committee assignments included the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation as well as the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Smith's role on the Commerce Committee and as chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Smith served as a member of the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years.

James M. Assey, Jr. began his tenure as executive vice president for NCTA - The Internet & Television Association, on February 1, 2008. As NCTA’s second most senior executive, Assey is involved in all aspects of NCTA’s work on behalf of the cable industry. Before NCTA, Assey was a longtime staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, working as senior democratic counsel on communications and media issues for both former U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC).

David Chavern is president and CEO of News Media Alliance, the news industry’s largest trade organization. Chavern joined the Alliance as president and CEO in October 2015. In addition to developing an entirely new brand and identity for the organization, he has been intensely focused on telling the powerful – and optimistic – story of the news industry and offering members new products that help them run their businesses better every day. Chavern has built a career spanning 30 years in executive strategic and operational roles. Most recently he completed a decade-long tenure at the United States Chamber of Commerce where he served as the Chamber’s president of the Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, and prior to that, he was vice president and chief of staff at the Chamber, offering strategic advice and guidance to the CEO and managing daily operations of the organization. Chavern is a member of the board of directors of Transamerica Insurance and a founding investor in Starling Trust Sciences, LLC. A proud alum, he also serves on the board of trustees of his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. A 1987 graduate of Villanova University’s School of Law, Chavern went on to receive his MBA from Georgetown University in 2003. He attended the University of Pittsburgh where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Guha Bala is President of Velan Ventures, Inc., an innovation investment company with a focus on video games and game related technology companies, and Velan Studios, Inc. a game studio that focuses on the discovery of new play patterns. Previously, Bala co-founded Vicarious Visions with his brother, Karthik, in 1991. Vicarious has since grown to become an industry-leading game developer, helping to shape popular culture around the world. After leading Vicarious Visions for 25 years, the brothers transitioned out of the company in 2016 to become entrepreneurs again. Bala, who enjoys mentoring start-up ventures, was honored as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2013. He holds a BA Degree in Chemistry from Harvard College, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Session moderator Sara Fischer is a media reporter for Axios, covering media trends. Previously, she was a digital producer for The Washington Post, where she produced and edited segments for live and digital audiences. Fischer’s media background includes writing, reporting, subscription and advertising sales, as well as corporate research. She moved to The Post from The New York Times where she was part of The Times’ political advertising team. Fischer joined The Times from CNN in 2014, where she wrote breaking news stories for CNN Politics and co-authored the network’s political newsletter, “Gut Check.” Before joining CNN, Fischer served as a business development associate at POLITICO, where she helped manage sales operations and client engagement for the company’s advertising team. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in political communication from The George Washington University and a Master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University.

About Media Finance Focus 2018

MFM/BCCA’s annual conference is the primary source of professional education for the media industry’s business and credit management executives, including its digital media, video, gaming, publishing, broadcasting and broadband telecommunications enterprises. Chaired by Cindy Pekrul, SVP and deputy controller for Turner and vice chair of MFM’s board of directors, and co-chaired by Mike Lavey, SVP/corporate controller for tronc, Inc. and MFM board secretary, Media Finance Focus 2018 will feature presentations from over 150 industry experts, who will provide timely information on topics relevant to media industry finance professionals, including accounting, economic projections, valuations, M&A, taxes, human resources, regulatory, and technological developments and internal audit.

BCCA, the media industry’s credit association, will provide a full track of sessions designed to meet the needs of today’s credit and collections professionals. In addition, Media Finance Focus 2017 is collaborating with the Media Industry Tax Group on offering a full track of tax-related topics of interest to the media industry’s tax professionals and the New Media Internal Auditors Association is co-locating its 2018 meeting with the conference, providing its members an opportunity to participate in sessions offered by both events. The conference will also offer formal and informal networking activities to foster idea sharing and will host an exhibit hall featuring the latest in products and services for addressing the industry’s financial management and credit and collections requirements. Registered participants can earn 20 or more CPE credits. Additional information about Media Finance Focus 2017 may be found on the conference website.

About MFM and BCCA:

Media Financial Management Association (MFM) is the premiere resource for financial professionals for media industry education, networking, and information sharing throughout the U.S. and Canada. More information about MFM is available on its Web site: and via its updates on Linkedin (opens in new tab), Facebook and Twitter. Its BCCA subsidiary serves as the media industry’s credit association. BCCA’s revenue management services encompass a variety of credit reports on national and local media advertisers and agencies, including Media Whys, a credit report for media businesses which offers a credit score based on industry-specific aging combined with trade data from Experian or D+B. More information about BCCA is available at as well as its updates on Linkedin (opens in new tab), Facebook and Twitter.