The Next Big Thing is a series of quarterly gatherings designed to showcase new entrants and disruptors in the media, entertainment, and technology spaces by bringing them together with established leaders and investors in those industries. The series launched in early 2011 with sponsorship from AdKeeper, the new venture from entrepreneur and Paley Center trustee Scott Kurnit, and Velociter, the strategic investment arm of Mediabrands. A mix of elevator pitches, open debate, and cocktail conversation, the Next Big Thing provides a forum for rising innovators and entrepreneurs to meet the pioneers and pillars of the media industry. Each gathering features short presentations and product demos by new entrepreneurs outlining their businesses and strategies for success followed by intimate discussion with a select audience drawn from the Paley Center's Media Council, and other leaders and innovators in the new media, technology, and venture capitalist communities.     

View past Next Big Thing sessions from 2009-2014.  


Advisory Board Members 

Scott Kurnit 

Chairman, Next Big Thing Advisory Board
Founder, Chairman, CEO, Keep Holdings

Scott Kurnit is the Founder and CEO of Keep.com, a leader in the new field of crowd-sourced social commerce. Kurnit also founded and served as chairman and CEO of About, Inc. as it grew to a public market value of $1.7 billion and was the fifth largest of all Web properties. About invented or popularized important Internet staples such as blogging, content SEO and contextual pay-per-click advertising. He sold About US to Primedia in 2001 for $724 million. About was then owned by the New York Times Company and was purchased by IAC in 2012.  Kurnit has founded four companies, all of which continue operating today. He holds four patents, led the team that embedded the first Web browser into an online service, started the first Pay Per View cable network, and co-led the team that implemented the first use of national caller ID. He was also the youngest program director in the PBS system and served as program director for Qube, the world’s first fully interactive cable system. He was president of Showtime Event Television when it generated the largest one night gross in the entertainment business and aired the first rock concert (broadcast in 70 countries) from the former Soviet Union. Kurnit serves on the boards of Keep Holdings, Brightcove, The Paley Center for Media, The Mianus Gorge and Stein Eriksen Lodge. He has been a filmmaker, TV director, station program manager, marketer, and CEO. He has worked at the highest levels of Warner, Viacom, News Corp., PBS, IBM, and MCI companies. 

Kenneth Bronfin 

Senior Managing Director
Hearst Ventures

Kenneth A. Bronfin is one of the key forces behind Hearst Corporation's transformation from traditional media company to interactive media leader. Bronfin is senior managing director of Hearst Ventures, a team that makes strategic investments in companies operating at the intersection of media and technology. He sits on the boards of several Hearst Ventures’ portfolio companies. He joined Hearst Corporation in June 1996. Prior to joining Hearst, he was with the NBC, as a founder of the Interactive Media Group as well as general manager of NBC’s digital television group and vice president of NBC Cable and Business Development. Bronfin was also head of business development for NBC Technology and was director of NBC's Broadcast Engineering Group, which was responsible for the research and development associated with NBC’s technical infrastructure. He joined NBC as part of its Management Associate Program. Bronfin holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA in management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds patents in the field of television technology.)

Betty Cohen 

Founder & President
Betty Cohen Media Consulting

Since September 2007, Betty Cohen, one of the cable industry's most respected, innovative and consistently successful brand builders and programmers, has advised digital and traditional media -- as well as e-learning -- brands seeking to expand their followings across platforms and user bases, integrating new technology as it revolutionizes creation, distribution, popularization and viewer/learner behavior. From 2005 to 2007, Cohen served as president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company  She was founding President of Cartoon Network, which she headed from 1992- 2001 at Turner Broadcasting.  Prior to Cartoon Network, Cohen was senior vice president and general manager of Turner Network Television (TNT).

Wendy Clark 

Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities, The Coca-Cola Company

Wendy Clark joined The Coca-Cola Company in September 2008 as senior vice president, integrated marketing communications and capabilities. In her role, Clark oversees global design, marketing communications, media, sponsorships, interactive marketing, and marketing of the company’s Live Positively sustainability platform. Under Clark’s guidance, her team has achieved a great deal during her time at the company, including the successful global launch of the Coca-Cola Open Happiness campaign, now deployed in markets representing 100 percent of Coca-Cola’s volume.

undefinedShafqat Islam 

Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, NewsCred

Shafqat Islam is the cofounder and CEO of NewsCred, a technology platform that connects publishers and brands with the world’s best journalism. As CEO, Islam manages the strategic growth of the company and is responsible for expanding NewCred's platform-services business. With extensive experience in the financial services industry, previously as a vice president at Merrill Lynch, Islam also oversees global sales and manages the strategic growth of NewsCred.

Kay Koplovitz 

Founder, USA Network
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Koplovitz & Co. LLC

Kay Koplovitz is the founder of USA Network and the first woman network president in television history. A pioneer in cable television networks and new media ventures, she is a visionary woman who led the emergence of cable television to challenge the broadcast networks for coveted audiences. She continues to be a leader in raising venture capital for women entrepreneurs and in launching new programming companies that challenge the frontiers of the digital age. She is the author of Bold Women, Big Ideas (May 2002), which she wrote to inform and inspire women entrepreneurs to create wealth through equity.

Alan Patricof 

Founder and Managing Director
Greycroft LLC

Alan Patricof is the founder and managing director of Greycroft LLC. A longtime innovator and advocate for venture capital, Patricof entered the industry in its formative days with the creation of Patricof & Co. Ventures Inc., a predecessor to Apax Partners – today, one of the world's leading private equity firms with $35 billion under management. He stepped back from the daily administration and operational aspects of Apax Partners, LP in 2001 to concentrate on a group of small venture deals on its behalf.

David S. Rose 

Founder, CEO, Gust
Managing Partner, Rose Tech Ventures 

David S. Rose is an Inc. 500 CEO, serial entrepreneur and super-angel investor who has founded or funded over 80 pioneering companies. He has been described by Crain’s New York Business as “the father of angel investing in New York” and by Red Herring magazine as “patriarch of Silicon Alley”. As an entrepreneurial executive, Rose is the founder and CEO of Gust, the international collaboration platform for startup financing used by 35,000 accredited investors. He is also Managing Partner of Rose Tech Ventures, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of New York Angels, and Track Chair for Finance, Entrepreneurship and Economics at Singularity University.

Clay Shirky 

Author, Cognitive Surplus
Professor, Carter Journalism Institute and Tisch School of the Arts, NYU

Clay Shirky divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. His consulting practice is focused on the rise of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, web services, and wireless networks that provide alternatives to the wired client/server infrastructure that characterizes the Web. Current clients include Nokia, GBN, the Library of Congress, the Highlands Forum, the Markle Foundation, and the BBC. In addition to his consulting work, Shirky is an adjunct professor in NYU's graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).

Yossi Vardi 

International Technologies

Yossi Vardi is one of Israel’s early entrepreneurs. For the past forty years he has cofounded, led, and helped build over seventy high-tech companies. Among them: Tekem (1969), one of Israel’s first software houses, Israel Chemicals , Alon Energy, Granite Hacarmel, and International lasers Technologies. In addition, he copioneered the development of instant messaging, as founding investor and chairman of Mirabilis Ltd, the creator of ICQ, (sold to AOL). In addition, he had an extensive government and public career in Israel.

Fred Wilson 

Managing Partner
Union Square Ventures

Fred Wilson has been a venture capitalist since 1987. He currently is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures and also founded Flatiron Partners. Fred has a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Union Square Ventures is an early stage venture capital fund located in New York City. It focuses on Web services and looks to back passionate, experienced entrepreneurs who are focused on creating highly scalable services and significant value propositions for their end users.