Paley Dialogues

The New Age of Television

Apr 1, 2015
7:30 – 9:00 AM
New York

There has never been a better time to be in television. The definition of television has changed; it is no longer just on the screen, it is everywhere. This discussion represents a fresh approach to measuring success in the new, golden age of television.

The power of TV is potent, and yet measuring its cultural influence and reach remains a constantly moving target in an evolving media landscape. Participants in this session discuss what it means to be a “hit”; how a “hit” should be defined today; and new approaches to measuring the success of content. As television shows expand beyond television, into cultural phenomena with impact far beyond traditional reach, what factors beyond statistics can and should be measured, and what do they mean?



Robert DebitettoRobert DeBitetto
President, Brand Strategy, Business Development and A+E Studios, A+E Networks
Bob DeBitetto is President of Brand Strategy, Business Development and A+E Studios. In his role, Bob oversees cross-network brand strategy and business development for the company’s portfolio of leading television networks. As the head of A+E Studios, he oversees content strategy and the creation of original content across the A+E portfolio, including the award-winning feature documentary unit, A+E Feature Films. In addition, as of January 2014, DeBitetto joined the Board of Directors of the company’s UK Joint Venture with BSkyB. Previous to his current role, he served as the President of A&E Network and BIO where he managed a portfolio of cable networks including the flagship A&E Network, overseeing all creative and business matters including programming, marketing, strategic planning, brand development and public relations. Before joining A&E, DeBitetto spent seven years working in a variety of executive capacities for Time Warner/Turner Broadcasting, including TNT’s President of Original Programming, where he also ran Turner’s Los Angeles-based production studio. DeBitetto spent his early career in the theatrical motion picture business, where he held several senior-level positions.  He currently serves on the board of The Hollywood Radio and Television Society (HRTS).


david poltrackDavid F. Poltrack
Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation

David F. Poltrack is Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation and President of CBS VISION. Poltrack oversees all research operations at CBS encompassing audience measurement, market research, program testing, advertising research, and monitoring of the national and international video marketplace. He designed and oversees CBS TELEVISION CITY at the MGM GRAND, Las Vegas, CBS’ state of the art Research Center. CBS VISION is a research unit exploring and offering insight on emerging technologies, media consumption patterns, and advertising value in the media marketplace. Poltrack is past chairman of the Media Rating Council; chairman of the executive committee, Marketing Science Institute; past president, Market Research Council and in 2009 was inducted into their Hall of Fame; current chairman of the board for the Advertising Research Foundation; in 2014 he was inducted into the B&C Hall of Fame. As Adjunct Professor, he teaches at NYU Stern School of Business and the Steinhardt School of Education, as well as Columbia University. He is author of Television Marketing: Network, Local, and Cable (McGraw-Hill) and has many articles published in professional journals. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.A., magna cum laude, History), and NYU (M.B.A., Marketing).

kern schiresonKern Schireson
Executive Vice President, Data Strategy and Consumer Intelligence, Viacom Media Networks
Kern Schireson is an Executive Vice President at Viacom Media Networks responsible for Viacom’s overall data strategy, and the consumer and audience intelligence that powers Viacom’s content, platforms, and partnerships. Prior to joining Viacom, Kern served as CEO of Schireson Associates – an insights and strategy consultancy that he founded. In over a decade at Schireson, Kern led the development of innovative product and brand strategy for some of the world’s leading companies including Amazon, American Express, Intel, Microsoft, Nestle, and many others, Prior to founding Schireson Associates Kern led the Marketing and Product teams at Informative – a $300M online market research firm that pioneered a technology for combining structured and unstructured data to derive rich context. Prior to Informative, Kern served as a senior executive in Product Management and Marketing roles at two venture-funded startups in the US and UK and was the Chairman of an educational non-profit that recruited, trained, and placed at-risk young adults into entry level jobs in technology support. Early in his career Kern specialized in network security and was responsible for the design and management of some of the largest private networks in the world. He has lectured extensively on this topic, written two advanced courses, and published a column in PC Magazine.

Alan WurtzelAlan Wurtzel
President, Research & Media Development, NBCUniversal

Alan Wurtzel is the President of Research and Media Development for NBCUniversal. In addition Wurtzel leads the company’s Broadcast Standards & Practices Department, which oversees program content and advertising and commercial clearance. He joined NBCU in 1999. Throughout his tenure, Wurtzel has led numerous research initiatives for the company, including measuring the effectiveness of television ads viewed on a DVR and launching the TAMi, or Total Audience Measurement Index, a compilation of data designed to measure the total exposure to any one program across multiple media platforms. Wurtzel has also conducted extensive research around the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics, taking advantage of the unique scope and duration of the Games to gain unprecedented insight into consumer cross-platform behavior. Additionally, Wurtzel helped spearhead the creation of the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), a group of leading U.S. television content providers, media agencies and advertisers who joined forces in 2009 to help promote research innovation and explore new ways to measure audiences across traditional and new media. Prior to joining NBC Universal, Wurtzel spent 21 years at ABC in a variety of managerial positions, including Senior Vice President, Media Development, Brand Management and Research. In that position, he was responsible for innovating and managing a variety of initiatives designed to leverage existing ABC media businesses. Prior to that, he served for more than five years as Senior VP, News Magazine and Longform Programming for ABC News. Before joining ABC, Wurtzel taught at the University of Georgia and Queens College, City University of New York. He authored many articles for both academic journals and consumer publications and is the author of the textbook “Television Production,” which has been a standard in the field for over 20 years. He was named a Media Maven by Advertising Age in 2009 for his work with cross-platform measurement and was selected by Mediaweek as one of the Most Influential Executives Shaping the Future of Media in 2007.

Michael WolffModerator: Michael Wolff

Michael Wolff has chronicled the diverging paths of old and new media over the past twenty years in his regular columns in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, and British GQ. He is the author of five previous books, including the bestseller Burn Rate, the story of the rise and fall of the early search engine company he founded—often singled out as the best book of the dotcom age—and The Man Who Owns the News, the definitive biography of Rupert Murdoch, based on nine months of conversation with the mogul. He has received many citations for his work in both the U.S. and U.K., including two National Magazine’s Award and four nominations. He is the son of an ad man and, in 2011, edited and revamped the trade magazine, Adweek. He is one of the founders of Newser, the seven-year-old (profitable) news site. He lives in New York City.


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