|Tuesday, March 30
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM
TV Networks and Interactivity: Evolving Content & Business Models
TV networks have embraced interactivity for almost a decade, both with standalone website content and synchronized, Enhanced TV content. Much has changed over that time, including technological barriers, assumptions about consumer preferences, business models, and the economic climate for interactive experimentation. What's working and what's not? What can the industry expect to see over the next 24 months? Is there a future for synchronized content, or is "interactive TV" destined to be only about VOD and SVOD? In this session we bring together top programming executives and creators who are dealing with what it means to leverage and extend their on-air television programming to the Internet or into the Interactive TV space.
Bill Allman, Sr. Vice President, Interactive Media, Discovery Networks
Jeffrey Pollack, Managing Director, Broadcasting & New Media, NASCAR Digital Entertainment
John P. Roberts, Senior Vice President Interactive & Online Entertainment, Game Show Network
William Corbin, Vice President, Interactive Production, A&E Television Networks
John Gilles, Director of Interactive Television, TechTV
Scott Fedewa, Managing Partner, Broadcast Commerce Partners
Marcia Zellers, Director, Enhanced Television, American Film Institute, Moderator
William F. Allman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Interactive New Media, Discovery.com: William F. Allman is Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Interactive New Media Group at Discovery Communications Inc. His primary duties involve the strategic planning of content and day-to-day management of Discovery.com and creating content for ITV and Broadband applications. Mr. Allmans core mission is to create a strategic vision of interactive content for DCI properties including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, The Travel Channel, DiscoveryHealth, DiscoveryKids, Discovery HD Theatre, as well as the DCI Digital Networks: Discovery Times, Discovery Science, Wings, and Home & Leisure. Allman has been involved in Interactive Content for more than a decade. Previously, Allman was the founding manager and editor for the U.S. News & World Report Web site, which launched in November, 1992. As a member of the core team that shaped the site, Allman guided the U.S. News & World Report online offering to become a highly trafficked and profitable business. He also developed and edited U.S. News first CD-ROM project, Getting into College. Allman was also responsible for launching U.S. News & World Report on Compuserve during the earliest days of Interactive Media, where he was the host of the first live cybercast from the White House with Vice President Al Gore. Allman began his career as a science writer, helping to create the award-winning magazine Science 80, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He then moved to U.S. News & World Report as a senior science writer and editor. Allman has authored three books: Newton at the Bat: The Science of Sports (Putnam); Apprentices of Wonder: Inside the Neural Network Revolution (Bantam) and The Stone Age Present: The Evolution of Everyday Life (Simon & Schuester), and numerous cover stories. His work has also been featured in The New York Times Review of Books, The Washington Post, Folio, Technology Review, Esquire, and Omni magazines. Mr. Allman has a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Biology from Brown University.
Jeffrey Pollack is Managing Director of Broadcasting and New Media for NASCAR Digital Entertainment. In this position, he helps manage NASCARs national broadcasting partnerships with FOX, FX, NBC, and TNT, and leads the development of all Internet, cable television, subscription television, advanced television, satellite radio, and new media ventures for the sport. Pollack is responsible for NASCARs partnerships with America Online, Turner Sports Interactive, Speed Channel, iN DEMAND and XM Satellite Radio, and he directs all business development and strategic communications initiatives for NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment. He also serves as Executive Producer of NASCAR IN CAR on iN DEMAND televisions first enhanced multi-channel digital sports package. Pollack has 15 years of executive experience in media, communications, and sports management. In 1994, he pioneered a new genre of sports journalism when he founded The Sports Business Daily the first daily trade publication for the sports industry. Under his leadership as President and Publisher, The Sports Business Daily quickly became a must-read for leading decision-makers in the sports, entertainment and television industries a status and tradition the publication maintains today. Pollack also served as Vice President of New Media Publishing for Broadband Sports, Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications for the National Basketball Association, and as the NBAs Communications Consultant during collective bargaining negotiations in 1998 and 1999. Prior to starting The Sports Business Daily, Pollack was Vice President of Winner & Associates - one of the nation's leading strategic communications and public affairs consulting firms. In this capacity, he provided communications and political counsel to category-leading corporations throughout the United States and helped manage statewide ballot issue campaigns. Pollack has twice been named to The Sporting News 100 and was named to the inaugural list of "40 Under 40" published by Street and Smiths Sports Business Journal. Pollack holds a masters degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; a masters degree from The Graduate School of Political Management; and a bachelors degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
William Corbin is Vice President, Interactive Production for A&E Television Networks, overseeing all Interactive design, marketing, production and editorial content for AETNs consumer web sites including www.aetv.com; www.HistoryChannel.com; and www.Biography.com. An Internet pioneer with over a decade of experience in production, marketing, and the development of New Media and Interactive properties, Mr. Corbin joined AETN from RestaurantRow.com, where he served as the Executive Vice President. Prior to that, Mr. Corbin was Executive Producer and Director of Business at CBS New Media Division, where he oversaw the launch and development of CBS.com. Previously, Mr. Corbin was in charge of technology segments as a producer for Fox and their cable property, FX. Mr. Corbin is a graduate of the University of Maine and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Society for Internet Advancement, based in San Francisco. A joint venture of The Hearst Corporation, ABC, Inc. and NBC, A&E Television Networks is an award-winning, international media company offering consumers a diverse communications environment ranging from television programming, magazine publishing, web sites, books, music CDs, to home videos/DVDs as well as supporting nationwide educational initiatives. A&E Television Networks is comprised of A&E Network, The History Channel, The Biography Channel, History International, AETN International, AETN Consumer Products, Biography Magazine and Genealogy.com.
John Gilles, Director of Interactive Television, TechTV: With a tech savvy audience who is excited by and curious about the latest technologies, TechTV must continuously strive to deliver its viewers with the advanced, interactive experience they desire. John Gilles, TechTV's director of interactive television, succeeds in keeping the network ahead of this interactive curve. A pioneer in the world of interactive television, John's expertise falls in all areas of interactive television and beyond ? from VOD and virtual channels to industry ecology and the latest interactive technologies. He is an expert in the full experience of iTV application deployment, and has seen through the process from application discovery to full interactive deployment. John was instrumental in the launch of the network's interactive virtual channel, TechTVi, on Cablevision System Corporation's suite of digital services, iO: Interactive Optimum. TechTVi provides viewers with an interactive format and video on-demand capability to access its technology information, news and entertainment programming. In addition, John also coordinated the interactive enhancements of various TechTV shows, including Extended Play and Fresh Gear. Using the Wink Platform, these interactive elements are distributed by DirecTV, Charter and Time-Warner. John is a frequent speaker on interactive television and has presented at various industry events including Kagan Interactive TV Summit, Carmel Group's Convergence 2001, Broadband Developers Conference, among others
Scott Fedewa, Managing Partner, Broadcast Commerce Partners: Mr. Fedewa is an experienced senior executive, deal-maker, and manager, as well as a former investment banker and attorney. Through his e-commerce consulting firm, Broadcast Commerce Partners, Mr. Fedewa is currently Executive Producer & COO of BillOReilly.com, the online business of #1 rated cable television newscaster Bill OReilly. The company is a highly successful collaboration between Mr. Fedewa, Mr. OReilly, Westwood One Radio, Fox News, and Random House publishing. BillOReilly.com demonstrates the potential of Internet-based content, community, merchandise and subscription membership business models.A leader in building companies and doing deals that combine the strengths of Hollywood with Internet technologies, Mr. Fedewa has also held senior executive positions with e-commerce companies including FirstLook.com (Senior Vice President-Business Development), WeddingChannel.com (Managing Director-Europe), US Search.com (Senior Vice President-Mergers & Acquisitions), and the Intel-backed Musicosm.com (CEO). He has also served as CFO & General Counsel of Sony Musics Immortal Entertainment Group, and as a Vice President of Bankers Trust Company. He began his career with the investment banking firm of J.P. Morgan & Company in New York. Mr. Fedewa received his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he wrote the first published legal articles predicting the impact of the Internet on the entertainment industry in 1994, and his B.A. from The University of Michigan. Mr. Fedewa is a frequent speaker and published author on online entertainment, copyright law, and e-commerce strategies. He sits on the Advisory Boards of several companies and charitable organizations.
Marcia Zellers is the Director of Enhanced Television for the American Film Institute (AFI). Beginning its sixth year, AFIs Enhanced TV Workshop has produced 40+ enhanced TV prototypes. AFIs eTV Workshop has become the gathering place for the American eTV creative and technology communities, and is renowned as the premier environment for eTV exploration and development. Zellers has pursued the challenge of a cutting edge, consumer-friendly marriage of television and interactivity since she joined MTV Interactives New York headquarters as a founding member in 1994. As a Senior Producer and Director heading up all MTVs music-related Web strategy, programming and development, creative direction, talent relations, and convergence programming with MTVs on-air operations, Zellers created and produced some of the earliest enhanced TV programming. Early pioneering examples, which aired on TV, include a split screen production incorporating simultaneous live Web chat with Michael Jackson, Jackson videos, and highlights of Jacksons career; the Red Hot Chili Peppers live at Madison Square Garden, with simultaneous roaming backstage cameras broadcasting live to the Web; and Janet Jackson on MTVs Total Request Live interacting on air with viewers on the Web. In 1999 Zellers moved to Los Angeles, where she spearheaded Warner Bros. Onlines Entertaindom project, one of the Webs then-highest profile entertainment destinations and the first planned broadcast-style distribution model. (Entertaindom was intended to showcase both Time-Warner and non-Time-Warner programming.) As Supervising Producer, she oversaw all aspects of the department and helped develop original programming intended for eventual cross-platform and enhanced development. Zellers has been a new media consultant for entities like New Line Cinema and composer Giorgio Moroder, and previous to AFI was the Vice President of Web Development and Creative Director for Greater Relations Worldwide, a nascent dotcom. Zellers is also a published writer and editor, and has an eclectic background that includes publishing, marketing, advertising, fundraising, and stock brokerage.
JOHN P. ROBERTS, Senior Vice President, Interactive, and Online Entertainment, Game Show Network: iTV pioneer and the visionary behind the 2002 launch of Game Show Networks (GSN) ground breaking interactive television services, John P. Roberts brings to GSN a rich background in developing new technologies for the high-speed, broadband universe. While fostering industry-wide acceptance of new interactive technology applications, Roberts has positioned GSN a new era of high-speed, broadband entertainment. As senior vice president of interactive and online entertainment, Roberts and his team have created a futuristic template for cable and satellite TV distributors to offer more innovative interactive services to their customers. His relationship with the interactive arm of the MSOs complements that of GSNs affiliate sales team and helps complete the package of available GSN services. Tying the launch of GSNs interactive services with the launch of a half-dozen original game show series, the network now features 84 hours per week of interactive TV (iTV) programming. Remarkably, in one years time, the number of iTV users registering as GSN interactive players has increased from 6,000 to over 1 million strong. In addition to Roberts duties producing the interactive programming, he is also charged with overseeing GSNs website, gameshownetwork.com, including the production of multi-player Shockwave games. Of GSNs four television multi-player games, the most popular is the newest, LINGO PLUS, a five-letter word-guessing-game tailored after GSNs popular primetime counterpart. Prior to joining Game Show Network in June 2001, Roberts was senior vice president of internet and iTV development at Vulcan Programming II, a division of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allens Vulcan Ventures. He was responsible for the development, supervision and implementation of interactive and convergence strategies for Vulcans digital cable networks and other Internet-based Web programming content. Previously, Roberts served as vice president of new media for Fox Family Worldwide, Inc., where he oversaw all aspects of Internet development for the networks websites including foxkids.com and foxfamilychannel.com. Additionally, Roberts spearheaded the Fox Family convergence task force, which explored opportunities in interactive television. His background includes business development at Universal Studios New Media Group, where he set up strategic relationships with outside partners and brought in new business for the online production group. For Fox Broadcasting Company, Roberts created the corporate online department and supervised the launch of the networks website. Additionally, he was part of the marketing team that launched the cable channel FX, for which he also oversaw the premiere of network website launch. A frequent speaker on new media, Roberts has appeared on panels at the American Television Academy, the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE), and Digital Hollywood conferences, among others. He also recently served as a judge for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) first-ever interactive Emmy Award and is a member on the organizing committee for the cable televisions Western Show. He also serves on the advisory boards for Digital Coast Roundtable and Interactive Television Alliance (ITA). A native of Rochester, New York, Roberts graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in TV and film production from the State University of New York, Fredonia.