Executives in and around the TV business have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season. The DVR looks to be getting more disruptive, but new ways to drive revenues -- from Netflix to TV Everywhere -- are popping up.
Who might be the most thankful? Some nominees …
Linda Yaccarino – The NBCUniversal executive was recently put in charge of all ad sales at the company. Good timing. After about a decade of struggles, the NBC network is on the rise, while the Olympics look to have established themselves as a multiplatform advertising engine this summer.
Oprah – It took some time -- and lots of executives in and out -- but the OWN network might be finding its footing. Ratings are up significantly, and plans call for Tyler Perry to bring scripted series to the network starting next year.
Josh Sapan – The AMC Networks CEO presides over the namesake network that keeps getting hotter, most recently thanks to the “Walking Dead’s” very lively ratings. Ad dollars rose more than 9% in the July-September quarter even as AMC was off Dish Network.
Adam Silver – The NBA Commissioner-in-waiting is in a terrific position to strike massive new TV contracts in a few years (current deals expire after the 2015-16 season). All other major sports will have deals going well into the next decade soon, so if the value of TV sports continues to rise, the NBA may be the last chance for networks to snag coveted programming for a good while.
Jack Klues – The head of VivaKi, who is just 57, is getting ready to retire. That instantly makes the long-time agency chief one of the more coveted free agents in media should he decide to bother with the whole business anymore.
Jason Kilar – The CEO of Hulu has built a business that Netflix now refers to as its biggest domestic competitor. Variety reports he could leave with $100 million.
Peyton Manning -- The quarterback has come back strong from his year off due to injury both on the field and on the air as a top endorser. One of his deals has given him an ownership stake in some Papa John’s franchises.
ESPN college football masterminds – The thanks could only last until Sunday morning. But the prospect of Notre Dame in the BCS national championship game -- the Irish have to win Saturday to get there -- could bring them huge ratings. (Negative: that could cost them more in coming rights negotiations.)
Chase Carey – News Corp., where he’s COO, has inked a deal that will likely give it a majority interest (80%) in the most valuable regional sports network around -- the YES Network. And it won’t have to worry about negotiating rights fees to the cornerstone Yankees games, since the network has a 40-year deal with the team.
Samsung marketers – The company’s campaign for its new Galaxy S III has had viral success with its shots at Apple. Yes -- it has spent a fortune, but it appears to have gotten its money’s worth. This could be a case study showing TV advertising still works.