Jack Wakshlag, one of the network TV research chiefs with real street cred, announced he is retiring as chief research officer of Turner Broadcasting at the end of the month.
Over the 12 years that he oversaw Turner’s research operations -- some of the most turbulent and redefining not just for cable TV, or even television, but media overall -- Wakshlag walked the fine line separating a delicate balance between applied and theoretical research, both debating and embracing new ideas while striving to maintain the stability of the TV audience estimates that are the basis of TV’s advertising currency.
He championed Turner to become the first TV organization to begin coding its programming in order to measure the over-the-top viewing contribution to commercials when it was still considered minuscule and insignificant by other telecasters, because he believed it was inevitable and would provide Turner with early insights and a potential competitive advantage.
Among the personal accomplishments he cited in his own internal memo to the Turner organization announcing his retirement were, in his own words: creating and promoting “concepts including digital ad load testing that gave us confidence to put our content online with full ad loads, extended home, extended screen, TOPCAT, GENUS, NCAA Cross Platform, CNN All Screen, 5 Principles of Multiscreen Engagement, Advanced Media Targeting, ROI analyses, the biggest and best promo testing data base, and outstanding program/movie estimating processes.
“All of these demonstrated innovation and thought leadership, but also on the practical reality of generating revenue and helping drive better business decisions,” he wrote, modestly characterizing himself as not being “responsible” for, but simply “an enabler” of those innovations.No succession plans were announced.