Following a six-month search, the Television Bureau of Advertising is poised to announce that Steve Lanzano, COO of Havas' MPG North America unit, has been named the new president of the TV advertising trade association. Lanzano, who will succeed current TVB President Chris Rohrs when he retires at year's end, will be the eighth head of the bureau, and the first to come directly from a top job on Madison Avenue.
He joins at a time of acute change for the TV advertising business -- following a year in which TV advertising expenditures are expected to decline 14.4%, and which is projected to have only tepid, annual single-digit growth for the foreseeable future, according to a recent Interpublic forecast.
But Lanzano, a Madison Avenue veteran who joined MPG six years ago from WPP's Mediaedge:cia unit, has been among the industry leaders who has been trying to accelerate some big changes in the TV advertising marketplace, especially the deployment of enhanced forms of TV advertising. Through MPG's so-called Collaborative Alliance meetings and projects, Lanzano's team, led by Executive Vice President-Televisual Applications Mitch Oscar, has helped to build an informal industry consensus around some long-stalled TV industry promises, including interactive TV advertising, addressable TV advertising, digital set-top data and research initiatives, and even digital out-of-home television platforms.
In a recent column written for MediaPost's ""TV Board," Lanzano even took on the subject of TV advertising verification -- a subject that was once hot on Madison Avenue, but which seems to have died down in recent years. MPG's Collaborative Alliance is currently conducting live field tests of two state-of-the-art electronic verification services -- Nielsen's and Eloda -- on behalf of client Reckitt Benckiser, and like all things to come out of the alliance, the results will be shared publicly with the entire industry.
Lanzano, who gave notice to Havas last week, and who has been off-site with other senior executives at a previously scheduled Havas Media management meeting in Connecticut, will stay on with MPG through the end of the year, and will help with the transition process.
Last November, Havas named Shaun Holliday to succeed former MPG North America CEO Charlie Rutman, who retired -- and passed over Lanzano, who insiders say had been bucking for the top job.
Before joining MPG, Holliday was CEO-In-Residence at Gryphon Investors, a leading private equity firm. Before that, he served as president of new business & innovation for Newell Rubbermaid, president of international for The Pepsi Bottling Group, CEO of Diageo's Guinness Ireland Group, and general manager of Frito-Lay's Direct Division.
In a statement, MPG said: "Steve has been a real asset to MPG, and we will miss him, both personally and professionally, when he joins TVB at the end of the year. He's made an important contribution to the growth that we are currently enjoying. We have a strong executive team in place that will ensure a smooth transition."
I think it's a great opportunity," Lanzano told MediaDailyNews by phone this morning. "Television works. I've always been a proponent of TV. It brings people into the store, and it makes the cash register ring, and we've got to get that story out."
He added that the message would not be confined to the TVB's traditional core message of over-the-air broadcast TV, but to all the forms that the medium is evolving into.
"It's going to be more than that. It's going to be about mobile. It's going to be about interactive. It's gong to be about the Web. It's gong to be about multichannel distribution, and more than that," he said, adding: "We're going to bring that out to advertisers and agencies."
Lanzano will clearly face some challenges as the new TVB president, but he brings strong relationships from Madison Avenue and corporate marketers -- as well as the media industry -- along with him.
Over the years, the TVB's role and influence in the TV industry has fragmented like the medium itself. When it was originally formed in 1954 by former ABC President Ollie Treyz, the TVB was the singular voice of the TV advertising industry. During the 1980s, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) was formed and took on the mantle of the multichannel TV advertising marketplace, and other trade associations such as the Syndicated Network Television Association (SNTA, formerly ASTA) took on other aspects of the business. For a brief while, there was also a Network Television Advertising Association. And in some ways, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which represents online publishers, is getting increasingly into the online video advertising game, much of which comes from traditional television programmers and advertisers.
According to the TVB's last filing with the Internal Revenue Service, current TVB President Rohrs earned $766,788 in compensation in 2007. According to the CAB's last IRS filing, CAB President Sean Cunningham, another former Madison Avenue media executive, earned $1,028,000 in 2008 compensation.
While those may seem like hefty salaries for trade associations, the heads of media services at Madison Avenue's top agency holding companies are known to make several times those amounts.