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Schiller’s Showtime: A Media Maverick’s Insights Unveiled (Part II)

In the first part of our interview, we are introduced to Scott Schiller, a media maverick with a remarkable career spanning various influential roles in the industry. From his time at NBCUniversal and Glam Media to his current positions at NYU Stern School of Business and Progress Partners, Schiller’s expertise and insights have left an indelible mark on the media landscape. We delved into his keen observations about the impact of technology on the entertainment and media business and how innovation is the catalyst for change in an industry that often struggles to keep up with the pace of technological advancements.

Schiller’s experience with business model innovation and the challenges it entails is highlighted, along with his pivotal role in co-founding the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its impact on the digital ecosystem. Moreover, the article explores Schiller’s enthusiasm for Connected TV (CTV) and the transformation of TV advertising through first-party data and identity. His excitement is palpable as he discusses the game-changing potential of Shoppable TV and its seamless integration of e-commerce into digital video, offering new avenues for marketers to drive meaningful customer actions and create engaging, interactive experiences.

Ultimately, Schiller’s forward-thinking approach demonstrates how the convergence of technology, data, and media presents boundless possibilities for reaching and engaging audiences, leading to tangible business impact like never before.

When it comes to the future of the media industry, Scott Schiller’s insights are as sharp as ever. He warns against complacency and stresses the importance of reinvention, stating, “The biggest mistake businesses can make is resting on their laurels or believing they do not have competition. Just look at Twitter, for instance. They have opened the door to companies like Instagram/Meta eating into their ‘exclusive’ place in the market. As we all move towards Web 3.0+, we see disruptors being disrupted. Reinvention is mandatory today.”

In a rapidly evolving landscape, media companies must grapple with significant challenges to achieve profitable growth. Schiller emphasizes the need for adaptability and agility, noting that companies now operate differently, especially in the post-COVID era. He observes, “Taking risks and making mistakes was long the territory of start-ups, but now we see divisions shuttered quickly if they don’t perform. Companies of all sizes and scale are expected to show a path to EBITA from day one. Business models must be realistic and grounded and not whiteboard dreamscapes.”

To enable organizations to move faster and think holistically, Schiller recommends breaking down silos and fostering a culture of teamwork. He believes in compensation structures that align with shared KPIs to encourage collaboration and emphasizes that every team member plays a crucial role in driving success. Schiller aptly summarizes this sentiment, stating, “Creating environments where trust and teamwork are evaluated alongside results from the ground up is critical to teams operating quickly and effectively.”

Schiller’s contributions to the rise of media brands and industry leaders are nothing short of remarkable. In his early days at MTV Networks, he passionately advocated for reaching overlooked youth audiences with premium content and engaging advertising. This visionary approach led to lasting success, attracting brands that followed the audiences. Schiller reflects on this pivotal time, sharing, “My early days at MTV Networks were all about evangelizing the power of (then) cable TV (a new technology for delivering television) to reach often overlooked demographics, youth audiences. We told the story of the importance of reaching these spending consumers with the right premium content (programming) and advertising creative (from advertisers) to entertain and engage audiences.”

At Comcast, after acquiring NBCUniversal, Schiller played a pivotal role in establishing a thriving digital advertising business when digital was yet to be considered mainstream. He united diverse teams and talent, molding them into a cohesive force driving innovation across the entire industry. Schiller reflects on this transformative period, stating, “Over many years, 16 separate digital sales and marketing teams across the corporation became united in talent, culture, mission, and performance. Today, that business is a leader in driving innovation across the entire industry.”

With an illustrious career spanning multiple senior roles, Schiller’s most valuable lessons can serve as a guiding light for aspiring business leaders. He shared the importance of bringing a great attitude and work ethic, consistently seeking opportunities to learn and improve. Schiller reflects on his lifelong journey of learning, stating, “I am a lifelong learner, and every day is a lesson (some harder than others). Realizing that one learns from all directions is essential and humbling, and why every day, I am thankful for being part of it and helping others where I can.”

Schiller’s passion for mentoring and developing people shines through in every aspect of his life, extending far beyond his professional pursuits.

As an Adjunct Professor at NYU Stern School of Business, he believes in fostering an environment of equal learning, where students and professor alike contribute to the discussion. Schiller’s approach to teaching is a testament to his belief in the power of mutual learning. He humorously remarks, “The dirty little secret of teaching is that I learn more than the students do! Each class is everyone’s responsibility. We’re equals.”

Scott Schiller’s journey from industry maverick to mentor and visionary is a testament to his unyielding dedication to the media and technology world. He leaves no stone unturned, constantly adapting and embracing change as it unfolds. His passion, combined with his sharp wit and unrelenting pursuit of innovation, make him a legend in the online advertising and adtech industry.

As we bid adieu to this digital savant, we are left inspired by his words and wisdom, knowing that the future of media rests in the hands of visionaries like Scott Schiller. Whether pioneering new business models, navigating the convergence of digital and linear TV, or mentoring the next generation of talent, Schiller’s impact on the industry is one for the ages. And so, as we look forward to the dawn of new media landscapes, we can’t help but wonder what other awe-inspiring feats the maverick of media has in store for us.

Pesach Lattin
Pesach Lattin
Pesach "Pace" Lattin is one of the top experts in interactive advertising, affiliate marketing. Pesach Lattin is known for his dedication to ethics in marketing, and focus on compliance and fraud in the industry, and has written numerous articles for publications from MediaPost, ClickZ, ADOTAS and his own blogs.

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