10 Things We Learned From Variety’s TV Summit

From binge viewing to social media marketing to the cutting edge of storytelling to the boom in live TV, top executives and creatives gathered Tuesday to dissect all aspects of an ever-changing business at Variety’s annual TV Summit.

Here are 10 things we learned from the daylong event, held at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills…

Pam Levine, Chief Marketing Officer, HBO

“There’s so much focus on taking advantage of content on new platforms. But, it’s not that the traditional tools don’t work, but you have to be smart about how you use them. It’s about putting something out at a time when you can get the most noise for it.”

Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment

“There are no barriers between Broadway, movies and television anymore,” Greenblatt said. “It’s completely interwoven now. Everybody does everything.”

Mark Greenberg, CEO, Epix

“Our investment is to create value for consumers. The content creates a certain mystique. Our strategy will be somewhat similar to what ‘Mad Men’ did for AMC. We’re doing two major series this year and “America Divided” a limited docu-series leading up to the election executive produced by Shonda Rhimes, Norman Lear and Common. Like with ‘Under the Gun,’ people respond to controversial topics.”

Jeph Loeb, Head of Television, Marvel Television and Executive Producer of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Jessica Jones

“We’ve grown away from the idea that comics are all about two heroes fight each other for no reason. We’ve grown to a place where it’s a storytelling art form. “Jessica Jones” was a perfect example. Its a story about a woman whose life was destroyed by a man who did something to her. We have Luke Cage coming on and that’s about the first black superhero. So you can’t do that show and not talk about racism in America.”

Bob Bakish, CEO, Viacom International

“There is no such thing as international, there are countries. When we talk about our business we talk about global and local. Ten years ago Comedy Central wasn’t a global brand. We are still importers of U.S. product, we still take it and exhibit it. The best example of our local business in the Indian market, 95% of that market is Indian content.”

Brian Robbins, CEO, Awesomeness TV

“It’s not just about the shows but how our audience interact with the shows. If you don’t engage the consumer on the left in the middle, you won’t get them to the right.”

Andy Kaplan, President, Worldwide Networks Sony Pictures Television

“The initial reaction for ‘Shark Tank’ in Mexico was that, ‘Well we don’t really have that same entrepreneurial spirit here.’ But sometimes it’s really easy to find excuses not to do it. And it turns out there is a large amount of entrepreneurial spirit there and it worked out.”

Aaron Sorkin, Creator and Executive Producer, “A Few Good Men” Live

“A Few Good Men” was the first play that I wrote. I am writing it over [for “A Few Good Men Live”]. It was my starter play and I’m proud of it but it still feels like my high school year book picture. I think I’m a better writer now because I have more experience under my belt.”

Armando Nunez, CEO, CBS Global Distribution

“The threat of Netflix going global helped wake up the international marketplace.”

Michelle Vicary, Executive VP of Programming and Network Publicity, Crown Media Family Networks

“Everything starts with a brand. Our success comes from a more targeted audience profile and brand profile. We are not afraid to have people look to come spend two hours with us and feel a little better when they’re done. we’re always looking to change people when they come to our channel. What we’re doing, not a lot of people are doing as well.”

Doug Ross, CEO and Executive Producer, “Real Housewives” franchise

“I think there is definitely a drought in reality TV because we came from a place of fatigue. There’s a return towards simplicity and I think ‘Little Big Shots’ is the perfect example of boiling it down to the minimum and it works with great casting like a Steve Harvey. I think we’re moving towards more real and more documentary style content.”

(Pictured: Variety’s Debra Birnbaum, Showtime’s Don Buckley, Fox’s Angela Courtin, HBO’s Pam Levine and E!’s Jen Neal)

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