Third Annual Variety500 Unveiled: The 500 Most Important People in Global Media

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As the year draws to a close, there’s a natural impulse in all of us to look back on the previous 12 months to see how far we’ve come in our careers. There’s no better benchmark to measure your success against than Variety500, our annual collection of the world’s most impactful people working in media today (full list available here).

2019 is a particularly interesting time to be taking stock of who the most influential names are across the industry because it’s been a period of incredible disruption. Look anywhere around the media landscape and you’ll see profound change in progress, from the megadeals rapidly consolidating some already fairly large companies to the emergence of a new class of product — streaming services — that represent some of the biggest gambles Hollywood has ever made. The high stakes couldn’t be clearer: The organizations that don’t make the right moves in the next few years may not be around much longer.

That’s why being a strong leader in this industry has never mattered more. If there’s some common threads that weave together the many different individuals who make up our 500 honorees this year, it’s that they possess the skills that help multibillion-dollar enterprises navigate uncertain times. The true greats never stand pat and always keep moving forward. Rather than accepting the status quo, they adapt and innovate with their ability to see around the corners that most mere mortals don’t notice.

We continue to innovate the Variety500 list as well, fine-tuning our approach to the difficult task of recognizing excellence across an incredibly broad range of people and companies across the globe. The gender split continues to even out, as female honorees climbed nearly 8% from last year; representation of several key minority groups has also improved over 2018. For more on our internal selection process, you can view a full rundown here.

Now in its third year, Variety500 is still young but already showing signs of taking root in the industry as a badge of honor for the industry elite. Inclusion on the list is popping up in more executive bios than ever, and the lobbying for consideration has reached a fever pitch over here at Variety HQ. What once was a frenzy of phone calls and e-mails from publicists over the course of a month or two has now become a year-round affair. Regardless of whether it’s March or November, Variety500 editors are always happy to hear a pitch. Feel free to send one to EIC@variety.com; the road to the 2020 edition begins now!