By: Robert Edelstein
We have a new no. 1 atop our annual list of media power players. And we can think of at least one person who will be happy about that. Why the shift? Even given a society that loves hyperbole like absolutely nothing else ever, this has truly been a year for the books in this industry, full of reckoning, remaking and reregulating. As we hover between rage and exhaustion, it still feels like we’re just beginning. We once thought we understood what “media disruption” meant. As Salman Rushdie recently put it on CNN, “It’s very difficult sometimes for people to judge truth from untruth.” And that’s the #truth. But didn’t we already know that? “When people say something false, I attack [them] because the news media gets away with murder,” Donald Trump told CNN — in 1990.
In trying to weigh different levels of power for such an annual list, the apples-and-oranges argument sometimes comes down to money and means versus influence. This year, influence rules. Is our top pick some kind of endorsement? No. It’s a warning.
Because of the influence of Donald J. Trump, historic deals may or may not happen, and for seemingly disparate, suspect reasons. Covering this president, the undiscerning news has been remarkable for one thing above all else: pure volume, in every meaning of the word. A petulant tweet sent at 6:30 a.m. is fodder for an entire day’s news cycle and for late-night laughs. Times are supposed to change; just not this much this quickly.
Thank goodness the other top power players on our list fill in all the binge-worthy gaps. In the content wars, we’re truly being ruled by the growing muscle of Netfl — oh, sorry: streaming — and how best to funnel programming to as giant a swath of the globe as possible for as much time as possible. Among top companies, where levels of power are frequently based on “going bigger,” true leaders are separating themselves from once-mighty corporations, fueled by huge spending, artificial intelligence and winning strategy.
New actions in the worlds of data measurement, law deregulation and technology will shift the paradigm further in 2018. Individual series — such as the POTUS-favored Fox & Friends and the constantly jabbing and incisive Last Week Tonight With John Oliver — seem made for these turbulent times. As they say in motorsports, better pull those seat belts tighter.
You will see familiar names on this list, including C-level execs, government officials, producers, talent, agents, creators and analysts. How do we make our choices? CEOs and controllers of giant companies are inevitably rated high. Is someone elevated because that proposed merger is around the corner? Not necessarily; this is more a snapshot of this very moment. (We’re talking to you Mr. Iger.) Typically and shamefully, there is not nearly enough diversity on this list. Among other observations, there are too few women. But there is now a most welcome sense that that is about to change.
29. Randy Falco
President and CEO, Univision Communications
With a new two-year extension under his belt, Falco remains committed to keeping Univision’s unique voice in the Hispanic community strong and relevant through the creation of multiplatform content. Falco, along with Univision chief revenue officer Tonia O’Connor, continued to generate strong earnings for the company in 2017 ($104 million in Q3). Falco was also very vocal on a number of key political issues during the year, including DACA and the growing climate of hate within the country.
Source: Multichannel News