FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

How To Prepare For An Uncertain Future

Coming up with a scenario that challenges our business assumptions is precisely the type of tactic that Barbara Cohen (left), president of Kannon Consulting, uses with her clients. Cohen, whose firm provides planning, facilitation and revenue-focused consulting services to media and marketing companies, believes that effective business planning must take into account the unforeseen circumstances as well as the ones that are staring us in the face.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

What Stations Must Know About Political Ads

Washington communications attorney Jack Goodman answers common questions about stations’ responsibilities regarding political campaign commercial rates, bonus spots, forms of payment and more.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Gen Y’s Latest Trend: Cord Cutting

A growing number of young adults born between 1980 and 1995 — Gen Y — are purchasing over-the-air antennas to watch television programming. Gen Ys are inherently more adept at, and prone to, experimenting with alternative forms of viewing TV content; they are less likely to accept the need to subscribe to subscription-based pay TV once they’re free to make their own decisions about it.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Person To Watch: Cox’s Lacey Lewis

The Media Financial Management Associations is honoring outstanding industry executives with its People to Watch awards. Among this year’s honorees is the SVP of finance for Cox Enterprises who has consistently shown a willingness to take on new challenges. Now, if she could only find time for to earn that helicopter pilot’s license.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Resolve To Take Time For You In 2012

Too often, when we pass up on informal and formal activities to aid our professional development for the sake of a pending project, we are also sacrificing the contribution these educational opportunities could be making to the success of our organizations.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Avoid Problems Posed By Medical Records

Late last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published regulations governing the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) that are applicable to employers. Here are 10 suggestions for addressing the aspects of the new regulations that employers are likely to encounter on a recurring basis and can be the most challenging.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

How To Stay In Tune With Music Copyrights

Even the slightest unauthorized uses of copyrighted music in television programming, advertisements and content developed for online and other multiplatform content carry significant financial penalties. With the risk of penalties that onerous, and an appreciation for just how limited fair uses of copyrighted materials can be, stations and programmers have all the more reason to ensure that their employees understand and comply with all of the copyright rules. Here’s a primer on how to stay on the right side of the law.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Tablets Spell Out Stations’ Mobile Future

2011 has been called “the year of the tablet.” What we’re seeing with mobile today is really no different than any of the other technological innovations that have continually transformed TV since its very inception. Thanks to Information Age pioneers like Steve Jobs, tablets are just the latest challenge requiring us to adapt our business models in order to retain customers and grow revenue. Tablets are not only influencing where we experience television, they are helping to re-shape the way we experience it. And they are providing TV stations with new opportunities for reaching mobile viewers.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Taking Some Of The Risk Out Of Disaster

You can’t prevent natural and man-made disasters, but you can mitigate their impact on your business by preparing for emergencies and making sure you have insurance to cover the loss of property and revenue caused by service disruptions.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

TV Everywhere Can Work For Everyone

It’s not about the technology used for delivering TV programming; it’s about the viewer’s ability to access the desired programming at the desired time using the most convenient device or platform for that particular moment. TV Everywhere addresses those needs by allowing customers to take their pay TV subscriptions with them, preserving the traditional business model.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Making Every Employee Part Of The Team

One of the most important ingredients to the success of any business is employee engagement. Here are a variety of strategies you can use to measure, set goals and improve this vital component. And don’t forget the importance of commnication: “The tone comes from the top. People may doubt what I say, but they always believe what I do,” advises Keen CFOs’ Bill Keenan.

FRONT OFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Keeping Gen Y Viewers Through Innovation

More and more stations are expanding their presence on the Web and participating in the mobile DTV initiative. While the consumer’s ability to access news and sports via off-air broadcasts is cited as one of the drivers for cord cutting, the growing importance of retransmission consent revenues is a very compelling reason for stations to explore partnering with subscription TV providers and participating in their TV Everywhere initiatives.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Digital Strategies Vital For Ad Revenue Growth

Media economist Jack Myers expects online originated video revenues to climb from $350 million to $14 billion over the current decade. Additional categories of digital ad spending that will grow dramatically over the next decade include social media spending, which Myers see climbing to $46 billion, and enhanced television. Simulmedia’s Brian Weiser adds: “The focus for the majority of TV ad spenders is on protecting their market share and conventional video dwarfs new platforms for awareness. Digital is the second most important medium because it meets all of the advertiser’s engagement objectives.”

FRONT OFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Investing in Networking Is Good For Business

One of the common misperceptions about networking is that it’s only of value for sales people looking for new business, or for those who have lost their jobs.However, learning how to network effectively — and feeling comfortable speaking with new acquaintances can be hugely beneficial to all professionals as well as their employers.

FRONT OFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Don’t Take License Renewals Lightly

It’s that time again, and communciations attorney Lee Shubert cautions against taking a cavalier approach to license renewal certifications. “Be mindful that your station license is probably your most valuable business asset, and that it is at jeopardy during the license,” he says in the latest issue of Financial Manager.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Revaluing The Role Of Credit And Collections

Ad sales can’t benefit the bottom line until the payments are received. Renaming the credit and collection function will help to shift internal perceptions about its importance to the success of the business.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Busting Ad Compensation And Liability Myths

Knowing the facts and developing the very best credit practices are essential for optimizing your ad sales operation. Eliminating old misperceptions can help media companies develop better compensation and credit liability practices that protect their own interests while fostering a win-win relationship with valuable industry players.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

New Media Requires Tougher Credit Checks

As non-traditional media revenue continues to increase in leaps and bounds, the need for more diligent credit sleuthing grows along with it. LIN Media’s credit and collections chief Greg Frost has some tips for how you can avoid coming up short when dealing the new breed of advertisers and their agencies.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

MFM To Honor 11 At Annual Conference

At Media Finance Focus 2011 (May 15-17 in Atlanta), the MFM and its BCCA subsidiary will recognize 11 industry executives who have aided the organization, made significant contributions to the media industries and inspired others. The award recipients: William Fitzsimmons, Michael Denson, Robin Szabo, Dwight Delapenha, Robert Amos, William Waters, Dean Rohrbaugh, George Stella, Wanda Borges, Bruce Nathan and Peter Gallo.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Solving The Revenue Recognition Puzzle

The bundling of services presents new accounting challenges for properly recognizing revenue from multiplatform content distribution deals. Things have changed from the days of broadcast-only deals for programming, when accountants used tried-and-true standards maintained by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Since You Can’t Stop New Media, Exploit It

We may not be able to put a moratorium on new media, but we can incorporate it into the time-shifting and TV everywhere solutions that capitalize on the changes in consumer behavior they are creating. More help in understanding the new media will be available at the MFM annual conference in Atlanta in May.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Let’s Keep The Lid On The Retrans Volcano

Rather than seeking leverage and advantage in retrans negotiations, cable operators and broadcasters should look for ways to collaborate and avoid the service disruptions that harm both parties. That collaboration could come in the form of joint local sales efforts and carriage of multicast channels.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Bosses, Are You A Mentor Or A Bully?

As you rush to respond to the dual pressures of year-end deadlines and the many expectations inherent in the holiday season, I urge you to take a few minutes to reflect on ways you can be a better boss and can help foster the best management practices within your organization.

FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Customer Service Key To Credit, Collections

Measures such as streamlining and automating much of the credit application process and involving ad sales in ongoing monitoring of their clients’ risk profile have reduced the time required to provide credit approvals and created a transparent and consistent credit and collections process.