The ROUNDTABLE uniquely combines case studies, education, experience and research in tackling a diverse range of issues related to the media business model and industry transformation. This event puts an unparalleled emphasis on interaction. Unlike the traditional conference setting, The ROUNDTABLE is a series of discussions led by faculty members that have “been there, done that.” They will share their business challenges, their approaches to resolving those challenges, and the results they have achieved – followed by a conversation about whether or not it makes business sense for the rest of the folks in the room.

You are invited to stay apprised of updates to the 2017 agenda by joining The ROUNDTABLE @ Vail LinkedIn Group.


7:00am          Golfers meet in the lobby for departure to Sonnenalp Golf Club

10:00am        Hikers meet in the lobby

3:30pm          The ROUNDTABLE “Shark Tank”

The media is a technology-driven business. Innovation is pervasive – from the manner in which content is produced and distributed to the plethora of ways by which it is monetized and transacted. Success is dependent upon embracing technical innovation and putting it to work in growing, engaging and profiting from audiences.

The first-ever ROUNDTABLE “Shark Tank” welcomes a select group of below-the-radar, bleeding-edge industry partners and innovators to make their 10-minute pitch to ROUNDTABLE participants. The list of participating companies includes Paytime, AdKiosk and Calkins Digital among others.

5:30pm          Welcome Reception


8:00am          Welcome & Introductions

8:30am          The Keynote: Earl Wilkinson, Executive Director & CEO, INMA

10:00am       The Executive Roundtable

Denise Warren, Founder/CEO of Netlyst and former digital head for The New York Times and Tribune Company, will moderate a panel of senior newsmedia executives in a discussion of their innovative efforts to diversify revenue and transform their business models. Confirmed: Graciela Eleta (CEO, GFR Media), Jim Moroney (Publisher/CEO, The Dallas Morning News), Peter Doucette (Chief Consumer Revenue Officer, Boston Globe Media)

12:00pm        Lunch

1:00pm          Audience Pivot: From Archaic to Advanced in Akron

Mark Cohen, the publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal, is leading a transformation of the ABJ’s approach to audience optimization. That approach is putting an emphasis on metrics, automation and accountability with an anticipated outcome that delivers significant reductions in customer attrition, operational expense and marketing inefficiencies. Mark will explain the rationale behind the decisions and the detail of the forthcoming journey.

1:45pm          The Customer Engagement Funnel

Matt Coen, Co-Founder & President, Second Street

3:00pm          Companies That Are Leading the Local Media Transformation

Last year saw record earnings in the broadcast industry. But forward-thinking media firms aren’t resting on their laurels. In fact, they’re leading the way when it comes to changing their culture and preparing for disruption.

Nancy Lane, president of the Local Media Association, will lead a panel of such forward-thinking companies in a detailed discussion of strategy – including definitive examples and case studies related to distributed content, OTT, video, digital agencies and more. Confirmed: John Conway (General Manager,


8:00am          Consolidation of R&D Partners: What It Means for Local Media

Consolidation is top-of-mind for R&D partners that service our local media industry. Charity Huff, managing Partner at Maroon Ventures, has been directly involved in several M&A activities, witnessing first-hand the local media advertising and marketing tech consolidation. She will share her perspective on:

  • What criteria is being used to evaluate these opportunities
  • Who is actively playing in the consolidation
  • What it all means for local media companies

8:30am        The ROUNDTABLE Case Study

It has become tradition for Dr. Paul Wang, associate professor at the Northwestern Media Center at Northwestern University, to lead participants in an insightful, interactive and entertaining discussion regarding one company’s approach to renovating its business model. For 2017, that company will be Axel Springer.

12:00pm        Lunch

1:00pm          The Pioneer News Group’s Microsoft Partnership & Tablet Initiative

After forging a partnership with Microsoft and two years of development, the Seattle-based Pioneer News Group has been selling digital subscriptions and providing Windows-based tablets in a handful of its markets for nearly a year. COO Eric Johnston will share details on the project genesis, the successes and struggles and information about who’s buying.

1:30pm          Treating the Customer as a Strategic Asset: Multi-Platform Audience Growth at The Day

Digital subscription growth often comes at the expense of print readership. Such is not the case in New London, CT where The Day has seen a 20% growth rate in Digital membership while maintaining its print base. The company has put focus on the customer rather than the platform while recognizing that consumer monetization in the digital era is an evolutionary process requiring activation, engagement and value-exchange to drive loyalty. Perhaps most importantly, The Day has resisted the temptation to compromise customer relationships through incremental charges, pricing actions, forced buys, etc., and have treated them like the strategic assets they are. Chief Revenue Officer Michael Moses shares the story.

2:00pm          Leveraging Data to Re-Define the Advertising Business Model

After nearly three decades of talking up the notion of “Data-Driven” revenue, it has now become mainstream. Ironically, we simultaneously face the challenges of disruption and the end of advertising as we’ve come to know it. Darrell Kunken, Director of Research for Bee Media in Sacramento, will share his expert perspective as to why “the end of advertising as we know it” doesn’t mean “the end of advertising.” Instead, it means a refined model of relevance and accountability driven by customer knowledge.

2:30pm          TBD

3:30pm          The ROUNDTABLE 25-Year Anniversary Party @ BOL Vail

Participants will celebrate the 25-year history of The ROUNDTABLE with a blowout party at Vail’s upscale bowling and dining destination, BOL Vail. The bowling won’t be serious, but the celebration will. Food, beverages and, yes, bowling, is included. (Bowling isn’t mandatory, but fun is)