It’s never been easy for media companies to attract and retain the best digital talent, given the richer opportunities that beckon in Silicon Valley. It hasn’t helped that media companies have spent years debating whether to build digital products that could cause short-term harm to the traditional businesses. Indeed, while working to select the candidates for this list, one of the most common refrains we heard was that many of the smartest tech people at media firms had left—think Adam Bain leaving Fox for Twitter and Rob Caruso, a onetime digital products video president at HBO who is now at Netflix.
There are some smart digital executives left in media, however, and with this list we’ve tried to identify some of those. When compiling this list, The Information looked for people under the radar, who’ve had success building products or running a business unit. We talked to media and technology executives who’ve been around the space for years. Similarly, we took an expanded view of what defines a media company. It’s not just corporate owners of TV networks and magazines, but companies that distribute their content across multiple mediums and platforms (but, for the most part, are driven by advertising and subscription fees).