12 to Watch: Lisa Hackner
A onetime receptionist for Telepictures is now the cornerstone of the studio’s immersion into the digital world.
“It’s an exciting time for us,” said Lisa Hackner, executive vice president of creative affairs for the company. “I think for all of us who are in programming, we have always tried to really develop content, and now for the first time we have the opportunity to develop a one-on-one relationship with the viewer.”
After working with executives such as Jim Paratore to launch TMZ.com, Ms. Hackner is devoting her attention to the next big digital project to come out of Telepictures. MomLogic.com is an online destination and cross-platform advertising network created as the ultimate destination for moms, built by moms, with Unilever as the charter sponsor.
The venture was created by Telepictures Productions as Warner Bros. Television Group’s latest foray into targeted digital content. It hopes to follow in the footsteps of TMZ.com, which ranks as the top entertainment news destination on the Internet and whose TV spinoff debuted this fall as the No. 1 new syndicated show.
With MomLogic.com’s launch, Ms. Hackner noted the company is further developing and innovating its business model of ad-supported, video-on-demand properties that host unique programming as a way for the group to create and produce content across all of its divisions designed specifically to keep up with the evolving digital entertainment and media landscape.
“We’ve been leveraging our strengths in programming for women for decades, and now that we’re finally having that personal relationship with our viewers, we’ll be able to react to what they are reacting to,” she said. “As a programmer, that’s very fulfilling as it’s a natural progression of what we have been doing, not to mention that moms control $1.6 trillion in spending.”
TMZ was the studio’s first foray into this area with an original idea, as opposed to an extension of the company’s current brands online.
“What we learned from TMZ or any of our forays into the digital world is that people want to be able to get information but want to give information as well,” Ms. Hackner said. “There is no longer a one-way stream of communication. Whether it’s ‘Ellen’ or ‘Tyra’ or ‘Extra,’ what we’re doing is that we really try to create community and an opportunity for dialogue with our audiences.”
After starting at Telepictures as a receptionist and then as an assistant to company executives Jim Paratore and Hilary Estey McLoughlin, Ms. Hackner moved up to development coordinator and later VP of development. After a stint at Universal, last year she took her current position, responsible for overseeing all of Telepictures’ creative efforts regarding new program and content development for all distribution outlets. As executive VP of creative affairs, she is responsible for the creation of new programming for Telepictures’ core first-run syndication business, as well as being charged with identifying ideas and talent for the digital space.
“Lisa has had a major role in Telepictures’ success,” said Ms. Estey McLoughlin, president of Telepictures Productions. “She has an uncanny ability to tap into the zeitgeist and to innovate ideas and the exceptional creativity, passion, taste and vision to bring them to life. Lisa embraces change and thrives with new challenges and has been a thought leader in our company in the digital space, creating brands like MomLogic, which is key to Telepictures’ long-term strategy.”
As an assistant to both Ms. Estey McLoughlin and Mr. Paratore, Ms. Hackner noted, she was pushed to take risks and think outside the box.
“We are never criticized for making mistakes—we are only pushed to take chances,” said Ms. Hackner. “Obviously we have the experience, so we are careful about what we do, but there really is an overall philosophy that we need to push ourselves and talk to other people as much as we can, so we are informed and we can take smart risks.”
With TMZ already rolling and MomLogic under way, the next step, according to Ms. Hackner, will be to utilize those resources to broaden the company’s reach both domestically and internationally.
“Content comes before everything, and what we are doing is the natural progression of what we’ve always done,” she said. “The online landscape is a great opportunity to extend existing brands, create new brands, as well as creating a brand online and extending back to broadcast television. It’s all part of the overall entertainment experience.”
AT A GLANCE
Name: Lisa Hackner
Title: Executive vice president of creative affairs, Telepictures
How long in current position: One year
Place of birth: South Africa
What to watch for: With launch of MomLogic.com, Warner Bros. finding new branding destinations for audiences
Who knew? Used to be a door-to-door salesperson