NATPE Preview: Davis the Face of a New Media Industry

Nov 28, 2005  •  Post A Comment

By Lee Alan Hill

Special to TelevisionWeek

NATPE Co-Chairman Stephen Davis’ move Nov. 15 from president of Granada America to president of mobile media for InfoSpace-going from a company that sells programming for the small screen to one that sells and develops for an even smaller screen-may well symbolize the expansion of the industry and of NATPE itself.

Mr. Davis is co-chair of NATPE along with John Weiser, president of distribution for Sony Pictures Television. They are each in their second one-year term in the post.

“John and I wanted to do the second year,” Mr. Davis said. “John and I came in at a time with Rick Feldman [NATPE president and CEO] in which we were trying to be sure the ship would stay afloat. What’s happened is Rick and his people have built a luxury liner.

“NATPE has become an organization and a conference where everyone can come together-the traditional syndicator and the person like me who believes in the future of the mobile phone in content delivery. And we can come together because it is all about content.”

Mr. Davis’ tenure at Granada America, the U.S.-based development and production division of ITV Pictures, one of Europe’s largest media companies, only began in 2004, but it was time enough for him to elevate Granada to the largest foreign supplier to U.S. broadcast networks. Among the shows Granada America produces are “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Nanny 911” for Fox and “Hit Me Baby One More Time” for NBC.

Under his aegis, Granada also supplied programming to cable networks, including such shows as “Room Raiders” for MTV and “Celebrity Fit Club” for VH1.

Having worked in the more traditional areas of delivery, Mr. Davis is quick to note, “Wherever the industry is headed, the station guy is still very solidly in the frame. The stations are still very important to NATPE. We know that the local station is not going away. It is just being joined by other avenues of content delivery.”

Before joining Granada, Mr. Davis was president and CEO of Carlton America, a distribution, video and book publishing company that merged with Granada. He also was formerly VP of entertainment and media development for The Griffin Group, where he led the expansion of company across the spectrum of media, from TV programming to Internet activities.

Mr. Davis also has experience outside of TV programming. He was formerly an executive with both Call Interactive and MCI.

“During the next five years you’ll see more growth in NATPE,” Mr. Davis said. “It will continue to reach out to a broader segment of the industry. It will be working to demonstrate to the entire industry that traditional syndication is still key to its base. At the same time, it won’t be afraid to tackle the challenges of new media and foster inclusiveness.

“We’ll work to band new media and those members in the more traditional delivery avenues together,” he said. “We’ll see which avenues of delivery are working. We’ll work together to maximize delivery for all of us.”