Academy

From the Chairman

Frank Scherma, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
 

It is an honor to have been elected to serve as your chairman for the next two years.

Thanks to the dedication of my predecessor, Hayma Washington, the Television Academy is flourishing in this Platinum Age of Television, and I look forward to building on his work.

I begin my term with optimism and enthusiasm as I reflect on what we as an Academy can achieve in the years ahead. Television has come a long way since this organization was founded more than 70 years ago, and new challenges and opportunities seem to emerge every day.

Fueled by a shared sense of purpose, our executive committee and board of governors are committed to crafting an agenda that will allow us not only to keep pace with the evolution of our medium, but to play a central role in guiding its future.

Our signature event, the Emmy Awards, will always recognize excellence, but the Academy must strive to be a positive force in every aspect of television. We must continue to promote diversity, both in front of and behind the camera. And we must remain current with technology, anticipating how it will continue to alter media and society as a whole.

Is everyone ready for 5G, with its unprecedented transmission speeds and seemingly limitless creative and commercial potential? As Verizon recently touted in its rollout of 5G, "AR and VR applications can work seamlessly. Industrial machinery and robotics can be controlled remotely. Feature-length HD movies can be downloaded faster than you can read this sentence."

With so much happening — so fast — one of my first actions as chairman will be to commission a study on the future of television and its potential effects on our members. As the preeminent membership organization in our industry, the Academy must be prepared for change before it occurs.

I am reminded of a 2005 New York Times article in which technology analyst Allen Weiner said, "You can debate what you should call it, but in the coming world, it's going to be a user-controlled environment. I watch what I want, when I want." That was a prescient look ahead to where we are today. What's in store for our industry — and our members — in the next 10 to 15 years? Let's try to find out.

Another way to predict and guide the trajectory of our medium is to be aligned with future content creators and executives. The Television Academy Foundation, led by chair Madeline Di Nonno and executive director Jodi Delaney, is home to some of the most successful programs devoted to the development of young talent.

The Foundation's internship program is one of the most respected of its kind — last year we learned that 90 percent of our internship alumni remain in the television business, and almost 30 percent are hired by their host companies. The College Television Awards — newly designed for 2019 — celebrates the next generation of producers, directors and writers.

And every year, the Faculty Seminar invites media professors from around the country for an in-depth television experience, to refresh their teaching at home. Under Madeline and Jodi's leadership, I expect continued outreach to diverse communities that will help build a new, more inclusive generation of storytellers.

These are just a few priorities for the years ahead. As we address them, I look forward to working closely with Academy president Maury McIntyre and CFO Heather Cochran and their wonderful staff.

Finally, if you're a member with a question or comment, I'd love to hear from you. And if you'd like to get involved in the Academy, please contact your peer group governors. Everyone has something to contribute, and I invite you to join us as we affirm our position at the vanguard of all things television.

Frank Scherma
Chairman and CEO Television Academy