My Two Cents: The Alter Ego Talks To The Press

The January issue featured an interview with myself, this time I have an exclusive interview with my alter-ego, Mod Inifares.

Dom: VideoAge is entering its 25th year. Isn't it time to...

Mod: VideoAge is as young as it looks. When it was born, all of today's key executives were apprentices. Today, they run companies and they're at their prime. VideoAge is their mirror.

Dom: But the industry has changed. VideoAge has reflected that change and has changed itself. Now it features stories about the Internet wreaking havoc...

Mod: When VideoAge was born, cable was doing the "havocking." Before that it was VCRs. It never ends.

Dom: You have to admit that business is becoming harder.

Mod: Look, when VideoAge started there were four major international TV trade publications (VideoAge, Variety, TV World and your former magazine TV/Radio Age). Today, there are still four, with VideoAge among them. There has been an explosion of Latin American and U.K. TV trades, but they're very local.

And to think that, in 1986, you launched VideoEra, Latin America's first TV trade magazine in Spanish and, in 1988, VideoPro, France's first TV trade publication in French. but those markets weren't yet ready…

Dom: I was talking about the business that VideoAge covers.

Mod: Ah, that! Not really. When VideoAge started, the industry was generating a few hundred million dollars per year. Today, we talk in terms of billions, which is an enormous growth even if adjusted for inflation.

Dom: Since my glumness isn't rubbing off on you, let's talk about people. Are executives today happier than they were a quarter-of-a-century ago?

Mod: Look... Your "quarter-of-a-century" is only a little more than two decades in my book. Sure, executives are happier today. International television has grown into a major worldwide business. They're no longer ignored at the corporate level... Plus, their compensations are more rewarding.

Dom: Your bright outlook is hopeless… So, what are your expectations for the next 25 years?

Mod: First of all I hope that television will fulfill all of its potential by becoming an IP-based medium. Secondly, I hope that, in the next 25 years, we'll all still be around.

Dom: I was talking about VideoAge specifically...

Mod: Specifically, for VideoAge my hopes are that Mark Kaner will start believing in the power of TV trade advertising and that both Jeff Schlesinger and Michael Grindon will eventually support VideoAge.

Dom: And what about this rumor that's going around, that you are planning to run for the Italian Parliament?

Mod: Ah, that! OK. Next year, I'm planning to become a candidate for the Italian Parliament to repesent Italians residing in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Central America. Since television in those countries will be playing a major role, I'm blessed to be in this business and to be able to gain the industry's support. If I were to win a Parliamentary seat, it would represent a great opportunity for our industry as well.

Dom: But if you win, you couldn't possibly do everything - run VideoAge and sit at the Parliament.

Mod: Even if the day-to-day operations will change, with New York still doing the coordinating, London and Los Angeles taking a larger role, I'll still be involved in the production of the publications: both monthlies and dailies. And, most importantly, I'd only miss a TV trade show in the case of a private meeting with Queen Elizabeth II or Condoleezza Rice.

Dom Serafini