Better Strategies for Monetizing Digital Offerings

MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC Presents:
Better Strategies for Monetizing Digital Offerings:
Thinking Out of the Box while Looking across Industry Silos


Monetizing digital offerings is a continuing challenge. Advertising can generally generate only some of the revenue required, so customer payments appear to remain essential for most businesses. Freemium was a good starting point, and now soft pay walls are being tested. Shifting music and film from purchase to subscription is emerging as a sea change.

What else is new? What can be applied across verticals? Do we need to rethink the value proposition and customer relationship? How successful are strategies to apply social influence and "pay what you want"?

This session will look broadly at how content businesses such as publishing, music, and video are transforming themselves to achieve economic viability:

Among the issues we will discuss:
- What strategies are they adopting?
- What can these verticals learn from one-another?
- How far out of the box can solutions go?

Panel Moderator:
- Dr. Howard Morgan, Co-Founder and Partner, First Round Capital

Panel Speakers:
- Betsy Morgan, President, The Blaze -
- Shawn Price, President, Zuora -
- Richard Reisman, President, Teleshuttle Corporation -
- Paul Smurl, Vice President, NYTimes -

DATE: Thursday, December 1st, 2011

AGENDA: 5:30pm - 6:00pm: Reception
6:00pm - 7:45pm: Panel Discussion
7:45pm - 8:30pm: Networking

PLACE: Holland & Knight - Directions
31 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019

REGISTRATION: Free to members of MIT Enterprise Forum
$50 non-members, $10 extra at door
All members and guests are welcome.

HANDOUTS: As an additional networking feature,
this event will include a table for
"Attendee/Networking Handouts (open to all
attendees, no endorsement by MITEF implied),"
as described here.

Panel Moderator Biography

Dr. Howard Morgan
Co-Founder and Partner
First Round Capital

Dr. Howard Morgan is co-founder and partner in First Round Capital, a seed stage venture capital investment firm specializing in information technologies. He began working with Idealab in 1996 and serves on their board. He has more than 30 years of experience with more than two hundred high-tech entrepreneurial ventures. He serves on the boards of, Single Platform, GumGum, Energy Innovations and other private companies. Howard was Professor of Decision Sciences at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Computer Science at the Moore School for almost 15 years. He a Trustee of Cold Spring Harbor Labs and Math For America and is a respected author. He received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 1997. Howard received his Ph.D. in operations research from Cornell University in 1968 and his B.S. from the City University of New York in 1965.


Panel Speaker Biographies

Betsy L. Morgan
The Blaze

Betsy L. Morgan is the president of The Blaze, an information network curating content, community and debate. She joined The Blaze in January 2011.

Previously, she was the chief executive officer of the award winning Huffington Post. Under Ms. Morgan’s leadership The Huffington Post grew from 4 million to 22 million unique visitors a month, launched seven content verticals, and doubled its blogger roll to 3,000+ influential bloggers including celebrities, politicians, academics and policy experts. Ms. Morgan joined HuffPost in October 2007, after ten years at CBS.

Prior to joining HuffPost, Ms. Morgan was Senior Vice President for CBS Interactive and the General Manager of, where she was in charge of the network’s 24-hour broadband, on-demand news service. Under Morgan’s leadership,’s excellence was recognized with several prestigious industry awards. Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Morgan was a Vice President of CBS News, where she was in charge of business development, digital media and new television ventures. She began her career at CBS as the Head of the CBS Television Network`s Strategic Management Group working in the Office of the Chairman and CEO of CBS.

Ms. Morgan has worked for American Sky Broadcasting, News Corporation`s venture into the U.S. direct satellite business. She also spent several years in investment banking at the North American Headquarters of Schroders, in the Media and Entertainment Group.

Ms. Morgan earned a MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in Political Science and Economics from Colby College, where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees. She is on the board of CT Partners, a leading, global executive search firm and the board of Vertical Acuity, an Atlanta based technology company. She is currently serves as Chairman of the Poynter Institute`s National Advisory Board.


Richard Reisman
Teleshuttle Corporation

President and founder of Teleshuttle Corporation, Richard Reisman is a successful innovator and thought leader, advancing new services for people across the broad field of connectivity since long before the Web. He has managed and consulted for corporations of all sizes, developed a variety of pioneering online services, and holds 19 patents now licensed by over 100 companies (with dozens more pending).

In early 2010 Reisman began development of FairPay, a radical approach to pricing for digital media content. FairPay develops a buyer reputation based on Internet feedback, to go beyond "freemium," to an adaptive hybrid of free and paid content.

Another current activity is on the development of CoTV, coactive television, a power assist for the growing trend toward simultaneous, or "coactive," use of TV and the Web on multiple screens. Reisman`s first patent portfolio is now controlled by Intellectual Ventures, and his second was sold to RPX Corporation.

Reisman served during the dot-com boom as founding CTO for In the early `90s, Reisman developed the original TV Guide Online in a joint venture with News Corp, and consulted for Dow Jones. At BASELINE (since acquired by The New York Times), he developed pioneering consumer online services, as well as online information services to the film and TV industry. Prior to that, he directed electronic distribution operations for McGraw-Hill / Standard and Poor`s, and managed strategy, planning, and operations for major computer and telecom services at Mobil Corporation and AT&T, starting out as a software developer.

A finalist for the Multi-Media Entrepreneur of 1995 award from the Silicon Alley Initiative, Reisman has spoken and written widely. He serves as an Executive Board member of the MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC, was an ACM National Lecturer, and holds an AB from Brown University and an MS from Lehigh University.

Shawn Price

Shawn Price joined Zuora`s executive management team as President. Price holds an aggressively diverse background of more than 20 years experience transforming companies of all sizes and stages to industry leaders and driving several companies to IPO and successful acquisitions.

Before Price`s appointment to Zuora`s management team, he was sought out by top venture capital firms to drive leadership and strategy in operations, finance, and M&A to companies such as, Clairmail, Provade and many more.

As CEO, President and Chairman of the Board at Savvion, the global leader in business process management, Price was responsible for all strategic and operational functions of the company. Under his leadership Savvion grew in excess of 100% quarter over quarter, secured 300 of the Global 1000, launched the company`s international operations with operating subsidiaries in India, and was the recipient of the Deloitte Fast 50 Award.

Before Savvion, Price was Senior Vice President and General Manager Americas at Vitria where he oversaw 75 percent of revenues since the company`s founding. Price led the most successful IPO of 1999, grew the company revenues from zero to $135 million and created Vitria`s breakout Telecom strategy that resulted in a $10 billion market cap.

Shawn holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario. In broader circles, Shawn is known as a winner of several driving races including the 2002 Baja 1000 and the 2005 Rolex 24-Hours at Daytona International Sports Car Race.


Paul Smurl
Vice President

Paul Smurl was named vice president, paid products, in January 2010. In this role, Mr. Smurl is responsible for the financial performance of’s digital subscription plan, overseeing its implementation and managing the business after the build-out phase to grow paid products into a significant business. He also has revenue responsibility for crossword subscriptions and mobile game products.

In August 2011, Mr. Smurl added responsibility for strategy and business development and advertising planning/operations.

Previously, Mr. Smurl had been vice president, advertising, for The New York Times since June 2008, where he was responsible for sales development, planning, and agency relations. Before that, he was executive director, planning, since 2007, and a member of the advertising leadership team.

Mr. Smurl joined The Times in 2003 as a director in strategic planning, where he was a liaison to advertising. He moved to advertising in 2005 as managing director of the telecom team, and then later of the technology team.

Before joining The Times, Mr. Smurl was a management consultant and attorney, advising media and telecom companies.

Mr. Smurl earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a J.D. from Columbia Law School and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Board Member Organizers:

Eleanor Haas
Managing Director
The Calyx Group, LLC

Natanel Barookhian
Serial Entrepreneur


This is a service of the MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City.
Copyright 2011 All rights reserved

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