After 22 Years at Crown Media, Ed Georger Understands the Power of Brands and Relationships (Video)

By Legends & Leaders Archives
Cover image for  article: After 22 Years at Crown Media, Ed Georger Understands the Power of Brands and Relationships (Video)

Ed Georger, Executive Vice President of Ad Sales and Digital Media for Crown Media joined the company 22 years ago. His story, shared in our Legends & Leaders Conversation, personifies the American Dream and why his leadership so closely mirrors the company he represents, which includes Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies Now and Hallmark Publishing. The second youngest in a family of six growing up in Rochester, New York, Ed followed his older brothers to Monroe Community College. After a part-time job as a typesetter for the Rochester Gannett newspaper, he applied and was rejected for a full-time job as a pre-press apprentice that Ed acknowledges "would have put me in a union job and probably kept me in Rochester."

Instead, he left for the University of South Carolina where, upon graduation, a professor introduced him to another USC grad who had recently moved to New York and was looking for an assistant. The grad was Lisa Fischer, now an EVP at UP Entertainment who, while not hiring Ed, introduced him to recruiter Jim Watson -- who placed Ed in a media planner role at legendary agency Backer, Spielvogel & Bates. "We were only there three years," Ed reminisces, "but the stories that we tell that refer back to the BSB media buying days are pretty incredible. So, one bit of advice [I have for those joining our business] is that the experiences you have in those first few years are where you make your friendships that last for a long, long time."

As his teams are returning to the office, Ed makes the point that "we never refer to it as returning to work. Everybody's been working, arguably harder than ever before, so it's not a matter of returning to work; it's a matter of returning to the office." Hallmark and Crown Media have always received high grades for creating a positive work environment, which is reflected in Ed’s point that "the office is a great place to have creative conversations, to meet your coworkers, to build relationships. We look at returning to the office as an opportunity, good for our business, but especially good for those who have not even been to the office. We're looking forward to [a return to the office] … with flexibility and an understanding that it's going to be different."

Of course, Ed and I discussed extensively the opportunities and challenges in the linear, digital and streaming video marketplace. "It really it starts with the power of the brand," he says. "It's what's allowed us to not only be competitive but to remarkably be the No. 1-rated cable network across all networks during all of the fourth quarter. It's important what Hallmark as a 112-year-old brand really means, and what their business model is, and what differentiates them from other companies. And, quite frankly," Ed adds with a smile, "what's kept me here for 22 years."

About diversity, he comments, "There’s work being done and it's in the conversation, which is great. But collectively as an industry we've got to keep our foot on the gas." Under the leadership of CEO Wonya Lucas (watch my Legends & Leaders Conversation with Wonya here), Crown Media "has really started down that journey of widening both our on-air audience as well as our workforce."

View my full Legends & Leaders Conversation with Ed Georger to learn more about his journey; how Hallmark views innovation "a little bit differently" than its competitors; the role and future for linear, AVOD and SVOD at Crown; and his expanded view on the importance of relationships.

View all my Legends & Leaders Conversations at www.LegendsLeaders.org.

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