Class of 1966
Betsy Frank has enjoyed a long career as an analyst and predictor of evolving consumer media behavior and the exploding media landscape. Her forecasts — based on experience, instinct and a highly sophisticated approach to consumer research — have guided the media decisions of many of the nation’s top corporations.
In April 2006, when consumers of media were undergoing great changes in the way they related to new and developing channels of distribution, Frank was hired by Time Inc. and given a brand new position: Chief Research and Insights Officer of the company’s vast Media Group. In that role, she has been overseeing all of Time Inc.’s research efforts, for the first time integrating these efforts across consumer and marketing research organizations, fostering the ideas behind strategic initiatives affecting all of the company’s brands and businesses, as Time transformed from a magazine publishing company to a multi-platform branded-content company.
Her appointment at Time was highly regarded by industry leaders such as Mark Rosenthal, then chairman and chief executive officer of Interpublic Media, who said at the time: “Betsy Frank is probably the single best and most focused and most credible research authority on niche audiences that’s out there right now — and who comes from a content side. If you’re a content provider, it’s very important to showcase the advantages of the audiences that you reach.”
In a 2013 interview that appeared on mediabloggers.com, Frank talked about how “privileged” she was to be part of the evolution of the media since the early 1980s.
“I believe that staying in silos — doing the same thing for an entire career — may be perfectly fine, but doesn’t allow you to attain a perspective on what brings everything together and what separates each of the media,” she said. “I was lucky that when I started working at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, which evolved into Saatchi and Zenith, overseeing just television in the media research area, television was exploding. Television was going from three broad-based entities that would routinely command 35 shares every night, to an explosion of far more narrow, personal and discrete cable networks. Even though magazines had undergone a similar evolution decades earlier — going from mass to niche — to experience that with television first hand was great. There were no roadmaps.”
Before taking on her role at Time Inc., Frank was executive vice president of research and planning for Viacom, where she supported the creative and business goals of the cable and film divisions by creating original consumer research strategies. Frank is well known for her years as executive vice president of research and planning for MTV Networks, which she joined in 1997. Her “Leisure Time Study,” an often-cited look into changing media and entertainment habits, is just one of the many groundbreaking studies and analyses she produced that turned MTV Network’s research department into an industry leader. Previously, Frank served as executive vice president of strategic media resources for Zenith Media Services, the media specialist division of Saatchi & Saatchi. Her annual surveys of network programming were considered to be primary sources on television programming and development throughout the industry.
Frank, who graduated from the College with a B.A. in art, was presented with a Townsend Harris Medal in 2008. She has not forgotten her alma mater. In 2014, she donated a fellowship that will underwrite a CCNY student’s full participation in the International Radio and Television Society Foundation’s summer internship program. The internship focuses on the business aspects of advertising, media and related fields.