Tom Freston
Fmr. Pres. & CEO, Viacom
01:22

Tom Freston: How will this age be remembered?

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This is a transitional age, Freston says.

Tom Freston

Tom Freston was one of MTV's founding executives and until recently served as CEO of Viacom. Freston is responsible for the generation-defining ad campaign "I Want My MTV." In 1987 he became the CEO of MTV Networks, using his position to advance the networks' position in new markets, as well as launching several ancillary product lines and tie-ins, including "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The Real World," "Beavis and Butthead," "South Park" and "SpongeBob Square Pants." From 2004, Freston led Viacom, overseeing all cable network properties (MTV Networks and Showtime Networks), the motion picture businesses of Paramount Pictures, and the publishing operations of Simon & Schuster. He resigned in September 2006. Freston was educated at New York University and is currently on the Board of Trustees for Emerson College in Boston. Ideas recorded on: 11/5/07
Transcript

Question: How will this age be remembered?

Tom Freston: I think we’re in some kind of transition period, you know? We’re between centuries. We’re at the beginning of a century. It’s almost sort of apt, and nice and neat that as a transition period we’ve entered this new, interconnected, digital age where globalism is really an important characteristic of life. But everyone isn’t sure how to deal with it yet. There’s a lot of . . . There’s a lot of change that really still needs to be digested, and it’s . . . You’re gonna probably stand back and say, you know . . . You would say about the ’50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, ‘80s, that was sort of the post-war . . . post World War II era. I don’t know if there’s any label that anyone has come up with yet for the time we’re exactly living in. And I think that’s because it is a transition time. And it’s gonna be easier to label it as that once we embark more clearly on something that’s a bit more definable.

Recorded On: 7/6/07


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