Media Business Strategies

The Blog of David Polakoff


Your experience and your ease with the creative process makes you a formidable talent in the media industry (Charles Tremayne, former EVP Granada America).

David Polakoff provides CFO/COO services to media/entertainment companies, in start-up through mature environments.  The nature of these financial, operational, and strategic services include:

Accounting, Budgeting, Business Development, Business Models, Business Plans, CFO responsibilities, Change Management, COO responsibilities, Developing Business Logic, Due Diligence, Evaluating New and Enhanced Revenue Opportunities; Finance; Forecasting; Growth Strategies; Interim Management; Position Papers/Research; Project Leader; Operational Problem-Solving; Partner with Creatives/Owners/Founders to Handle Business End of Operations; Process Improvement; etc.

Services provided, above, are including, but not limited therein.

Services can be provided in customized arrangements (e.g., hourly, weekly; retained, specific project, etc.).

David looks forward to your consideration of opportunities that will benefit from his organizational, operational, and financially balanced solutions.

Examples of Past Accomplishments:


A start-up multi-channel network, combining top-tier talent with best-in-class brands that launched three (now seven) premium channels for the YouTube platform.

  • Executive management team member responsible for deployment of the initial $15 million to achieve programming goals, maximize start-up runway, and allow for responses to marketplace and business volatility.
  • Authored and represented business plan resulting in additional $3 million raise.
  • Established financial oversight/controls within a dynamic entrepreneurial and digital media environment.

Global Auction Network

Pre-launch stage, web platform for the auction house world, facilitating remote bidding with live audio/video.

  • Created: consumers’ content and pricing grid; web business logic; designed / executed credit checking module.
  • Modified launch plan for modest results but at lower costs.   Prepare budgets for development stage projects.
  • Identify potential investors for CEO, Chairman, and Board. Manage auction house relationships


Pre-launch stage, extreme sport business built around the discipline and martial art, Parkour.

  • Created business deck attracting Fremantle investment.  Contributed experienced insight in joint venture agreement drafting.  Successfully identified CEO.
  • Budgeted and coordinated live event proof of concept.  Evaluated naming and branding alternatives.
  • Plan the organization and launch strategy.  Build the business model.

Granada America Television/itv plc

  • Developed the existing operations and business to increase profitability and activity.  Improved overhead recovery and production margin by developing new chargeback procedures.  Achieved cost savings and efficiencies through technology enhancement; vendor selection and negotiation.
  • Persuaded creative team to target networks and programming genres with greater profit potential.   Approved development spending to achieve higher programming volume.
  • Established standalone financial functionality for New York office (systems; banking; staff; policies).

HBO/TimeWarner, Director, HBO International

  • Developed the Warner Channel ad sales, commercial, and programming departments to properly utilize advertising inventory and increase revenue.
  • Led process re-establishing ad sales environment from Caracas to Florida, including vendor negotiation.
  • Achieved budgeted cost structure consistent with HBO Korea, and two basic channels’, levels of performance.
  • Concluded that HBO’s goals were inconsistent with the marketplace, the partner’s goals, and the channels’ profitability. With HBO International team, developed exit strategy from the HBO Korea joint venture.

HBO/TimeWarner, Director, HBO Financial Operations

  • Supervised financial reporting, analysis and forecasting.
  • Assessed financial impact and managed risk of operational decisions and new business transactions for international channels, original television production, technology, and other HBO operating departments.
  • Served on boards or finance and audit committees of cable, broadcast and distribution ventures.
  • Led financial operations formation, including hiring/training, for new HBO Czech, Poland, and Romania.
  • Identified and solved venture issues – e.g., minimized tax exposure on revenue, programming / marketing costs.
  • Achieved integrity of tax / legal structure during consolidation of seven international, basic / premium channels.
  • Strategized on exit from German broadcast and UK production, distribution, and licensing businesses.
  • Led production finance team to re-write production finance policies and procedures manual.  Achieved financial integrity and asset safeguarding of 15+, $6-12M telefilms and $200k-$2M documentaries.

“David is an extraordinarily skilled financial manager, with a tremendous attention for detail. However, David is an equally talented operational and strategic manager, more than capable of assuming a senior operating position, particularly in a start-up situation (Bill Hooks, EVP HBO Intl., Home Box Office; CEO, Global Auction Network).”

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