Mike Azzara

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"These are heady days of constant innovation in online media," said Mike Azzara, senior VP-Internet business at CMP Media. But the standout in the last 12 months, he said, is "The News Show," a daily five-minute Internet video program, known internally as "TNS," that was launched last June. "

"TNS' innovated in multiple dimensions at once," said Azzara, who has overseen business strategy and editorial direction for the online businesses in all of CMP Media's technology divisions for three years and directly manages its TechWeb online network. "It required us to invent new technical processes, new editorial processes and a whole new product type we had never before sold to our customers."

From a management viewpoint, Azzara said he prompts innovation through collaboration. "There are lots of good ideas," he said. "The trick is putting together the collaborative team that has the skills to bring a given idea to life."

Azzara said he understands, however, that publishers must balance the desire to innovate with the necessity of making money. "The best solution we have found is to partner early with a customer that is equally interested in trying new things," he said. "Finding a sponsor for something innovative is becoming a bit easier now that we have a clear track record of success." -Marie Griffin

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