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George Schweitzer


Title:Exec VP-marketing and communications, CBS, New York

Bio:Born in New York. B.S., broadcasting and film, Boston University, 1972.

Work history:Production supervisor, CBS, 1972-76; program practices department, CBS, 1976-78; producer, "Captain Kangaroo," 1978; director of communications, CBS Broadcast Group, 1979; VP-communications and operations, CBS Sports, 1980-82; VP-communications and information, CBS Broadcast Group, 1982-87; VP-director of corporate relations, Young & Rubicam, 1987-88; senior VP-communications, CBS, 1988-91; senior VP-marketing and communications, 1991-94; current post, 1994-.

To appreciate George Schweitzer's role as an interactive marketing innovator, one must go back to the prehistoric era of February 1994, when Mr. Schweitzer forged a deal with Prodigy to bring CBS Sports coverage of the 1994 Winter Olympic Games to cyberspace.

The foray online must have required some foresight, because CBS was riding high as the No. 1 prime-time network and most other network executives were looking askance at online services.

But Mr. Schweitzer was quick to identify the importance of not only learning about the communications value of the new medium, but of exploiting its demographic skew to help CBS build share among young viewers.

At the time-and for some time to come-Mr. Schweitzer was chided by CBS colleagues and competitors for spending so much attention on the nascent medium, when a single on-air CBS promo or a placement in TV Guide could reach more than the entire online universe in just a single ad.

These days, everyone is jumping into the online game, and even Mr. Schweitzer's broadcast-focused bosses are looking at interactivity and online services as a potential new business, not just a marketing tool.

"Online services and interactivity have become very important pieces of our marketing approach. We know that these people are influential in helping to create a buzz on some of our entertainment product," said Mr. Schweitzer.

For "Central Park West," a new prime-time drama starring Mariel Hemingway, CBS is developing an online version of the fictional magazine where the series takes place.

Betcha didn't know:Mr. Schweitzer planned his family's summer vacation to England by tapping into travel sites and user groups on the Internet and America Online.

"People sent us entire itineraries and specific recommendations on where to go when we got there. One guy even tried to rent me his apartment instead of staying at a hotel."

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