Jonathan Bingaman, Senior VP, Cable Sales, CBS Television Distribution
Syndication sales executive succeeds with a chess master’s competitiveness
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/27/2011 12:01:00 AMClick here to read more Next Wave of Leaders
What CBS Television Distribution’s Jonathan Bingaman loves about syndication sales is that he spends all day, every day, competing.
It fits Bingaman well. After he graduated from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania, he spent four years playing competitive tennis and working as a tennis pro. When his friends told him that he hadn’t worked a hard day in his life, he set out to prove them wrong.
His first “real” job was working as an assistant at rep firm Blair Television. After a year, he had the gumption to tell the company’s president that he was ready for a sales job. When it didn’t happen fast enough, he went to work selling Bloomberg TV’s financial news segments to TV stations, a challenging assignment by any measure.
After two years, he interviewed with CBS Television Distribution’s Scott Koondel, who was then managing the company’s East Coast office.
“We played chess the entire time. It was a very competitive atmosphere,” says Bingaman.
“His competitiveness was so obvious,” says Koondel, who recognized a kindred spirit. Koondel had just been promoted to senior VP of distribution at Paramount Domestic Television, which later became CBS Television Distribution. Later on, when Koondel was moving to Los Angeles to be executive VP of distribution, Bingaman found him while shopping for a suit for his son’s bar mitzvah.
“He convinced me why he would be good for Los Angeles,” says Koondel. “That defines who he is. He sees how the play will develop before it does.”
“Every day, it’s about listening to my clients and trying to ! t the pieces of the puzzle to put together a deal,” says Bingaman. “With so many hours of programming, I have a tough time believing there isn’t something for me to sell them.”
Bingaman was promoted to senior VP of cable sales a year ago, and has been instrumental in CTD’s sales of Hawaii Five-0 to TNT and of a new cycle of veteran sitcom Frasier to Hallmark and WE tv after Lifetime’s run of the show concluded. Looking ahead, he sees new opportunities coming from over-the-top video providers such as Netflix.
“I can’t think of anything more exciting than television sales. When I was " rst hired, Scott told me, ‘It takes a year to learn this business—I need you to learn it in three months.’ I laugh, because the whole business changes every three months,” says Bingaman.
“I feel like I have 5-6 chess boards on my desk and I’m playing them all the time.”
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