Peter Bienkowski, Director of Business and Legal Affairs, International Program Sales is Best In Show this month for his mastery of drafting, negotiating and closing deals for Viacom’s international properties.


Peter Bienkowski is Director of Business and Legal Affairs, International Program Sales (IPS), Viacom International Media Networks. If you’ve recently seen “The Daily Show” on TV in Norway, “SpongeBob” on TV in South Africa, or any similar international exhibition, there’s a good chance Peter was across the deal.

Since graduating law school, Peter’s worked in media and has now been with Viacom for more than two years, where he is well-respected by his team, the sales team and their client base. Thanks largely to his diligence and hard work, IPS was able to cross the year end finish line ahead of budget. His colleagues also commend him for extending support to the Asia Cluster, covering all of their contracts and inquiries before a new replacement was hired – working many long hours to support this office in a different time zone. Outside of handling legal affairs at the company, Peter is an Astoria resident who also spends a good deal of time as a drummer and photographer.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Much of what I do at Viacom involves drafting, negotiating, and closing agreements for the license of Viacom programming to be exhibited on networks overseas.  Dealing with a variety of different deal types and an assortment of international licensees, I’m regularly presented with new and interesting issues to address, which has created an environment in which I continue to learn and grow on a daily basis.

What’s the best part of your job? 

For one, I love working at Viacom and working within the media industry, and have an affinity for the legal work I spend much of my time on.  One of the best parts about my job, however, is being fortunate enough to work with the people I do.  The hard work that goes on around me is remarkable – from the IPS salespeople, who are among the best in the business, to our sales operations team, which is superb in supporting the execution and fulfillment of our deals, to our senior management, which leads the department with exceptional vision – and it’s definitely a privilege to be a part of this team.

What does your online life consist of, and how do you disconnect from your day?

Spotify and Netflix tend to take up most of my bandwidth. That aside, I’m a fan of lifestyle design blogs, hoopshype, Guernica Magazine, ViewBug (photography), and similar sites. To disconnect from my day, anything removed from my phone and computer usually does the trick: going to the gym, biking, walking around with my camera, playing drums, etc.

What project are you most proud of having completed at work in the past year?

In a year in which we were presented with significant challenges to manage, the IPS team pulled together for what ended up being an exceptional 2013.  I’m proud of working with the folks that I do and playing my part in closing the deals necessary to bring us over the line.

Where can we find you on the weekends?

Lately, I’ve been staying in and around Astoria; the neighborhood has so much to offer that I find fewer reasons to leave every day. Otherwise, you might find me away hiking upstate.

What were your New Year’s Resolution(s) and have you stuck to them?

No particular New Year’s resolutions for me this year, as I try to set and work toward goals year-round. I am always working to live a healthier and better life, though, and the New Year is a great time for me to refocus.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I’ve ever received was to always work to be more present in the moment, in whatever I’m doing – whether drafting a contract, or having a dinner conversation, or taking a walk.  We tend to get easily distracted, especially with smartphones always at hand, and I’ve found that being fully present in one thing at a time really does make everything better.

First job ever?

I was a cashier at Marshalls during my Junior and Senior years in High School.

If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I recently stumbled upon the “King of Falafel & Shwarma” cart on 30th Ave. in Astoria – I think there’s some magic in their falafel, so I’d be happy eating it every day.

Favorite musician?

Glen Hansard – there is no one else!

TV Show(s)?

I’m currently into American Horror Story – no amount of praise for Jessica Lange is enough.

Last book you read?

“Another Bullshit Night in Suck City”, a memoir by Nick Flynn. I highly recommend it.

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