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December 16, 2011

Industry Compensation on the Rise
By Pamela Williams

Results from CTHRA’s 2011 Annual Compensation Surveys should be music to the ears of employees across the cable and telecommunications industry. Two years ago, 24% of the programmers and 18% of multiple systems operators (MSOs) participating in CTHRA’s surveys froze their salary budgets. Last year, freezes were on the decline, and this year’s survey results show that none of the 57 survey participants had salary freezes. In addition, both salaries and bonus awards are on the rise, thanks to companies experiencing improvements in market conditions.
 
Rapid technology change is also impacting compensation in both sectors as companies vie for talent in the area of mobile content and digital media. Lisa Kaye, president and CEO of greenlightjobs.com, shed some light on the latest changes and what they mean for today’s job seekers and career climbers, noting, “With continued challenges plaguing the employment market, there's good news on the horizon for those looking for positions within the program management, music content and digital media marketing areas, to name just a few. With programmers and MSOs looking to expand their digital platforms and heighten their responsiveness to customer service concerns, job seekers can transform their skills into areas where employers are seeking qualified candidates. One of the most sought areas of expertise right now is digital marketing, so even if you are a traditional marketer, finding and leveraging ways to integrate your skills with new technology is a sure way to increase your marketability.”
 
Base Pay Moved Upward
 
CTHRA’S analysis determined that 2011 salary adjustment budgets (which include pay raises delivered through a merit increase, promotional increase, market and/or cost of living adjustment) increased slightly from 2010 for both MSOs and content providers (percentage increases shown in Diagrams 1 and 2). None of the programmers froze salary adjustment budgets in 2011, compared to 7% in 2010. Likewise, no MSOs froze budgets in 2011, a repeat of their 2010 reports.
 
Diagram 1

 
Diagram 2

 
According to Hali Croner, president and CEO of The Croner Company, “It was a strong year for compensation as both MSOs and programmers fared well in the current economic environment. Survey participants in both industries are better poised to take care of the people who have been doing more for less, and to attract the new talent needed for growth in new initiatives.”
 

Carrots Retain Popularity
Incentives continue to be a popular component of compensation practices within the industry. Among CTHRA’s survey respondents, 86% of the MSOs and 74% of the programmers offer long-term incentives (LTI) which are linked to a company’s financial performance and value creation over multiple years. Examples include stock options, shares and long-term cash. While MSO survey participants reported that LTI award values declined from last year (see Diagram 3), programmers annual LTI values increased (see Diagram 4).
 
Ninety-three (93)% of the MSOs and 87% of the content providers offer short-term incentives (STI) such as bonus awards. Programmers’ STI values rose 10% over last year, whereas MSOs STI values were up 3.7% from 2010 to 2011.
 
Diagram 3

 
Diagram 4


 
In short, CTHRA’s survey results are reassuring to employees who have weathered the recession along with their companies, as they show that companies are using available cash to focus on retaining and attracting the talent they need for business growth.
 
CTHRA is currently seeking participants for its 2012 Compensation Surveys. Companies interested in participating should contact The Croner Company at 415-485-5530.
 
Methodology
The majority of the industry’s employers (listed below) participated in CTHRA’s 2011 Compensation Surveys including all of the top 25 national cable networks, five (5) national broadcast networks, and the majority of the largest MSOs. The survey results are industry-specific, providing an in-depth analysis of pay practices for more than 154,000 incumbents (up 16,000 over last year), including both exempt and nonexempt positions ranging from technicians to top executives. Earlier this year, the 57 participants submitted data reflecting 2011 budgets and base compensation figures. The Croner Company, a leading compensation consulting firm specializing in compensation plan design, compensation surveys and organizational design, designed the surveys, collected, and analyzed the data, separating results into two participant categories: MSOs and programmers. Given the highly confidential survey data, the results from any given company cannot be seen as only summary information pertaining to all participants is available. This reporting approach complies with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulation and encourages participation without fear for exposing proprietary information to the public.
 
CTHRA’s 2011 Compensation Survey: Programmer Participants
A&E Television Networks           
AT&T Services
Cablevision Systems Corporation (Rainbow Media now AMC Networks)           
CBS Corp. — CBS Television           
CBS Corp. — Showtime Networks           
Crown Media Holdings Inc.           
C-SPAN           
Current Media
Cybernet Entertainment           
DIRECTV Inc.           
Discovery Communications Inc.           
Disney ABC Media Networks — ABC Cable
Disney ABC Media Networks — ABC Television           
ESPN, Inc.           
Fox Networks Group — Fox Broadcasting
Fox Networks Group — Fox Cable Networks Group           
HBO Latin America Production Services           
Home Box Office Inc.           
Ion Media
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Major League Baseball Productions           
MTV Networks           
National Basketball Association
National Football League           
NBC Universal — Cable Networks 
NBC Universal — NBC           
Nuvo TV (formerly Si TV)
Ovation – The Arts Network
OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network           
Premier Retail Networks Inc.           
Public Broadcasting Service           
QVC, Inc.
Scripps Networks
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Starz Entertainment
The Inspiration Networks
The Weather Channel
Time Warner Cable
Turner Broadcasting System Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment — The CW Television Network
Warner Bros. Entertainment
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.
YES Network, LLC.
 
CTHRA’s 2011 Compensation Survey: Operator Participants
Bright House Networks           
Cablevision Systems Corporation           
Charter Communications Inc.           
Click! Network
Comcast Cable Communications Inc.           
Cox Communications Inc.           
DIRECTV Inc.
General Communication Inc.
Mediacom Communications Corporation
RCN Corporation
Schurz Communications, Inc.
Time Warner Cable Inc.
WOW! Internet – Cable – Phone

(Pamela Williams, CAE, is Executive Director of the Cable and Telecommunications Human Resources Association (CTHRA).)
  


 
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