Every year as we compile the Most Powerful Women issue, we’re tempted to once again point out the struggles women in cable continue to face. But let’s take a step back: Things are improving. The process has been slow — sometimes painfully slow — but it’s a process nonetheless. Consider some stats from the WICT-NAMIC survey released during Diversity Week last month:
In 2011, 20% of cable’s corporate board members were women, which while still too low compares with only 16% for Fortune 500 organizations. Here cable is ahead of most industries.
The number of women in executive and senior-level executive positions rose from 25% in 2009 to 30% in 2011. That’s quite a leap in two short years.
In 2011, nearly a third of the 10% highest paid employees were women. Programmers do better here with 32% vs. operators’ 25%. Let’s hope this number rapidly approaches a more appropriate 50% in the coming years as more women move up the ladder and replace some of the old guard.
Of course, hurdles remain. For example, the WICT-NAMIC study pointed out that the percentage of digital media executives — arguably the industry’s future as more content moves to non-traditional platforms — has declined on average five points to 31%. Sadly, this decline stemmed from the operator side where the percentage dropped from 31% in 2009 to 21% in 2011. Programmers actually grew this percentage from 37% to 40% over the same period. In partnership with WICT, we’re proud to highlight some of these smart and savvy Women in Tech on page 38, by the way.
So the industry has much work to do. But women continue to advance as their insight and perspective adds immeasurable strength and resilience to an increasingly competitive industry. “There are more women heading programming groups than ever before, and on the operations side we are seeing women moving up the ranks,” AETN pres/CEO Abbe Raven told us in these pages. “There is always room for progress, but I am optimistic we are headed in the right direction.” She’s right. And as we compile this publication every year, it’s such a treat to see all sides of the incredible women who adorn these pages. In fact, asked to name their greatest achievement, many of our Most Powerful Women cited their families first. “On a personal level, giving birth to my son in the back of a NYC taxi cab during a rain- storm remains a favorite proud moment,” said MTV Networks’ Tanya Giles. “After that, I learned how to roll with the punches, no matter what.” Let’s face it, guys. That’s serious moxy. And we need more of it in cable.
On a final note—and speaking of smart and capable women—a big thanks to contributing editor Cathy Applefeld Olson, who has taken over the managing editor role for Cablefax: The Magazine, and who continues to be invaluable. We couldn’t do it without her. But when it comes to the contributions of women, what else is new?
Michael Grebb Editor
The Top 50
President, Disney/ABC Television Group; Co-chair, Disney Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company
The woman behind Disney’s TV machine continues to reign supreme. In her dual-title role with Walt Disney Co., Sweeney oversees ABC Studios, ABC-owned Television Stations Group and the ABC Television Network. She also oversees Disney Channels Worldwide, comprising 94 kids-driven entertainment channels. Additionally, Sweeney’s responsibilities include nets ABC Family and SOAPnet, the company’s equity interest in A&E Television Networks and Disney’s publishing imprint Hyperion. Not enough for one work week? Sweeney also commandeered Disney/ABC’s integration to iTunes, an ad-supported full-episode online player and an iPad app.
Women in cable: “There are strong women across our industry — cable and broadcast — at every level in every function. Talent is gender-neutral.”
Passion: “Digital technology has removed the limits on creativity. Whatever the vision is, we can most likely make it happen on screen, on budget and on time. That opens up all kinds of new possibilities.”
Motto for success: “Create what’s next.”
President/CEO, A&E Networks
Raven oversees one of the cable’s largest portfolios, comprising 10 brands that include two of the top five brands in the industry — A&E and History — and top women’s network Lifetime. Industry analysts predict A&E Networks is on the verge of surpassing $3 billion in revenue, while it is now seen in 150-plus countries. She also helms a post on the executive committee of NCTA and was recently recognized by the White House for her leadership in mentoring, education and historic preservation.
Women in cable: “There are more women heading programming groups than ever before, and on the operations side we are seeing women moving up the ranks. There is always room for progress but I am optimistic we are headed in the right direction.”
Passion: “The cross between the evolution of technology and the originality of cable programming has made this an exciting business to work in.”
Challenges: “We need to continue the pace of growth. As a global media company, we never have time to bask in the glow of our success, as we are always concerned about creating and finding the next hit.”
Chairman, NBCU Cable Entertainment & Cable Studios
It appears that serving as chairman of NBCU Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios wasn’t enough to keep Hammer occupied. In January 2011, she added executive responsibility for E! Entertainment, E! Studios and G4 to existing oversight of USA, Syfy, Chiller, Cloo, Universal HD and Universal Cable Productions. The previous NBCU Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios president assumed responsibility for USA Network in May 2004, adding to her role as Syfy president. In March 2008, she took the reins of the newly created Universal Cable Productions, and also assumed leadership of Sleuth (now Cloo), Chiller and Universal HD. Multi-tasking, indeed.
What challenges keep you up at night? “All of them. At the moment, constantly evolving technology is front and center. While innovation on virtually a daily basis is exciting, it’s a challenge to stay nimble and adapt in ways that best maximize your core business.”
Career accomplishment: “The creation of incredible teams to oversee some of the strongest brands in the business.”
Motto: “No is just a word, and it will be the last one only if you let it be.”
Favorite food: “Pasta... any kind, anytime.”
CEO/Chief Creative Officer, OWN
The name Oprah abets one of the most renowned media empires in the world; and now that Winfrey has retired from her iconic daily TV talkie, the entrepreneur’s attention has turned to network OWN, which debuted in January 2011 in 80 million homes. In July, Winfrey took over the reins as CEO and Chief Creative Officer to help develop a mix of original programs, strips, specials, original documentaries and acquired movies. Among fall 2011 feats were the favorably received original 90-minute documentary “3 Boys & A New Show,” featuring Celine Dion; and the heralded launch of a new “Rosie (O’Donnell) Show.”
Chairman, NBCU Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media, NBCU
With the January 2011 Comcast- NBCU merger, the former head of NBCU’s Women and Lifestyle Entertainment networks achieved yet another career coup, garnering a lofty new gig as chairman, NBCU Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media. In her new role, Zalaznick oversees the company’s expanded media empire, including cable networks Bravo, Oxygen and Telemundo, as well as digital properties iVillage, Fandango and Daily Candy. Named one of Fortune magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Women in 2010, her accomplishments also include ushering Bravo to five record-setting best years, as it transformed from niche network into a Peabody- and Emmy-award winning pop culture phenomenon.
Passion: “Digital and non-linear viewership and the engagements of audiences around our professional, brand-centric content — but not on traditional screens — is transformative.”
Career accomplishments: “Experiencing several sides of the same industry: from independent contractor to small business owner to corporate employee (dweeb), from film to cable TV to digital, social, mobile… and now broadcast TV en Español.”
Favorite quote: “A 250-year old quote sums up the digital age: ‘Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.’ From Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784).”
EVP/Chief Video and Content Officer, Time Warner Cable
With her bookend roles at Time Warner Cable, Witmer oversees content, acquisition and distribution arrangements across all platforms for the company, while managing relationships with programmers and content providers across the entertainment industry. In the past year, she ventured into sports TV, leading TWC’s negotiations with the Los Angeles Lakers, ultimately scoring a slam dunk multiyear deal for TWC to telecast Lakers’ pre-season, regular season and post-season games, alongside a variety of new and original content, featuring behind-the-scenes, personality and classic programming.
Passion: “Greatly increased competition and rapid changes in our growing capabilities to deliver innovative products to our consumers. I don’t need my Wheaties in the morning anymore to rev the engines. I just need to read whatever new has happened the day before in the industry to feel inspired and motivated.”
Challenge: “Making the right bets. We can’t pursue every interesting opportunity that comes our way, so we have to choose and focus. With so many fascinating choices, picking a particular path is challenging.”
Pet peeve: “Not having the time and capacity to do everything that I want.”
President, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group
Persistence pays off: Zarghami joined Nickelodeon as a scheduling clerk in 1985 and elevated through the programming department to become the channel’s GM in 1996, overseeing programming, scheduling, acquisitions, marketing and day-to-day network management. She was promoted to GM/EVP in 1997 and in 2004, the position of president of Nickelodeon Television was created for her to oversee production and development, marketing, programming and creativity. Adding duties as president of the newly formed Kids & Family Group in 2006, Zarghami has expanded Nickelodeon’s pro-social leadership role as a key component of its brand identity.
EVP, Operations, East Region, Time Warner Cable
Hevey heads one of TWC’s two geographic operational regions, serving almost 7 million customers. This forward-thinking exec, who has been in cable more than 30 years, in 2010 integrated the company’s operations in New York City, one of its largest and most challenging areas from an operations perspective, into the East Region. She now has 17,000 employees under her watch, a designation in which she takes great pride and responsibility. Aside from demonstrating managerial savvy, Hevey played a pivotal role in creating the regional operating structure for TWC so the company can better serve customers and be nimble in competing with other providers with extensive national footprints.
Career accomplishment: “I am proud of the fact that throughout my career, I have been able to serve as a change agent for Time Warner Cable. And I am proud of how the changes that I have been a part of have helped us to advance as a company. I want to be known as the person who will always raise her hand to launch a new product or service, or to try something new to help move the company forward.”
Favorite Hobby: “I enjoy traveling – seeing new places and experiencing different cultures. I like to garden, but don’t seem to have enough time to be very good at it. And, I have 3 dogs that I enjoy very much. My favorite Sunday morning activity is to go hiking in a nearby state park with my husband and our dogs.”
Challenge: “Given our competitive business, one of my top two or three priorities is ensuring that each and every employee remains focused on providing a great customer experience in every interaction.”
SVP, Operations, Cox Communications
Campbell, whose tenure at Cox Communications spans nearly three decades, oversees operations for the 9,000 employees of Cox cable systems and the Atlanta support team. In Jan, her role expanded to include the MSO’s entire field system. Meanwhile, her influence is felt far and wide as founder and co-chair of the company’s diversity council, former chair of the WICT Board and honors as Woman of the Year for the WICT Atlanta chapter and “one of the most influential women” in Southern Nevada. Campbell has served as a board member for United Way, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the California, Arizona and Nevada Cable Television Assns.
Women in cable: “When you consider that women make up 43% of all full-time employees in cable, we’re only 30% of the top 10% of cable’s highest-paid employees. Still, I’m confident that we’ll get there because our contributions to the industry as a whole as well as our impact on the bottom line are undeniable.”
Passion: “I live a wireless device life, so I’m excited about the fusion of mobility into our products and services, which is further enhanced by offering these products on multiple platforms.”
Career accomplishment: “I am proud of the fact that I came up through the ranks as a woman in operations and that I’m one of only a few women at my level. I would love to see more young women follow in my footsteps.”
President, Bright House Networks
In 2003, Bergman was part of the senior management team that launched Bright House Networks, now the sixthlargest cable TV provider. As president, she provides corporate guidance, execution and oversight of technology, product and strategic partnerships across its video, broadband, voice and wireless platforms. Bright House won J.D. Powers Awards three consecutive years as best telecom service provider, and launched such new products across its digital video/high-speed data platforms as Start-Over, Caller ID on TV and Road Runner residential/commercial services. Bergman has been recognized with WICT and SCTE Women In Technology awards, and in 2009, was named CED’s Person of the Year, also receiving the Distinguished Vanguard Award for Leadership.
Passion: “I continue to be excited about the capabilities and intelligence of our infrastructure [and] the innovation available to us from vendor partners. It gives me much confidence that we will be able to compete by delivering compelling new services while sustaining a cost-effective foundation.”
Career accomplishment: “I am particularly proud of the way my fellow Bright House employees work together to take care of our customers. During a recent visit to one of our markets, I was touched to hear many stories which all shared the same theme: Our employees have each other’s backs. That enables us to burst through and delight our customers.”
Favorite Web sites: “cablefax.com, wsj.com and gigaom.com. I count on all of them to keep me informed, and none has ever let me down.”
President, TV Networks Distribution, NBCU
As a 23-year industry veteran, Baker’s oversight was expanded by the 2011 Comcast/NBCU acquisition to include distribution strategy/execution of 20- plus cable properties, including USA, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Style Network, Syfy, Golf Channel, MSNBC and Oxygen. She is charged with distribution of these networks, along with network-owned NBC and Telemundo stations, cable and broadband Olympic content, VOD, pay-per-view and set top box content. Former NBCU honcho Jeff Zucker calls Baker “one of the most respected and experienced television executives with strong relationships throughout the industry.” We couldn’t agree more.
Women in cable: “There are many great opportunities and benefits of pursuing a career in cable, and companies benefit from an empowered, diverse work force. We need to support the next generation of female leaders and make sure we’re attracting the best and the brightest.”
Passion: “In my house, it’s the golden age of television. Cable networks today have all the great, original programming. It’s not one or two shows; there are 10 different series recorded, waiting to be viewed.”
Favorite artist: Adele. “I saw her perform at the Greek Theater, and she was outstanding. She’s the real deal.”
EVP/General Counsel, Fox Networks Group
As the highest-ranking and most powerful female executive at Fox Networks Group, Tuzon was instrumental this year in helping Fox secure significant distribution deals with DISH Network and Cablevision. In her role as the network group’s general counsel, she supervises all legal and business matters pertaining to Fox’s regional and national cable networks, including—take a big breath—FX, Fox Movie Channel, Speed, National Geographic Channel, FSN and 20 ownedand- operated regional sports networks, Fox College Sports, Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Sports en Español, action-sports lifestyle channel Fuel TV, Fox Reality Channel and The Big Ten network.
Women in cable: “This is a dynamic business, and its growth has provided opportunities for women to excel and lead. I am proud to say that five of the six departments that report to me are led by strong, successful, creative women who will continue to take our business by storm.”
Career accomplishment: “The new businesses and opportunities I have had a hand in creating, notably the Big Ten Network. But I am most proud of the women and men I have been able to mentor and guide in their successful careers. That is a legacy that will endure.”
Favorite program not on your network: “Modern Family”
Chairman/CEO, BET Networks
As chairman/CEO of BET Holdings since 2005, Lee catapulted the network to its highest performance in 30 years during 2Q 2010, reaching 89 million households. Now, she has her eye on developing original programming, after successfully co-opting sitcom “The Game” to BET when the CW canceled it in 2009. She has since launched romantic comedy “Let’s Stay Together,” to a premiere audience of 4.4 million. This fall, BET premiered family drama “Reed Between the Lines,” and its first made-for-TV movie, “Gun Hill.” BET will maintain its stable of news, music and specials—including its highly rated “Hip Hop Awards”—which Lee says gives its audience “images of themselves” unavailable anywhere else.
President/GM, History and Lifetime
With her May 2010 appointment to president/GM of Lifetime Networks, Dubuc took on the network’s strategic planning, programming, consumer marketing, publicity and brand development—while continuing tenure as president/GM of History. She led that channel into the top five on cable, attracting enough male viewers to rank it No. 3 in primetime, behind ESPN and USA. Dubuc has also wasted no time moving History into the future: It is now the No. 1 nonfiction network, in the top 3 among Adults 18-49 and 25-54, Men 18-49 and 25-54, among both scripted and unscripted ad-supported cable networks. It sure looks like Dubuc has History on her side.
Challenges: “Staying on top and innovating to keep our program pipeline fresh, authentic and bold; ensuring we give viewers what they want, where and whenever they want it.”
Career accomplishments: “Building the best creative teams in the business and empowering them to create genre-defining appointment viewing programming that consumers can’t get anywhere else.”
Motto: “Ask Why Not.”
Group President, Discovery/TLC Networks
Since O’Neill’s January promotion to Group President of Discovery/TLC Networks, Discovery Channel has propelled itself with hit series “Sons of Guns, “Flying Wild Alaska” and “Gold Rush.” It’s the latest accomplishment for the 20-year Discovery veteran, whose role at the nets includes development, programming, production, digital media, marketing, research and communications. At TLC, she has developed an arsenal of non-scripted programming, committed to “TV That Matters,” including “National Body Changes,” which in five years has helped Americans lose nearly 500 tons and “Birth Day Live!” which has aired the TV birth of 90-plus babies over four years.
Passion: “As our programming has gotten stronger, we are bridging the gap and often beating the network programs, especially in key demos.”
What keeps you up at night?: “Having to fill programming 24/7 on three cable networks, finding the hits, dealing with the most intense competition for those shows, engaging an audience who is easily distracted, dealing with the digital space and the ever-changing landscape… Basically, I don’t sleep.”
Favorite foods: Buratta cheese and Cakebread Chardonnay
Hernández, former publisher of People En Español and Teen People at Time Warner, joined Telemundo as COO in 2008, where she has shepherded a unified approach to marketing across network, TV stations and digital platforms. She has reorganized sales practices under one new umbrella (the Telemundo Group) and launched several research initiatives, including the Pulse Research Center, and in May 2010, a psychographic study with Starcom MediaVest Group, “Beyond Demographics: Identity Study.” Hernández also oversees mun2, NBCU’s network targeted to young Latino Americans, which earned a Peabody Award in 2010.
Women in cable: “The industry is made up of many powerful, smart and dynamic women who are running some of the top networks. I’d argue that women are the powerhouse of the cable industry.”
Career accomplishment: “The brand repositioning of mun2, today’s No. 1 bilingual bicultural network for young Latinos.”
Motto: “A quote from my dad: ‘Life is like learning how to ride a wave. When a challenge comes your way, don’t run from it. Dive in and ride it out.’”
Managing Director/Head of Funds, Comcast Corp.
Over the past year alone, Banse has led Comcast Ventures’ capital initiatives strategy, which includes a $500 million fund for Comcast and NBCUniversal to partner with promising entrepreneurs that demonstrate vision, passion and tenacity. In addition, she is renowned for her past role as Comcast Interactive Media president, overseeing acquisition of Fandango movie ticketing site, popular email newsletter Daily Candy, smart contacts site Plaxo, and thePlatform, a provider of digital media publishing solutions. Her rich history with Comcast also includes content development, including investments in E!, the Golf Channel and Versus, and launch of G4, PBS Kids Sprout, TV One and Comcast’s sports networks.
Career accomplishments: “Creation of Comcast Interactive Media and the beginnings of TV Everywhere and, most recently, the opportunity to help identify emerging businesses that represent the next generation of entertainment, communications and digital technology.”
Passion: “The move to a world where media is consumed and commerce is transacted on all platforms and all devices in a completely immersive and interactive way.”
Motto: “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Chairwoman/CEO, WOW! Internet, Phone and Cable
JD Powers has recognized WOW! 10 times for its dedication to excellence. As chair/CEO of WOW! Abdoulah has helped expand the company from 600 employees to 1,300 over the past decade, as it’s grown to become the 11th-largest U.S. cable operator, with operations in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Abdoulah is also chairwoman of the American Cable Assn., and sits on four boards: the American Cable Association, C-SPAN, the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Women’s Vision Foundation.
Passion: “The amazing technological advances that are being made which allow for advanced services, the TV/video everywhere experience and the overall convergence that is occurring between products and services.”
Career accomplishment: “The high performance, well-balanced culture we have created at WOW!, and when people tell me they are proud to be a part of this team.”
Motto: “Be real, be kind, and make sure your motivations and intentions are pure.”
President, Cable Entertainment & Digital Advertising Sales, NBCU
In her brand new role at NBCU, former Turner ad sales, marketing and acquisitions exec Yaccarino will oversee all cable entertainment and digital ad sales for the company. Reporting to Bonnie Hammer and Lauren Zalaznick, Yaccarino is responsible for ad sales for NBCU networks including USA, Syfy, Bravo, E! Entertainment, Oxygen and Style, and Web sites NBC.com, AccessHollywood.com, NBCSports. com and NBCOlympics.com. Her purview also includes stand-alone digital businesses DailyCandy, Swirl, Fandango iVillage and Television Without Pity. At Turner, Yaccarino’s recent coups include acquisitions “The Mentalist,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Hawaii Five-O,” and she set a new record for cable entertainment networks by achieving price parity with the November 2010 launch of “Conan” on TBS. She was also instrumental in developing and enhancing “in- Context,” the industry’s first contextual platform designed to increase advertising effectiveness, enhance accountability and ensure measurable returns for advertisers.
Passion: “TV Everywhere is definitely top of mind, allowing viewers to consume favorite shows wherever and whenever they want. Cable continues to play the role of innovator, as we see partners trusting in brands and moving beyond traditional ways of thinking.”
Career accomplishment: “It is imperative for any individual looking to excel in their career to find a company that supports and nurtures their talent, and believes in encouraging growth beyond fixed, traditional roles. Turner allowed me the opportunity to take on both a sales and programming role, which is unique in our industry.”
Favorite destination: “You may think with a name like Yaccarino, my answer would be somewhere in Italy. However, my favorite family destination now is State College, Pa., to see my son play hockey for the Nittany Lions.”
EVP/President Media Sales, Time Warner Cable Media
Gillman heads up ad sales and forges Time Warner’s initiatives to deliver advanced advertising, data and interactive solutions for advertisers and network partners. For her contributions to the industry, we recently inducted Gillman in our Cablefax Sales Hall of Fame and continue to marvel at her innovative approach. A member of WICT and CTAM, she also serves on the boards of NCC, CAB and Adlink.
Women in cable: “Women who work with their managers to have development plans are on the rise. Women who speak up with ideas to help their company improve performance are recognized. The number of women in the senior ranks continues to rise. And we now have role models at all levels of management that pay it forward and mentor rising stars.”
Passion: “How the MSOs’ early investment in broadband and digital is paying off for consumers, businesses and advertisers alike. It is opening up a world of innovation on how cable scales advanced advertising solutions and delivers new consumer products to the home with new devices and user experiences.”
Favorite destination: “Bareboat sailing in the BVI.”
President, Food Category, Scripps Network Interactive
Elevated to the head of the Food category at Scripps Networks Interactive in 2010, Johnson continues to stir up new ideas for the way consumers perceive what they eat. She oversaw the successful launch of the Cooking Channel in 2010 and a host of brand extensions for Food Network this year, including a partnership with Major League Baseball and the release of the brand’s new wine portfolio, Entwine. Johnson was also instrumental in rollout of the network’s April Good Food Gardens initiative, in partnership with Share Our Strength.
Career accomplishment: “Working with and developing great people.”
Passion: “I love the fact that cable networks are now equal to broadcast networks in the esteem of consumers—indeed, far preferred in many cases.”
Pet peeve: “Bureaucracy, which should be rooted out whenever it inevitably rears its ugly head.”
President, HBO Entertainment
Since becoming president of HBO Entertainment in 2008, Naegle has definitely put her stamp on the cable network. Charged with overseeing HBO’s series programming and specials, she has overseen nine pilots, including “Hung,” “Bored To Death,” “How To Make It in America,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Treme” and “True Blood.” Previously, she worked up from the mailroom at United Talent Agency, eventually becoming a partner and co-head of its television department, where she represented and developed relationships with notable writers/producers Jenny Bicks, Jhoni Marchinko, Charlie Kaufman and Alan Ball. For her efforts, Newsweek named her one of its top 10 “Most Important People” in 2010.
Women in cable: “I have a lot of respect for the women who are making noise and doing great work in cable. Sheila Nevins, Lauren Zalaznick and Bonnie Hammer are inspirations.”
Challenges: “In order to help produce programming that influences culture, you need to be experiencing what’s happening in literature, on the Internet, in different ethnic and socioeconomic brackets and all parts of the country and world. It’s a fun challenge to keep up with it all.”
Favorite destination: “When we need to relax, my family loves to go to Ojai and ride bikes, read and cook. I swear there’s Valium in the air there.”
President, Comedy Central
This is no laughing matter. As president of MTV Networks’ marquis brand Comedy Central, Ganeless is charged with the lofty tasks of leading, strategizing and managing one of the most recognizable industry brands. With her guidance, this year Comedy Central rolled out a dramatic new look and voice for its cable TV and digital content platforms. Ganeless also created Comedy Central Summer School, enabling minority students to develop comedy writing skills and gain experience at a cable network, and spearheaded MTV Networks’ Posse Foundation partnership, providing college tuition for public high school students demonstrating academic and leadership potential.
Passion: “I think the amount of great original programming being produced on cable today is outstanding. Great originals still have the power to transform a network, AMC being the most recent example.”
Challenge: “Finding the next hit. Without hit originals, nothing else matters.”
Favorite program not on your network: “Top Chef”
President/CEO, TV One
When Lucas stepped into Johnathan Rodgers’ shoes in August 2011, she brought with her multiple industry kudos, including Black Enterprise magazine’s 2010 designation as one of the “75 Most Powerful Women in Business.” Previously, Lucas was EVP/COO for Discovery and Science channels. Alfred Liggins, Radio One president and CEO, offers that Lewis’ “expertise in marketing some of the best brands in television will be a tremendous plus as we continue to define and strengthen TV One’s brand in a constantly evolving media marketplace.”
Challenge: “As a network dedicated to providing quality programming for African Americans, we have a duty to fully represent the diversity of African American lives and experiences. Right now, there is a very narrow slice depicted on cable television.”
Career accomplishments: “I am most proud of working with amazing people who have gone on to accomplish great things in their careers. A true legacy is not necessarily in the things you’ve accomplished, but in the people you’ve touched and influenced.”
Favorite food: “I am truly a Southern girl at heart. My favorite food is my mom’s sweet potato soufflé. When she cooks it, I know I’m truly at home.”
Driessen is not only responsible for overseeing the Disney subsidiary’s financial operations, but advises strategic planning for acquisitions, new business ventures and programming initiatives. Her 26 years with ESPN include forging its broadband Internet strategy and programming rights agreements with NFL, NASCAR, MLB and The Big Ten; along with the launches of ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPN: The Magazine and acquisition of ESPN Classic. In addition to countless board appointments, Driessen has been heralded among “The 20 Most Influential Women in Sports Business” by Sports Business Journal.
EVP, Content Distribution and Marketing, MTV Networks
Denson oversees multiplatform distribution for a mind-blowing profusion of the company’s acronyms: MTV, MTV2, VH1, VH1 Classic, CMT, Logo, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nick Jr., TeenNick, Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land, BET, Centric, Tr3s, EPIX—28 in all. In the role, she supervises distribution deals for all brands, while expanding the company’s channel portfolio and growing its reach across such emerging platforms as VOD and broadband. In 2010, she inked distribution agreements with Comcast and Cox.
Career accomplishment: “I’m most proud of being a double-threat: I’m the leader of a national sales organization and mother to five children. My home and office lives are different in many ways, and so rewarding. But there are running themes: Change is the only constant. And the art of negotiation is a survival skill.”
Passion: “The fact that the cable industry is simultaneously hitting on the creative and business sides is a source of pride for everyone. I love selling brands like MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET that mean something to consumers.”
Challenges: “The unpredictability of the media landscape and the fear of uncertainty in how content consumption will ultimately evolve. The best antidote is knowing I work at a content company and this time of great change has made content creators stronger. It’s a good position to be in these days.”
President, Distribution, Sales and Marketing, Univision Communications
O’Connor oversees strategic distribution sales and marketing efforts for the company’s portfolio of networks, including Univision and TeleFutura networks, the recently formed Univision Cable Networks division that includes Galavisión, and a suite of six growing cable networks—De Película, De Película Clásico, Bandamax, Ritmoson, Telehit and Clásico TV—as well as new network launches over the coming months. Her promotion to president earlier this year was a clear acknowledgement of O’Connor’s previous contributions to the company and community. She currently serves on the executive committee of the T. Howard Foundation and is a WICT member.
Women in cable: “The industry has done an admirable job recruiting women and creating career paths for their development. [But] women continue to be in the minority when it comes to executive leadership positions. It’s up to the senior women in our industry to actively support sponsorship of highpotential females within our companies.”
Challenge: “It’s hard to ignore the macro issues in our economy. The outlook continues to be bleak, and I worry greatly about external factors, which are beyond our scope of influence.”
Motto: “Do something you love and success will follow.”
President, Bravo Media & Style Media
This July Bravo Media president Berwick added Style Media president to her credits. It’s the latest upward move for the 15-year veteran, who has transitioned Bravo from network to brand. She presided over double-digit growth in ratings and revenue, fostering its first Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Reality Competition (“Top Chef”) in 2010. It’s a world of difference from the art-house persona that Berwick greeted at Bravo in 1996: Today, it’s a powerhouse for reality hits “The Rachel Zoe Project,” “The Millionaire Matchmaker” and “The Real Housewives” franchise. In that time the net’s subscribers have bumped from 25 million to 95 million, raising revenue from $42 million to $530 million and upping operation profit margins nearly 400%.
Passion: “The emphasis on how social media intersects with and elevates our programming is our way of connecting directly with our passionate fanbase. The fact that the cable industry has embraced technology in this way is enormously inspiring and energizing.”
Challenges: “The business of monetizing new platforms and the challenge of keeping in front of consumer behavior is on my mind. My goal is always to be the lead car in the race when serving the TV Everywhere generation, and finding new models to make it sustainable for the business and the brand.”
Motto: “Surround yourself with great people, make it fun and take the work, not ourselves, seriously.”
SVP, Content Acquisition, Comcast Cable
As a SVP for Comcast Cable, Gaiski oversees a multibillion-dollar budget, negotiates and administers programming contracts, and coordinates field operations and communications. She also has oversight for management of Comcast’s joint venture partnerships with Bresnan, Mid Continent Cable and US Cable. Under her direction, the company’s video offerings have ballooned from a customer base of 2.7 million to 24 million. Jennifer Yohe Wagner, Comcast’s VP of strategic business procurement, deems Gaiski “one of the toughest, fairest negotiators in programming. To see her in action is remarkable, fighting the big fights and winning so that it’s fair for everyone.”
Women in cable: “A career has significant challenges, including balancing responsibilities as a spouse, parent and caregiver. Often these are full-time jobs themselves. When companies find ways to support flexible work environments, work hours and job sharing, you will find an environment where employees of all genders prosper, particularly women.”
Passion: “The rapidly changing ways that customers view content.”
Motto: “‘It’s all about the Benjamins,’ because everything in business ultimately boils down to money.”
CEO, Home Shopping Network
In the midst of an ongoing recession, HSN CEO Grossman has positioned the multi-channel retailer for growth with revolutionary marketing and partnerships with top brands and celebrities—altering the 34-year-old company’s once-folksy persona to become more hip and relevant to consumers. Last summer, Grossman spearheaded an exclusive partnership with Sony Pictures. The net’s foray into Hollywood, inspired by the film “Eat, Pray, Love,” included a 72-hour event with appearances by 20-plus HSN partners and brands, featuring 400 unique items. Similar events in 2011 have expanded its reach via Kraft Foods, blockbuster film “The Help,” and fragrance launches for Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lopez.
Women in cable: “The cable industry continues to become more diverse and as a result, there are and will continue to be more opportunities for women. Over 50% of HSN’s corporate officers and 60% of our directors and above are women. We are a firm believer that diversity drives innovation and business success.”
Passion: “I am most excited about rapid changes in technology that are merging entertainment and commerce.”
Career accomplishment: “Taking HSNi public in 2008 and thriving through the recession and beyond.”
CEO, U.S., QVC
Since joining QVC in 2008 as President of U.S. Commerce, Watts has played an integral role in recasting QVC into a leading, innovative multi-channel retailer. Named CEO in January 2011, Watts oversees a strategic direction committed to thousands of contemporary beauty, fashion, jewelry and home products. As the largest televised shopping retailer in the nation, QVC has expanded by fostering relationships with celebrities and guests to introduce and demonstrate product lines, including Heidi Klum, the Kardashians, Isaac Mizrahi and Rachael Ray.
Women in cable: “It is rewarding to have some remarkably talented women throughout the [QVC] organization setting strategy and running some of our most important operating divisions. Women are uniquely qualified in our business, because it combines operations, technology, creative aesthetics, innovation and strategic acumen with a love for shopping.”
Challenges: “As our industry continues to evolve, we need to remain proactive in our strategic approach. I learned early on in my career the critical importance of developing good leaders. I am passionate about developing the leadership team at QVC to address the challenges of the ever-changing cable landscape.”
Motto: “Listen more, talk less.”
Pet Peeve: “Be on time.”
EVP/General Counsel, TBS, President, TBS International, Turner Broadcasting System
As EVP/general counsel Sams leads a global staff on such legal matters as acquisitions/joint ventures; production/ clearance of content for Turner’s news, entertainment and animation networks; protection of the company’s intellectual property; and litigation/employment matters. Meanwhile, as president of TBS International, she heads production, distribution and ad sales relating to Turner’s kids and entertainment networks and media services outside of North America, as well as distribution and commercial operations for CNN’s international services and Turner’s international joint ventures, licensing and merch activity outside North America. Her global strategy leadership has resulted in Turner’s reach of 100- plus branded channels in 30 languages and 200 countries.
Women in cable: “When I look around Turner Broadcasting and other companies in this industry, I see a lot of smart, creative and motivated women. (They) all have great opportunities in the cable TV business, but can’t be shy about asking for those opportunities and then working hard to prove themselves.”
Passion: “TV Everywhere demonstrates cable’s commitment to providing consumers what they want, when they want it, on any device. I’m encouraged by the way our industry is embracing TV Everywhere with an eye toward the future.”
Favorite destination: “I enjoy visiting new places where I can experience another culture and learn new things. It continually reminds me that people around the world are more alike than they are different.”
Senior VP/GM, HGTV, Scripps Networks Interactive
Since Finch found a new home as SVP/ GM for HGTV in September 2010, leading all aspects of HGTV’s program development and production, the network has launched a dozen new series. And this October, she helped expand the TV channel and online brand with the all-new HGTV Magazine. Finch has also been instrumental in securing brand partnerships with high-profile celebrities and national icons, including “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and Disney Parks. Named one of Time’s “100 Industry Innovators to Watch,” Finch serves on the boards of the Knoxville Symphony and the Knoxville Metropolitan Airport Authority.
Passion: “The ways we can increasingly utilize social media to build fanbases and affinity groups and drive engagement for our programming and talent—and the two-way conversations it allows—are fascinating.”
Challenge: “How to compete for attention in a highly fractured media world with platforms and delivery methods that weren’t even fathomable a few years ago. We all chase that same desirable demographic, and attracting it requires new tricks and noisy ideas.”
Career accomplishment: “I am most proud when I can bring together disparate groups who might not normally work in sync, and encourage them to find ways to work together to take a good idea and make it a great idea.”
EVP, National Accounts, Field Sales & Canada, A&E Networks
Talk about a full plate. Conkling’s purview includes distribution strategy across multiple platforms for AETN’s 10 networks, including A&E, History, Lifetime Television and Lifetime Movie Network. She also oversees field sales, national accounts and distribution strategy for North America. Among Conkling’s recent achievements is helping Lifetime Movie Network sprint toward becoming one of the fastest-growing Nielsen-rated channels, now reaching 83 million. This year, she was named to the WICT board, where she helps drive the organization’s strategy. She also helped spread the good word among cable colleagues as a speaker at the 2011 NAB, CTAM and WICT conferences.
Women in cable: “The women in this industry are doing a great job using their platforms to highlight and advance issues that are important to other women, whether through programming or legislation.”
Passion: “The proliferation of new technology and devices really gets me excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.”
Favorite destination: “Zanzibar. The sunrises are stunning and the scuba diving is incredible.”
EVP, TV Networks Distribution, NBCU
In her role at NBCU, Zimmer co-leads the national sales team’s distribution of TV content to the cable, satellite and telco industries. She has overseen distribution deals for NBCU’s multibillion- dollar content portfolio of cable networks Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, Golf Channel, Style Network, Syfy, MSNBC, USA and Versus, while playing a key role in distribution efforts of Comcast Sports Networks in a dozen geographic regions. Busy enough? Zimmer also works with NBCU’s Digital Distribution division to deliver digital services to the company’s TV Networks Distribution partners.
Women in cable: “I have always believed women shouldn’t accept or acknowledge anything less than a fair playing field. I have no tolerance for gender discrepancy in the workplace. When I think about the incredibly talented women we have in our industry, I am humbled. The next wave of women leaders won’t recognize the term ‘boys club.’”
Career accomplishment: “Looking back, I am fortunate to have worked for the best brands in the business and have been part of ground-breaking network launches. I am most proud of helping others tap into sports careers.”
Favorite food: “My sister Cara Mia’s homemade mozzarella.”
President, Documentary and Family Programming, HBO
After producing some 500 documentaries for the U.S. Information Service, ABC, CBS and production company Spinning Reels, Nevins joined HBO in 1979. Now president of the net’s documentary and family programming, she has helped it win nine Oscars, 13 Primetime Emmys, 10 Academy Awards, 22 News and Documentary Emmys and 18 George Foster Peabody awards for HBO (and one Peabody for herself). Nevins’ accomplishments have earned her a News and Documentary Emmy for Lifetime Achievement, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association, and induction into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.
Swain may be responsible for the CSPAN’s daily editorial operations, but she is hardly an armchair executive. She serves as longtime on-air moderator for morning show “Washington Journal” and a collaborator on such historical series as “The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858,” Peabody-winning “American Presidents: Life Portraits” and “American Writers II: The 20th Century.” Swain also moderates coverage of national political conventions, presidential debates and election nights. She is an officer of C-SPAN parent National Cable Satellite Corp., a board member of C-SPAN Educational Foundation and member of The Museum of Television and Radio, CTAM and the Washington Cable Club.
Passion: “Having three C-SPAN channels on multiple screens, including the iPad apps of Time Warner and Cablevision, is great. These cool new technologies enable our audience to find content more conveniently, and challenge us to keep programming current and compelling for an audience that has so many viewing options.”
Challenge: “Keeping the C-SPAN networks cutting-edge and innovative while remaining consistent with our corporate and editorial mission—and the public service mission of the cable operators who fund our services.”
Pet peeve: “Sitting in Washington’s notorious bumper-to-bumper traffic. Bless you, whoever invented Bluetooth!”
SVP/GM, Communications and Data Services, Comcast
Avgiris is among the leading voices in cable TV: literally. She boosted Comcast’s Internet, voice and wireless services from zero market share into the nation’s fourth-largest phone company, with 8 million customers. Heading Comcast’s VoIP and wireless Internet arms, she oversees a portfolio that generates $11 billion-plus annually. Last year, Avgiris and her team launched Xfinity Internet 2go, providing nationwide 4G wireless data service, while leading rollout of the top 100 free app Xfinity Mobile for the iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices, now with 9 million customers. In 2011, she partnered with Skype, enabling Comcast customers to utilize HD video calling via TV. Avgiris is also a member of the Forum for Executive Women and WICT’s Philadelphia chapter mentoring program.
Passion: “Convergence has been talked about for a long time, but we are finally bringing the experience to customers. Who would have thought cable operators would be in the app space, enabling customers to access entertainment, information and communications from tablets and other devices?”
Career accomplishment: “Launching our Xfinity Voice service, one of the largest organically grown residential phone companies in the country. We were able to change up a 50-plus-year-old product into an integrated platform for communications and make it cool to have a phone again. And we’re just getting started.”
Motto: “‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.’ “Aristotle said it, and I try to live by it every day.”
Founder, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
In September 2010, lifestyle leader Stewart initiated a bold transition from syndication to cable, creating a new block of programming in partnership with Hallmark Channel. New series include “Martha Bakes,” “Mad Hungry with Lucinda Scala Quinn,” “Petkeeping with Marc Morrone” and, in September 2011, the seventh season of her Emmy-winning “Martha Stewart Show,” which earned a Daytime Emmy and Gracie Award (for best host) this year. With Hallmark, Stewart has also added chef Emeril Lagasse to the mix with “Emeril’s Table,” and launched “Martha Stewart Presents,” a series of primetime interview specials. In all, Stewart’s MSLO’s broadcast division has produced more than 500 hours of original content for the 2010-2011 season.
President/GM, Animal Planet, President, Science Networks/Science Channel
With her promotion to president of Science Channel in January, Kaplan continues to develop a distinct identity for the brand, while maintaining oversight and aggressive growth of Animal Planet Media as president/GM. Under her direction, Animal Planet has seen 28% audience growth among the 18-49 demo since its 2008 rebranding, becoming a top 30 cable network in 2010. Among its successes: “River Monsters,” the network’s best-performing series ever, with more than 1.5 million viewers in its third season. Kaplan also lends her influence to develop programming that raises awareness of animal issues worldwide.
Passion: “It’s terrific to see series on cable regularly doing ratings that broadcasters envy, and especially seeing that performance from unscripted content. The sky’s the limit.”
Career accomplishment: “The Animal Planet rebrand/relaunch.”
Destination: “Paris… What more is there to say?”
EVP, Turner Broadcasting System
One of Turner CEO Phil Kent’s most trusted advisers, Regal leads the company’s programming and sales research arm, PR, corporate communications and philanthropy, human resources and media planning and buying. Positioned at the nexus of so many Turner initiatives, Regal also leads wide-ranging strategic and operating initiatives that bridge global news, entertainment and animation, and young adult and kids media networks and businesses. Recently she brought Conan O’Brien to TBS and secured rights to the men’s NCAA March Madness tournament. To top it off, she’s a WICT executive member and is active mentoring within Turner.
Passion: “I thrive on the fast-paced change in our industry. We’re driving technology innovation to meet consumers’ demand to be engaged, informed and entertained anytime, anywhere.”
Career accomplishment: “Nothing inspires and motivates me more than seeing the career success of the people I’ve had the pleasure of hiring, developing, mentoring, leading and working alongside.”
Favorite destination: “I love traveling anywhere with my family, but my favorite destination is Nantucket.”
President, Travel Channel, Scripps Networks Interactive
Veteran TV executive Ong, who helped launch the National Geographic Channel in 2001, continues to navigate a laudable career path since being named President of Scripps Networks’ Travel Channel in April 2010. The previous year marked the net’s most successful ever, with adults 25-54 viewing at all-time highs in primetime and total day, as Ong continues to delve into building brand strategy, developing additional programming and talent to increase ratings and create new business opportunities. Among numerous kudos, Ong has been recognized as WICT’s Woman of the Year and received the Vision Award from the Washington Chapter of Women in Film and Video.
Passion: “The changing technology that allows for more engagement with our consumers, particularly in a lifestyle category like Travel, where we have opportunities to take the consumer from inspiration to activation.”
Career accomplishment: “Launching NGC with a very talented team. Considering the odds we were up against during that time and the performance we were able to achieve, it’s a oncein- a-lifetime accomplishment.”
Favorite destinations: “Shanghai, Sydney and the excitement I have over the places I have yet to explore.”
EVP/General Counsel, Showtime Networks
As Showtime’s highest-ranking woman and chief legal officer, Marcus plays a critical role in the company’s programming and distribution deals, as well as policy and strategic initiatives. She has spent much of the last 12 months overseeing complicated legal aspects and deal making for the rollout of “Showtime Anytime,” the net’s new authenticated broadband service. Marcus is also a much sought-after speaker on diversity and LGBT issues, addressing the United Nations World Diversity Leadership Summit in September and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference. In 2010, Inside Counsel magazine named her recipient of its First Annual Transformative Leadership Award for advancing the economic empowerment of women in law.
Passion: “It’s impossible not to be excited about the emergence of new platforms and their new ways of delivering content. But what ignites my passion most is the actual content. Cable programming keeps getting better, tackling increasingly important and provocative themes, and attracting first-rate talent who gravitate to cable for the chance to do quality work.”
Career accomplishment: “Building a top-notch law department virtually from scratch. Yes, we’re smart, hard-working, well trained and everything you’d expect from a team of professionals. But we’re also fun, collegial, irreverent and funny, and, most important, far from being viewed by our business clients as naysayers or the proverbial necessary evil getting in the way of a deal.”
avorite song:“A cross between Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You’ and the Beatles’ ‘A Day in the Life.’ Clearly, a part of me is still in close touch with my inner teenage angst.”
COO, Universal Cable Productions, EVP, Business Affairs, NBCU Cable Productions
As a leading executive for NBCU Cable Productions, in the past two years, Roberts has delivered seven UCP shows to the TV airwaves on USA network: “Covert Affairs,” “Fairly Legal,” “Suits,” “In Plain Sight,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Royal Pains” and “Psych.” For SyFy, she negotiated deals for “Alphas,” “Eureka” and “Warehouse 13,” while the studio launched its first series outside the NBCU family, Lifetime’s “Against the Wall,” with comedy series “I Just Want My Pants Back” due on MTV in 2012. Meanwhile, Roberts is creating opportunities in the digital space, with the promise of transforming UCP from a boutique studio to full-service entertainment behemoth.
Passion: “Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in original productions across our cable networks. We’ve gone from networks that air classic movies and repeats of broadcast shows to distinctive channels with strong brands and specific points of view.”
Challenge: “We want to keep up with ever-evolving distribution opportunities that deliver content to the viewer. At the same time, we need to figure out how to reinvent established business models. In the wee hours of the night, I worry I won’t see future possibilities fast enough.”
Favorite Web site: Google. “It makes me smarter than the fifth grader I once was and saves me from those petty arguments with my husband… well, most of them.”
CMO, Turner Broadcasting’s Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media Group, Turner Broadcasting Systems
A former Nickelodeon, MTV and Frito-Lay brand marketing exec, Freeman is charged with leading Cartoon Network’s ongoing evolution as a dominant youth-culture brand. She supervises Adult Swim’s continuing integration into the young adult arena as an edgy, topical voice, while overseeing marketing for Turner Broadcasting’s animation, young adults and kids media digital businesses, and all-classic cartoon network Boomerang. Freeman’s “to do” list is daunting: advertising, marketing, consumer and trade promotions, on-air/online creative execution, social media, trade creative, co-marketing efforts with advertisers, special events and Upfront presentations, social responsibility campaigns, network properties ancillary revenue streams, and greenlighting all original programming series, movies and special events.
Women in cable: “There is a visible demonstration of progress based on the number of women who have risen to real in positions of power. I have personally worked for several of these icons and have benefited from their coaching and experience. Naturally, the right thing to do is carry that tradition forward, so I am also an active mentor.”
Career accomplishment: “I am most proud of my team’s great work in breathing new life and relevancy into the Cartoon Network brand, both on screens and in the marketplace for our kids.”
Favorite program not on my network: “Boardwalk Empire”
President/GM, WE tv
As president and GM of WE tv since 2008, Martin oversees marketing, programming, production, scheduling, digital media and new business opportunities— with a mandate to cement WE tv as a premier women’s destination showcasing unfiltered stories of modern family life. Martin is credited with WE’s growth into 78 million U.S. households, and originating “Braxton Family Values,” “Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” “Downsized” and “My Fair Wedding with David Tutera.” She also spearheads the network’s multiplatform strategy, including online destinations WEtv.com and WE tv On Demand, the brand’s VOD service that features original series from the network.
Women in cable: “There are more women in cable than ever before, and even more exciting is the number in senior leadership roles. While we’ve come a long way, there’s still room for improvement, particularly in the area of getting women promoted and recruited into C-suite positions.”
Passion: “Dynamic ad insertion is an area I’m especially excited about. By hyper-targeting consumers with information that is relevant to their lives, we are engaging viewers while creating a win-win business opportunity for distributors and programmers.”
Favorite program not on your network: “Modern Family”
SVP/Chief Programming Officer, Suddenlink Communications
McCaskill is responsible for managing Suddenlink’s content relationships with media ownership groups, TV stations and cable networks, and continues to successfully negotiate video content across traditional video in SD and HD formats, VOD, broadband video and mobile rights. Over the past year, major deals have included retransmission consent with several broadcast groups and contract renewals with major cable network media groups. McCaskill took a lead role in the launch of Suddenlink2GO, which expands content diversity and accessible technologies, including smart phones and the iPad.
Passion: “I am energized by the way the industry is finding new ways to give our customers their subscription content when they want it, where they want it and on any authenticated device they own.”
Challenges: “The rising cost of programming that exceeds inflation during tough economic times. As a result, many may have no choice but to find less expensive alternative sources for information and entertainment programming. Distributors and programmers need to work together to find more flexible options for packaging and pricing our content.”
Favorite destination: “Anywhere with my family where there is limited Internet/e-mail access, giving us the chance to step back, recharge and spend uninterrupted time enjoying each other’s company.”
COO, BBC Worldwide America
In September, Sarnoff was appointed COO of BBC Worldwide America, the commercial arm of the BBC. With previous experience at Dow Jones, WNBA and Viacom, she is charged with driving growth and profits across the company’s North American business divisions, including ad, affiliate and TV sales and co-productions, home entertainment and licensing, and digital operations. Over the past year, BBC.com’s North America edition logged 35% growth, attracting 21 million users per month. BBC Worldwide America President Herb Scannell calls Sarnoff “one of the smartest business people I’ve ever worked with and one of the most collaborative.”
Passion: “Technological advances are enhancing our ability to engage viewers more, whether it’s watching ‘Doctor Who’ on HD or catching a missed episode on VOD. Fans are better served and more empowered, which deepens their passion for our programming.”
Challenge: “Growing all of our business units while keeping a clear focus on prioritizing BBC America and our key programming brands. Our goal is to use smart windowing and promotion to super-serve fans across all media and optimize revenues across our various businesses.”
Motto: “I think everyone has re-read Steve Jobs’ Stanford graduation speech. My favorite part: ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.’ ”
Colleen Fahey Rush
EVP/Chief Research Officer, MTV Networks
Fahey Rush joined MTV Networks in 1996 and in February 2011 climbed yet another rung on the executive ladder as she took the newly created position of EVP and chief research officer. She now leads the company’s Strategic Insights and Research group, which explores attitudes, tastes and behaviors of its audience through focus and conflict groups, ethnographies, online panels, biometric research, and social media monitoring. Last year alone, MTV Networks researchers offered 300-plus presentations to 4,000 media executives, marketers, legislators and nonprofits. Fahey Rush is a 2009 TAMI Award winner for her integral role on the CTAM Research Committee.
Passion: “Not only do consumers have more control and interaction with media than ever before, they have more choice in where and how they access content. We continue to see audiences flocking to cable, building relationships with their favorite brands and shows, and looking for more ways to engage.”
Challenge: “Measurement, measurement, measurement. Today’s rapidly changing media environment drives the need for continual reinvention: for new models, metrics and methodologies to measure how audiences are moving and consuming across platforms. The goal is to develop more solutions for cross-platform media measurement in the next few years.”
Motto: “Never mistake activity for achievement.”
CEO/COO, Canoe Ventures
With two decades of telecommunications experience, Timko has become a go-to high-tech exec. At Canoe Ventures, she oversaw its first advanced ad product, RFI (Request-For Information), which allowed the company to achieve wide-scale deployment of interactive TV, now with the largest national ITV platform ever, across 20 million digital cable households. In 2011, Timko diversified Canoe-enabled ITV networks available to advertisers, adding Bravo, Discovery, History and USA to its lineup that also includes AMC, Style and E!. As the company’s newly appointed CEO, she intends to steer Canoe toward further tech developments that foster marketplace penetration and new business revenue.
Career accomplishment: “I’ve successfully managed and helped bring to scale a number of innovative high-tech organizations. I take pride in these accomplishments, which have been at both start-up and mature companies.”
Challenge: “Keeping up with the rapid development of technology and how it impacts consumer behaviors and market opportunities. I suspect [this] will sound familiar to many.”
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