Lee knows what she’s talking about. “These days, you must excel; you can’t just satisfy,” she says. And excel she does. The U-verse suite of products is nearing $12 billion in annual revenue thanks to her Home Solutions department’s addition of 2.5 million IP new broadband subscribers and more than 760,000 TV customers in the last 12 months. “I love taking a small seed and working with the right team to turn it into a redwood,” she says.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love a good business challenge and know that competition brings out the absolute best in us. And our customers are the ultimate winners when we do our best in both product delivery and service. These days, you must excel; you can’t just satisfy. I love taking a small seed and working with the right team to turn it into a redwood. Like taking a new product and turning it into an industry leader. Our U-verse suite of products started with a small idea and little fanfare seven years ago, and now it’s a nearly $12 billion annual revenue stream for AT&T. We overcame technological and regulatory challenges and prevailed because we believed in our people and our product. Now, we earn awards every year that show how much people love U-verse. That’s tremendous job satisfaction.
What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?
We see three big, related stories—OTT, content costs and TV Everywhere. (1) Regardless of how OTT content is distributed, our main goal is to work with content providers to achieve the best value for our customers with multi-platform content rights for customers to access content both in and outside the home. Multi-platform distribution and multi-platform advertising options are the ultimate goal. (2) Content costs are rising to unprecedented and likely unsustainable levels across the board—but particularly for “must-see” TV programming and the re-transmission of over-the-air content. For us, it’s all about providing good value to our TV customers—which means giving them what they want to watch at a fair price. To do that, we have to negotiate with content owners to hold down cost increases because they are ultimately passed on to consumers. Content costs need to reflect viewership, and we strive to carry the content our customers want most, without being forced to carry less popular channels. (3) We also have the race to deploy TV Everywhere strategies. We are making progress in getting rights from content providers to offer live and on-demand content in and outside the home. Now, it’s about how TV providers deploy that content, make it available and market it to customers. We’ve had great progress in making TV Everywhere available to customers, with more than 100 live TV channels recently launching on our U-verse app and on Uverse.com. But there’s still so much more that can be done. It’s an exciting time for customers, and it’s exciting to help drive where TV Everywhere can go next.
Who would you want to swap jobs with for a month and why?
I’d like to swap jobs with a pro golfer for a month or two. I’m far from the pro level, but I love the game, enjoy the outdoors and respect the players’ skills. I also like how the game is such a pure, individual test. Your result is likely not going to be determined by a referee’s call or a cheap shot by an opponent. It’s just you, the ball and the hole in front of you. Your score is your skill. And for some great teaming, I enjoy playing some pick-up games with friends. I also see how the game parallels real life—both professional and personal—in having times to drive hard and times to use a soft touch. With every hole, you analyze the best approach to stay on course to meet and beat the average effort. Just like with my current job, as a pro golfer, I’d have a passion for what I do and would look forward to coming to work every morning.
It’s almost time for another entrant into the streaming space, with Discovery pres/CEO David Zaslav saying the company will “be coming to the market very soon with our plan.” Speaking at a Goldman Sachs