With Allen at the helm of Entertainment Studios, its cable division has sailed to infinity and beyond. The company’s seven HD cable networks have secured distribution on myriad cable systems in the past year—including Buckeye, CenturyLink and RCN, to name just a few—and we hear that several more big domestic agreements are now in the works. Then there are Allen’s global ambitions, punctuated by ES’ first international distribution deal with Swift in Australia. Next up? Africa. And this bold and ambitious exec shows no signs of slowing down. He draws inspiration from his mentor Al Masini, whom he calls “a television genius and icon.” The creator of “Entertainment Tonight,” “Star Search” and “Solid Gold” has shared wisdom with Allen for more than 30 years. “One of the things Masini taught me: Watch television, figure out what’s not there and put it there,” Allen says. Wise advice, indeed.
What’s the definition of diversity in 2014, and how can the cable industry do better in the area of inclusiveness?
The definition of true diversity is significant equity inclusion. Cable operators are spending 50 billion dollars a year to license cable networks, of which very little is spent with minority-owned companies, which translates to jobs and careers deep into our communities. The inclusiveness needs to be substantially economic, and long-term.
What’s been your company’s biggest innovation this year?
The further development of out Over-The-Top Television Everywhere content platform: SMARTTV.COM
Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?
Al Masini, a television genius and icon, who created Entertainment Tonight, Star Search and Solid Gold. I was fortunate enough to meet him when I was 19 years old and have him share his wisdom with me for over 30 years. One of the things Masini taught me: “Watch television, figure out what’s not there, and put it there.”
What qualities do you look for when making a new hire?
Someone who is bright, enthusiastic and positive.
Name one emerging trend in cable we should all have our eye on.
The consolidation of media at the expense of true diversity and widely-distributed voices.