CFO, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment
Having assumed the CFO role in January 2015, Shibata oversees financial performance and strategic analysis for NBCU’s portfolio. Financial planning and business development for all of the group’s businesses fall under her purview, as well as the push for the networks’ and studios’ massive increase in original content and straight-to-series productions that reduce long-term costs. She was integral in the internal reorg that centralized cross-portfolio functions within the company. On the topic of gender equality in cable, Shibata says female influence “is pervasive on multiple levels of these businesses. I consider myself particularly lucky and proud to be part of a business that has a near equal ratio of male to female employees and includes so many talented women executives among its leadership.”
Which sector of the cable industry best demonstrates gender equality? Which could use some enlightenment?
I think many cable network portfolios reflect gender equality in our industry and it’s inspiring to see strong women like Bonnie Hammer, Frances Berwick, and Nancy Dubuc leading large cable portfolios and network groups. It feels like the presence and influence of women is pervasive on multiple levels of these businesses. I consider myself particularly lucky and proud to be part of a business that has a near equal ratio of male to female employees and includes so many talented women executives among its leadership.
Which current programming best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?
I like the ShondaLand shows. They do a great job of portraying strong and smart women who think on their feet. Granted the shows are highly dramatic and the women get themselves into all kinds of trouble, but they usually overcome their fears and challenges through ingenuity and perseverance and with the help of other women.
What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?
It may be that there was no “biggest” story… at least with regard to the health of the industry. At this time last year, talk of declining subscribers, viewers and ratings, plus concerns about too much content, had many fearing for the future of cable. But the industry has been resilient in many ways – producing break-out content, attracting advertisers, developing new technology to deliver content. We can’t become complacent and we need to continue to improve our products and offerings, but we’re far from mourning the death of cable.