Walker continues to lead the BET legal management team for the network’s awards shows while overseeing business and legal management of original programming, including “Being Mary Jane” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” He says BET always seeks ways to leverage its assets for future growth, evidenced by its partnership with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment. What’s the one emerging trend in cable that people should watch? “The continuing ‘personalization’ of entertainment [that] will challenge everything we do in the cable industry business,” he says. “New business models are still emerging and that will remain the case for the next decade, at least.”
What’s the definition of diversity in 2014, and how can the cable industry do better in the area of inclusiveness?
Diversity in cable is ensuring that our network brands and content (both on screen and behind) accurately reflect not only our current audience in all respects but the broader landscape as well. Diversity is relevance and relevance is power.
What’s been your company’s biggest innovation this year?
At BET Networks in particular and Viacom in general we are always looking for ways to leverage our assets for future growth. This year we built on the success of the BET Experience and BET Awards by adding more sponsor activations and fan touch points, especially with new apps on our digital platforms. Moreover, we partnered with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment which also leverages and extends our respective brands.
Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?
Whether it is as boss, mentor or friend, our CEO Debra Lee continues to be a primary source of inspiration for me through her steady leadership and strong core values that never waver. She makes it look easy and we know all too well that in this competitive marketplace it is anything but easy.
What qualities do you look for when making a new hire?
Beyond looking for technical competence and substantive knowledge, I value candidates who are excited about where we are and BETN’s mission. They are consumers of television content and media technology and are genuinely excited about the role the network – and they as BETN employees – can play.
Name one emerging trend in cable we should all have our eye on.
The continuing “personalization” of entertainment will challenge everything we do in the cable industry business (identifying and creating niche content, brand marketing, taking advantage of technological enhancements, monetization and measurement metrics, etc.). New business models are still emerging and that remain the case for the next decade, at least.