EVP, Content Distribution & Marketing, Viacom

Denson’s work is never done. Last October, she worked to secure a multi-year agreement to ensure AT&T’s U-verse TV and DirecTV subscribers in the U.S. continue to get access to Viacom programming. This October, she sealed a deal to ensure Viacom networks will be carried by AT&T’s planned DirecTV Now streaming service. She’s also recently negotiated the renewal of a carriage agreement with DISH Network that includes first-ever distribution of MTV, Comedy Central and BET programming to subscribers of DISH’s Sling TV, and renewed and expanded Viacom’s distribution agreement with Cox. Denson would like to see more gender diversity behind the camera, noting that “in the past year, women comprised just 26 percent of behind-the-camera jobs in network, cable and streaming television.”

Which current programming best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?

While our industry has made progress in showcasing female role models on television, much more can be done with regard to gender diversity. In the past year, women comprised just 26 percent of behind-the-camera jobs in network, cable and streaming television. The widespread critical and commercial success of shows like Being Mary Jane,” “Younger” and “Broad City” is encouraging, however. Female-dominated shows that feature strong female leads are reversing the trend of underrepresentation on both sides of the camera. That’s why we’re proud to work with women like Jill Soloway at MTV to produce content with an important social message.

What’s been the biggest story in cable this year?

That TV is not dead; in fact, we continue to thrive in the golden age of television. New technologies, and the emergence of new pay TV players like Sony, Hulu, DirecTV Now, will facilitate continued growth as consumers find more ways to access better and better content. It is a very exciting time in the industry!

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?

Be curious and question everything. You will be surprised by the creative solutions you can unlock if you don’t let yourself be constrained by the status quo.

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