Title: CEO, Synacor
Years in Cable: 10
Education: MBA, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
One Word that Best Describes Me: Enterprising
Title: EVP & COO, Rovi
Years in Cable: 25+
Education: BS, Business Administration, The Ohio State University; MBA, St. Joseph’s University
One Word that Best Describes Me: Innovative
Title: President & Chief Technology Officer, Evolution Digital
Years in Cable: 31
Education: 31 years of working in the cable and satellite industries
One Word that Best Describes Me: Old?
Smith continues to drive the roadmap and future product strategies for Evolution Digital. Tops on his list will be focusing on the launch of Evolution’s IP hybrid set-top box launch and continuing to build strategic partnerships that complement Evolution’s tech solutions. An appointee to the FCC’s Downloadable Security Technical Advisory Committee, Bhise continues to speak at various cable events. He also has the Synacor team executing its four-pillar strategy for growth, which includes increasing its value among cable customers and extending its products globally. Burke continues to lead Rovi’s product business groups, worldwide sales and marketing.
What does the future look like for skinny bundles and flexible packaging? Proliferation to keep up with competitors and serve target customer segments, but with the painful reality that these platforms and experiences are really hard to deploy and manage.
Virtual reality is… unreal today, but will be UNREAL tomorrow.
Last show I watched not on my network(s): “The Americans”
I watch the majority of programming on this device: TV—lean back and enjoy the big screen
The technology that will most benefit cable over the next year is: Cloud-based authentication / identity management
The biggest innovation in cable over the last year: The biggest innovation of late is the progress that has been made with conversation services, in particular the use of voice to identify and consume entertainment content. In this digital age, convenience is key, and viewers are constantly looking for faster and easier ways to consume content. The ability to speak to your devices and navigate entertainment platforms with your own voice is propelling cable into a Jetsons-like world and beyond. Conversation services have the ability to place cable on the road to becoming part and parcel to the Internet of Things and connected living room ecosystems.
What does the future look like for skinny bundles and flexible packaging? With the abundance of entertainment choices, both in terms of content and viewing options, consumers are increasingly eager to create customized packages. Traditional pay TV needs to adapt to these changing consumer demands. While some OTT platforms may offer original content, others are beginning to offer TV-anywhere streaming capabilities or specific programming, like sports. In the coming year, skinny bundles and flexible packaging are going to prove to be important tools for our industry.
The technology that will most benefit cable over the next year is: Unified search and discovery platforms will most benefit cable over the next year. Today, viewers have an increasing number of choices when it comes to how they find and access their entertainment content, leaving room for programs to get lost in the shuffle between the different platforms and devices, or for consumers to spend so much time looking for and sourcing content, that they give up and turn the TV off. It is important for the cable providers to bring together the abundance of entertainment services in a unified, streamlined experience that enables subscribers to concentrate on the content, not where to find it. From linear to streamed content, to DVR – all of these platforms can be successfully integrated to bring entertainment value back to the viewer and improve the consumer’s perception of value.
What should cable do to improve its image? With such an abundance of streaming services and OTT content, traditional cable runs the risk of appearing outdated relative to new upstart options. It’s important that cable companies continue to update and refresh their services with more interactive, engaging and personalized features like easy-to-navigate user interfaces and new technology, such as conversation services.
Favorite charity event you work with: I am a strong advocate for children with special needs. I serve as a board member to Variety, the Children’s Charity in Philadelphia.
If this election year was a reality TV series, it would be called… “Armageddon”
What was the last costume that you wore and why? My wife’s 40th Birthday/Costume party, I was Howard Stern, circa 1980’s.
New favorite binge: “Happy Valley,” a British detective series
My cable industry mentor and why: John C. Malone. He has seemingly done it all
My personal theme song is: “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (or at least until Evolution Digital rules the cable world!)
The technology that will most benefit cable over the next year is: Streaming and more streaming, not to mention universal content search and discovery
Favorite vacation spot: Vancouver B.C. (It is my old hometown and where my kids
and grandchildren live.)
I watch the majority of programming on this device: iPad