Kollappallil proved she’s every puppy’s best friend after planning a star-studded live event and beefing up social media activity that boosted Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” to new heights. In the 10th year of Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s Instagram execution “encouraged fans to share photos of their pups watching our big game and enabled the network to trend on Facebook, Twitter and helped drive it’s highest ratings yet,“ says Kollappallil. Diversity in 2014, she says, “is a big tent,” encapsulating different genders, races, ethnicities and orientations.

What’s the definition of diversity in 2014, and how can the cable industry do better in the area of inclusiveness?

Diversity in 2014 is a big tent.  It encapsulates different genders, races, ethnicities and orientations – but it’s much more than that.  To me, diversity also includes a mix of different worldviews, ideologies, geographies and socioeconomic backgrounds. In this business, we’re all striving to reach diverse audiences, and a great way to start doing so is by embracing our own internal diversity within the cable industry.

What’s been your company’s biggest innovation this year?

Across all of Discovery’s networks, the dedication to social TV and delivering a fun and creative 360-degree experience for viewers has been a major innovation. In today’s landscape where we watch TV with a phone by our side and a tablet in our lap, maintaining the audience interest with engaging social campaigns is paramount to our business and can elevate proven programs to the next level. In year ten of Puppy Bowl, Animal Planet’s Instagram execution encouraged fans to share photos of their pups watching our big game and enabled the network to trend on Facebook, Twitter and helped drive it’s highest ratings yet.

Name one emerging trend in cable we should all have our eyes on.

My emerging trend is something that’s been around longer than the medium – storytelling.  It’s always been about the storytelling on cable, but there’s never been a higher premium placed on it than there is right now. Huge characters and addictive plotlines have made shows like Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Orange Is the New Black, among others, huge successes. The ripple effect is absolutely felt in the non-fiction world, as both Animal Planet and TLC are focusing on story more than ever before, and I think it could lead to some of our best programming yet.

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