Free directs the consumer insights, brand management, consumer marketing, creative strategy and research for all businesses of BET Networks, which include BET and Centric, across all platforms. She led the marketing for BET’s first original drama, “Being Mary Jane,” which became the No. 1 Tuesday show on primetime on any network. Free will continue to lead marketing for the network’s first ever miniseries “The Book of Negroes” and new original programming including “Gone Gospel,” a music competition show with Kirk Franklin, and BET’s returning series. Actively involved in WICT and Viacom’s Global Inclusion advisory board, Free embraces the roles of mentor, sponsor and coach to many young women.
What’s been your company’s biggest innovation this year?
Innovation is a core strategy for BET Networks and this year our focus has been on re-branding Centric. In its sixth year as a multi-platform network, Centric will become the only lifestyle brand that boldly celebrates the beautiful and diverse world of black women. Centric will curate a multimedia space that reflects the broad range of the black female identity — bold, beautiful and complex. With exciting new content like “The Queen Latifah Show,” brand new episodes of “Single Ladies” and “ARISE,” a daily news and pop culture series, Centric will touch all the relevant lifestyle aspects of black women — style, beauty, health, dating, food, fitness, politics, faith, travel, family, finances, arts & culture and more.
Who has been your strongest mentor, and why?
My Mom will always be my greatest mentor. Why? Because she always has a compassionate ear, solid advice and steadfast support.
Name one emerging trend in cable we should all have our eye on.
Delayed viewing or streaming is a trend that will only increase in time. Viewers are continuing to shift from live viewing to viewing that fits their lifestyles and their preferred platforms. As a tune-in marketer, this trend drastically impacts old paradigms around messaging and measuring success. It’s an exciting time to adjust how we market to drive content consumption in a platform and tune-in agnostic environment. Between programming, marketing and ad sales, we are evolving our business model to capitalize on this trend while we continue to maximize the LIVE viewing opportunity. The thing I love most about the cable industry is that it is always changing, shifting and evolving — requiring us to not only stay on our toes but to stay light on our feet!