Steele influences the direction of industry research resources and tools that align business approaches with consumer behaviors. Her responsibilities include marketing the audience attributes of Fox entertainment to advertisers, and she was instrumental in the development of Fox’s Audience Insights Manager Suite of targeting tools. “As it evolves to focus much more heavily on the integration of technology into our processes [cable] may threaten to become more male dominant in that technology and data pursuits, even among their millennial acolytes, are a fairly male bastion,” she says.
Who is your favorite current female TV character and why?
There are so many strong female characters in television right now, it’s really tough. And, well, I don’t watch a ton of TV (shhhh) and most of the programs I watch are ad-supported (contractual obligation.) I shun Netflix. Right now I love Beth Pearson (Susan Kelechi Watson) on “This Is Us”—she is so strong and real, the wise, witty, moral center of her branch of the Pearson family. Not a caricature. And I love Rainbow Johnson (Tracey Ellis Ross) on “Black-ish”—although I don’t have children and I’m not a pediatrician her character reminds me so much of me—goofy and funny and over-sensitive but also tough, smart, centered. Of course, probably my hands-down favorite I shouldn’t admit to: Daenerys Targaryen on “GOT.” Who doesn’t want to be the epic, badass queen of everything?
What industry topic do you think will dominate industry headlines in 2018 and why?
Data and automation will remain prevalent topics, if not particularly “hot” and increasingly commonplace. The waning of traditional platforms in favor of non-traditional/digital ones will also remain an easy, go-to trope that will hopefully (with our help!) be supplanted with more and better information about TV audiences’ cross-platform expansion. Did you know there are +30% more homes viewing TV content on a TV now than there were 20 years ago? Also dominant will be the latest propaganda supporting the dominance of FANG and its black-box ad effectiveness, however unproven.
What is one way the industry can continue to evolve in ridding itself of gender discrimination?
I don’t think of our industry—TV, advertising, marketing—as especially burdened by gender discrimination in the current era, but as it evolves to focus much more heavily on the integration of technology into our processes, products, platforms, understanding of consumer behavior and targeting, the industry may threaten to become more male dominant in that technology and data pursuits, even among their millennial acolytes, are a fairly male bastion. One of the things we’re doing that I think will be really valuable is instituting a FOX Academy focused on data science, so that we train everyone is the disciplines that keep their skill sets relevant, sharpened and gender-balanced.
What famous woman, living or deceased, would you like to have dinner with?
Lillian Hellman. Her memoir, Pentimento, was one of my favorite books when I was a teenager—I read it three times—for reasons I can’t fully articulate, her worldview deeply affected me. And Michelle Obama, of course!
Best advice for relieving stress?
Get a trowel and dig in some dirt! I love to garden. But I’m not great at managing stress. I could use some advice there.