Hsu spearheaded several deals for AMC Networks, and led investments and acquisitions greater than $1.5 billion. And that’s just in recent months. This year he served as one of the founders of AMC Networks Ventures, a subsidiary of AMC Networks with investments in more than 10 media-related startups, and he is an active investor in minority-led ventures, including RLJ Entertainment, led by BET founder Robert Johnson. Having immigrated to the US from Taiwan, Hsu hasn’t gotten to where he is without lots of hard work, and he doesn’t mince words when it comes to advising tomorrow’s cable execs. “Be disruptive. Because of the ownership concentrations, senior management in media remains one of the least progressive groups,” he says. “If we don’t reverse this, the trend of lower viewership will continue.”
What’s a recent example of a step forward for diversity in the industry?
Over the past few years, we’ve seen an uptick for minority-led mainstream projects such as “Girls Trip,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “Mudbound,” “Fences” and, most recently, “Crazy Rich Asians.” Hollywood is finally starting to realize that embracing diversity is not only good culturally and socially but good business.
What’s your best advice to someone just entering the video content/distribution industry?
Be disruptive. Because of the ownership concentrations, senior management in media remains one of the least progressive groups. There needs to be new voices in order to reinvigorate the connections between media companies and viewers. If we don’t reverse this, the trend of lower viewership will continue.
What’s been the most dramatic change in your sector of the business today vs. three years ago?
Everyone is running a different playbook. Over the past three years, you’ve seen the increasing importance of SVOD, vertical mergers (AT&T/Time Warner) and horizontal consolidations (Discovery/Scripps). No one is certain which model will win. No one is certain where the industry will be in three years.