Rich Fickle, NCTC

Years in Industry: 35+

Education: MBA, University of Denver

With their member companies navigating a world no one could imagine at the start of 2020, these three have stayed level-headed and offered wise counsel. Polka was the first to make the decision to cancel a big event—the annual ACAC Summit in DC—because of the pandemic. Powell was an early leader in closing NCTA’s office and promoting telework. Both organizations have published statistics showing how the broadband network has weathered COVID-19 (spoiler: quite well). Over at NCTC, Fickle got 2020 off to a bang with a down-to-the wire carriage renewal with Fox Corp that included Fox News and FS1. The co-op has been on a roll, closing deals for the Turner nets and HBO Max as well as reaching an arrangement with Amazon that lets members buy Fire TV devices as discounted prices.

How has the pandemic shaped the industry’s future?
Established the resiliency of the fiber and DOCSIS networks by well-run operating companies that serve a “essential role” in such times. The entrepreneurial investments in tier 2 and tier 3 markets by hundreds of companies has performed extremely well in an almost overnight increase in demand of 30-40%.

Number of subscriptions to streaming services:

Without sports on TV, I have…
watched many older movies that I barely could remember seeing before (a benefit of being old)

What about travel used to annoy you but that now you actually miss?
I miss nothing about the travel, miss being with our staff, members and great partners in person

The future of broadband is… 
The Future

When restaurants open back up, my first stop will be… 
A romantic date with my wife of 35 years who has fed me way too well in the last few months

Last content I streamed:
Capital One Golf Match Sunday

Is cable recession proof?
At the local network/ISP level – yes, could even grow.

Slack channel I spend most of my time on?
None – too busy on Teams, Zoom and WEBEX

My prediction for a new business or product that could emerge from the pandemic is…
The successful rise of a news service that seeks the facts, not tied to political agendas that people can trust

“Tiger King” is a thing because…
What is a Tiger King?

The first thing I’ll do when I’m back in the office is…
Enjoy the time with folks, connecting in a deeper, richer ways perhaps more than even before COVID. For me it is an example of appreciating the simple things more when they are taken away!

My prediction for AVODs is…
It will have limited upside as a secondary viewing window as competition from non ad supported services continue to consolidate and are able to create better new content powered by predictable business models.

If I launched my own personal streaming service, it would be called…
Too Personal to Share Here

Working from home has taught me…
Fridge proximity is dangerous, some meetings via Zoom take less time but more of them, our NCTC staff is awesome in adapting very quickly and not missing a beat!

Biggest challenge facing advertising?
Deflation of the business due to exponential options for media buyers, the info overload by consumers, loss of trust in traditional ads. How to create scale efficiencies in our side of the industry ( operator side) to offer digital capabilities.

Best Zoom background goes to…
One of our board members who created paintings of people he wanted to poke on calls in the background

Best TV commercial you’ve seen recently?
Have not seen many recently

Last show binged not on your networks:

What product could you not live without?
Mountains, trees and flowers

Worst job you ever had?
Cleaning of a bakery at 5am each day and over dosing on day old left donuts.

Honored For: