Cox pres Pat Esser —whose diversity policies at Cox were lauded by other panelists—said developing that pipeline has measurably boosted Cox’s business. "We have metrics," he said. "We measure it. And it’s making a difference in Cox’s bottom line today." Meanwhile, Comcast evp David Cohen said work remains but added that the industry should be proud of its achievements. "I think we’re way above the average," he said. "I don’t think any of us should short change the incredible work we do as companies and the work we do as an industry."
Hernan Lopez, pres/CEO of Fox International Channels, pointed out that he sees much more progress on diversity with American companies than with foreign firms he has encountered. And Scripps Networks International pres/CEO Ken Lowe noted that it’s a long process to cultivate more minority representation at the highest levels. "We all wish it was faster," he said. "We all wish we could push that button." Britt noted more women are taking senior roles but acknowledged that "we’re perhaps [more] behind in various ethnicities than we are with gender." And so the progress continues. Slowly.
Meanwhile, the CEOs also discussed changing consumer tastes, especially when it comes to multiplatform. Esser recounted a recent dinner in Silicon Valley in which a device-maker rep told him cable "would never catch up" to Internet-enabled consoles. Esser said he got "fired up" over the exchange and returned to the office determined to "improve the cadence and the cycle times of this industry." Said Cohen. "We’ve all become technology companies. I think for once we are leading technological innovation in this industry in response to consumer demand." Noting Scripps’ launch of magazines, online products and even a branded furniture line, Lowe said "we’re trying to touch consumers wherever they expect our brands to be."