Some of our Digital Hot List honorees answered questions in such depth that we decided to put their additional answers below for your convenience. Their answers are in addition to responses we published in our special mid-day supplement to CableFAX Daily April 6.
VP/Video Innovation Director, Starcom USA
When Will We Know That Authentication Has Become a Success? I think authentication is already a success, but we’re only at the beginning. I regularly consume content from Netflix, Hulu and Pandora on my mobile, tablet and connected TV. As the new Intel chip with built-in DRM proliferates and digital locker services such as UltraViolet and KeyChest gain some traction, consumers are going to have greater control of their content experiences. The missing piece right now is subsidization through ads. We believe a successful ecosystem will include an ad model to make access to content less expensive for consumers.
Digital Opportunity for Cable That Most Excites Him: Addressable advertising has the greatest potential to revolutionize the TV industry, and cable networks and operators have the greatest opportunity to benefit. We know from several years of testing that there’s a win for advertisers in being able to deliver messages to their true target, a win for sellers and operators because of the opportunity to improve yield from their existing inventory through existing clients as well as new ones and a win for consumers in seeing more relevant messages. We believe an addressable world has the ability to deliver billions in incremental revenue, so we are excited to see the market taking off.
What Would You Like Digital Devices to Do That They Don’t Do Now? I want all of my devices to sync automatically. Services like Dropbox and MobileMe are making life in the cloud more feasible, but having to sync my iPhone and iPad to my computer to access music and movies on different devices is frustrating and inefficient.
On Your iPad: CNN, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Words with Friends.
Most Valuable Trait for a Digital Exec: The ability to be both pragmatic while open to new ideas.
What Would You Like Digital Devices to Do That They Don’t Do Now? Be more like Watson.
When Will We Know That Authentication Has Become a Success? When I see a sign at McDonald’s that reads: ‘2,000,000,000 authenticated.’
Thing You Miss About the Old Analog Days: Wondering what is behind those squiggly lines. 🙂
In 10 years Cable Will Be: Not known as cable.
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: An open mind and ability to think outside the bits.
Director of Marketing, Online Channel, Charter Communications
In a Fight Between Facebook and Twitter, Who Wins? For Marketing, sales and awareness: Facebook. For eCare and support: Twitter.
Most Exciting Digital Opportunity for Cable: Because cable has a finite footprint, our ability to target and present relevant/personalized offers and messaging is enhanced greatly. With the capabilities that we’ve built here at Charter within the channel we have a tremendous opportunity to increase digital sales via profitable revenue.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: Mashable, CNet, Engadget and Pulse. All of these give me my daily dose of digital info—just like my need for Starbucks coffee.
When Will We Know That Authentication Has Become a Success? When your customer base (both prospect and migration) is fully comfortable with personalization and relevancy and recognize the value that is brought to them via implicit and explicit authentication.
Favorite Digital Toy: My iPhone and Droid phones.
In 10 Years Cable Will Be: With TV Anywhere capability fully in place, the current cable boundaries will dissolve. In addition, hand-held device platforms such as the current iPad, iPhone and Droid OS will be fully integrated into the digital experience, tying together real-time selection of content, interactivity with that content, real-time social engagement and sharing of said content.
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: The ability to share and evangelize a vision, and the ability to bring together not only internal departmental functional areas but also your external vendors. By creating an environment in which a vendor or associate is willing to bring forth ideas and willing to make a mistake, that is very important to this very dynamic/fast-paced environment. A leader must understand all aspects of a digital channel; sales strategy, the technical platform itself and then apply that knowledge across all channels within digital—.com, email, banner, rich media, mobile, social, etc. Finally, you must have fun. What other area allows you apply you vision, build a platform, drive revenue for the company, reduce expense and work with a bunch of smart type A people?
When Will We Know That Authentication Has Become A Success? We are making EPIX content universally accessible to subscribers thanks to the commitment and shared vision of our distribution partners.
We have built robust authentication systems that are enabling subscribers to access content across all emerging platforms. With infrastructure in place, the next phase is critical as the industry needs to integrate TV Everywhere messaging into all customer communications, making cross platform access a familiar part of subscriber value and viewer behavior
VP, Digital and New Media, Oxygen
Digital Opportunity for Cable That Most Excites Her: Amazing programming + passionate fans who always want more and are rarely without a device in hand = hotbed for innovation.
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: Influence and patience.
SVP/GM, ESPN Digital Media
Favorite Site/Blog: Silicon Valley Insider — brilliant content selection and the best headlines online. Our true hoop blog. I am a big NBA fan and Henry Abbott is the man. Our new Bill Simmons site debuts this spring.
On Your iPad: Netflix.
When Will We Know That Authentication Has Become A Success? When we don’t call it authentication anymore.
Director of Interactive Media, Women in Cable Telecommunications
In 10 Years Cable Will Be: Absolutely everywhere. I can foresee a time when consumers will watch what they want, when they want, through the medium they want—mobile, computer, TV—and this industry will let them do that, seamlessly to the end user, through cable’s infrastructure. It’s a great time to be connected to cable.
Favorite Digital Toy: My iPhone. I can’t live without it now. It has everything I need for work and personal use. It’s really the mini-computer I always dreamt of carrying around when I was a kid. I can even program my DVR from it, which is really cool. Oh, and it makes calls, too.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: Gawker.com is my go-to site when I need a break. It makes me laugh, it makes me angry or ecstatic—but at the same time, it’s intellectual. It seems that to be a contributing author or a commenter you must have an IQ of 120 or above. That makes for great dialogue.
SVP, Emerging Media and Brand Strategy, 360i
The Most Valuable Trait For A Digital Executive Is: Curiosity. Ensures you never take shortcuts and always stay at the top of your game.
Favorite Digital Toy: Powerstick. It’s the juice that keeps all my digital toys running.
VP, Digital Media Technologies & Asset Management, TBS
Digital Opportunity for Cable Industry That Most Excites You: I’m very excited about TV Everywhere—making programming available for consumers across every digital device, anytime, anywhere. We’re laser-focused on leveraging digital technology to give consumers unprecedented choices for what they view, when they view it.
Most Valuable Trait(s) For A Digital Executive: Adaptability-technology moves blazingly fast.
SVP/GM, Sports Operations, Turner Sports
On Your iPad: The new March Madness on Demand iPad app, of course. What would you expect me to say? The CNN app for iPad, and the ABC Player app.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: PackPride.com (I only read—I don’t post) because misery loves company.
EVP, Digital Media, Bravo
What You Miss About Analog: The lack of electronic clutter on my TV console. And you didn’t need a family member who’s also a consumer electronics installation expert.
Most Valuable Trait For A Digital Executive: Staying connected with young people. You learn so much from them.
Favorite Site/Blog: Forgive the appearance of bias, but I have to say the C-SPAN Video Library (www.c-spanvideo.org). The Library is a searchable archive of virtually everything that has aired on C-SPAN since 1987 and for political junkies it can be absolutely addicting.
VP, Digital Media, Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic
Favorite Digital Toy: My HTC Evo Shift Android phone.
Most Valuable Trait For A Digital Executive: Creativity. A sense of humor is a close second.
Director, OMD Ignition Factory East
Favorite Digital Toy: Like Oprah, mine is the iPad.
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: Insatiable curiosity about the digital space, pop culture and everything in between along with an entrepreneurial spirit that inspires the journey into uncharted territory, and, of course, the ability to translate the creative ‘language’ of location-based services, apps, Twitter, digital content, touch-screen innovation, tablet devices and HTML5 into marketing programs and ideas.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: I’m a modern music junkie. I still enjoy full-length albums, however to the dismay of some self-proclaimed ‘authentic’ music fanatics, the ‘playlist’ mentality made simplistic and more spontaneous than over by iPods, MP3 players and the like has made catchy, commercial-friendly singles increasingly relevant. These songs, the creation of both future legends and one-hit wonders, quickly slip through the cracks of the digital ethos. To keep up with the fast-paced turnover, every music lover has their secret resource be-it Elbo.ws, Stereogum or Pitchfork. My favorite: Wearehunted.com. Their simple mission: the 99 most blogged about songs. I visit it every day.
On Your iPad: Too much to list, but the ones I use the most: Flipboard, Verizon FiOS app, UniSudoku and Apple TV remote.
When It Comes To Addressable Ads And Interactive Ads, How Can TV Stay Ahead Of The Innovations In Online Video Ads So That Addressable Ads Are Must Haves? While we believe that an addressable and interactive ad is the ‘holy grail,’ interactivity is going to be deployed much more broadly than addressability in the near term because it’s easier to buy and there are no regulatory or privacy hurdles. There is a de-facto operating standard for iTV with EBIF, and it’s rolled out in homes now.
Most Exciting Digital Opportunity for Cable: Programmers can now make their programming and sponsorships interactive, resulting in ratings and CPM lifts spurred by the greater levels of engagement and accountability interactivity offers. On the service provider side, interactive TV provides the opportunity to differentiate their service and drive ad sales revenue by making local ads interactive. The same can be done for cross-channel advertising, making the service provider’s local inventory – which is one of their chief marketing assets – more powerful and effective.
VP, Emerging Social Web Technologies, TBS
Who Wins A Fight Between Facebook and Twitter? We all win. The social web is still an infant, not in years but in maturity. The fundamental elements of Facebook and Twitter—the relationship models, social and content graphs, our identity construct—all of these things have yet to deliver on the full potential of a connected information society.
Favorite Digital Toy: Right now, it has to be my iPad, which has become my portable window to the world as well as my ideas, my entertainment, my education…and my alarm clock.
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: Insatiable curiosity.
VP/GM, Content Service and Ad Sales, TiVo
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: Flexibility—to be able to adapt to change. But I guess that’s true for any executive.
Favorite Digital Toy: My BlackBerry continues to be my favorite digital toy. No matter what device I try, I’m still stuck on my BlackBerry—oh, and TiVo Premiere, of course!
Favorite Blog/Web Site: A very basic answer: Google. Like most people, I use it to source everything and anything. I could list a number of sites/blogs that I visit every day that make my life easier or better in some way, but in terms of what site I can no longer function without, it’s Google.
EVP, Digital Media, MTV Networks Music & Logo Group
Favorite Blog/Web Site: My go-to site is NYTimes.com. Not only does it provide a nice mix of technology (I’m huge fan of David Pogue), business and local news, I’ve recently become a fan of the tips Mark Bittman provides in the Dining & Wine section. Mashable.com is my go-to tech news blog.
When Will Authentication Be a Success? We’ll know it’s become a success when there’s mass adoption and usage. Your cable box authenticates you, and you don’t have to think or do anything about it. Simplicity again is the key.
In 10 Years Cable Will Be: Not so much a question of will but rather should. Cable should be a multi-screen experience that follows the consumer and allows him/her to experience content on the device and platform of his/her choice. Cable has been built on a home-specific model not a person-specific model. That will change.
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: There’s no such thing today as a digital executive. If you are not a digital executive, then you are an analog executive. We’re all in digital. Today’s executive needs to think first from an experience perspective and eagerly embrace new platforms.
Favorite Digital Toy: My iPad.
VP, Digital Media, Rainbow Media
In 10 Years Cable Will Be: Two things people will likely still be doing in 10 years: paying for high-speed Internet access into their home and paying to access the best TV and movie content. These also happen to be two areas in which cable is a dominant provider—one that is evolving to meet the changes in technology.
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: Flexibility of mind, a desire to keep learning and an appreciation for the varied and essential talents of everyone involved in the enterprise at every level.
Digital Opportunity for Cable That Most Excites Him: In the digital arena it seems no matter what windows of opportunity may be closing, dozens of new windows are opening at any given moment. Things are moving fast, and there’s always a new frontier to explore—if you can continue to keep up.
President, Digital Media, Outdoor Channel
Who Wins A Fight Between Facebook and Twitter? Dynamically different in their approach to capture audiences’ fragmented attention, they will exist for some time. We have users within these platforms, along with our own social community, where tips, photos, videos and stories are shared. Combined, these social platforms enable us to actively engage in a direct dialogue with enthusiasts.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: Besides Outdoorchannel.com and CableFAX.com? AppleInsider—I love reading the latest news and rumors on new Apple devices in the pipeline.
On Your iPad: All of my favorite apps! Evernote, NHL GameCenter, NY Times and VEVO.
VP, Business Development and Sales, NBCU, Digital Distribution
What You Miss About Analog: Having an excuse for being unreachable. 🙂
Most Valuable Traits For A Digital Executive: The willingness to adapt to change and move quickly.
SVP/GM, Online Brands, Scripps Networks Interactive
On Your iPad: Kindle Reader, Angry Birds, ABC video player, the Food Network Nighttime app, the HGTVtoGo app and Miss Pacman, of course.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: For a specific blog, it would be HGTV’s Design Happens. I love looking at the design inspirations our editors find every day about what is going on right now.
CTO, Canoe Ventures
On Your iPad: Pulse (addicted to it), Dropbox, Note Taker HD, The New Yorker, NPR, Star Walk, Paper Toss HD, Xfinity TV, Keynote, and of course the collected poems of Dylan Thomas, e.e. cummings, Auden, Yeats & Billy Collins V.
Most Exciting Digital Opportunity For Cable: It’s not just the commercial possibilities or the technical capabilities that excite me about ITV. What ITV truly represents is the addition of a new color to the creative palette of writers, directors, performers and producers of television content and advertising. ITV adds even more reach, depth, complexity and relevance to one of the greatest storytelling mediums in the world.
CEO, FourthWall Media
On Your iPad: Fourth Wall apps that connect to TV, WSJ, TripIt, LoseIt
Most Valuable Trait For A Digital Executive: It used to be patience, but now it’s flexibility!
Favorite Digital Toy: Tablets, whether the Apple iPad or Motorola’s XOOM. Tablets are wonderful personal content discovery platforms, and when linked to TV, you have the best of both worlds.
Favorite Site/Blog: ESPN.com. I’m a die-hard sports fan and this is how I get my sports fix throughout the day. Couldn’t live without it.
VP, Interactive Television, Showtime Networks
Digital Opportunity for Cable That Most Excites Him: I get excited about completely rethinking navigation on a TV with a next-gen remote control and a visual interface that is actually fun for the viewer to explore and integration of social media.
Thing You Miss About the Old Analog Days: Down time and time to stop and think.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: I read The New York Times online every day, but when it comes to the interactive space I like to scan about ten different blogs and industry news sites to stay up on what’s happening. The cable news outlets often have a very different perspective on things than some of the Internet tech sites.
What Would You Like Digital Devices to Do? Work without any additional user names and passwords. Access all of my content, regardless of where I purchased it.
Favorite Digital Toy: This week it’s a Scrabble Flash game I got over the holidays. It’s a really innovative word shuffle game where you arrange physical Scrabble tiles around on the table, and they actually communicate with one another, so it knows when you spelled a word correctly. I remember seeing a prototype of this technology years ago, and it’s nice to see how it came to market as a user friendly, inexpensive toy.
SVP/GM, Service Provider Video Technology Group, Cisco
Cable’s Most Exciting Digital Opportunity: Undoubtedly, the transition to IP and what it can do to reinvent the consumer television experience.
Who Wins A Fight Between Facebook and Twitter? Facebook. My mother, my wife and my daughter all depend on Facebook. How could they possibly be wrong?
Favorite Blog/Web Site: BBC News and Google News (news junkie), Facebook (family and friends), Aviation Weather Map (wishing I could fly more often).
Thing You Miss About Analog: Big, cushy headsets.
In 10 Years Cable Will Be: A complete service provider—wired and wireless; fixed and mobile; voice, data and video.
Most Valuable Traits for a Digital Executive: Flexibility and breadth of experience/thinking.
Director, Digital Communications, Time Warner Cable
Most Valuable Trait(s) for a Digital Executive: Knowing how to tune out hype and tell a good story. That hype can come from inside yourself, from your co-workers, from the itch to jump onto the next meme or to appear cool and relevant. It’s all clutter and noise. Sweep it aside and look at what’s underneath. Technology makes sending messages easier, but looking beneath the surface and telling interesting, relevant stories will always be very hard and very valuable.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: BoingBoing. I’ve been a fan for years. They bring in so much interesting, strange and exciting stuff out all day long. I can honestly say that it’s enriched and enhanced my life.
Favorite Digital Toy: I am constantly fiddling with my iPhone, but I’m not sure that I like that about myself. It can be really useful, but it’s also almost completely replaced my ability to sit quietly and think for a little while.
What Would You Like Digital Devices To Do? I’ve never felt underserved or disappointed by digital devices. They’re great and all, but there’s so much more to life. The sort of person who regularly blogs his frustrations with digital devices is not the sort of person who makes it to my cocktail parties. That’s why I get paid.
VP/Exec Prod, CNBC.com
On Your iPad: CNBC Real-Time iPad App, Flipboard and Angry Birds.
Favorite Site/Blog: Aside from CNBC.com (of course), I am a professional shopper who cannot imagine life without Amazon Prime.
Chief Strategy Officer, Avail-TVN
Favorite Blog/Web Site: VideoNuze. Will Richmond provides smart, insightful, and timely industry news and analysis.
Favorite Digital Toy: My iPad. Actually, it’s my son’s iPad, so we have to arm-wrestle over it.
Who Wins A Fight Between Facebook and Twitter? While both are communication tools, they differ in important ways. Facebook is connecting with family/friends. Twitter is mass communication with a broad audience. In the long run, the winner will innovate faster and better than others. It’s still early but Facebook’s superior business model gives it a leg up.
Managing Partner, Media Director, Mindshare
Favorite Digital Toy: My iPad. Or is it my daughter’s and I share it with her?
What You Miss About The Analog Days: Time.
The Most Valuable Trait For A Digital Executive: Acting.
Nicholas D. Troiano,
What You Miss About Analog: Being able to hide. Nowadays, even my dentist can reach me on demand!
Most Exciting Digital Opportunity for Cable: The integration of devices (iPad, tablets) into the living room experience will change the way we search, discover and consume TV. The introduction of interactivity and community that these devices bring is helping TV to evolve from a ‘lean back’ to an immersive experience at a personal and social level.
In 10 Years Cable Will: Not be called cable.
Michael S. Willner
Vice Chairman/CEO, Insight
Favorite Site/Blog: Broadband Reports. It’s a community website that covers cable and broadband companies and gives our customers the opportunity to post their experiences. I personally read ours regularly and we have set up a process to reach out to customers with problems. More importantly, it’s like a canary in a coal mine. Members of BBR typically are extremely familiar with our services, are technology influencers and often tell us when something is going awry even before we know it.
On My iPad: Wall Street Journal, Kindle Reader, My Yahoo, Google Earth, all my email accounts, Calendar, NYC Subways, Weather Channel, ESPN Score Center, Slingbox, Xfinity, Fandango, Hulu Plus, Dictionary, Flight Tracker, Trip It, Moxie 2, Angry Birds, bank accounts, IPod and ITunes, Gogo In-flight Wi-Fi. And that’s just a few.
EVP/GM, Digital, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group
In 10 Years Cable Will Be: More of what it is today—a central way for users to get the content they love. What might change is where they access that content.
When Will Authentication Be A Success? When people stop talking about it as the new potential thing and just use it as a natural part of their lives.
Favorite Digital Toy: iPhone.
On Your iPad: Good Reader, The New York Times, Scrabble, TweetDeck and Netflix.
Most Exciting Digital Opportunity for Cable: The on demand and interactive opportunities on all the Internet-enabled devices offer exciting possibilities through TV, the set-top box or through complementary portable devices. These innovations allow us to enhance the user experience and the ability to increase consumer engagement with our content.
Who Wins A Fight Between Facebook and Twitter? Facebook, because it has become an integral part of people’s lives serving so many uses: a white pages, a communication platform, a connection point and even a content destination with games.
Favorite Blog/Web Site: I’m a big sports fan, so besides Google, I would have to say ESPN. I love their coverage, their cross-platform approach and even their new local push. Twitter is another one I can’t live without now. In a world of information overload, I follow a few key people I trust to help filter what is important out there.