Did anyone notice what else the four executives on the “Sports Panel” segment of Wednesday morning’s General Session had in common? Yes, of course, they were all white males, but that comes as no surprise, especially for a sports/media conversation.
The shocking uniformity was the lack of hair-stylist coloring or even a dab of Grecian Formula. David Hill of Fox Sports, David Levy of Turner Broadcasting and David Stern of the National Basketball Association all sported their silver or white manes; for John Skipper of ESPN, the stubble on his shaved dome looked, shall we say, “seasoned.”
The image was astounding at event where peppy youth or color-corrected seniors are usually taking the stage. As a graying guy myself, I was pleased to see my kind of people expounding on second-screen opportunities, the options for studio sports and global digital distribution.
The quartet offered real wisdom as well as engaging humor, all with a competitive undercurrent.
One reason I was so attuned to the silvery patina of this particular panel was the feedback I received during the Cable Show about my roster of memorable moments from previous annual NCTA conventions. The list appeared in Monday’s Multichannel News show daily.
Of the many kind comments, I noticed that “older” executives had read it in the print edition, probably the ones slipped under their hotel doors early Monday morning. Younger readers - let’s say under 45 years old - had almost all seen the digital version, probably via their tablet or smart phone. It was a striking reminder about who reads newspapers and who relies on electronic information. Both contingents were loaded with suggestions for events that I should have included - rightly so, but print does have its (space) limitations.
My favorite comment came from CableLabs president Paul Liao (I promised not to divulge his age, but it’s definitely above 45).
“Was it in print, too?” he asked.