Women To Watch1/25/2004 7:00 PM Eastern
TITLE: Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell has put the word out that after the November presidential election, he is looking to join the private sector. If President Bush wins re-election, he just might turn to Abernathy to replace Powell, in which case she would become the first woman to head the agency. Abernathy shares Powell's regulatory philosophy of keeping the government's role to a minimum unless market failures erupt. Since joining the FCC in 2001, Abernathy and Powell have voted the same every time except once — she dissented from the decision to extend cable program-access rules until 2007.
BEST OF 2003: "Helping to shape communications law and policy for this new millennium is tremendously rewarding. While newspapers and television news reports often concentrate on the partisan politics and personalities in Washington, the reality of daily work requires mastering highly complex technical material — and bringing old-fashioned common sense to public issues. At the end of the day, by creating a regulatory framework that embraces cutting edge technology and encourages competition, I hope we can bring the wonders of the broadband revolution to every man, woman, and child in the U.S."
WHAT'S ON TAP: "I'm excited about the new opportunities in distance learning and telemedicine that flow from increased broadband investment. With wireless, satellite, wireline, and WiFi all in the market we can expect dramatic changes in the ways we are educated, the ways we communicate, and the ways we address health-care challenges."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "I've been fortunate to have both women and men mentors who have guided me throughout my professional career. Hard work, dedication and a sense of perspective are essential elements for a successful career, but personal mentoring can make a significant difference in how fast and how far we climb. That is why I have tried to offer some of my life lessons to those just entering the job market, playing the same role for others that my mentors played for me."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "When I'm not at work, I spend as much time as possible with my husband and 8-year-old daughter. My family loves to ski and travel."
TITLE: Executive Vice President, Strategy and Development, Advance/Newhouse Communications
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: As Bright House Networks — the moniker for the former Time Warner Entertainment-Advance Newhouse partnership — forges its identity, Bergman is playing a vital role in driving home new services to its more than 2 million subscribers in central and Tampa Bay, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Indianapolis; and Detroit. Bright House's decentralized approach necessitates decision-making that balances market needs while driving overall corporate initiatives. Bergman, daughter of Advance/Newhouse CEO Robert Miron and sister of president Steve Miron, can draw from 20 years of cable experience in mapping Bright House's directions.
BEST OF 2003: "We put together a strong and talented team in Syracuse. We supported the strong teams already in place, in our divisions. These teams furthered our growth — most notably of CPST, digital, HD, and high-speed data subs. We made investments in our network to prepare it for further growth."
WHAT'S NEXT: "Now that our upgrades are complete, and our infrastructure has been enhanced to carry more on-demand programming and support a robust high-speed data service, we're focusing on how to maximize our platform's capabilities. We're exploring the launch of further enhanced data services, interactive video and on-demand applications, and voice-based products such as telephony through VoIP technology. With all of these potential new services, our most significant challenge is maintaining our competitive edge ... being true to our industry's longstanding entrepreneurial spirit, staying nimble and reacting more quickly to market changes and viewers' needs than our competitors. Another challenge is to help bring about the successful implementation of critical cable initiatives, such as OCAP. We believe it is vital that our industry support open standards and common platforms for application-development environments."
MORE IN 2004: "More usage of our robust platform by our customers — improved digital, HD and high-speed data penetration, and stronger usage of on-demand and interactive video applications. More strides to improve customer service."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "Women have made terrific progress — and we have many leaders, both male and female, within our industry, to thank for years of support. We still have work to do — our progress is often slowed, not for lack of support but because of how difficult it can be to strike a balanced life as a working woman. Helping women to more easily strike this balance will bring the most speed to this evolution."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "When I am not working, I am with my family — husband, Neal, and daughters, Rebecca, 11, Dori, 8, and Allison, 3. We share a love of reading, art, and playing in the outdoors — running, skiing, hiking — generally just having fun together."
TITLE: Senior Vice President, Operations Midwest Division, Charter Communications Corp.
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: Clayton returned to the U.S. last year, hopping the Pond from Amsterdam, where she had been serving as managing director, executive vice president of United Pan-Europe Communications. At Charter, the 22-year cable and advertising veteran was tasked with forging a new management team for a division that serves 1.2 million customers in 13 states. While she doesn't oversee Charter's largest division relative to subscribers, the Midwest does encompass the largest geographic area, including the company's St. Louis headquarters. For any company, it never hurts to place its best foot forward at home, where Clayton is looking to burnish a new corporate culture steeped in operational efficiency and a more aggressive approach to new services, while improving customer care.
BEST OF 2003: "We created/hired a top-quality division management team in the first 90 days — only two out of 20 people were in place when I joined the company last March. Since then, we've made improvements in the quality of customer care as a result of call-center consolidation, payment center realignments and improvements in network reliability. There was also improved profitability at the division through modifications to organizational structure and increased operational efficiencies. I also made a successful move from Europe back to the U.S. (and to the same neighborhood I grew up in) with no damaged goods, including seven cases of wine that survived sitting in New York harbor for over a month in 100-degree heat (due to a dock captain's strike)!"
WHAT'S NEXT: "We need to increase revenue through customer growth across all product lines with less reliance on rate increases. To help accomplish that goal, we must drive penetration/usage of new products like HDTV, VOD, DVR and telephony. It is also imperative that we establish a true sales culture and competitive mentality throughout the division. In addition, we must continue our efforts to improve operational efficiencies through customer self-care programs, first-contact resolution of customer problems, automated business processes, improved employee competency and satisfaction. I'm also looking to reengage on a personal, profession level with the U.S. cable industry through such groups as CTAM and WICT."
MORE IN 2004: "We want more customers across all product lines, more of a sales culture and competitive mindset. We want more HDTV boxes – on-demand is ahead of supply today — and local HD content deals. We want better VOD marketing to increase awareness and educate customers of uses and benefits, not to mention better windows also. We're looking for more direct-sales and audit contractors who are willing to work in rural markets at a reasonable price."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "Reviewing the number and seniority of women acknowledged in this annual program for the last six years is evidence that women in this industry are able to 'ascend.' Within Charter, during [CEO] Carl Vogel's tenure over the last two years, 24 women have been recruited or promoted as officers. My philosophy — taught to me by my father — is that if you focus on doing what's best for the business and do so with honesty, integrity, respect and a sense of humor, accomplishments will be acknowledged and gender becomes irrelevant."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I enjoy eating at great restaurants, as well as entertaining and cooking. I'm writing a cookbook, although there hasn't been much time for that lately. I also enjoy international travel, fly fishing, skiing and golfing. I'm also actively involved in community volunteering and I spend time taking care of my aging parents."
TITLE: Senior Vice President of Marketing, TVN Entertainment Corp.
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: Doughty and TVN capped a robust 2003 with the fall bow of Kids Unlimited, an SVOD package featuring popular programming from PBS and Scholastic Entertainment that was picked up by Charter Communications Corp. Now, she's continuing to push industry efforts for VOD ratings measurement and accelerate merchandising capabilities for the platform.
BEST OF 2003: "We launched a pilot for long-form advertising on video-on-demand. We also launched Event TV, the industry's first all-event pay-per-view network and Kids Unlimited, the first children's on-demand subscription network."
WHAT'S NEXT: "Our goal is drive penetration of Kids Unlimited and push the industry to develop service-management software to improve the merchandising capability of the VOD platform. We are also gearing up to launch health and educational on-demand networks."
MORE IN 2004: "I would like the industry to invest more in both the marketing and software development around VOD. Traditional marketing tactics will only take us so far, but the capability to creatively package content will help the industry merchandize programming like never before through time-sensitive pricing, series and á la carte pricing and asset sequencing for program promotion. The technology exists, it's been market tested and it works amazingly well."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "WICT's PAR Initiative addresses this issue quite well. Obviously, the industry has much room for improvement. Providing women the opportunity to participate in dealmaking, operational positions and management-development training should help pave the way for expanding women's roles at the mid to senior levels."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I'm a scratch golfer (not) but I still enjoy a round every chance I get. I recently rediscovered my stove and there are rumors floating around that I make a mean carrot cake. When I'm not golfing or cooking, you can find me miserable on the treadmill at the local gym."
TITLE: General Manager, Marketing, Microsoft TV Division, Microsoft Corp.
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: Microsoft's gain is Cox Communications Inc's. and the cable industry's loss. Over 15 years at Cox, the popular Elander worked in an array of marketing, product-management and product-development capacities, leading teams that developed the strategy, business models and ultimately the deployment of VOD, DVR, HDTV and IPG products and services. With Microsoft TV since last August, Elander's responsibilities extend to all parts of marketing on a global basis, duties that put her and the Redmond, Wash. giant's software across the table from her former cable colleagues.
BEST OF 2003: "My biggest challenge was making the incredibly difficult personal and professional decision to leave the best job at any MSO — vice president, video-product development, at Cox — to see the cable world from different vantage points (supplier vs. MSO), different company (Microsoft vs. Cox), and different part of the world (Seattle vs. Atlanta)."
WHAT'S NEXT: "Helping to harness the incredible talent and innovation within Microsoft to deliver network operators the best software solutions that will deliver the best experience for their consumers. That, and figuring out how to keep all my cable friends from laughing at me on 'booth duty' at the NCTA!"
MORE IN 2004: "We need more VOD, more DVR, and more HDTV driving more MSOs to launch more MicrosoftTV software to give more consumers a better overall experience."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "I'm lucky enough to be in an industry where many women before me have laid out multiple, different, successful career paths — from those whose goals have been to become CEO, and those whose goals have been to do significant work on a track other than the CEO track, to those whose goals have permitted them to make meaningful contributions while not making work all-consuming. However, I think my friends throughout the industry agree that success needs to be defined more broadly than just 'what percentage of execs are women,' and needs to expand to focus more on how all execs are helping male and female employees reach their goals. I see that happening within MSOs, and am starting to see it from within my new vantage point of a software supplier to the industry.
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I'm working on renovating my new home in Seattle, although I'm not sure it's the smartest thing in the world to change jobs, change companies, change cities, and try and do a major renovation all at once. I'm also learning the new rules of frequent flyer programs now that I don't live in Atlanta and fly Delta all the time."
TITLE: Executive Vice President, Worldwide Brand Strategy, ABC Cable Networks Group
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: A cable veteran who had led and overseen many projects — for Nick, Nick at Nite, VH1, MTV, FX and fXM: Movies From Fox, Hensleigh arrived at Disney Channel in 1996 and has been a whirlwind in the Mouse House ever since. Among her credits, various brand-building initiatives, both domestically and internationally, for Disney Channel and its Zoog Disney programming/interactive block, Toon Disney, SoapNet and "ABC Kids," the Saturday morning strand on the broadcast network. Now, Hensleigh will immerse herself in trumpeting Jetix, the global programming alliance formed by ABC Cable Networks Group, Fox Kids Europe N.V. and Fox Kids Latin America. Jetix-branded programming blocks will debut in the United States in February with morning programming on ABC Family and primetime programming on Toon Disney.
BEST OF 2003: "We worked on rolling out the new Disney Channel logo worldwide, including the launch of Disney Channel Japan! We also leveraged our TV properties (Lizzie McGuire, That's So Raven et. al.) into new businesses for The Walt Disney Company with our theme parks, the movie studio and retail partners. There was also development work on Jetix, our new global action/adventure programming brand for kids."
WHAT'S NEXT: "We'll continue to build new TV content to drive brand and franchise value on each of our networks. We're launching Jetix to kids around the world. We're also going to work with ABC Family to differentiate and strengthen the network's identity."
MORE IN 2004: "More imagination, innovation and risk taking!"
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "Men tend to act as their own advocates, while women wait until they have one. Be your own strategic advocate and you can go as far you want."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "Using imagination and innovation to spend more time with my family and friends."
TITLE: Corporate Vice President of Strategic Planning, SeaChange International
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: SeaChange has scored a good chunk of the server-vendor VOD business with the top operators, and is chalking up many of the new rollouts from Comcast Corp. Kanouff, who worked on Time Warner Cable's Full Service Network before joining SeaChange, is one of the key executives heading the vendor's VOD charge, both for cable operators and, perhaps more importantly, with Wall St.: She is now a regular on analyst calls. Kanouff, who holds several digital technology patents, also is fueling VOD Link sales and developing key business plans for economical free VOD deployments.
BEST OF 2003: "I was part of the team that really brought VOD into the market last year. In 2003, we focused much attention and resources on the operational needs for wide-scale VOD launches, especially in terms of integration needs and setting standards for networks and new components such as gigabit ethernet, switching, HD, and more."
WHAT'S NEXT: "There are three main areas I'm working on this year. With flexible networks, we're moving from passive networks that were built for broadcast to true flexible networks that can share bandwidth between broadcast, HSD, and on-demand without the current focus on 6 MHz channel increments. Then there are new codecs. As an industry we still embrace MPEG2, but with Windows Media 9, MPEG4 and H.264 providing new abilities and bandwidth efficiencies for SD and HD, these will clearly be a focus for 2004. As for standards, there are so many and so little time. If we want to move technology forward, we must do it with standards. Much of this is inventing first and then publishing, but it takes time and work with manufacturers and operators to get the many standards, especially for new services and flexible networks to move forward."
MORE IN 2004: "I would like to see more focus on the subscriber interface, which I think drives revenue for the MSO, reduces churn, and then justifies the technology. I think we'll see more focus on this area — moving away from the traditional EPG and into more flexible-user experiences that merge on-demand, broadcast, ITV, DVD and HD into the concept of personal television."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "My field is technology and women are unfortunately still the minority within the executive ranks. I have no issues with acceptance of myself as a woman in a male-dominated space. As a matter of fact, I think most men appreciate and respect a technology-focused executive woman. Even on the engineering level, however, there are far less women than men. Our challenge, and what we are working on in forums such as WICT and SCTE, is to expose the career opportunities in cable to women (and men) early so they can see the opportunities that are there. Cable networks are becoming incredibly sophisticated and there will continue to be great opportunities here for technical and technology executive women. Hopefully, we'll see the education and opportunities help increase the number of women executives. In the meantime, the ones we have are a joy to work with."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I'm married to Denton Kanouff and we have three children, Lauren, Kelsey and Jake. I love to hike and spend time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I'm a big advocate of mathematics and often speak or do teach-ins for students."
TITLE: President, HYPE TV (Hot Young People's Entertainment Television)
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: The industry veteran, whose career path has included executive stops as general manager of Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family) and on the Viacom Inc. affiliate relations front for Nick, Nick at Nite and TV Land, created news last year by first moving toward a network collaboration called Fabulous TV, with hip-hop impressario Russell Simmons. But after several stops and starts, Fabulous TV was finally silenced. Now Lawrence is moving full speed ahead with another hip-hop vehicle HYPE TV, which will take several steps this year in preparation for a linear launch in 2005.
BEST OF 2003: "It was a big year in so many ways. Within one year, my partner Peter Griffith and I raised capital to launch HYPE TV, the first network devoted solely to delivering authentic hip-hop entertainment to an adult audience through unedited music videos and original lifestyle programming. We also executed a comprehensive strategic partnership deal with Playboy Entertainment that includes incubation of the channel on Playboy TV and struck marketing partnership deals with several major hip-hop media vehicles as well as Blue Flame Advertising, a division of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment. But the most important event of 2003 was the adoption of my baby girl Claire, who is now 7-months-old."
WHAT'S NEXT: "HYPE will be on the air as a weekly block on Playboy TV this May. We plan to launch a VOD product by June, and roll out the linear channel early in 2005. In addition, we will have two branded DVDs hitting retail shelves in the third and fourth quarters."
MORE IN 2004: "I am launching HYPE because I believe that we need to bring more diverse voices to the cable television landscape. Our cable and satellite customers are increasingly multicultural, and I'd like to see the industry address their programming needs with a new vision."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "I began my career in consulting and then packaged-goods marketing, where there was very little diversity of any kind. Consequently, I have always had an appreciation for the amazing accomplishments women in this industry have made and for the opportunities available to us."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "These days when I'm not working I'm playing with my baby and spending time with my husband, who has been incredibly supportive of my crazy life in the last year. I also enjoy cycling and would like to complete a century ride (100 miles) in 2004."
TITLE: Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Comcast Advertising Sales
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: A major player at Adlink, Lins made the cross-country jump in August 2002 to Comcast's New York ad sales office, where she joined fellow executives from the Los Angeles interconnect, Charlie Thurston and Hank Oster in forming "Adlink East." Since her arrival, Lins and other executives have been busy restructuring the organization in the wake of the MSO's acquisition of AT&T Broadband. This year, Lins will be involved in spearheading the communications behind the ad sales unit rebranding and its move toward becoming a greater force to be considered by agencies and clients around the country.
BEST OF 2003: "We spent much of last year putting an awesome team in place, and developing the overall Comcast Ad Sales marketing strategy, including structuring and staffing the post-merger Ad Sales marketing organization. We created various functional marketing strategies, including brand development, public relations, advertising, corporate/field marketing, national/regional/local promotions, network partnerships, creative services and an internal communications plan for reaching Ad Sales' 3,200 employees."
WHAT'S NEXT: "We'll be rebranding Ad Sales to become the new media brand for Comcast — unifying the local, regional/interconnect and national/multi-market levels of our business under one brand identity across all 73 markets for the first time. Others goals include continuing to push to change the paradigm of ad sales marketing partnerships with our networks to better meet the rapidly changing and newly defined needs of our respective businesses."
MORE IN 2004: "I would like to see more industry recognition of how ad sales marketing impacts the bottom line, resulting in more collaboration between ad sales and cable marketing. In addition, I want more opportunities to deliver cutting-edge marketing initiatives, such as segmentation tools Adtag and Adcopy, to our advertisers and to develop more advertising opportunities that leverage our core business advances in VOD, high-speed, etc."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "As the only woman on the Ad Sales corporate executive team and as someone whose five direct reports are all women, I work in a mini case study. Obviously, the higher you look, the fewer women you find, but we would not be recognizing Wonder Women and Women To Watch if the industry wasn't paying attention to our accomplishments and contributions. As women achieve the positions we deserve, we become part of this evolution of change. The accomplishments of women today are opening doors for the women of tomorrow. On the communications front, if skill and tact don't work, repetition always helps."
AT WORK, AT PLAY: "Out of the four times I have moved across the country, twice it's been for men: once for my husband (we were married the day after the AT&T/Comcast merger closed), and once for Comcast ad sales president Charlie Thurston. I don't regret either, although both reduced my time for 'hobbies.' I am an elite customer with several airlines, a distinction my husband has also earned while trying to commute between his law practice in L.A. and our home in New York. We are restoring and remodeling our historic country house, which will hopefully become a home for the art and antiques I enjoy collecting."
TITLE: Executive Vice President, General Manager of VH1
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: The MTV Networks veteran has been leading VH1 since April 2002, and has helped fashion new strategies, on-air looks, packaging and programming. The result: 2003 was the network's most-watched year in both primetime and total-day. We'll be keeping an eye on whether Norman can sustain the turnaround momentum.
BEST OF 2003: "Delivering on our new music, artists and pop culture positioning and seeing how it would connect with the VH1 audience was truly one of the biggest challenges and accomplishments of 2003. We were able to take the VH1 our audience loved and give it a fresh new spin. Series like I Love the 80s and I Love the 70s, new image campaigns, and the "Big in 03" awards all helped drive VH1 to its most-watched year ever."
WHAT'S NEXT: "For 2004 there is a lot on the plate. The VH1 Save the Music Foundation is six years strong and we've had many new ideas to make even more of an impact for the audience, our affiliate partners and most importantly the kids who receive the benefits of music education throughout our public schools. Diversity is also on the top of the agenda for 2004. A lot of the success VH1 has enjoyed this past year is the result of expanding our audience and our offerings to include a more diverse mix of artists. Staying fresh and relevant is an ongoing challenge. Our audience loves to see what is happening and what is next and we need to deliver that for them in ways that are unique, surprising and entertaining."
MORE IN 2004: "Who wouldn't love higher ratings? That means more viewers are getting connected with VH1. It seems like we've already seen more technology. How about more ways to have the technology help us deliver on the creative?"
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "I am fortunate to have had incredible women mentors here at MTV Networks — women whose leadership, passion and energy have made our businesses successful and paved the way for so many other women like myself. Are there enough women at the highest levels of our industry — of course not! But what is exciting is seeing a true commitment from true leaders like MTVN in expanding the diversity of workforces and making sure that women and people of color have seats at the decision-making tables."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "What free time? I spend every available moment with my family, my husband of 13 years, Charles, and being a mom to my daughters Zoe, 12, and Asha, 7. I've been spending a lot of time contemplating being the mother of a teenager and that's blowing my mind. It's really important for me to show my girls that a woman can be a successful business leader. I want them to know they can do anything. This year, I got a puppy and am surprised at how easily I became a dog person and I am trying to master knitting — both have kept my hands full."
TITLE: Senior Vice President, Interactive Services, NBA Entertainment
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: Spoonemore is the point guard for the pro hoop league's ever-growing online, broadband, interactive and wireless initiatives. The most aggressive of the sports circuits relative to advanced services, Spoonemore and NBA TV affiliate-relations team members are engaging operators and other providers about featuring NBA broadband content for their high-speed platforms.
BEST OF 2003: "As a member of the executive team at NBA Entertainment, we absolutely nailed 2003 — ratings increases in the first year of our new television deals with Turner and ABC/ESPN; expanding NBA TV to include a full slate of live games and original programming; and driving online ticket and e-commerce sales up 50% and 55%, respectively. We reached a new milestone with over 51% of NBA.com traffic coming from outside the U.S. And we launched wireless content, new fantasy games and an online subscription product, doing it all against substantial interactive revenue gains and a 95% activation rate for NBA partners in interactive platforms."
WHAT'S NEXT: "Our mission for 2004 is simple: keeping NBA Entertainment at the forefront of innovation by building and leveraging the NBA's assets across multiple distribution platforms, emerging media and international markets. Our goal is to make content available wherever fans are, in whatever form they find most convenient."
MORE IN 2004: "Outside of the NBA, there's more than one reason to keep an eye on politics: for the first time, national political campaigns are figuring out how to use technology to organize, raise funds, vet issues and galvanize individual citizens. Another interesting development: existing technologies applied in new ways, such as Google's use of search technology to drive their news site. By aggregating multiple sources on a single story, an active consumer can easily get informed about how the U.K. or Middle Eastern press is reporting a story as compared to domestic news agencies. And in a world where the journalistic credibility of newspapers and broadcast outlets was under fire in 2003 as never before, that may be a necessary evolution for an informed media consumer."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "I have had the good fortune to work for leaders who believe that the best ideas win. Period. At the risk of sounding naïve, being able to take that for granted is a win in itself."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I head out to Seattle to see my family whenever possible, especially now that I have a ridiculously adorable niece. In New York, when I'm not in the office I put in time at the gym, try to read the kind of books that I'd never think to write and watch ball games — mostly hoops."
TITLE: Director, Strategic Marketing, Motorola Broadband Communications Sector (BCS)
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: Vernon is front and center in helping drive Motorola's cable-modem, Voice over Internet Protocol and gateway products. She also plays a major role in helping the company with set-top box deployment, which is concentrating heavily these days on high-definition television and digital video recording capabilities. Motorola's 6200 line (HDTV) and 6208 model (a HDTV and DVR combo) are in the field and at various stages of deployment and testing with Comcast Corp. and Insight Communications Corp., among other operators. Meanwhile, the Motorola Broadband Media Center 9012 with Moxi software will get its first push beyond Digeo Inc.'s ties to sister company Charter Communications Inc., when Adelphia Communications Corp. tests the unit in its Los Angeles system in the first half of 2004. From there, the game plan calls for 25,000 boxes to be in the market by year's end.
BEST OF 2003: "Motorola's focus was on bringing new product offerings supporting applications such as HD, digital, DVR, wireless home networking and VoIP to the market. The key area was — and continues to be — working with our cable operator customers and related software partners to create awareness, educate and simplify the technologies for the consumer. To this end, we have focused on extensive public relations activities, including the creation of a multimedia news release, to further generate awareness and understanding of these technologies — their features, functions and benefits — among mainstream media and the mass markets. We also created educational materials for consumers/subscribers to use to enhance their experience with the technologies. Finally, we worked closely with cable operators on developing marketing and educational materials and programs to support them in their selling and promotion efforts of these new service offerings."
WHAT'S NEXT: "We want to continue to increase consumers' and subscribers' awareness and understanding of the huge benefits that products and technologies, such as DVR and wireless home networking, can bring to their lives. At the same time, we need to continue to simplify the usage mechanisms and interfaces for these new technologies. We're also going to continue to work with cable operators to effectively and efficiently market to their customers. Finally, we'll create and deliver more new products that the marketplace needs today, while developing innovative products for tomorrow's yet-to-be recognized needs."
MORE IN 2004: "I'd like to see more of the masses (i.e. the average consumer) begin to embrace and truly leverage the new technologies and reap the benefits that these new technologies such as DVR, VOD, HD, wireless home networking and VoIP will bring to them."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "I believe the cable industry offers tremendous opportunities for all groups, including women, assuming the individuals are talented and dedicated. While in some parts of the industry, women are less represented, I think overall most companies realize the unique contributions that women being to the organization, and hence aggressively go after developing those talents."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I enjoy traveling, designing, exploring new things and spending time with my husband, family and friends."
TITLE: Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Adelphia Communications Corp.
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: What do you think? Last March, Wittman jumped onto the first line of the team chairman and CEO William Schleyer and president and COO Ron Cooper has retained to lead Adelphia's emergence from Chapter 11, which is expected this summer. Wittman, whose career path includes executive stops at Microsoft Corp., Morgan Stanley & Co. and Metricom Inc., can certainly relate some of the experiences gained at her job before joining the MSO: She helped Canadian firm 360Networks Corp. move out of bankruptcy. BEST OF 2003: "I joined the team trying to pull Adelphia out of bankruptcy, and began three years of restatements per the Securities and Exchange Commission's request. We gained access to necessary capital to rebuild our network, and jump-started the bankruptcy emergence process."
WHAT'S NEXT: "Our goal is to emerge successfully from bankruptcy as an independent company with a solid balance sheet."
MORE IN 2004: "We need to improve our operating performance — catch up to our peers in terms of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) per sub and ARPU (average revenue per unit). To do this we need to stay on track with our rebuild and focus on data sub growth, as well as stabilizing basic subscribers in the face of increased satellite competition."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "Adelphia has done an excellent job of attracting top female talent to its leadership ranks — the talent is out there, and the smartest companies are those that understand their value. Women certainly haven't reached parity yet, but we're a lot closer, thanks to the trailblazers who led the way."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I'm married with two boys — ages almost 5 and just 6. My husband Drew stays home with them, so he really has the hard job. They certainly keep us busy. I'm a former college tennis player and still like to hit a few balls when I have the time."
TITLE: Executive Vice President, Turner Entertainment Sales and Marketing
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: The ad sales veteran has been successful in not only driving more ad dollars to Turner, but building integrated, promotional platforms for clients with Law & Order, the "Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentation" and House Rules presented by Lowes. Now she's busy selling the randy, Home Box Office comedy Sex and the City into the marketplace.
BEST OF 2003: "One of the goals we set in 2003 was to continue the shift of advertising revenue in the direction of the viewer/consumer, as well as to demonstrate the effectiveness of buying TNT and TBS and the inequity of buying too much broadcast television networks. Turner Broadcasting continues to lead the migration of advertising budgets and we believe TNT and TBS are true substitutes for broadcast television networks —it truly is a one television world."
WHAT'S NEXT: "Sex and the City, Sex and the City, Sex and the City! We have a long and successful history of developing distinct multi-platform marketing and promotional partnerships for sponsors. There is already a tremendous demand for the series on TBS within the marketplace. In addition to Sex and the City on our plate, we will have an extremely busy upfront season. We'll be launching many original programs such as The Grid and Steven Spielberg's America West (in 2005) on TNT. The new look of TBS will also include numerous originals and the addition of Everybody Loves Raymond and King of Queens to our programming schedule."
MORE IN 2004: "I'd like to see 2004 truly be the year our clients think and act differently. We certainly have made strides in the past couple of years, but I would like to witness a significant shift of spending from broadcast television networks to TBS and TNT. It would also be great to see business done in more of a partnership fashion rather than a late-night upfront negotiation with the number one goal of the viewer/consumer in mind. The goal for TBS and TNT is to maximize our network programming environment to help our advertising partners sell more product."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "I am very proud of Turner's commitment to the development of its female employees and am impressed by the variety of ways the company carries out this mission. At the same time, I think a woman's success really depends on the person herself. As I look at our industry, I'm very optimistic about the future for women in the television workforce. It's a difficult balance/juggling act for a woman to be a mother and have a career, but it can be done."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "I'm dedicated to making a career at Turner and to my family, so my first honest response is that I don't have any hobbies! If you're going to be a career mom, there's not much time for anything else. Our whole family makes physical fitness a priority, and my husband and I are avid supporters of our son's hockey games and our daughter's gymnastics events." (Yaccarino answered these questions from the Comfort Suites Hotel in Ontario where her son played in the North American Silver Stick championships.)
TITLE: President, Trio; Executive Vice President, Network Enterprises, Universal Television Networks
WHY WE'RE WATCHING: Combining an amalgam of updated retro fare, originals and incisive documentaries with cogent marketing, Trio's profile has risen dramatically since Zalaznick left her post as senior vice president, original programming and development for VH1, to head the pop culture network in May 2002. The big question: Trio and Zalaznick's future and fate when NBC completes the Vivendi Universal Entertainment deal.
BEST OF 2003: "Trio's biggest challenge for 2003 turned out to also be our biggest accomplishment: to successfully brand and own the pop, culture, TV niche through original, event-driven programming and marketing."
WHAT'S NEXT: "In 2004, Trio needs to continue to be the leader in digital cable, proving the value of original, event-driven arts and culture programming to both operators and viewers alike. The days of slicing off pieces of the analog pie and trying to call those channels something new are over. Trio needs to continue to be the leader of cable's digital future."
MORE IN 2004: "I'd like the answer to be yes to the following question: 'Do we really need another television channel?' To get that answer, I'd like to see us work even more closely as partners with cable operators in order to help educate consumers as to the value of digital in general and the value of Trio in particular. We have already started to prove that there is a need for another channel, a pop, culture, TV channel — one like Trio that provides actual programming that viewers 'must have' and can't get anywhere else on television."
EXECUTIVE EVOLUTION: "Women, like all minorities in the still-male, still-white majority workplace, need to stay focused on individual accomplishments and successes as a means to broaden the playing field. Showing great accomplishments at the bottom line as a direct benefit of successfully diversifying the workforce is the only way to get it done."
AT HOME, AT PLAY: "Outside of work, I try to concentrate on absorbing all the forms of media and visual communication that get pushed out by watching TV screens all day: art, journalism, magazines, movies, music, and books. The best way to do it is to talk with friends and family and see what anyone outside the media, especially anyone under 18, is thinking about and talking about."