Tamara Franklin has been at the nexus of almost every collision between old and new content technologies in the last two decades.
She was working for Knight-Ridder when the Internet began changing the way people received their news in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She worked for Motorola when consolidation among wireless providers changed the dynamics of cellphones. And as Scripps Networks Interactive’s senior vice president of affiliate operations, new media distribution, Franklin has been intricately involved in helping develop a viable TV Everywhere model that will benefit Scripps, distributors and ultimately, consumers.
She is comfortable navigating those uncharted and troubled waters. “I have been lucky to have participated in the ebb and flow with opportunities in industries that are going through seismic shifts,” Franklin said. “I thrive in that environment. The challenge for everyone right now is keeping pace with the state of change in our industry. You have to keep the train on the tracks, but you have to also constantly be thinking of the big picture.”
Franklin’s experience and knowledge base, business savvy and technical expertise make good at what she does and a standout at Scripps, said her boss Henry Ahn, executive vice president, content distribution and marketing, Scripps Networks Interactive. “Her willingness to help others understand, strategize and manage the evolution of the industry’s new-media initiatives has been key to our company’s success and growth,” he said. “She has a wicked, dry sense of humor that comes out, especially during some tense times at work.
She definitely is a calming influence at work.” Right now, Franklin is hard at work crafting a workable TV Everywhere approach to deliver Scripps content. To date, the company hasn’t offered a TV Everywhere strategy. Developing the progammer’s first approach has been an arduous but exciting process, she said.
But TV Everywhere isn’t a new notion for Franklin. Before joining Scripps in 2009, she was responsible for nonlinear distribution deals with a focus on wireless distribution platforms. For Franklin, 2012 was spent putting the building blocks in place for a viable TV Everywhere program for Scripps. In 2013, the company intends to capitalize on that work. “We expect to become a major player in the emerging TV Everywhere arena,” Franklin said.
Ahn praised Franklin’s agility at handling complicated issues. “The issues with which we deal in content distribution have become more and more complex,” he said. ”One really needs mental agility and flexibility to sort out these complex issues, and Tammy is one of the smartest executives in the business of distribution.”
Jeffrey Binder, general partner with Genovation Capital of Groton, Mass., led a TV-Everywhere panel at the recent International CES in Las Vegas that included Franklin. “She’s done a great job at Scripps and certainly has a very strong command of the ecosystem,” he said. “Scripps is just a great organization, and they’re doing a lot of progressive things — thoughtful and progressive things — around new media distribution, which is good to see.”
Franklin keeps a busy schedule, traveling regularly while keeping up with her daily office routines. She is also highly involved in activities outside the halls of Scripps’s Knoxville, Tenn., headquarters. She was a 2007-08 graduate of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications’ Executive Leadership Development Program and a Betsy Magness Leadership Institute graduate (Class XXIII). In 2012, Savoy Magazine named her one of the “Most Influential Women in Corporate America.”
As a member of NAMIC’s L. Patrick Mellon Mentorship, Program, Franklin “understands the importance of fostering diversity within the industry and shaping future leaders,” NAMIC CEO Nicol Turner-Lee said. In 2011, Franklin was recognized as one of NAMIC’s Luminary leaders at the organization’s Annual Awards Breakfast.
WRITING A BOOK
“Tamara’s role allows her to pay it forward by enhancing the diversity of talent within our industry in her role as a program mentor,” Turner-Lee said. “By being a mentor in the program, she gives back to the community and enhances the diversity of talent within our industry.”
All that leadership training and exposure has helped make her a better boss and manager. Franklin cites her ability to attract “incredible and talented teams” as among her biggest accomplishments and said she’s intent in creating an open environment that strongly encourages intellectual debate. “People like to be heard, and when you listen to what they have to say or what they have to offer, they surpass my greatest expectations every time,” Franklin said.
Along those lines, Franklin in the final stages of writing a book on managing people. “I have always loved to read and write,” she said. “When I started this process, I thought I would write a fictional book. But it turned out to be something totally different. It isn’t a hard-core business book. It’s really about the impact you can have on people, good and bad.”
When she isn’t managing her team or writing about it, Franklin’s time is taken up by the “Three S’s:” school, sports and Scouts. She and her husband, Wade, have two children, Miles (11) and Camille (12). With active preteens, laid back vacations aren’t very realistic but Franklin and her husband have come up with the perfect compromise: cruises. The family is planning a Mediterranean cruise vacation this year.
“No day is the same for me and I like it that way,” Franklin said, which might explain why she enjoys a cruise. Each day brings the ship to a different port, city and experience and her daily job is similar, she said. Franklin is happy with where she is in her career but notes that at some point, she would love to run a company. “I want to find out what that’s like. Running a company tests what you are made of and I want to test that out someday.”
TITLE: Senior VP, Affiliate Operations/ New Media Distribution, Scripps Networks Interactive
CAREER: Joined Scripps Networks Interactive in March 2009 from Turner, where she was VP of business development; as Motorola’s director of new business development and strategic marketing, was responsible for new business and partnerships at iDEN wireless division; began career selling classified ads for The Miami Herald.
QUOTABLE: “Every job I have had has added another tool in my box to prepare me for what I am doing now.”