Discovery’s High-Def Evangelist


Clint Stinchcomb

Clint Stinchcomb, senior vice president and general manager of Discovery HD Theater, is essentially Discovery’s new-media envoy to distributors. He’s not only successfully secured carriage deals for its HDTV service but is also championing the company’s video-on-demand effort.

The 37-year-old, who moved up Discovery’s affiliate-sales ranks, got inspiration from the very top. At the company’s annual meetings, Stinchcomb looked forward to hearing Discovery Communications Inc. founder and chairman John Hendricks make predictions about the future of television.

“I was always just sort of mesmerized just listening to him talk about all these new technologies that were coming — whether it was HD, all the iterations of on-demand, [free-on-demand] to VOD,” Stinchcomb says. “So I thought if I were going to make a career in the cable-programming business, it couldn’t hurt to know as much about this stuff as possible.”

He learned well, and was eventually promoted to specialize in new media. With Discovery being one of cable’s first advocates of HD, at first it was a lonely crusade for Stinchcomb.

“He was the evangelical minister when it came to HD, and one of the early programmers out there on the street corner preaching the value and the power of HD programming,” says Chuck Ellis, Time Warner Cable’s chief marketing officer. “We appreciated his enthusiasm, his zeal and the leadership position he was taking on HD.”

Today, Stinchcomb is the most popular guy on his block around Super Bowl time, by virtue of his 50-inch plasma HDTV set. “With HD, seeing is selling,” says Stinchcomb, describing the Super Bowl as “a great evangelical event.”

Raised in a small Maine town, the son of two educators, Stinchcomb worked his way through Dartmouth College by running a maintenance business, finding time to play college football as well.

He moved to Southern California and briefly sold commercial real estate, until a friend who worked at Showtime Networks Inc. suggested he look for employment in the booming cable industry.

Joe Rooney, Cox Communications Inc. senior vice president of marketing, describes Stinchcomb as “a great fit in his role in leading high-definition strategy for Discovery, and influencing high-definition strategy for the entire industry.”

“He gets to balance the strategy-shaping with the relationships that he’s created in the industry,” Rooney says. “And he’s just a great guy.”