Reflective of the growing complexity of long-term video contracts and their impact on cable operators' profitability, the National Cable Television Cooperative has bolstered its programming department with the hiring of industry veteran Shannon Sommers.
NCTC has retained Sommers as senior director of programming analysis. In her new post, Sommers will provide depth to the co-op's contract and business analysis team and report to the organization's senior vice president of business development and CFO Corey McCarthy.
The hiring of Sommers, who has spent 11 years with Starz Entertainment, most recently as director of strategic, comes two months after NCTC, the Lenexa, Kan.-based programming and hardware buying consortium, changed the roles of some of its key executives.
"Shannon will bring a unique perspective to the team. She has a law degree and is a CPA, so she will be able to provide both legal and financial advice on program negotiations," said McCarthy in a statement. "While at Starz, she would model, evaluate and negotiate affiliate contracts with values exceeding one billion dollars, so she'll be able to bring the same level of expertise to NCTC agreements."
Sommers - her career has also included stints on the operator side at Media One and Tele-Communications Inc.-- will also work closely with Judy Meyka, the cable-industry veteran, who joined the co-op as its executive vice president of programming, overseeing all programming negotiations in April.
At that time, McCarthy added business development responsibilities to his role as CFO, while Jeff Nourse, senior vice president of legal affairs, now has oversight for regulatory issues, meaning he is working closely with the American Cable Association,
For his part, Frank Hughes, the NCTC's longtime senior vice president of programming, became senior vice president of member services two months ago. In this newly formed role, Hughes is leading a team to work with the co-op's 950-plus member companies to identify mutual strategic priorities, increase the participation level of distributors in its contracts and help operators with strategies to optimize their rights under existing programming agreements.
Moreover, NCTC renamed its so-called "Hardware" department as its "Technology Solutions Team," expanding its purview to encompass a variety of solutions related to TV Everywhere, IP VOD and high-speed data opportunities.
Tim Miller is serving as an analyst for the Technology Solutions unit, while Becky Koelling is working as a financial analyst for programming.