Q&A With Bob Benya

Author:
Publish date:

In Demand tapped Bob Benya to serve as president and CEO in January. He had
been on the company’s board for fi ve years before taking over the top spot.

“[Benya] takes the reins of In Demand during a transformative time for the industry
as transactional products, authentication, interactive and digital delivery will require
his expertise,” In Demand chairman Matt Bond, Comcast’s executive vice president
of content acquisition, said in January. “Bob is the right leader to guide this company
into the future to ensure In Demand’s continued innovation and leadership on behalf
of its owners and affiliates.”

Before joining In Demand, Benya served as senior vice president, video product
strategy, at Time Warner Cable. He spent 28 years at the MSO, holding several
senior operating and corporate-executive positions. He was pivotal in the rollouts of
digital TV, video-on-demand, interactive TV, Road Runner, Start Over/Look Back
and TWC’s cross-platform services.

Last year, Benya concluded a three-year stint as co-chair of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing‘s Advanced
Cable Services Consortium. He has received numerous industry awards, including three Marketing Executive of the Year
awards, Time Warner Cable’s Innovation Award and an Emmy Award for developing TWC’s “Start Over” service.

Benya joined the board of directors of CTAM in June 2010.

Following is an edited Q&A with Benya on the eve of the company’s 25th anniversary.

What made you decide to move from
the operating side of the business to the
programming side?

I’ve been involved with pay-per-view and
video-on-demand for years. I launched PPV in
Manhattan in 1987 and was intricately involved
in the Full Service Network in Orlando. Having
a deep appreciation for the technology, and
as the marketing guy, I was fortunate to work
with such talented people who embraced me,
taught me the technology side of the business
and helped me launch some very interesting
products over the years.

At Time Warner Cable, I was given the opportunity
to do a lot of new things. Everyone
got behind me and the new products we were
launching, like Road Runner and Start Over/
Look Back.

I had been on the board of In Demand for
fi ve years before joining the company. Coming
over here full-time was a natural extension of
my career. Programming relations and managing
affiliates is a new experience for me but
then, in many ways, it’s a lot like working with
Time Warner Cable’s many different systems.

What keeps you busy during your day?

There is always a lot of change in our business.
At the end of the day, I want to make sure
my team knows they have the support they
need to do the best job they can. We need to
make sure our affiliates know what’s coming
up and we want our programming partners to
be aware of what’s happening on the operating
side of the business. That means a lot of communicating
is necessary to make sure all our
constituents know what’s going on.

I also spend a fair amount of time on product
development, and that is exciting. We constantly
ask ourselves, ‘How can we do something different
and exciting?’ That goes for marketing,
too. We ask, ‘How can we market our products
better to be more enticing to consumers?’

Where do you see In Demand three to
five years from now?

We want to be bigger and better. Our
portfolio of products will expand and diversify.
Our rights will be more ubiquitous,
to include delivery on devices that consumers
want to use to access content. Evolving
models will take time and energy. We think
we will develop and distribute a lot of new
products for all platforms.

What’s the most satisfying part of
your job?

The people here are amazing and I am proud
to be a part of this team. In person meetings are
very important to me and there is a lot of personal
satisfaction from spending time with our
affiliates, studios and other partners. We’ve got
a great service, so I am usually welcome. We are
privileged to work with some of the finest content
providers in the world and that is always
satisfying. In other words, I like the human interaction
this job provides me.

Were there any surprises you didn’t
anticipate when you took the job?

This is a relatively small company (about
150 employees), so I was surprised at how
good everyone is at prioritizing. What goes
on top of the pile is almost an art form. I am
learning that every day, and lean heavily on
my team to keep me on task.

Related