Festive-season programming provides a respite for viewers tired of dismal news VO L U M E 41 • N U M B E R 2 2 • N OV E M B E R 2 3, 20 20 • $ 6 .9 5
WOMEN IN THE AFTER PANDEMIC GAME: THRIVING GROWTH, NETFLIX IN A TOUGH 2020 GETS THE CHILLS
VOLUME 41 ISSUE 22 • NOVEMBER 23, 2020 WWW.MULTICHANNEL.COM
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8 COVER STORY FEATURES 8 COVER STORY A record crop of some 100 holidaythemed movies is drawing big ratings from viewers looking for something festive in otherwise gloomy times. By R. Thomas Umstead 12 SPECIAL REPORT: WOMEN IN THE GAME MCN’s annual list of women in starring roles in sports television spotlights executives who found a winning playbook in a pandemicchallenged year. By Stuart Miller
22 BUSINESS After growing at a feverish pace during the initial stay-at-home period, a combination of near saturation in the U.S. and a shift in focus toward profitability has caused Netflix’s prospects to chill. By Mike Farrell
Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Richard Huntingford Chief financial officer Rachel Addison Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244
12 SPECIAL REPORT DEPARTMENTS 4 AGENDA 20 PROGRAMMING 21 TECH 24 POLICY 25 FATES & FORTUNES 28 DATA MINE 32 VIEWPOINT 34 THE FIVE SPOT
ON THE COVER
Brooks Darnell and Kyla Pratt in Lifetime’s original holiday movie Let’s Meet Again on Christmas Eve.
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Cover: Lifteime. This page: Dear Christmas: Lifetime; The Crown: Netflix
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Multicultural News Network Sets 2021 Launch Date Founder DuJuan McCoy charts course with Cox Media Group backing By John Eggerton email@example.com @eggerton
uJuan McCoy, CEO and owner of Circle City Broadcasting, has teamed up with the Cox Media Group TV stations to launch the Multicultural News Network (MNN), a planned national network aiming to be “an unbiased national forum for the voices of America’s underserved multicultural communities.” McCoy, targeting a launch in the second quarter of next year, declined to tip his hand on distribution partners until they are “firmed up,” he said, including whether cable operator Cox Communications would back the Cox Media effort. But he did say Cox Media is investing cash, as well as news bureaus and content, into the network. He also said the proposal is already in front of “every MVPD in America” and that he has had offers. McCoy said he is seeking channel positions near those of the major news networks. MNN already has
MNN founder DuJuan McCoy will share resources with his Circle City Broadcasting, originating the channel from the WISH Indianapolis studios (above).
competition for diverse eyeballs. Black News Channel launched last February and in July secured expanded carriage on Charter Communications cable systems. But while that channel is targeted to AfricanAmerican communities, MNN is casting a wider net, including “Blacks, Hispanics, LGBTQ communities, Asians, Native Americans, people of Middle Eastern descent” and others.
‘Adding to the Party’
“The more diverse news sources in the game the better for the entire cause of giving people who typically don’t have a voice on a platform a voice,” McCoy said of entering the market after BNC. “I wouldn’t say ‘taking them on,’ I would say ‘adding to the party.’” Plus, he said, the goal of what is essentially a broadly targeted yet niche network is to take on the likes of CNN and Fox News Channel, though with no left or right tilts. The plan is for the network to air separate newscasts for different groups, McCoy said. “When we [produce] news for LGBTQ,” for example, “they will know that this news is for me, about me, produced by me, and from my
perspective, that’s why I want to listen.” McCoy said the plans are for an LGBTQ news hour, a Middle Eastern hour, a Black hour, a women’s hour, an Hispanic hour. He said there will also be programming for a mix of cultures, but that each group will get an hour to have their stories told. Bureaus will be set up in all of the major metro areas where either Cox Media or Circle City has stations, McCoy said. Each of those stations’ news departments will have a content-sharing partnership with MNN. Cox has 33 TV stations in 20 markets, including Atlanta, Boston and Memphis, as well as a Cox Washington bureau McCoy said will be available to the network. Circle City has The CW affiliate WISH and MyNetworkTV affiliate WNDY, both in Indianapolis. McCoy said WISH currently produces more than 80 hours of local news a week, and points out he expanded news on his stations when he owned Bayou City Broadcasting and diversified those newsrooms to give a different perspective on the news, something he wants to do nationally with MNN. Dom Caristi, a telecommunications professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, volunteered that creating MNN from already existing facilities in Indianapolis was brilliant.“By using a lot of infrastructure that already exists (like TV stations across the country), MNN should be able to hit the ground running sooner than a startup that would have to start from scratch,” he said in a statement. “While I don’t know the specifics of the business, there should be multiple opportunities,” Caristi told Multichannel News. “Just like CNN did when it was starting out, MNN will be able to function simultaneously as a standalone network and as a content provider for partner stations across the country. The prospects are bright.” The launch comes amidst a national reckoning about the country’s historic treatment of Blacks and other minorities and how that inequality needs to be addressed, but McCoy said the network has been in the works for a couple of years. He said he was already getting traction on distribution when he had to turn his focus to negotiating deals, first to divest his Bayou TV stations to Byron Allen in 2019 then to buy WISH from Nexstar Media Group.
Home Base in Indy
The network will be based in Indianapolis, co-located with WISH. McCoy will be chairman and CEO of the network. He said he will be the hands-on network head and hopes to do for his hometown of Indianapolis what CNN did for Atlanta. McCoy suggested his goal is no less than being the first person of color who both understood and had experience in the news business and the ability to launch and run a news network, and to have the power of a Ted Turner or Rupert Murdoch to launch such a network. “Hopefully I can become the first person to do that,” he said. ●
WATCH THIS …
Senior content producer Michael Malone’s look at the programming scene
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life airs Monday on The CW. The four-part miniseries previously aired on Netflix. Alexis Bledel, Lauren Graham and Luke Danes are in the cast. A new season of Moonshiners gets rolling on Discovery Tuesday. “For America’s favorite moonshiners, there’s a silver lining in these trying times,” said Discovery. Wednesday, it’s The Mystery of D.B. Cooper on HBO. The film “brings to life the stories of four individuals fervently believed by their family and friends to
By Michael Malone firstname.lastname@example.org @BCMikeMalone
Black Narcissus: FX; Biggest Little Christmas Showdown: HGTV; Gilmore Girls: Saeed Adyani/Netflix; D.B. Cooper: AP; Saved by the Bell: Chris Haston/Peacock
And Then There Were Nuns on FX
Black Narcissus, a three-part series set in the Himalayas in the ’30s, premieres Nov. 23 on FX. Set at a remote cliff-top palace, Black Narcissus is based on a novel by Rumer Godden. When the young nuns of St. Faith attempt to establish a mission there, the palace’s mysteries awaken forbidden desires that seem destined to repeat a terrible tragedy. The series shot in Nepal. Cast members got a kick out of rocking the nun habits. “The costume really helped,” Gemma Arterton, who plays Sister Clodagh, said at a press event. “We were completely constricted, our ears covered. There was nothing you could really do with your body. I found that to be a real anchor.” The cast bonded in Nepal. It was a long trip to “the middle of nowhere,” said Arterton, with no phone signal once they arrived. Cast members connected over games, food and drink. “It was just magic,” she added. “I’m so pleased we got to experience that.”
Biggest Little Christmas Showdown Multichannel.com
Executive producer Amanda Coe, who wrote the project, said the lives of nuns is rich material for a series. “The notion of repression is always extremely interesting,” she said. “The idea that you follow rules and have to repress your individuality — that’s always an interesting premise for a drama, because drama is about conflict.”
Good Things Come in Small Packages on HGTV
Think your home feels a bit tight during the holidays? Wait until you see what’s going on at HGTV. Biggest Little Christmas Showdown begins on HGTV Nov. 27. The four-part competition series assembles top miniaturists as they build amazing tiny homes in the spirit of the holidays, the houses full of festive little trimmings. HGTV features plenty of unique homes on its air, but the miniature abodes are kind of a new thing for the network. “It’s an area we’ve actually never played in before,” said Loren Ruch, group senior VP, programming and development, HGTV. For the first three weeks, the builders, doing their thing in a studio that looks like Santa’s workshop, face off in competitions that include a Hawaiian Christmas and a Dickensian one. Each week’s champ comes together for the final episode. The winner gets their miniature home replicated into a full-size vacation hideaway. “They see their super-size dreams come true,” Ruch said. The judges are designer Genevieve Gorder and miniatures experts June Clinkscales and Dave Asling. James Monroe Iglehart, who played Genie in the Broadway production of Aladdin and Jefferson in Hamilton, hosts. Ruch called him “a larger-than-life character.” Biggest Little Christmas Showdown is a unique take on holiday programming. “It makes every adult feel a little bit of that Christmas morning joy,” promised Ruch. ●
The Mystery of D.B. Cooper be ‘D.B. Cooper,’ ” HBO said of the mystery man who hijacked a 727, jumped out of it and was never heard from again. A lso on Wednesday, Saved By the Bell reboots on Peacock. Expect fresh shenanigans at Bayside High, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar playing the governor of California. Friday, it’s Santa Claus Is Coming to Town on ABC. Fred Astaire narrates the Kris Kringle story.
Saved By the Bell
News-weary viewers find solace in a record bounty of seasonal telefilms
A Christmas for Mary: OWN; Jingle Jangle A Christmas Journey: Netflix; Dear Christmas: Lifetime
By R. Thomas Umstead email@example.com @rtumstead30 hristmas is more than a month away, yet this year’s record crop of nearly 100 new, original holidaythemed films is already drawing big ratings from weary viewers looking for some holiday cheer amid the constant strain of weighty pandemic news, protests against social injustice and a contested presidential election. And as the 2020-21 television season’s new and returning scripted shows just now begin to hit network lineups, industry observers say this year’s crop of holiday movies help fill a void of original scripted fare. “In a year where we’re looking for any of the positives and traditions that are still
A Christmas for Mary
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey possible, I think the holiday movies work in the favor of the networks scheduling them,” media analyst Bill Carroll said. “Everyone is looking for fantasy, and what better fantasy than the tradition of romance in the midst of the holiday season.”
Network executives said holiday films from networks such as Hallmark, Lifetime, OWN and UPtv — as well as streamers like Netflix and Hulu — are already comforting viewers with the promise of hope and optimism as reflected in holiday traditions emphasizing family and peace. Those sentiments echo loudly in a year where the country has suffered through the worst pandemic in 100 years, forcing a new dynamic of stay-at-home rules that have taken a toll on the country’s physical, mental and economic health. Add to that the contentious presidential election — results of the Nov. 3 vote are still being contested, further widening the gap in an already deeply divided nation — as well as the continued call for social justice in the wake of the May death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, and executives say holiday-themed content couldn’t come at a more opportune time for viewers. “Holiday films have always reminded viewers that family, in whatever form, is the priority regardless of the circumstances,” Lifetime executive VP of movies, limited series and original movie acquisitions Tanya Lopez said. “Those goals feel like they were the same in the beginning, when we started producing this year’s movies, but now I do feel like they’ve been amplified by what we’ve experienced.” As in prior years, holiday-themed
Everyone is looking for fantasy, and what better fantasy than the tradition of romance in the midst of the holiday season. — Bill Carroll, media consultant programming began dotting cable-network lineups weeks before Halloween-themed content finished haunting viewers. Networks, led by Lifetime, UPtv and Hallmark — along with its sister service,
Jason Priestley (l.) and Melissa Joan Hart star in the Lifetime holiday movie Dear Christmas.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries — have already aired more than 35 original Christmas-themed film premieres since mid-October, and have seen strong ratings numbers against a blizzard of breaking news and live sports-themed content. Hallmark Channel’s Nov. 14 original holiday-themed film Christmas in Vienna drew an impressive 3 million viewers, topping all non-news and sports content for the night and securing the top spot as the most-watched ad-supported cable entertainment show thus far in the fourth quarter. Its time at the top of the charts was short-lived, however, as the next night A Timeless Christmas, another holiday film from Hallmark, drew 3.3 million watchers. And Hallmark has been the top-rated entertainment network in the weekly primetime cable ratings since its first 2020 holiday film, Jingle Bell Bride, debuted on Oct. 24, according to Nielsen. “Countdown to Christmas” typically does well during the holidays, Crown Media Family Networks executive VP of programming and network publicity Michelle Vicary said, but this season’s offerings are pacing above last year’s in the ratings, as television viewers flock to comfort fare. “We are already seeing [ratings] increases over last year,” Vicary said, adding that production on most of its movies was completed despite a three-month stoppage due to the pandemic. “With all the things that have happened this year, we knew that what we provide to people was going to be more important than ever with positivity, optimism and making people feel better about their communities and their world.”
Christmas on the Range
The Christmas Listing: Lifetime; Christmas on the Range: UPtv; A Ring for Christmas: UPtv; The Happiest Season: Hulu
The Christmas Listing UP tv has already posted a 17% year-to-year ratings increase for the first three of its five original holiday movies, according to network officials. Network founder and CEO Charley Humbard said the network’s overarching holiday theme of “Christmas Together” further reflects the sentiments that he says viewers are feeling going into the holiday season. “A lot of people aren’t going to be together this year, so there will be a lot of Zoom greetings,” he said. “We wanted our campaign to reflect the country, the community and individuals to show how Americans can come together this Christmas, and how important that is for all of us.” UP tv also reported a 30% increase in sponsors for its lineup of holiday-themed programming compared to last year, highlighting the growing appeal of seasonal fare to advertisers looking for content with strong viewer appeal. “Advertisers are always looking for all the positive opportunities, and certainly if the early ratings are a reflection of where viewers are, advertisers go where the audience is,” Carroll said.
The increases come as more networks and streaming services are flooding the TV environment with feel-good holiday fare across platforms. Netflix is serving up several new films, including the Forest Whitaker-starrer Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story, while Hulu rings in the holidays with The Happiest Season. Disney Plus is jingling
I believe that this is what everyone is ordering now — good holiday comfort food. — Tanya Lopez, executive VP of movies, limited series and original movie acquisitions, Lifetime
the holiday bells with original programming including comedy film Godmothered, starring Jillian Bell, while HBO Max is taking an unorthodox approach to holiday programming with a holidayinspired dating series, 12 Days of Christmas. Other cable networks such as OWN, TV One and BET will slide into the holiday movie genre in 2020, bringing more diverse images and stories to cable’s holiday movie lineup. OWN president Tina Perry said that holiday programming The Happiest Season resonates
A Ring for Christmas with its target audience of African-American women. “We’ve all been home during COVID and coping with the world that we’re in, and we want to bring happiness to our audiences’ lives,” Perry said. Along with its three original holiday movies, the network will also offer Our OWN Christmas, a Dec. 1 gospel music special that will feature such artists as Boyz II Men, Tasha Cobbs and The Clarke Sisters. “We really expect our family movies to be a great way to bring our families together to celebrate this special time of year,” Perry added. Despite the growing ranks of holiday programming scheduled through the rest of the year, Lifetime’s Lopez said she’s not concerned that an oversaturation of such fare will impact the ratings performance of the network’s more than 30 original holiday films. “It’s tough to predict what the audience will do but we are staying the course,” Lopez said. “I believe that this is what everyone is ordering now — good holiday comfort food.” Added Carroll: “Movies that are targeted to a specific segment of the audience have a certain appeal, and I think time and numbers will determine when you reach a saturation point. It wouldn’t appear that we’re there yet.” ●
SPECIAL REPORT: WOMEN IN THE GAME
MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF A MOST UNUSUAL SPORTS YEAR 2020’s Women in the Game make gender gains while managing pandemic hurdles
By Stuart Miller firstname.lastname@example.org @sfmsfm5186
n the midst of the strangest, most unnerving and upsetting year in decades, sports necessarily took a back seat to the pandemic. When the games returned, even without fans in the arena, sports on television gave U.S. audiences the jolt of semi-normalcy they craved. In the midst of all this, women continued to make gains behind the scenes and in front of the camera, frequently shouldering the responsibility for making sure the transition from shutdown to partial reopening went as smoothly as possible. This year’s Women in the Game feature — profiling women who are stars in their fields in TV sports — touched on the challenges the executives and on-air personnel faced, and overcame, during the pandemic. Profilees also talked about how the industry has changed, and continues changing, for women executives. “Things are so different now from when I started,” fubo Sports Network head Pamela Duckworth said. “There’s especially been a huge shift since #MeToo, bringing more awareness to the issues of equity.” Caroline Rebello, managing director at Evolution Media Capital, agreed. Now more
than ever, she said, top executives “recognize that you want as many different voices in your company to make the best product and produce the best vision.” These women say more change is needed and that they willingly take on some of that responsibility. “There’s still a long way to go, we need more women in leadership positions in all areas of sports and people of color too,” MLB Network senior VP, operations and engineering Susan Stone said. “If you see people [like you] in leadership, you believe it is a possibility for you,” she added, explaining that this will, in turn, attract more women and people of color to the field. Many of these women make mentoring, either formally or informally, a top priority, reaching back down the ladder to help the next generation. “I’m stubborn and I almost didn’t get into this field and I never want that to happen to anyone else,” said Kaitlin Urka, producer, NBC Sports & Olympics. “There are still roadblocks, but we’re chipping away at the glass ceiling.” Judy Boyd, senior VP, production and coordinating producer, Fox Sports, pointed out that women are not looking for special treatment. “We just need to make sure everybody gets an equal opportunity to do the job,” she said. “We don’t need to make it easier for women, we just need to put everyone on the same playing field.” ●
VP, Programming, CBS Sports KEY STATS: Bess Barnes, captain of Michigan’s golf team while in college, oversees golf programming for CBS Sports, including scheduling, acquisitions and partner relations. She also leads college basketball scheduling across CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network, including the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament and regular-season contests. VARSITY STATUS: Barnes previously oversaw college football scheduling and has been involved in media-rights deals such as the renewals with the Big Ten for college basketball and the PGA Tour, as well as the extension of CBS’s joint March Madness deal with Turner Sports. She also created the CBS Sports Classic (an annual CBS college basketball doubleheader featuring Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA and Ohio State) and brought the first-ever college bowl game to CBS Sports Network, the Cure Bowl, in 2015. Barnes previously spent 10 years at ESPN. She is co-chair of CBS Sports’s corporate cross-departmental We Need to Talk Steering Committee and serves on the executive committee of the CBS Sports Women’s Group. IN HER OWN WORDS: “In college, I took an aptitude test that said I should be a reporter, but I don’t like speaking in front of people, so I went into TV and worked on sports shows, producing men’s hockey, women’s basketball and studio programs. I love working in the programming group because we’re involved in everything from scheduling to production, and that makes it fun. “Throughout the industry, there is now more of an understanding that a diverse perspective, which includes gender, provides greater value in the workplace. But even at CBS Sports, which is a very good place for women, we are not equal in numbers. I do think we have a responsibility to the next generation and that’s why I got involved with We Need to Talk and the executive committee of the CBS Sports Women’s Group. There was a young woman who mentioned that she was looking for mentorship and wanted to get to know the women executives outside of the office. It was a great idea because we’re all busy in the office, and this opened things up for a more casual and natural relationship and has turned into a great success.” ●
SPECIAL REPORT: WOMEN IN THE GAME
Senior VP, Production and Coordinating Producer, Fox Sports KEY STATS: Judy Boyd is a multisport star at Fox Sports, with Major League Baseball, college football and soccer, including the FIFA World Cup, under her purview. She handles oversight of all live event production for those three categories and is involved in other facets of production within Fox Sports. Boyd also works extensively with FS1, the company’s 24/7 national cable sports network. VARSITY STATUS: Boyd joined Fox Sports in 2000 as a broadcast associate, her first professional job. She primarily worked on MLB coverage. Since then, she has worked in various production roles on NFL, MLB, college
VP and Editor-in-Chief, Tennis Channel KEY STATS: Andi Chu oversees all of Tennis Channel’s nonlinear and operations activity, building a new multiplatform content division for the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned channel. She and her team relaunched TennisChannel.com and its app as a streaming destination. She led the reboot of Tennis Channel Plus with longform content including curated playlists and new content. After Sinclair bought Tennis Media (which produced Tennis magazine and Tennis.com), she integrated it into the Tennis Channel operational and content structure. She also oversees e-letter Baseline and the Tennis Channel Podcast Network. Chu spearheaded Tennis’s first digital series, My Tennis Life, with active professional players. VARSITY STATUS: Before joining Tennis Channel in 2016 as executive director, digital operations and content, Chu spent six years at the Women’s Tennis Association, handling content and social media across
Senior VP of Marketing and Affiliate Relations, SNY KEY STATS: Marie DeParis is responsible for brand marketing for SportsNet New York — the official television home of the New York Mets, New York Jets and UConn Huskies — including on-air promotion, advertising, events and sales promotion and affiliate relations. DeParis has won eight New York Emmy Awards and six Promax North America/BDA Promotion & Marketing Awards for television commercial campaigns, promotional spots and digital projects. VARSITY STATUS: Prior to joining SNY in 2007, DeParis was senior VP of strategic marketing
football and NASCAR telecasts. Named coordinating producer of MLB in 2010, Boyd was elevated to VP in 2012; she was also coordinating producer for Fox Sports Digital Entertainment. IN HER OWN WORDS: “In college [at Cal State Northridge], I studied broadcast journalism and history and was thinking about law school. I really liked live television but not the news, which was all murders and car chases. I liked sports. Fox Sports is the only place I’ve ever worked. I’ve always been lucky, even when I was a production assistant here, there were always other women working in the group. The production side has been more male-dominated over the years. There was a time when women thought they couldn’t get into that world but that’s not the case anymore.
“What I love is the challenge of a new project of finding new ways to do things, whether it’s through the evolution of technology or the growth of our people. I do miss live television, being hands-on, sitting in the truck. So I still go and do it for the NFL show. I enjoy it, but also that way I know what my people are going through and how to help them get the resources they need. “With the pandemic, we had to figure out how to do broadcasts with Joe Buck in St. Louis and John Smoltz in Atlanta. They weren’t together at a ballpark until [Globe Life Field] in Texas in the postseason. When we were in the bubble there, we learned some things we will use in the future. Some, like cameras on top of the dugout because there were no fans, we won’t be able to [do], but cable-cams along the first- and third-base lines and different high-speed cameras, we will continue to use. We usually have 350 to 400 people on site, and we had 200 this year, with people like editors working remotely. I think that’s the future. There’s a learning curve, but we can embrace it.” ●
digital platforms for the tour and its players and sponsors. That came after a career in Los Angeles working in feature film and television, including roles as director of development at Paramount Pictures’ Alphaville Productions and director of distribution for ManiaTV. IN HER OWN WORDS: “I wanted to be in film development and production so I went to Los Angeles. Eventually, I moved to work for digital startups, in part because I’m an early adopter and I was looking for knowledge outside traditional formats and for creative ways to do storytelling. “When I got to the WTA, I had no sports experience but I wanted to see what it was like and found the fast pace — everything is so accelerated there, compared to film and television — so rewarding. I also got to see the world and
understand how production is done globally. “I’m especially proud of how we handled the pandemic this year. We were able to get up and running and then to fill our social channels with new content even when there were no matches on, leading to an increase in traffic. “I’m hands-on in all the areas that I oversee, but building a team has been one of the real highlights for me. When I joined, I had one hire but now I have a full-time team of 17 and another 17 reporters/talent under contract to provide print, online or on-air content. I’m very big on diversity: When I came to Hollywood as an AsianCanadian female, I saw how difficult it can be. Mentoring is also important for me to go back and give others the same opportunity.” ●
and sales for the New York Daily News, where she led all consumer and trade marketing; she also served as associate publisher of the Daily News website. She previously held management positions at Fox Television and Radio City Music Hall Productions in New York. She also serves on the Bethany College Board of Trustees (her alma mater) and the Professional Advisory Board of the Business of Sports School, a New York City public high school. IN HER OWN WORDS: “I always gravitated to sports. In college, I was the first female analyst on radio for baseball there. In my job at a publicrelations firm, my boss asked me to research Johnny Bench for a Crest promotion but he was my favorite player and I said, ‘I know everything there is to know about
him.’ I got to do a lot of sports work there, though it wasn’t all baseball: I did have to do a tractor pull promotion for a motor oil company, too. “At Radio City, I learned about working in live entertainment, so I feel that in my career one thing always leads to the next. At the Daily News there was always sports in promotions and partnerships. I worked with all the leagues, so when I came to SNY it didn’t feel like there was a transition, especially because I worked on SNY’s first live show, Daily News Live, from the Daily News side. “At SNY, the senior staff is 10 or 11 people and I was the only woman for years, but now there are four women, which is really refreshing. We provide such a difference in perspective and since all our jobs cross over to everything from programming to human resources, it’s important to have that. Everybody is starting to move more toward that direction. Cable is much more female-friendly than the teams and leagues — they are still dominated by men — but I’ve definitely seen a change.” ●
SPECIAL REPORT: WOMEN IN THE GAME
Head, fubo Sports Network KEY STATS: As head of fuboTV’s live, free-toconsumer TV network, launched a year ago, Pamela Duckworth is responsible for all creative direction, including original programming. In addition to partner programming from Stadium and Players Tribune, original programming includes No Chill with Gilbert Arenas; Call It a Night and Drinks With Binks, both hosted by Julie StewartBinks, and The Cooligans. She also still runs Duckworth Entertainment, a full-service creative marketing production company based in New York and Los Angeles. VARSITY STATUS: After five years as a producer at QVC and later spending two years at Al
Managing Director, Evolution Media Capital KEY STATS: Caroline Rebello’s deals — $4 billion in a single year — are reshaping the U.S. sports media landscape. Recently, she has helped close deals such as the launch of Marquee Sports Network by the Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group; the St. Louis Blues’ local media deal with Fox Sports Midwest; and the Detroit Pistons’ local media deal with Fox Sports Detroit. She also advised two individuals on their acquisition of an NBA and an NHL franchise and secured favorable outcomes for two pro sports teams in confidential media valuation disputes. VARSITY STATUS: Past deals at Evolution Media Capital, which is CAA’s merchant bank, have included the Vegas Golden Knights’ local broadcast deal with AT&T SportsNet; the Charlotte Hornets’ local broadcast deal with Fox Sports South in 2012; and the Brooklyn Nets’ local broadcast deal with YES
Senior VP, Operations and Engineering, MLB Network
KEY STATS: Susan Stone oversees all production and studio operations, such as the Emmy Award-winning MLB Tonight and NHL Tonight, MLB Network Showcase game telecasts, and on-site studio programs from All-Star Week, the Stanley Cup Finals and the World Series. She oversees the operations and engineering for NHL Network as part of the NHL-MLB digital media rights partnership announced in 2015. VARSITY STATUS: Before joining MLB Network in 2008 to help oversee its launch the following year, Stone held crucial jobs throughout the sports media industry.
Roker Productions, Duckworth was head of advertising production and events at DirecTV for 10 years, through 2016. She then founded Duckworth Entertainment. Over the course of her career, she has been honored with twelve Cannes Lions, three Clios and two Effies, among other awards. IN HER OWN WORDS: “I played volleyball and soccer growing up and through my dad, who had four girls, came to live for college football. We were in Ohio and my grandma was friendly with [legendary coach] Woody Hayes. There’s something about sports, the passion of it, the adrenaline, that fits my personality. “When AT&T bought DirecTV we all scattered, but at one point Joel Armijo, who had been there with me but who had become CFO of fubo, brought me in to do some consulting. Then last year, CEO David
Gandler said, ‘We should start our own network. Can you do it in two months?’ I’m never one to back down from a challenge, I just said, ‘Give me three months.’ “It was a whirlwind. I brought on producers and talent, and by September 2019 we had three original shows as well as partner programming. We provided a fresh point of view, a more comedic one in a time where sports can get so serious. My goal is to get into the athletes’ minds and to bring on more personalities. “It’s a crowded field with so much great content and the big dogs launching independent streaming, too. Our goal is to stay in the game and stay relevant. When the pandemic hit we never went dark, we pivoted to doing the shows from home. I’m really proud of our whole team. People know our name now and are coming to us with pitches every day, which is cool. “I was fortunate to have great mentors, who were men, bringing me up through the ranks. I worked in car racing in the late ’80s and I was the only woman there. Today, I make sure my team is diverse. I like internal promotion. I can bring a woman in as a production assistant and then move her up.” ●
Network. Since joining EMC in 2010, she has helped grow the group from a client roster of one team to more than five dozen. Prior to Evolution Media, Rebello served as an investor at TowerBrook and a media and sports strategic development executive at SCP Worldwide. IN HER OWN WORDS: “I was a pole vaulter in high school and college and I wanted to work in sports, but I didn’t know if it was possible. At Wharton, I really liked economics and business, which led to investment banking at a private-equity firm. We made an investment in a hockey team and the opportunity to work in sports came up so I decided to try it out. Then I was able to jump over into the sports business and learn the media business, so at Evolution I was happy to combine it all.
“I was conscious that this was a rare opportunity. It was not about being a woman, but about coming in as an outsider. I came from banking, which is predominantly male, so like it or not you get used to it. Now at Evolution and CAA overall, there are more and more women every year. “I’ve been involved in WISE Within (Women in Sports and Events), but I also always have an open-door policy for any woman who emails, calls or texts me. I make a point to try and get them where they’re going. I’m also involved in Forward, the CAA women’s group, and I sit on the multicultural committee as well. I mentor women on the track team at my alma mater, too, for those who might want to enter finance or media or sports. It’s really important to give back.” ●
Previously, Stone had taken time off in 2001 after the birth of her son (and subsequently her daughter) but then did consulting and part-time work for NFL Network before returning full-time as remote operations executive for more than two years. Prior to having children, she had worked as director of production services at CBS Sports, and director of production management and venue operations, NBC Olympics. IN HER OWN WORDS: “I was always a sports fan — props to my dad, who had two daughters and always took us to Mets, Giants, Rangers and Knicks games — but a sports career was never on my agenda. After college, I did some production work in theater, but I wanted more stability. I thought that I loved production and
operations, so maybe it would be fun to do it for sports on television. A friend told me about a temporary secretary job in production at NBC Sports. It led to a full-time job and I found my niche. But it never occurred to me then that a woman could have the job I do. “We shut down on March 16, but by March 25 we were on the air for MLB Opening Day at Home, which is one of the things I’m proudest of in my career. It took effort and creativity. I always engage in any great idea. I just say, bring them all to the table, like when our technical director volunteers at a local high school where he was working on a cloud-based production system and said we might be able to do something with it. There are some things that may hold future uses, too. Our engineers found tools to allow our editors to work remotely, which is good because we’re usually bursting at the seams here and because we’re not in the city, so snow can create major stress in the winter and this can help people work remotely in the off-season.” ●
SPECIAL REPORT: WOMEN IN THE GAME
College Sports Host, Analyst and Reporter/NBA Countdown Host, ESPN KEY STATS: Maria Taylor has been a reporter for College GameDay and ABC Saturday Night Football since 2017 and she is also a host for NBA Countdown. In addition, Taylor serves as an analyst on other SEC and ESPN telecasts, including volleyball and women’s basketball and contributes to ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage. VARSITY STATUS: At the University of Georgia, where Taylor majored in broadcast news, she played varsity volleyball and basketball and was named to the all-SEC volleyball team three times. She later earned an MBA at Georgia. After getting her master’s degree, she
Producer, NBC Sports & Olympics KEY STATS: At NBC since 2011, Kaitlin Urka’s work has earned her four Sports Emmys as she has tackled the world’s biggest events: the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup Finals and the Tour de France. On March 8, she created the very first all-women’s NHL broadcast (on-air and behind the scenes) to celebrate International Women’s Day. VARSITY STATUS: Urka studied journalism at the University of Michigan, where she was named one of the 100 most promising student journalists in the nation and received an award for excellence in communications studies. She also served as general manager of WOLV-TV, the student-run station on campus. As part of Gannett’s Talent Development program, she got her start in television as a morning show associate producer and on-air talent. IN HER OWN WORDS: “I thought communications studies was a springboard for law school. I didn’t see
Senior Director and Head of Next-Gen Telecast, NBA KEY STATS: Sara Zuckert played a particularly crucial role in overseeing the NBA’s bubble, the isolation zone set up at Walt Disney World to protect players from COVID-19. Zuckert oversaw the virtual fan initiative for the NBA Season Restart in Orlando, Florida, which included video boards surrounding the court filled with digital "fans" who could interact with each other in real time. Overall, Zuckert is focused on evolving game telecasts across all channels, featuring customizable experiences, alternate camera angles, companion content and interactive engagement.
became a college football analyst and sideline reporter for ESPN and later added to her résumé with roles as an analyst and host for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and Women’s Volleyball National Championship and as a sideline reporter for men’s college basketball. IN HER OWN WORDS: “I was going to be a doctor and major in biology but it wasn’t going great, so then I switched to business until I took a journalism class with a friend. I was freelancing after college and went back to get the MBA because I wasn’t sure if TV would work out so I thought I could work in athletic administration. I worked initially at Comcast Sports South, doing volleyball, which was in my comfort zone, but then also high-school football and SEC football, too.
“The roles have certainly changed for women in recent years. It used to be the only roles were the sideline reporters, which were more marginalized. But now women have the expectation of hosting and Doris Burke is in the booth for the NBA and Jessica Mendoza for baseball. The doors keep getting broken down. There’s still a lot of ground to cover, but there’s slow but sure progress as women have really invaded this male-dominated space. “I would not want to do play-by-play, but I would love to be an analyst. The NCAA women’s tournament is the most fun I’ve ever had at work. This year, being in the bubble for my first NBA season was a big challenge but it was exciting, hosting all the coverage of the games and all the other issues about the coronavirus and social justice issues. “I co-founded in 2014 the Winning Edge Leadership Academy, which runs programs for women and minorities in sports and entertainment and business, so I might be helping someone looking to get into broadcasting but also someone who wants to become an athletic director.” ●
women working in television, so I thought I could go into sports law. When I went to the school’s TV station there was not a single woman on any sports program, so I worked on all of them, then I recruited other women. I had a passion for sports and TV and I was good at it. Still, even when I was at Gannett I thought about law school because I had people there tell me they’d never hire a woman to work in sports and that I didn’t belong there. “I was a Punt, Pass and Kick champion when I was 9. But people don’t see that and make assumptions, while no one asks men to see their credentials. I was turned away by an old man at the locker room door during an NCAA tournament when I was the Michigan beat reporter. I like to think most of those guys are gone now, but there are still biases that exist
and I still have to work twice as hard to prove my worth. “The all-woman broadcast came about when analyst A.J. Mleczko took her teenage daughter inside a production truck and her daughter said, ‘Mom, where are all the women?’ We are all so spread out — there are really talented women working here in all areas but we very rarely all get to be together. And that can get lonely. “The idea is that ‘if you see it, you can be it,’ but I didn’t want to just show girls, I wanted to show little boys so the idea of women working in these jobs becomes the norm and we don’t have to make a big deal of it. I was so nervous before the game, since social media can be such a negative space, but the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. We’re still chipping away at stereotypes and assumptions just to give women equal footing.” ●
VARSITY STATUS: Zuckert landed an NBA internship in 2013, while getting an MBA from Yale, then joined the league full-time in 2014. She started in the Domestic Programming & Content Strategy group, focused on content strategy, game flow and telecast innovation. Prior to the NBA, Zuckert worked in media planning and programming for TV Land. She is also a member of the board of WBRU, a nonprofit digital media workshop for college students affiliated with Brown University, her alma mater. IN HER OWN WORDS: “Working for the NBA was a dream of mine. I’m not just a fan of the teams but of the league’s presence in the media space. My internships, at Madison Square Garden and then at the NBA, were fantastic learning experiences, as was my
experience on the business side of the radio station at college. The NBA has provided great opportunities for me. My job is in programming but it crosses over into media, business and content strategy, so there are great chances to learn about all aspects of the business. “At Next Gen, we had already been working on the game flow in telecasts, working with players and officials to change things like the number of timeouts to make it better for the fans at home. With the absence of fans, we tried things we had used in summer league and other games, like different camera angles and the ‘rail cam.’ [This lets the streaming audience see the action through a lens on a mobile table that moves up and down the court with the action.] We also experimented with everything from the audio soundscape coming from the courts to ways to give virtual fans a chance to participate. “We know that 99% of NBA fans are not at games in person, so even after the pandemic is over we will continue to find ways to create the best atmosphere for fans at home, maybe using some of these ideas.” ●
Keeping Inclusion Efforts Top of Mind Kaitz’s Michelle Ray says she’s encouraged diversity will be a post-pandemic priority By R. Thomas Umstead email@example.com @rtumstead30
Michelle Ray: Kaitz Foundation; The Flight Attendant: HBO
he cable industry’s annual Diversity Week gatherings took place virtually last month, as major media companies continue their efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable environment both on-screen and in the employment ranks. Recent diversity initiatives such as the CBS Studios/NAACP content production partnership, which tapped industry veteran Sheila Ducksworth as its president, and the partnership between ESPN and the Alliance for Women in Media, which will award $10,000 scholarships for Black females pursuing careers in sports media, have kept diversity and inclusion themes at the forefront of the industry. Michelle Ray, executive director of leading diversity advocacy group The Walter Kaitz Foundation, addressed those recent efforts in an interview with Multichannel News. Here’s an edited version of that conversation. MCN: NAMIC and WICT drew more attendees for their virtual events this year than they did for their traditional events last year. Is that a positive sign that the industry remains committed to its diversity and inclusion efforts? Michelle Ray: Given that [diversity and inclusion] has been front and center and in the spotlight, I think people largely wanted to understand and see what these organizations were talking about and what they were doing to change the game. I think there was that aspect of people who normally would not come to a Diversity Week in New York because their companies wouldn’t approve travel. It allowed everybody to peek into these conferences without having to spend copious amounts of money. Even though we didn’t have our traditional dinner, the issues of diversity and inclusion still remain on the front burner for the industry. MCN: With recent moves toward fostering diversity from ViacomCBS and others in the industry, are you encouraged companies will continue the diversity discussion both on-screen and in the employment ranks beyond Diversity Week?
MR: Yes. I think particularly now, when we’re hurting financially — remember, studios aren’t fully shooting new content — it's important that we find ways to pivot in terms of content curation. When we get back to some sort of normalcy, these [diversity and inclusion] initiatives will already be in place. Take the [CBS] scenario: they’re looking to align with some third-party organizations like the NAACP. So with a lot of our companies it’s about how they help to lean into this conversation as people who know diversity and civil rights. They know the issue of the day and can work with the content creators. I’m so glad that these companies are leaning even more towards diversity and inclusion because they’re really the barometers of the communities that they serve. So I like that the fact that this industry is showing up in this special time of need, and I’m so optimistic that at the end of the day, any one company or organization can tackle any of these prevailing issues, whether it's around race, gender, sexual health. I don’t think any one organization or person can own that narrative, I think we all have to lean into it individually and then come together collectively to collaborate when we need to amplify that voice. MCN: What does ‘normal’ look like in 2021 for the industry’s diversity initiatives? MR: I want to be optimistic, but it’s going to be a long runway with this. For me, it’s about being really intentional about the work and what we’re trying to do to achieve and to reshuffle the decks. It’s about having impact and collaborating with organizations that focus on benchmarking and tracking so that we know where we’re at, particularly in terms of employment. We’re getting ready to work on the [NAMIC and WICT AIM/PAR Workforce Survey], and for us, it’s about scrutinizing and questioning everything. ●
Walter Kaitz Foundation executive director Michelle Ray: “The issues of diversity and inclusion still remain on the front burner.”
THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT (Available starting Thursday, Nov. 26, on HBO Max) HBO MAX TAKES off with the dark comedy/ thriller The Flight Attendant from executive producer Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory). The series, based on Chris Bohjalian’s novel of the same name, stars Cuoco as Cassie Bowden, a free-spirited flight attendant who makes the most out of her various trips around the world. On a flight to Bangkok she meets up with passenger Alex Sokolov (Michiel Huisman), who entices Cassie to spend a night on the town with him. The fun and games end for Cassie when she wakes up the next morning next to Alex’s corpse, unable to remember the events of the previous night. The startling revelation leads Cassie down a cascading road of lies, unforced errors — she mistakenly cleans up the hotel room in a foolish attempt to clear any evidence of her at the crime scene, for example — and potentially dangerous sleuthing in an effort to clear her name and find out who killed her paramour. Cuoco and fellow executive producers Greg Berlanti, Steve Yockey, Marcie Ulin, Meredith Lavender and Sarah Schechter effectively employ split-screen visuals through the initial episodes to successfully illustrate the entanglement that Cassie finds herself in while skillfully allowing viewers to watch the mystery unfold. The Flight Attendant is aided by a strong supporting cast that includes fellow flight attendants Megan (Rosie Perez) and Shane (Griffin Matthews), as well as Cassie’s lawyer and friend Annie (Zosia Mamet) and mysterious businesswoman Miranda Croft (Michelle Gomez). HBO Max will roll out the first three episodes of The Flight Attendant on Thanksgiving (Nov. 26), followed by two new episodes on Dec. 3, two episodes on Dec. 10, and the finale on Dec. 17. — RTU
Verizon Debuts Second-Gen Stream TV Connected Device Android TV-based box adds its glaring omission: Netflix By Daniel Frankel firstname.lastname@example.org @dannyfrankel
year ago, Verizon Communications introduced an Android TV-powered connected TV device, which one leading tech blog pondered was “possibly the worst option for streaming,” based largely on the fact that the $70 gadget didn’t give users access to Netflix. Twelve months later, Verizon is debuting the latest iteration of Stream TV, updating the user interface, the device profile and the silicon inside. There’s a nifty new wall mount included, and a cool new feature that lets you press a button on the set-top that chimes the remote when it’s lost. And this time, Verizon Stream TV didn’t leave out support for the world’s most popular subscription streaming service, Netflix. “Stream TV features the top streaming apps from the Google Play Store,” Verizon said in its product announcement, specifically touting support not just for Netflix, but also Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu,
YouTube TV and “much more.” It was unclear as to why the first iteration of Verizon Stream TV didn’t support
Verizon’s latest iteration of Stream TV uses the operator tier of Android TV.
Netflix. Ostensibly, an Android TV device should allow access to any app available within the vast selection of Google Play. Then again, Verizon is using the operator tier version of Android TV, which lets set-top and gadget suppliers customize the OS. We asked a Verizon rep if that latter assertion holds true for version 2.0 — for example, is Peacock supported? "Peacock is not preloaded, but it is listed in the Play Store, and I'm not aware of any compatibility issues that prevent it from working," the rep said. Subscriptions are managed through the individual streaming services, Verizon confirmed, but there is also an on-demand store that gives access to video rentals and purchases billed through Verizon. If users want to use another transactional service, say Vudu, they’ll have to hunt for it and download it within Google Play. As for finer technical details, Verizon Stream TV supports 4K Ultra HD, HDR10 and HDR 10+ display formats. It also supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax) dualband 2.4 GHz/5GHz connectivity. Verizon is giving the device away free to new Fios Gigabit Internet customers and to fixed 5G wireless customers, the latter through a promotion that will launch Thursday. Otherwise, Verizon Stream TV is available for purchase at verizon.com/ streamtv. ●
PERHAPS THE BIGGEST reason to believe that Google will one day run down Roku and Amazon for control of the living room over-the-top environment is the sheer proliferation of Android TV/Google TV devices. And Google isn’t even doing all of the work. A senior developer associated with XDA, a community of DIY mobile app makers, has created a modified version of Android TV that runs on personal computers powered by Intel, Nvidia and AMD x86 chips. The free, modified software not only lets users stream off of Android TV to their living room smart TV using their PC,
they can do so on older PCs lying around the house, ready to be recycled. The app can be downloaded at https://sites. google.com/view/atv-x86/download.
The build is based off Android 9 Pie and requires at least a 1.2 GHz dualcore 64-bit-capable x86 processor and 64MB of video memory — pretty
Developer community XDA has made a PC version of Android TV available for download.
common benchmarks for PCs released over the last decade. There are some limitations. Sound will have to come from the PC and not your TV set. Chromecast support doesn’t work. Only the mobile version of Netflix works at this time. And perhaps most notably, there’s no HD support for popular apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. As XDA developers noted, you'll have a better experience using, say, Google's new Chromecast with Google TV dongle. But for many of us with older PCs sitting around the crib, it's a nifty, cheap (free) solution. — DF
Getty Images; Verizon; Android
ANDROID TV DYI APP TURNS OLD PCs INTO STREAMERS
life into the stocks weakened by the pandemic and the economy while perhaps hindering the winners’ upside during these unprecedented times.” Netflix added about 2.2 million paid new subscribers in Q3, less than one-third of the 6.8 million it added in Q3 2019 and just below the 2.5 million it had projected. The decline came after two straight quarters of record subscriber growth — 15.1 million additions in Q1 and 10.7 million in Q2 — fueled by the pandemic. Netflix had warned that the second half of the year would see slowing growth: Its fourth-quarter target is 6 million additions, lower than the 8.8 million added in Q4 2019, but enough to push the company past the 200 million subscriber milestone to 201.5 million global paying customers. Netflix’s domestic subscriber growth has been slowing for several quarters. It added 180,000 new paid subscribers in the U.S. and Canada in the third quarter, down from the 610,000 it added in the same period last year. The slowdown was even more pronounced when the pandemic months are taken into account. Netflix added 2.9 million and 2.3 million domestic customers in Q2 and Q1, respectively, the height of lockdown orders associated with COVID-19.
Netflix Gets the Chills After a pandemic period of feverish growth, streamer’s gains expected to slow By Mike Farrell email@example.com @MikeFCable
The Crown: Netflix
etflix stock, on a 70% run-up through August, has been on a retreat over the past two months as its subscriber growth has waned. And though a short bump after a planned rate increase helped goose the shares in early November, a combination of near saturation in the U.S. and a shift in focus toward more profitability could impact the stock even further. Netflix stock has performed well this year — it was up 48.4% between Dec. 31 and Nov. 10, when it closed at $480.24 per share. But since Sept. 1, when the stock peaked at $556.55, Netflix shares have declined nearly 14%. And as the company warns that subscriber growth will likely slow down in the second half of this year, euphemisms like “Netflix and chill” are taking on new meaning. In a research note, MoffettNathanson media analyst Michael Nathanson said after that impressive run, it is likely that Netflix shares will take a breather. “While it is no surprise that Netflix stock has been on fire over the past few quarters, perhaps now, after posting underwhelming 3Q net subscriber adds of 2.2 million and citing a pull-forward effect in their guidance for the next couple of quarters, this is the time for
Josh O’Connor (l.) as Prince Charles and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana in season four of Netflix’s The Crown.
Netflix’s stock to chill,” Nathanson wrote. The analyst stressed that he is in no way claiming that the Netflix growth engine has stalled, and said he expects the streamer to continue to grow revenue, subscribers and earnings over the long term. “Our issue is the stock has clearly benefited from COVID-related tailwinds, emerging as a winner among a tall pile of relative losers,” Nathanson wrote. “That could all change in the final quarter of this tumultuous 2020 and into the early quarters of 2021 if some cyclicality impacts the market, breathing new
SLOW ROLL Netflix paid customer growth in the U.S. and Canada has been slowing down over the past several quarters, while additions in the rest of the world are taking up the slack. PERIOD
REST OF THE WORLD
SOURCE: Netflix letters to shareholders
Recovery and Reversion
“The state of the pandemic and its impact continues to make projections very uncertain, but as the world hopefully recovers in 2021, we would expect that our growth will revert back to levels similar to pre-COVID,” Netflix said in its Q3 note to shareholders. “In turn, we expect paid net adds are likely to be down year over year in the first half of 2021, as compared to the big spike in paid net adds we experienced in the first half of 2020. We continue to view quarter-to-quarter fluctuations in paid net adds as not that meaningful in the context of the long run adoption of internet entertainment, which we believe is still early and should provide us with many years of strong future growth as we continue to improve our service.” Shortly after the Q3 results were released, Netflix initiated its second monthly rate increase in two years. Consumers on the standard plan would see rates climb to $13.99 per month from $12.99, while premium plan subscribers would pay $17.99 per month, up from $15.99. Entry-level rates would stay the same at $8.99. Wall Street shrugged the rate increases off just as it had the slower subscriber growth. Netflix stock was up about 5% in the two days after the announcement, rising from $480.24 on Nov. 9 to close at $490.76 each on Nov. 11 as investors were encouraged by the rate hike and its prediction that it will add about 34 million subscribers in 2020, soundly beating the old mark of 28.6 million additions in 2018. That rise didn’t last too long though, as the stock fell back to about $480 per share on Nov. 13. At the same time, other direct-to-consumer streaming services are seeing their subscriber growth wane as well. Disney Plus added 16.2 million subscribers in fiscal Q4, less than the
SHARE SHIFT Netflix shares have begun a slow retreat in the past two months, but still are on an impressive run for the full year. $600 $556.55
$381.05 $358.00 $323.57
SOURCE: NASDAQ website
24 million it added in fiscal Q4. While that could be due to a possible pull-forward of some subscribers in the early days of the pandemic, with 73.7 million global customers, the Disney streaming service is rapidly gaining ground on the larger Netflix. At its current pace, Disney Plus should end the calendar year with nearly 100 million customers less than 14 months after its launch, a milestone it took Netflix about 10 years to reach. Disney’s other streaming service, Hulu, added about 1.1 million customers in fiscal Q4, with about two-thirds of those adds coming from virtual MVPD Hulu Plus Live TV. In a research note, Nathanson wrote that the slowing subscriber growth at the Disney services could mean that they will need to boost their content spend. “Given the increasing competition in original content that is being funded by the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, HBO Max and soon-to-be-launched Paramount Plus, it appears Hulu is in need of a massive original content spending boost of its own, which is now the table stakes in the general entertainment DTC space,” Nathanson wrote. Further weighing on Disney Plus subscriber growth is the Nov. 12 expiration of a promotion allowing Verizon Wireless’ unlimited data customers to receive the service gratis for 12 months. Several million customers were believed to have
taken advantage of that promotion and many could drop the streaming service. Even if that doesn’t happen, Netflix still has a strong advantage over the competition: With 195.1 million global subscribers (73.1 million in the U.S. and Canada) it still dwarfs Disney and HBO Max combined. And not every analyst predicts a big subscriber growth slowdown. Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger wrote in a late October note to clients that he expected the pandemic’s impact to last longer, increasing consumer demand for streaming video and reducing the amount of content available from other sources because of production shutdowns.
Originals a Strength
Netflix’s slate of original content is strong, Juenger added. The streamer expects more originals each quarter in 2021 than this year. “We believe there is a much greater chance of over-delivery, vs. under-delivery, over the near/mid-horizon,” Juenger wrote. But with costs rising — Netflix spent about $15 billion on programming in 2019 and is expected to spend more than $36 billion annually on content by 2035 — and only one major revenue stream (subscription fees), rate hikes are inevitable. As the subscriber base continues to grow — at 73.1 million paid members in the U.S. and Canada, Netflix has about 55% of
Netflix has spent big to develop a stable of originals like superhero series The Umbrella Academy
SPENDING SPREE Total content spend is expected to drop to about $12.6 billion in 2020 for Netflix, mainly due to widespread production halts and cancellations due to COVID-19. But the spending spree is expected to continue in 2021 and beyond. DATE
ESTIMATED CONTENT SPEND
The Umbrella Academy: Netflix
the TV homes in both countries — and with more streaming services competing for attention, the SVOD pioneer may have to look for other ways to wow investors. “After a huge 2020 for sub growth, we think the new Netflix narrative is going to focus on how profitability scales,” Wells Fargo Securities media analyst Steven Cahall wrote in a note to clients. “The flywheel is well understood, but competition also abounds both in video streaming and entertainment more broadly. That leaves a lot of room for debate about what a Netflix sub is ultimately worth.” In his report, Cahall calculated the lifetime value of a Netflix customer, adding that over the next 15 years, its average customer would be worth about $719, compared to the -$106 he estimated a Netflix customer is worth in 2020. “[W]e see the story transitioning along with Netflix’s maturity to less about quarterly/ annual sub gains and more about operating leverage through the business model,” Cahall wrote. “The recent Q3 miss on net adds but significant positive surprise on 2021E FCF is a great example of this shifting narrative.” Netflix has operated its business at a loss of $1 to $3 per subscriber between 2015 and 2019 as it concentrated on building global scale, Cahall estimated. This year (2020), when the service is expected to cross more than 200 million global paid customers, should be the year it turns the corner. With modest paid customer growth (churn at around 5% per year), annual rate increases of about 5% and a reduction in content spend from 60% of total revenue to about half of that by 2035, Cahall estimates that Netflix could boost profitability from $10 per subscriber in 2020 to $30 per subscriber by 2025, rising to more than $100 per subscriber by 2035. “Taking the medium to long-term view, it’s now more of a story about the expected level of return that Netflix can achieve,” Cahall wrote. ●
SOURCE: Wells Fargo Securities estimates
Cable Pushes FCC to Recognize Power of OTT Argues annual competition report should reflect that reality By John Eggerton firstname.lastname@example.org @eggerton
able operators want the Federal Communications Commission to start looking at over-the-top video competitors as the 800-pound gorillas they appear to be rather than the plucky upstarts they once were. That view from Washington could change how traditional cable systems and cable broadband providers are allowed to operate, and NCTA-The Internet & Television Association hopes that will be the case. In comments to the commission, the NCTA said the FCC needs to level the marketplace, ideally by not maintaining regulations on cable providers that it does not place on those OTT platforms such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV. Among the rules that should go, NCTA said, are those governing cable leased set-top boxes and children’s advertising. NCTA has been arguing that limiting the competitive landscape to a minority of available services would be like assessing automotive competition by only looking at high-end sports cars. The battleground is the FCC’s request for input on its biennial report to Congress on the state of competition in the communications marketplace. Under that directive, the FCC must assess whether laws, regulations or “demonstrated marketplace practices” pose a barrier to competitive entry or the expansion of existing competition.
NCTA Pushes for Parity
In recent comments and a follow-up letter this month, NCTA made its case for some regulatory parity. It told the commission that given the unprecedented amount of content available on an array or retail devices, “it is clear that the marketplace for equipment used to access video service is fully competitive.” If the FCC’s goal in regulating leased set-tops was because there was an anemic market for retail video access devices — and it was — NCTA argues it is essentially game over, given the rise of OTT. The FCC’s next competition report needs to recognize ”the need for regulatory parity and the shift in how consumers are accessing video programming,” NCTA said. It points out that Roku recently said it has more accounts than all the subscriptions of the top cable operators combined (see box). Then there are devices such as Apple TV, Google’s 24 Multichannel.com
CAN YOU SEE ME NOW? NCTA used some videoconference streaming stats to make the case that current broadband speeds are sufficient to handle the pandemic-driven increase in remote connections. RECOMMENDED MBPS APPLICATION Zoom
Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV. NCTA argued OTT should not get a free pass when it comes to public-service obligations. “Entities that compete in the provision of like services should not face different public-interest or customer-service obligations,” the trade group said, calling that disparity arbitrary and capricious, which if a court concluded that were the case would make that differential treatment illegal. For example, it said, the FCC should review its children’s TV ad rules given that “none of the myriad new online video providers that target children — such as YouTube, Netflix or Amazon — are burdened by FCC restrictions on advertising. Since at least 2018, NCTA has pointed out that OTT video has displaced traditional cable and broadcast as the top source of children’s video content. Given that, cable operators said the FCC
should jettison the prohibition on including links to commercial websites in children’s programming and limits on promotional matter. Not only are cable operators hamstrung in their competition with online video providers for children’s ad dollars, they can’t even steer them to that online video content. “Mere mention of the Apple App Store or Google Play in a promotion during children’s programming can turn that promotion into an ad under the commission’s rules,” it told the FCC in its initial comments on the report. “That means promotions directing children to the App Store to download enriching or high-quality content can fall under the restrictions.”
NCTA has other bones to pick with the edge providers and computer companies. In comments on the competition report, Google Fiber and trade group INCOMPAS, whose members include Amazon and Netflix, want the FCC to restrict its definition of high-speed broadband only to symmetrical service — the same speed for uploads and downloads, and only service capable of delivering service at 1 Giagabit per second. No surprise there, since they argue that definition would spur more deployment of fiber and that symmetrical upload and download speeds were necessary to accommodate the COVID-19 driven volume of videoconferencing, which the FCC itself uses for its monthly public meetings. NCTA calls the computer companies’ definition of high speed a “transparent effort to game the commission’s analysis by excluding options that millions of consumers purchase.” Gigabit speeds are hardly necessary for those videoconferences, the association said, offering up statistics based on the system requirements of five different videoconferencing companies (see chart), with the highest recommended speed Zoom’s 1.8 megabits per second for 1080p HD. Every cable operator that offers internet access can support those services, NCTA said, typically offering upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps and frequently 5 Mbps. The video marketplace has undergone a sea change, NCTA general counsel Neal Goldberg told the FCC this month. “The upcoming Communications Marketplace Report and the commission’s video regulations should reflect that,” he said. ●
OTT BY THE NUMBERS NCTA used these stats to make its point to the FCC about the competitiveness of the video access device market and the need for recognizing that in its next competition report.
40.3 million-plus households:
Hours of video content streamed by Roku users in 2019
SOURCE: NCTA FCC filing
40 million Increase in hours of streamed Roku content over 2015
633% Increase in hours of streamed Roku content over 2015
Share of U.S. retail streaming media players in the United States claimed by Roku, AppleTV, Chromecast and FireTV
FATES & FORTUNES
People Notable executives on the move BRIEFLY NOTED Other industry execs making moves
The Cable Center in Denver has added Wonya Lucas to a two-year term on its board of directors. Lucas is president and CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, overseeing the Hallmark Channel family of media properties.
Cable & Connectivity Human Resources (C2HR) has named Christine Calandros as its 2020 Aspiring HR Leader. She is senior director of sales and marketing recruitment at Charter Communications.
Comcast Cable elevated Rich Jennings to president of its West Division, responsible for operations in 13 states. The 27-year cable veteran was senior VP of field operations for the West Division.
Hilary Silverboard has joined Crown Media Family Networks as senior VP, brand strategy. She comes from Public Broadcasting Atlanta, where she was chief marketing and development officer.
Entravision named Juan Saldivar chief digital, strategy and accountability officer. Formerly the founder and CEO of SWS Consulting, his clients included the Spanish-language media company.
Discovery has elevated Karen Bronzo to group senior VP, marketing, adding responsibility for Food Network to her duties. She had been senior VP, marketing, for HGTV.
Ayo Davis was named executive VP, creative development and strategy, Disney Branded Television, a new post. She had been executive VP, talent and casting, ABC Entertainment and Disney Plus.
Sarah Lawson Johnston has joined ad tech firm Hudson MX as VP, managing director of agency partnerships, EMEA region. A member of the team that launched Covatic, she will remain on that company’s board.
Consultancy Kearney has named Mike Chapman as partner and Americas media lead in its Communications, Media and Technology practice. He was a managing director in Accenture’s Communications & Media Strategy practice.
The National Association of Broadcasters tapped Téa Gennaro as executive VP and chief financial officer. She comes from Associated Builders and Contractors in Washington, D.C., where she was CFO.
Vincent Lambert has joined broadcast networking firm Riedel Communications as general manager for Japan and South Korea. Formerly head of global systems consulting, he is a former Walt Disney Television Japan tech executive.
Merri Hanson was named president and general manager of KIVI, the E.W. Scripps-owned ABC affiliate in Boise, Idaho. The 25-year industry vet joined the station in 2016 as a local sales manager.
AT&T has named former Federal Communications Commission chairman William E. Kennard as chairman of its board of directors. … Re-elected to the Cable Center’s board of directors were: Nomi Bergman, Advance/ Newhouse; Paul Maxwell, Media-Max Advisers; Robert Stanzione, former chairman of Arris; David Van Valkenburg, Balfour Associates; K. Dane Snowden, NCTA; David Zaslav, Discovery; Jeff Zucker, WarnerMedia News and Sports/CNN Worldwide; and Jay Rolls, formerly of Charter. … Comcast Cable tapped Steve White as president, special counsel to the CEO, responsible for initiatives including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) efforts. He was president of the West Division. … Ad agency DDB Worldwide has elevated Alex Hesz to global chief strategy officer and Roisin “Ro” Rooney to global chief people officer. … Univision Holdings tapped four new independent directors: Marcelo Claure, CEO, Softbank Group International; Oscar Munoz, executive chairman, United Airlines Holdings; Maria Cristina "MC" Gonzalez Noguera, senior VP of global public affairs, The Estee Lauder Cos.; and Gisel Ruiz, former chief operating officer, Walmart’s Sam’s Club. Multichannel.com
Data provided by
Ad Meter Who’s spending what where
PROMO MOJO Our exclusive weekly ranking of the programming that networks are promoting most heavily (Nov. 9-15)
MOST-SEEN TV ADS
Brands ranked by the greatest increase in TV spend (Nov. 9-15)
Brands ranked by TV ad impressions (Nov. 9-15)
TV Ad Impressions:
Est. TV Spend:
Est. TV Spend:
Spend Within Industry: Top Network:
TV Ad Impressions:
Est. TV Spend:
Est. TV Spend:
1. Big Sky, ABC
Total TV ad impressions within all U.S. households, including national linear (live and time-shifted), VOD plus OTT and local
Est. Media Value: $6,286,479
Estimated media value of in-network promos On the strength of 491.6 million TV ad impressions, an ABC promo for Big Sky is No. 1. The Alphabet Network is the only broadcaster in the top five, as CNN takes second place to promote its political podcasts, MTV hypes the new season of Jersey Shore: Family Vacation in third, Food Network serves up a promo for Kristin Chenoweth-hosted game show Candy Land in fourth, and E! gives some love to the 2020 E! People’s Choice Awards in fifth. Notably, the Jersey Shore spot has the highest iSpot Attention Index (117) in our ranking, meaning viewers were on average highly likely to watch it all the way through (vs. interrupting it by changing the channel, pulling up the guide, fast-forwarding or turning off the TV).
TV Ad Impressions Est. Media Value
2. Political Podcasts, CNN TV Ad Impressions Est. Media Value
3. Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, MTV
TV Ad Impressions Est. Media Value
4. Candy Land, Food Network TV Ad Impressions Est. Media Value
5. 2020 E! People's Choice Awards, E! TV Ad Impressions Est. Media Value
87.16 NFL Football
Walmart TV Ad Impressions:
90.82 NFL Football
TV Ad Impressions:
Est. TV Spend:
Est. TV Spend:
Spend Within Industry: Top Network:
90.37 NFL Football
Lincoln Motor Co. Est. TV Spend:
Spend Within Industry:
Est. TV Spend:
Spend Within Industry:
Spend Within Industry:
Est. TV Spend:
TV Ad Impressions: 491,646,009
Neutrogena (Skin Care)
TOP 5 PROMOTIONS
Big Sky, ABC
$4.9M 4% CBS
TV Ad Impressions:
Est. TV Spend:
WIRELINE BROADBAND JUST HAD ITS BIGGEST GROWTH QUARTER A DECADE
MCN’S MOST VIEWED Top stories on multichannel.com, Nov 9-18 1. Law&Crime Network Adds ‘Caught In Providence’ to Primetime Docket 2. Comcast and TiVo Reach Agreement, End Four-Year Patent Fight 3. Mignon Clyburn Among Those Named to Joe Biden FCC Transition Team 4. ‘Blue Ripple’ Would Make Regulatory Waves 5. Dish’s Ergen on DirecTV Satellite Merger: Still ‘Inevitable’ To read these stories, go to multichannel.com.
THE U.S. WIRELINE broadband business continued its rapid customer expansion in the third quarter, with the leading providers adding 1.53 million subscribers, the industry’s best growth since the first quarter of 2009. In all, services that deliver the internet through cable, fiber or digital subscriber lines added 915,000 more customers than they did in the third quarter of 2019, according to Leichtman Research Group (LRG), which tallied the performances of the top 16 internet-service providers covering 96% of the U.S. market. The leading cable operators continued their incendiary growth, adding 1.32 million customers in Q3 — down slightly on a sequential basis from the nearly 1.4 million they added in Q2, but up big from around 832,000 adds in the third quarter last year. Comcast’s 633,000 net adds in Q3 were more than in any quarter in the past 15 years. The differentiating factor in the pandemic-affected Q3
market this year was the return to growth for AT&T (added 174,000 subscribers) and Verizon (up 110,000), with both companies gaining momentum with their fiber-to-the-home offerings. The top wireline phone companies added about 210,000 subscribers in the third quarter, compared to a net loss of about 220,000 subscribers in Q3 2019. “With the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more quarterly net broadband additions in 3Q 2020 than in any quarter in over eleven years,” LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Over the past year, there were about 4,550,000 net broadband adds, compared to about 2,550,000 net broadband adds over the prior year. This marks the most broadband net adds in a year since 3Q 2008-2Q 2009.” — Daniel Frankel For more stories like this, go to nexttv.com.
SUBSCRIBERS AT END OF 3Q 2020
NET ADDS IN 3Q 2020
TOTAL TOP CABLE
TOTAL TOP TELCO
TOTAL TOP BROADBAND
SOURCE: The companies and Leichtman Research Group. * LRG estimate **Includes recent small acquisitions
STICKIEST SHOWS Top 10 cable programs ranked by viewer engagement Ratings Rank
Telecast (Week Ending Nov. 8)
Christmas with the Darlings
The Christmas Ring
90 Day Fiance: The Other Way
Monday Night Football 1
Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater
Anderson Cooper 360°
MSNBC Special Coverage
Fear the Walking Dead
The Real Housewives of Potomac
La Rosa de Guadalupe
Christmas With the Darlings: Hallmark Channel; Caught in Providence: Debmar-Mercury
The Stickiness Index looks at viewer engagement based on several factors. A higher number indicates more of the audience is tuned in for the duration of the telecast. * TV Engagement ratings powered by Comscore’s TV Essentials. (Sorted by social media activity.)
Data provided by
STICKIEST SHOWS Top 10 broadcast programs ranked by viewer engagement
Telecast (Week of Nov. 8)
Todo Por Mi Hija
Sunday Night Football: Saints at Buccaneers NBC
Imperio de Mentiras
Tu Cara Me Suena
College Football: Clemson at Notre Dame
La Rosa de Guadalupe
NCIS: New Orleans
The Stickiness Index looks at viewer engagement based on several factors. A higher number indicates more of the audience is tuned in for the duration of the telecast. * TV Engagement ratings powered by Comscore’s TV Essentials. (Sorted by social media activity.)
THE WEEK OF NOV. 9 TV Time users track the shows they're watching on TV via the TV Time app. That data is then used to determine the most-binged shows of the week in the U.S.
Share of binges: 2.64%
The Queen’s Gambit
Share of binges: 1.74%
Dash & Lily
Share of binges: 1.62%
Share of binges: 1.56%
Share of binges: 1.29%
Share of binges: 1.12%
Share of binges: 0.82%
2. Google’s Developer-focused ADT-3 Android TV Device Surfaces at Walmart
Share of binges: 0.82%
3. Comcast and TiVo Reach Agreement, End Four-Year Patent Fight
Share of binges: 0.78%
4. Mignon Clyburn Among Those Named to Joe Biden FCC Transition Team
The Haunting of Bly Manor
Share of binges: 0.74%
5. Dish’s Ergen on DirecTV Satellite Merger: Still ‘Inevitable’
LAST WEEK: —
LAST WEEK: —
LAST WEEK: 3
LAST WEEK: 1
LAST WEEK: —
LAST WEEK: 5
LAST WEEK: 8
LAST WEEK: 9
NCIS: New Orleans: CBS
LAST WEEK: 2
LAST WEEK: 6
Networks reflected don't include every viewing platform available nor total viewing in share of binge
To receive "The Binge Report" and otherTV Time reports, visit https://www.whipmedia.com/subscribe/
NEXT TV’S MOST VIEWED Top five stories on nexttv.com, Nov 9-18 1. Apple TV Plus Finally Hits Its Stride
To read these stories, go to nexttv.com.
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By Daniel Elad, TheViewPoint @DanielElad
Connected TV Ads and The Holidays: Leveraging Merry Opportunities Pandemic usage trends, streaming surge create new
he pandemic has pushed decision-makers across numerous domains to reconsider their marketing and advertising spend. This spring and summer, we’ve seen brands completely canceling, pausing and reallocating their ad budgets across ad channels. Proven to be a surviving — and steadily swelling — channel, connected TV (CTV) keeps growing and attracting more viewers, marketers, and ad investments. Now the holiday season is not far off, and as advertising-based video-on-demand (AVOD) viewing time hits record levels, savvy marketers just can’t leave CTV ads out of their holiday timetables. The primary reason is that streaming video time has almost doubled since last year, attracting one in five U.S. internet users (about 57 million people) who access AVOD. Besides, with 66% of shoppers planning to buy online more this year, it seems this holiday shopping season will be a blast for e-commerce.
Streaming and Buying Behavior
Along with the overall time spent on video streaming, the correlation between shoppers and streamers increases as well. According to a recent Roku report, so far, in the U.S. alone, 85% of households are streaming video. But what’s even more interesting is that the majority of U.S. buyers-and-streamers (79%) are going to increase their holiday spending significantly compared to non-streamers (55%). The rise of CTV viewership and shoppers’ New Year’s resolutions to buy more have given marketers every reason to be where their consumers are. Moreover, to win buyers’ attention and count on some part of their holiday budget, marketers should start their campaigns ASAP. While considering how to get the most out of CTV campaigns, it’s essential to take a closer look at several peculiarities of the promis-
ing streaming and buying audiences. The lockdown has become a critical factor prompting adjustments to streaming and online shopping hours. Streaming hours shifted to traditional workday times, peaking during the slot between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. So did online shopping hours: now 62% of buyers make their purchases between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Simultaneously, buyers tend to purchase from the brands and shops that offer them discounts as well as free or cheap and fast delivery. As for specific goods, more than 40% of shoppers in the U.S. plan to purchase a new television this year as a gift to themselves or their families, so they’re exploring various smart-TV options. With more time spent at home working, exercising and learning, homeware, sports goods, toys and other stay-at-home related categories will be spiking during the holiday season. With these insights, marketers had better hop on the holiday shopping bandwagon as about 40% of shoppers have already started their purchases for the holidays in early November, and 30% more buyers will join them before Black Friday or Cyber Monday. What makes CTV advertising a cornerstone
Daniel Elad is chief strategy officer at TheViewPoint, a New York-based advertising technology company.
of media strategy, especially during the upcoming holiday season, is the immediate value it brings to marketers. Since streamers mainly watch CTV content simultaneously using smartphones or tablets, they are ready to purchase right away. Very recent findings by Roku show that 44% of streamers shop online while streaming. Besides, two-thirds of the millennial streaming audience pauses a streaming ad to go online and shop for the product. This is completely reshaping the traditional path to purchase. What are the specific actions marketers can take this festive season to get the most out of CTV advertising? Start with the audience. Use the power of streaming video and consumer behavior insights. Explore your audience carefully: know if they prefer streaming live or binge-watching; if they use a smart TV or a smartphone; if they interact better with display, shoppable or other types of ads. These precise insights will help you allocate your budgets wisely and think in a multichannel dimension. Split and test. Split your target audience into different segments depending on product categories they are interested in and run a separate campaign for each segment. Think cross-device. Since holiday shoppers are using several devices while watching CTV content, brands need to establish their presence across all the screens gift seekers interact with. Thanks to the advanced metrics CTV provides, you can build accurate cross-device paths and track conversions properly and clearly. Take advantage of CTV retargeting. Reach out to your online store visitors and potential buyers who abandoned shopping carts with persuasive ads over a CTV screen. Use CTV advertising to get them back to the products they were exploring. Come up with compelling ad creative. A concise ad message wrapped up in eyecatching creative and transmitted in an engaging format makes an essential part of the CTV advertising strategy. In-stream, pause video ads, QR code ads and more are just a few of the rich assortment offered by the CTV environment. Although we presumably won’t see familiar in-store mobs sweeping goods off the shelves on Black Friday and in the run-up to Christmastime, online shopping seems to be a rush for both consumers and marketers. Intelligent marketers ready to enhance their omnichannel media strategies with CTV ads and armed with consumer behavior insights will undoubtedly reach their consumers and drive action effectively. ●
THE FIVE SPOT
Founder, Business in the Public Interest/CEO, The Advisory Counsel D.C. veteran’s new venture shares telecom policy savvy with the C-suite
rmed with a degree from Princeton and a JD from Georgetown, Adonis Hoffman has seen Washington communications policymaking from myriad angles — as a lawyer, lobbyist, Hill staffer, top Federal Communications Comission official (including chief of staff and senior legal adviser to commissioner Mignon Clyburn), professor and consultant on corporate responsibility. Hoffman taps that experience to counsel CEOs, business leaders and trade associations. He weighs in on racism in America, his most rewarding work and more. He spoke with Multichannel News senior content producer, Washington John Eggerton. You have done a lot of things in this town. Which job has been most rewarding and why? My early career in Washington was centered on foreign policy and international trade. I had the good fortune to work in Congress for Rep. Merv Dymally (D-Calif.), who brought me to Washington and changed my life. He was an internationalist and a leading member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 1980s and ’90s. As staff director and counsel to that committee, I traveled to 45 countries and met with political leaders around the globe.
Adonis Hoffman gives his take on the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint on CNBC.
When I left the Hill in the mid-1990s, I landed a job at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where I directed the program on Africa and International Law. At a time of sweeping democratic reform in Africa and the developing world, I worked on constitutional and election monitoring. My articles and books on U.S. policy were widely published and I felt as if I was contributing to an important dialogue that was taking place within our government. Everything else has been fine, but just not as heady.
What is The Advisory Counsel LLC? The Advisory Counsel is a firm that provides sage advice to today’s leaders. We help big companies with big issues and challenges, usually resulting from mergers, classaction litigation or regulatory developments. Most of our work is with C-suite executives, general counsel and boards that need a strategic, multidimensional solution to a big problem: sometimes media, sometimes legislative, sometimes legal, sometimes relationshipbuilding, but always discreet and high-level.
Most memorable recent meal? [Wife] Karla’s lasagna from scratch, and her German chocolate cake (also from scratch).
Is there systemic racism in this country, and what can be done about it? Short answer is, yes. Just look at the data on disparities between Anglos and Blacks, or Anglos and Latinos, and you can see there is a deeply-rooted problem. But there has been
Destination on your bucket list: Israel (again), Greece and Turkey Books on your nightstand or tablet? The Greatest Words Ever Spoken, Steven K. Scott; Crushing, T.D. Jakes
Favorite music? I'm shamelessly stuck in the ’70s: Marvin, Smokey, Delfonics, Dramatics, Isleys and old-school slow jams. What do you miss the most during COVID? Church, movies (in theaters) and concerts.
tremendous progress, and there is no other country in the world that has addressed race better than the United States. Nowhere else has there been the level of struggle and success on race as in America. So we just need to keep going. What is the one thing the FCC could do to really affect media ownership diversity? Change the rules to allow for no caps on ownership, but provide a regulatory or fiscal incentive (credits or rebates) to majority owners to partner with minority owners in a meaningful way. If you could give the Biden administration one piece of advice on communications policy, what would it be? Actually two pieces: Don’t dismantle legacy media and don’t kill the geese that lay the golden eggs. Competition is good, but only if the rules are flattened and apply to everyone, so be fair with business and don’t over-regulate. ●
Multichannel News - November 23, 2020