More than TV: Finding Innovative Ways to Reach Our Audience

(L-R) Todd Spangler, Bernadette Aulestia, Rebecca Glashow, Tom Gorke and Eric Lempel attend Variety's Entertainment and Technology Summit NYC at Le Parker Meridien on April 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Variety)

(L-R) Todd Spangler, Bernadette Aulestia, Rebecca Glashow, Tom Gorke and Eric Lempel attend Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit NYC at Le Parker Meridien on April 30, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Variety)

TV content is everywhere. Emerging distribution platforms and the explosion of high-quality programming has created what many call the new golden age of television. Viacom Media Network’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development & Content Distribution Tom Gorke joined a panel of distribution and marketing leaders recently to discuss how programmers and networks are taking advantage of these new opportunities, particularly in the online space. Speaking at Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit in New York City, Gorke was joined by:

  • Rebecca Glashow, senior vice president Digital Media Distribution and Partnerships, Discovery Communications
  • Eric Lempel, vice president and general manager Americas, head of Global Marketing & Consumer Support, Sony Network Entertainment International (for Playstation Vue)
  • Bernadette Aulestia, executive vice president Domestic Network Distribution, HBO

Internet-based over-the-top (OTT) and emerging distribution models are a hot topic among content creators and distributors alike. Moderated by Variety’s Todd Spangler, panelists agreed these new approaches can enhance the audience experience and increase opportunities to reach new viewers on multiple devices:

“There are many ways to define OTT, but the exciting thing about it is they are all additional ways to reach our consumers with programming. That’s what we’re in the business of doing,” said Viacom’s Tom Gorke. He pointed to the recently announced Nickelodeon mobile subscription service Noggin as an example of how Viacom is embracing new models:

“Noggin is a mobile-first service that focuses on educational kids content, library content, that is not currently airing or otherwise available on our platforms,” said Gorke. “We believe it is complementary, and can drive additional value to the traditional [distributors] as well as for us.”

Gorke also spoke about how Viacom is partnering with popular mobile applications like Twitter and Snapchat to get consumers content where they are, rather than trying to direct them to another application:

“At Viacom, we over-index in younger, tech savvy demographics, so we’re continuing to evolve on all platforms. Mobile phones create a short attention span, and younger demographics are spending more time in those places. What we do is adapt our content to create an experience there, and do it in a complementary way to our core business.”

Comedy Central’s presence on Snapchat as an original Discovery option, or the highly clipable MTV, VH1, CMT, and Comedy Central channels on YouTube are great examples of what Gorke is referencing. Ultimately, panelists agreed, it will be up to content creators to continue adapting and evolving with their own technology, as well as that of third-party partners, in order to attract new audiences and deepen engagement with our current viewers.

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