While some of us can now turn on our televisions without pressing a button (thanks to voice-activated remotes), three top cable industry executives touched on a handful of hot-button issues during Voices of Experience on Wednesday, April 11.
The event—aptly held at The Cable Center—offered the audience of nearly 500 DU community members a chance to hear about today’s cable business from experts including Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, NBCUniversal Chairman of Content Distribution Matt Bond and The Cable Center CEO Jana Henthorn. Henthorn moderated the discussion and probed Fries and Bond on hotly debated topics such as the Facebook data privacy scandal, net neutrality and the impact of Netflix on the cable industry.
“[When you watch Netflix], you are consuming more broadband per year and that’s our core business, so from that perspective, [Netflix] is great for us,” said Fries.
As the conversation shifted to more controversial subjects, including the Facebook data privacy scandal and net neutrality, the speakers often found themselves united in their views.
“What I hear we’re saying is, ‘We are all for open internet but we are not for excessive regulation,’” said Henthorn after the trio debated net neutrality.
Fries, responding to the recent Facebook scandal, noted, “This was a train that was always going to crash. These companies have unprecedented scale and this global scale was realized in an environment where there were virtually no rules … Europeans have a much stronger view of privacy.”
Speaking of Europeans, Fries explained that the cable and internet environment is significantly more competitive in Europe than it is in the United States. As a result, Europeans pay about a third less for cable and internet than Americans.
Near the end of the evening’s discussion, the speakers reflected on their respective professional backgrounds and offered advice to the students in the crowd who are interested in similar career trajectories. Bond and Henthorn, who are both Daniels alumni, have approximately 50 years of collective experience in the cable industry. When combined with Fries’ 28 years at Liberty Global, the three had nearly 80 years of experience to draw from.
Bond said, “Do great work as often as you can, every day.” While Fries shared his perspectives on the importance of hiring the right people, working hard and finding a healthy work-life balance. “When you’re on your death bed, you won’t be thinking about your job,” he said.
Wise words from true “voices of experience.”
The Voices of Experience speaker series at the Daniels College of Business brings CEOs and significant leaders to the DU community to share lessons learned from triumphs, mistakes and decisions as they navigated through their leadership careers. Learn more at daniels.du.edu/voe/.