The Cable Show 2013's first General Sessions starts off big, with candid, unscripted and insightful conversation about digital media's great big picture with some of the leading strategists from the worlds of media and communications. (Not to mention an opening act you won't want to miss.) You'll hear some of the world's most influential innovators from television, digital media, broadband communications and the investment community share insights about the impact of digital technologies on their businesses - and on the world.
Co-Chairs Welcome: Pat Esser (Cox Communications), Abbe Raven (A+E Networks)
Keynote: Michael Powell (NCTA)
Segment Host: Jake Tapper (CNN)
Segment One: Jim Bankoff (Vox Media), Hosain Rahman (Jawbone), Ali Rowghani (Twitter, Inc.), Tom Rutledge (Charter Communications), Steve Shannon (Roku)
Cynthia Littleton (Variety)
Segment Two: Matthew Blank (Showtime Networks), Joshua Sapan (AMC Networks Inc.), Anne Sweeney (The Walt Disney Company)
Jim Bankoff is the Chairman and CEO of Vox Media, running all aspects of what has become the fastest growing digital media company today, attracting 165 million people globally each month. The company operates eight of the most successful media brands on the web: SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Vox.com, Curbed, Eater, Racked and Re/code. Each features high-value digital journalism, storytelling, brand advertising and content marketing at scale. Under Jim's leadership, Vox Media recently secured a $200 million strategic investment partnership with NBC Universal.
Matthew C. Blank
MATTHEW C. BLANK has made a significant and indelible mark on the cable television industry in a career spanning over three decades. Blank has been with Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI) since 1988, assuming the position of President and Chief Operating Officer in 1991, followed by President and CEO, and then Chairman and CEO in 1995. Prior to that, he served as Executive Vice President, Marketing, where he oversaw all of the networks’ consumer marketing, creative services and public relations functions. Before joining Showtime Networks, Blank worked for Home Box Office Inc. for 12 years, departing as Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing.
Under Blank’s leadership, Showtime Networks has grown from three premium networks, SHOWTIME, THE MOVIE CHANNEL and FLIX, to include 27 digital channels. SNI has also been a champion for and early adopter of the latest technologies, such as High Definition and Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD), providing subscribers with an enhanced viewing experience, along with more choice, convenience and value. During his tenure, Blank has helped transform SHOWTIME into one of the most successful networks in the TV industry. SHOWTIME is the only premium network to have grown subscribers every year for the past nine years, ending 2012 with over 22 million subscribers.
Blank is active in numerous industry organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) and The Cable Center. He was inducted into Broadcasting and Cable magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Cable Center Hall of Fame in 2009. He has garnered numerous industry awards, including the NCTA’s Vanguard Award for Marketing in 1991, the Vanguard Award in the Programming category in 1999, and the NCTA’s top honor, the Vanguard Award for Leadership in 2008. In 2003, he received the “Friends of NAMIC Award” from the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. From CTAM (the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing) that same year, Blank received the Grand TAM Award, that organization’s highest honor. In March 2004, he was honored by Cable Positive with the Joel A. Berger Award for his contribution to the fight against AIDS.
Blank has also been honored by a number of other non-profit organizations. In 2001, he was the recipient of People for the American Way Foundation's prestigious “Spirit of Liberty” award at its 17th annual gala. In 2003, he was honored with the UJA-Federation of NY’s Entertainment Media & Communications Division Award, and in 2004 he was presented with the Lifetime Visionary Award by the Israel Film Festival. In 2005, Blank was honored at Playwrights Horizons’ High Standards annual gala, and in 2006, The T. Howard Foundation honored him for his and Showtime Networks' efforts in support of diversity. In 2007, Blank was honored by The Innocence Project for the SHOWTIME production of the award-winning documentary AFTER INNOCENCE, which made a significant contribution to advancing an understanding of the plight of the wrongfully convicted. In 2008, he was an honoree at the annual corporate gala of the Museum of the Moving Image. Under his leadership, The Paley Center honored Showtime Networks at its annual gala in Los Angeles in 2008, and the IRTS (International Radio and Television Society) honored the network in 2009.
Blank has been a Trustee of the Harlem Children's Zone for almost 20 years. He also serves as a Trustee of the Museum of the Moving Image, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Manhattan Theatre Club and The Creative Coalition.
Blank is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and holds an M.B.A. from Baruch College. He resides in New York City with his wife, Susan McGuirk, and their children, Meredith and Gordon.
Patrick (Pat) Esser is president of Cox Communications, a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company serving more than 6 million residential and commercial customers.
Cynthia Littleton has spent the past dozen years as a reporter and editor covering television and the entertainment industry. She’s on her second tour of duty at Variety, serving at present as deputy editor, news development. She has previously worked for The Hollywood Reporter, Broadcasting & Cable and United Press International. She is the co-author of “Season Finale: The Unexpected Rise and Fall of the WB and UPN,” set for release this fall by HarperCollins. In 2006 she received the Journalism Award from the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors. A native of Pasadena, Calif., Littleton graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in political science. She has a weakness for vintage television, and her Hall of Fame faves include The Prisoner, Columbo, I Spy, The Rockford Files, Fernwood 2-Night, St. Elsewhere, Cheers, Northern Exposure, Absolutely Fabulous, Lost and just about anything involving Betty White. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter, two cats and five remote controls.
Michael K. Powell, former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from 2001 to 2005 and a member of the FCC for eight years, began his tenure as President & CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) on April 25, 2011.
Hosain Rahman is the CEO and founder of Jawbone, a leader in human-centric products for better daily living . Hosain is passionate about bringing innovative, intuitive, and elegantly designed products to market that let consumers' get the most out of their mobile experience. Jawbone is one of the largest venture capital-backed consumer electronics companies in the world.
Jawbone is a 2010 IDSA Design of the Decade winner. Jawbone created the JAMBOX line of speakers which are now the best-selling speakers in North America and the UK. Jawbone also invented NoiseAssassin® technology, the only military-grade noise-eliminating technology that's built into its Bluetooth headsets like the Jawbone ERA and Jawbone ICON.
In 2012 Hosain was named to Fortune’s 40 Under 40 and as well to Vanity Fair's Next Establishment List.
Abbe Raven is President and Chief Executive Officer of A+E Networks, encompassing A&E®, Lifetime®, HISTORY®, LMN®, bio.® , H2™, HISTORY en Español™, Crime & Investigation Network®, Military HISTORY®, LRW™, as well as A&E IndieFilms®, A+E Networks International®, A+E Networks Digital® and A+E Networks Consumer Products®. A+E Networks channels and branded programming reach more than 300 million households in over 150 countries. In March 2005, Ms. Raven became President and CEO of A&E Television Networks, which acquired the Lifetime brands in September 2009. During her tenure at A+E Networks, Ms. Raven has been honored for building some of the most prominent and highly valued cable networks and for standing at the forefront of numerous industry-wide initiatives.
In September 2011, Ms. Raven was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune Magazine. Over the last ten years, she has been named to Cable World’s Top 50 Most Influential Women in Cable and The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list, which listed her again this year as one of the Top 5 Most Powerful Women in Entertainment. She received the Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership from the National Cable Television Association for her years of leadership in the cable industry in April 2005. At a White House ceremony in May 2007, Ms. Raven accepted the prestigious Preserve America Presidential Award from First Lady Laura Bush for HISTORY’s long-standing commitment to historic preservation. In October 2009, Ms. Raven was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. In April 2011, she was the recipient of the prestigious New York Women in Communications Matrix Award.
Prior to her current position, Ms. Raven was President of A&E Network and The Biography Channel. She spearheaded the revitalization of A&E, launching it back into a top ten network. Under her leadership, A&E Network created a new crop of real-life programming, which led to double-digit growth in the network’s target demographic, a reduction in the network’s median age by almost 20 years, and a record 24 Emmy® nominations.
Previously, Ms. Raven was Executive Vice President and General Manager of The History Channel. Under her direction, The History Channel grew into a leading cable network and won several prestigious awards, including an Emmy Award and two George Foster Peabody Awards for outstanding documentary programming. Ms Raven was the original architect of The History Channel’s programming schedule.
Ms. Raven serves as Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors of the NCTA. She is also on the boards of the NAMIC Foundation and the CTAM Educational Foundation. In 2009, she was appointed to the advisory board of Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. In December 2010, she was the recipient of a New York Women in Film & Television MUSE Award. In 2007, Ms. Raven was selected as an honoree of The Paley Center’s “She Made It” in recognition of her leadership and achievements in the world of cable television. In 2005, she was elected a Director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Ali Rowghani is the Chief Operating Officer for Twitter, Inc., the world’s preeminent real-time information network. Among other functions, Ali currently oversees Twitter’s media partnerships, mobile carrier and OEM relationships, and developer platform. He previously served as Twitter’s first CFO and helped guide the company’s monetization and fund-raising strategy from 2010 – 2012.
Before joining Twitter, Ali spent nine years at Pixar Animation Studios, where he served as the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning from 2006-2010. Before Pixar, Ali spent four years at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. During his time at McKinsey, Ali was based for nine months in Germany. He later spent one year in Japan with McKinsey Global Institute, the Firm’s renowned economics think tank.
Ali holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from Stanford University. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and spent a year studying at the University of Bonn in Germany. Born in Iran, Ali moved to Dallas, TX with his family when he was five years old. He remains a huge fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
Thomas M. Rutledge, 58, was elected as a director and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company on February 13, 2012. Prior to joining Charter, Mr. Rutledge served as Chief Operating Officer of Cablevision from April 2004 until December 2011. A 34-year cable industry veteran, Mr. Rutledge previously served as president of Time Warner Cable. He began his career in 1977 at American Television and Communications (ATC), a predecessor company of Time Warner Cable. Mr. Rutledge currently serves on the board of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA). He served as Chairman of the NCTA from 2008-2010, and currently serves on the boards of CableLabs, C-SPAN and the CTAM Educational Foundation. In 2011, he received NCTA's Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership, the cable industry's highest honor. He is a member of the Cable Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2011. He received a B.A. in economics from California University in California, Pennsylvania in 1977.
One of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and visionary executives, Josh Sapan sets strategy and is responsible for the overall management of AMC Networks, which owns and operates several leading entertainment brands, AMC, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films/Sundance Selects. The company also operates an international programming business, AMC Networks International. Named CEO in 1995, Mr. Sapan led the company’s successful spin-off from Cablevision Systems Corporation in June 2011, when AMC Networks began trading as a separate public company on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Steve Shannon heads Roku’s content and services group which is responsible for establishing new content relationships, acquiring entertainment and growing services on the Roku platform. Steve has co-founded and led many successful companies that have shaped the digital living room.
Anne Sweeney is co-chair, Disney Media Networks, and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, which includes The Walt Disney Company’s global entertainment and news television properties, owned television stations group, as well as radio and publishing businesses.
In this role Ms. Sweeney oversees ABC Studios, the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and the ABC Television Network, which provides entertainment, news and kids programming to viewers via more than 200 affiliated stations across the U.S. She also oversees Disney Channels Worldwide, a portfolio of 108 kid-driven, family-inclusive entertainment channels, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama, and Radio Disney brands. Additionally, Ms. Sweeney’s responsibilities include cable networks ABC Family and SOAPnet, the company’s equity interest in A+E Networks, and Disney’s publishing imprint, Hyperion.
In 2005, Ms. Sweeney led the industry into the digital era when the Disney/ABC Television Group became the first media company to put television content on new platforms. The group was the first to leverage iTunes, the first to introduce an ad-supported full episode player online, and the first to deliver an application for the revolutionary iPad. Under her leadership, the Group continues to combine high-quality content with strategic use of traditional and emerging distribution platforms to deliver compelling news and entertainment viewing experiences to hundreds of millions of people around the world.
From October 2000 to April 2004, Ms. Sweeney served as president of ABC Cable Networks Group and Disney Channels Worldwide, where under her leadership Disney Channel more than quintupled its subscriber base. In April 1998, she also oversaw the successful launch of the 24-hour channel Toon Disney (now known as Disney XD), and later the launch of SOAPnet in January 2000.
Ms. Sweeney joined The Walt Disney Company in February 1996 as president of Disney Channel and executive vice president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks. Previously she was chairman and CEO of FX Networks, Inc., since 1993. During her tenure there, she presided over the launch of two basic cable networks, entertainment-focused FX and FXM: Movies from Fox, Hollywood’s first studio-based movie network.
Before joining Fox, Ms. Sweeney spent 12 years at Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite in various executive positions, most recently as senior vice president of Program Enterprises. Among many accomplishments, she oversaw Nickelodeon’s international expansion, including launching the channel in the United Kingdom, resulting in a joint venture with British Sky Broadcasting.
Active in organizations both within and outside the television industry, Ms. Sweeney has served as a board member of A&E Television Networks, the Paley Center for Media, the American Film Institute and the Special Olympics.
Since assuming her current role as co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, Ms. Sweeney has repeatedly been named the “Most Powerful Woman in Entertainment” by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune and one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes. In 2008 she was honored with the Broadcasters Foundation of America’s Golden Mike Award for Outstanding Contributions to Broadcasting, the Matrix Award for television from New York Women in Communications, Inc., as well as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership.
Ms. Sweeney was inducted into the Cable Center’s Hall of Fame in October 2007 and recognized by the Producers Guild of America in 2006 with the President’s Citation for her efforts on behalf of diversity across the Disney/ABC Television Group. In 2005 she was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable “Hall of Fame,” and in 2004 received the Muse Award from New York Women in Film & Television.
She has been honored repeatedly by Women in Cable & Telecommunications -- as Executive of the Year in 1994, Woman of the Year in 1997, and as the recipient of the Advocate Leader Award from WICT’s Southern California chapter in 1998. In 1995 she received the prestigious STAR Award from American Women in Radio and Television. She was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement in 1996. In 2002 she received Women in Film’s esteemed Lucy Award and has been awarded the Cable Television Public Affairs Association’s President’s Award.
Ms. Sweeney earned a BA degree from The College of New Rochelle and an Ed. M. degree from Harvard University.
CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper joined the network in January 2013. His one-hour weekday program The Lead with Jake Tapper debuted in March 2013. Tapper was named host of the network's Sunday morning show, State of the Union in June 2015.