How technology is changing broadcast TV
George Schweitzer's position as chief marketing officer at CBS gives him a unique opportunity not only to observe but also to help shape the ways in which technology is altering the television industry.
As the marketing guy at CBS, it's my job to get people to watch our programs. Our department is like an ad agency, with CBS shows as the clients--everyone from "60 Minutes" to Letterman, to "CSI" and the NFL. Each day, our focus is on how people find out what's on television and how to get them to watch, which is an increasingly difficult task given the huge volume of content that's available and the plethora of ways people are consuming it.
Sometimes my job is hard to explain. When my kids were young and they said I "did marketing for CBS," they thought I went to the grocery store each day and shopped for the CBS stars (which was close to the truth sometimes). Once at a school event, a parent came up to me and said, "We get all our drugs from you." Turns out her son insisted I worked at CVS. To third-graders, that was a more relevant brand than CBS.
It was always my dream to work at CBS. I started as a desk assistant, or "gofer," working midnight to 8 a.m., Wednesday through Sunday. It was hell on the social life, but it was heaven for the opportunity to learn everything about the business and to make contacts.
I swelled with pride when I walked into the building, thinking of all the industry legends who were there, past and present. I worked my way through jobs in production and operations and then into marketing, advertising, and promotion. I love my job and the people I work with.
For recreation, I don't fish, golf, or hunt. I am a gym rat, though, and I watch a lot of sports on TV. Above all, I am a technology junkie--particularly for the digital/connected home. I pump movies, music, television shows, and photos through an array of servers and screens. My hobby is home automation, integrating entertainment as well as lights, security, heating and air, sprinklers, energy management, and all sorts of gizmos. I also collect old technology: radios, TVs, telephones, record players, typewriters, and more; anything that was considered a disruptive technology is fair game. It's fun and instructive to learn from the not-so-distant past. After all, Moore's Law practically guarantees that the leading-edge products of today, such as flat-panel TVs or touch-screen iPods, will be relics in a few short years.
So, why have I decided to write a blog and why should you read it? Because of my more than 30 years spent working at CBS and my preoccupation with technology, I am in a unique position to explain how technology is reshaping the TV industry and the home. This blog is going to cover experiences from the intensely competitive world of network TV marketing to the ever-expanding world of the digital home, and all the new and exciting things we can use to enhance our homes, our jobs, and our lifestyles. Stay tuned!