Super Channel has restructured its management team, creating a new level of executives to reduce the number of direct reports to President & CEO Don McDonald.
McDonald told Broadcast Dialogue that after emerging from a CCAA (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act) in April 2018, he had a multitude of people reporting to him as part of a personal effort to be hands on with all aspects of the Edmonton-based premium cable and satellite entertainment provider.
“It was time to allow me to focus as CEO on the strategic direction and growth of the business,” said McDonald. “I had more than double the number of people reporting to me, so I’ve restructured and collapsed some departments, down to six direct reports. I’m very excited about the new structure.”
The new level of executives have been promoted from within Super Channel’s current team of directors.
Jackie Pardy, currently Director of Programming, is promoted to Chief Content Officer (CCO) overseeing all aspects of content acquisition and development across all four channels, as well as network scheduling.
Katie Lee becomes Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), elevated from her current position of Director, Consumer Marketing. She will lead the Marketing team which will now be comprised of on-air promotion, social media, media relations and affiliate marketing.
Marlene Lone, previously Director, Affiliate Marketing, will see her title changed to Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). She’ll be responsible for a newly-named Revenue department (previously Affiliate Sales), where the primary focus will be to generate new revenue streams in addition to traditional BDU revenue, including advertising and sponsorship revenue.
Carol Ljuden, as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), will be responsible for all Broadcast Operations and Information Technology, with the focus on moving Super Channel onto new platforms.
Richard Paradis, Business Affairs and Regulatory, and Lynn Fowler, Human Resources, round out the executive team. Super Channel says a Chief Financial Officer will be named at a later date. Until then, McDonald will assume those responsibilities in the interim. No layoffs resulted from the management restructure with all appointments set to take effect Nov. 1.
In what’s historically been a male-dominated industry at the executive level, McDonald admits he was struck by the fact that the executive team he’s put in place is almost entirely comprised of women.
“I chose the best people for the job and it’s funny…I’ll be honest with you, when I was rightfully doing it, I sat down and thought ‘oh my goodness, they’re all women.’ It was not intentional, it was the best people for the job and I’m delighted,” said McDonald.
Part of Super Channel’s strategy going forward is to be on as many platforms as possible. Its suite of channels, which include Super Channel Fuse, Super Channel Heart & Home, Super Channel Vault and GINX Esports TV Canada, launched on Amazon Prime last June and will launch this week on Apple TV+.
McDonald says while cord cutters account for an estimated 3.5 million to 4 million households, about 10 million households still subscribe to traditional cable, satellite or IPTV offerings.
“We’re in this really good space where the BDUs are evolving, you can take the content just about anywhere. You have to because consumers want to watch content anywhere, anytime, on any platform,” said McDonald, who added that as a commuter, he’s also a frequent out-of-home viewer. “The value proposition from our point of view is fabulous…as you know with the BDUs like Shaw BlueSky, Telus Optik, Rogers Ignite, they have robust offerings through their app where you can watch our content if you’re a Super Channel subscriber.”
McDonald says in the expanding content ecosystem, the curation of channels is more important than ever.
“The pendulum has swung so far the other way…where it used to be premium channels were commercial free and uncut so you would see the violence, swearing, nudity – everything you’d expect on a Pay TV channel – but now almost every channel is showing that…even CBC, so the channels have become very grey and from our point of view we have to have distinct content,” said McDonald. “Fuse is obviously a more traditional action, high-intensity channel, but Heart & Home is basically the Canadian Hallmark channel. We have very strict content guidelines that do not deviate like some of our competitors. Viewers interested in safe content like the fact that you go to Heart & Home, you can leave it on and there’s nothing to worry about.”
Part of McDonald’s go forward strategy is to also look at new revenue models that could include potentially adding an advertising component to some of its channels, like GINX Esports TV. He said that initiative could roll out as early as the first quarter of 2020.
Subscribe Now – Free!
Broadcast Dialogue has been required reading in the Canadian broadcast media for 25 years. When you subscribe, you join a community of connected professionals from media and broadcast related sectors from across the country.
The Weekly Briefing from Broadcast Dialogue is delivered exclusively to subscribers by email every Thursday. It’s your link to critical industry news, timely people moves, and excellent career advancement opportunities.
Let’s get started right now.