Roger Keating: A Well-Connected Digital Doyen
Hearst Television exec charts the future of over-the-top TV innovations
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/20/2012 12:01:00 AMB&C's 2012 Digital All-Stars
Roger Keating, head of digital at Hearst Television, isn’t as concerned with viewers’ habits today as he is with how they will consume local TV content tomorrow, and next year. While he is focused on rolling out a rich array of station mobile apps, including a timely one offering local election coverage for all the Hearst TV markets, he’s more tuned into next-gen topics such as televisions connected directly to the Web, and how that trend affects local broadcasters.
Keating sees over-thetop television as something that can enrich the viewer experience, with extra content on a topic of interest, and a two-way street for both viewer and advertiser. Viewers can respond to polls and direct questions at the station. And while interactive advertising has been TV’s holy grail for decades, Keating says recent trends indicate it is that much closer to reality.
“Advanced advertising has always been heavily tied to MVPDs, but this time it’s connected to the Web,” Keating says. “We have the opportunity to engage [viewers] directly.”
Keating joined Hearst in 2008 after a stint as executive VP for Time Warner Cable’s Los Angeles region. He is on the board of the Pearl Project, the consortium of local broadcasters focused on rolling out mobile DTV to their users. While some have lamented the laborious process, Pearl took a major step recently when MetroPCS began selling a Samsung phone equipped for mobile broadcasting. Keating says the teamwork of the broadcasters involved is key to having the technology become widespread. “It’s the kind of scale and coalition-building you’ve got to do in this day and age to launch products into as complex an ecosystem as we operate in,” he says.
Some may feel it’s an uneasy time to be involved in the digital future of television, but Keating embraces the changes. “The opportunities brought on by the digital disruption are numerous and exciting,” he says. “It’s incredibly fun to see where this takes us in the years to come.”
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