In 1979, Patricia Gottesman was attracted to the possibilities of cable TV. She knew she wanted to be a part of it as it grew.
She didn't have to go too far away to do so. With a fresh degree from Hofstra University on New York's Long Island, Gottesman began her career as a producer in the local-origination department at Cablevision Systems, which serves Long Island, other parts of suburban New York and part of the Bronx.
Twenty-eight years later, with a diverse career at Cablevision behind her, she is being honored by the cable industry with the prestigious Vanguard Award for Marketing, presented to the individual who has been instrumental in development of marketing approaches that significantly enhance cable's public image and increase customers.
“In 1979, there was great experimentation in content, at Cablevision in particular. That was very attractive to me,” she says. “And the entrepreneurism and focus on so many facets like content, media development, technology and engineering weren't much different than today. The past 28 years have been very meaningful to me.”
She is now executive VP of digital marketing and commerce for Cablevision Systems Corp., a new group the company developed to advance its fiber network, services and brands and improve interactivity.
Her job has changed as the cable business has. At first, it involved selling customers on the notion of spending money to get television. “We've focused on marketing throughout the industry's history,” she says. With competition and new services, she adds, “now there's more focus on branding as we've evolved as an industry. Almost all of the MSOs are focusing on brand marketing. There's a strong benefit to that.”
Yet it has been more than just marketing and branding that has defined Gottesman's career; it has been her diversity, which has served the company and her career well. Gottesman is a Cablevision employee who has had her hands on lots of projects.
“I can recall when Pat began in local-origination production. She brought with her a 'happy energy' and made an event out of everything we did,” says Charles Dolan, chairman of Cablevision Systems Corp.
“She illuminated the scene and made everything work, with real leadership qualities,” he adds. “This is an appropriate time for her to be recognized with this award, since she is entering the most significant part of her career: enabling our customers to respond with a click of the remote to our offers. With Pat running this part of the business, it's likely to change our business significantly, and the industry as a whole. I wish we had more Patricia Gottesmans.”
At Cablevision, she has worked as a producer, system manager, general manager, VP of cable operations, senior VP of consumer product management (she initiated Cablevision's Optimum TV brand), and executive VP of product management and marketing.
Along the way, Gottesman has established herself as one of the cable industry's most dynamic and effective marketing, branding and product-development executives. She has been responsible for the development and ongoing evolution of Cablevision's digital and analog services, along with the effective presentation of triple-play services to consumers. She has also been active in CTAM (Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing) and co-chaired the 2006 CTAM Summit.
For Gottesman, the journey through cable's most formative years has been nothing short of a wonderland ride. “The environment at Cablevision is so supportive of innovation,” she says, and I've been privileged to work for people like Charles Dolan, [COO] Tom Rutledge and others. I've had a very rich 28 years, and there's been plenty of inspiration.”
Now she's deep into marketing Cablevision's Optimum package, the company's branded triple-play service, comprising interactive digital TV, high-speed Internet and digital voice-over-cable telephony.
“Cablevision has always wanted to add value to preserve the growth prospects of its business, and content is very important,” she says. “We're at a similar time now as we were in 1979. The way the content is being delivered and distributed across various platforms gives us a great opportunity. The cable platform is an extraordinary means of distribution.”
Gottesman's diverse talents have earned her a long and distinguished career with the same company. She finds it just plain fun. “It's great to be able to find ways to be helpful, and I'm really enjoying the experience,” she says. “It keeps the wind in my sails.”