Roger Keating: A Well-Connected Digital Doyen

Hearst Television exec charts the future of over-the-top TV innovations

B&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.”