WASHINGTON, D.C. – Matthew Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. and Anne Sweeney, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney-ABC Television Group, are the 2008 recipients of the cable industry’s top honor, the Vanguard Award for “Distinguished Leadership,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said today.
Sweeney and Blank top the list of nine Vanguard Award winners who will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the cable industry. The 2008 Vanguard Awards will be presented on Tuesday, May 20, 2008, at a 4:15 p.m. (CDT) reception and awards ceremony during The Cable Show ’08, NCTA’s 57th Annual Convention & International Exposition, May 18-20 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
Inaugurated in 1965, the Vanguard Awards are presented annually to individuals who excel in both business and personal commitment to their colleagues, and whose accomplishments merit the recognition of the entire cable industry.
The Vanguard Awards will be presented by Abbe Raven, Chair of the NCTA Vanguard Awards Committee, and President and CEO of the A&E Television Networks.
A complete list of 2008 Vanguard Award honorees, along with a description of each award, follows.
Each year, two awards are presented, one to a man and one to a woman, who consistently have demonstrated the highest level of cable industry leadership. This year’s recipients are:
Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. In a career spanning three decades, Blank has made a significant and indelible mark on the cable television industry. Blank has been with Showtime since 1988, assuming the position of President and Chief Operating Officer in 1991, followed by President and CEO, and then Chairman and CEO in 1995. During his tenure at Showtime, he has helped transform the network into one of the most successful cable channels in the industry. Under Blank’s leadership, Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI) has grown from three premium networks to include 27 digital channels. SNI also has been a champion and an early adopter of the latest technologies, such as High Definition and Subscriptieon Video on Demand, providing cable subscribers with more choice, convenience, and an enhanced viewing experience. Blank is a Trustee of the Harlem Childrn’s Zone and a member of the Board of Directors of the Creative Coalition and PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning). On April 30, he will receive a special honor from the Museum of the Moving Image, which he also serves as a Trustee. Active in numerous industry organizations, he currently serves on the Board of Directors of the NCTA and The Cable Center and is an avid supporter and former honoree of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Cable Positive. Blank previously was honored with NCTA’s Vanguard Award for Marketing in 1991 and Vanguard Award in the Programming category in 1999.
Anne Sweeney, President, Disney-ABC Television Group and Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks. Since assuming her current role in 2004, Sweeney repeatedly has been named the
Most Powerful Woman in Entertainment” by The Hollywood Reporter, one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune, and one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes. She is responsible for Disney’s entertainment and news television properties globally. During her tenure, Disney-ABC Television Group’s properties have experienced tremendous growth: Disney Channel has more than quintupled its subscriber base with its mix of original series and movies and acquired programming. It is now available on basic cable in more than 89 million homes in the United States. Active in organizations both within and outside the cable industry, Sweeney is a board member of Lifetime Television, the Museum of Television & Radio, the Special Olympics and an honorary chair of Cable Positive. She was inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2005.
The growth of cable is in large part due to the energy, vitality and creativity of the many young people working within the industry, and the Young Leadership Award recognizes those individuals who have already made a mark on the industry and its constituents. This year’s honoree is:
Bret Perkins, Vice President of Government Affairs, Comcast Cable Corporation. Strong leadership, knowledge, focus and commitment are just a few of the characteristics attributed to Perkins by his colleagues at Comcast. Perkins joined Comcast in 2001, and is credited with effectively managing a very large local government affairs function during a rapidly growing period for the company. During this time, he managed the transition from an operation responsible for 22 states and 2,500 communities to one with 39 states and 6,000 communities. Perkins currently serves as the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of NAMIC, served as cochair of the 2006 Public Affairs Forum of the Association of Cable Communications (formerly the Cable Television Public Affairs Association), and has served on the boards of the Committee of Seventy (a Philadelphia political watchdog group), and the President’s Advisory Board at Temple University.
Cable’s creative programming services make the industry a leader in the home entertainment business, and this award recognizes innovation, leadership and individual achievement of NCTA’s programmer members. This year’s honoree is:
Kenneth W. Lowe, President & CEO, The E.W. Scripps Company. Prior to rejoining the Scripps corporate offices in Cincinnati, Lowe was chairman and CEO of Knoxville-based Scripps Networks. He built the company’s Scripps Networks division into one of the nation’s fastest growing and most successful creators of unique brands for television and the Internet. He founded and launched Home & Garden Television in 1994; managed Food Network, in which the company owns a majority interest; and oversaw the launch of the company’s third network, Do It Yourself (DIY), as well as Fine Living and Great American Country. Lowe serves on the boards of many organizations, including the Associated Press, Fifth Third Bancorp and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. Lowe is chair of Cincinnati USA Partnership and serves on the board of directors of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., and as a trustee of the Fine Arts Fund – among many other community organizations.
Science & Technology
This award honors individuals who have played a significant role in product improvement as well as in the design and development of engineering techniques. This year’s honoree is:
Paul G. Allen, Chairman, Charter Communications and Chairman, Vulcan Inc. Investor and philanthropist Paul Allen has had a long and illustrious career in the cable industry, marked by his support for innovation. Allen has been credited with significantly advancing the set-top user experience in the area of interactive digital video through the development of Digeo’s Moxi user interface. The Moxi user interface has become an award-winning product highly regarded in the cable industry, aligning with the industry’s tru2way™ initiative to enable simple, two-way interactive television. He has also been a key driver, working with Microsoft, in the development of the Open Cable Unidirectional Receiver, which enables cable’s digital video, including HDTV, to be displayed on Media Center PCs driven by the Vista Operating System.
Cable Operations Management
This award recognizes the efforts of cable's system managers, who work under intensely competitive conditions in today's dynamic telecommunications environment, and are critical to the cable industry's success at the local level. This year’s recipient is:
Steven Brookstein, Executive Vice President, Operations, Bresnan Communications. Brookstein is a core member of the Bresnan management team and has overseen the management of systems during a period of remarkable growth for the company – especially when considering that many of Bresnan’s systems operate in a challenging rural environment. In particular, Brookstein is credited with the successful launch of Bresnan’s digital phone service and its industry-leading penetration rate of 33 percent of basic subscribers after just three years of availability.
Government & Community Relations
This award recognizes individuals who have had a significant impact on promoting a positive public image and advocating public policy positions for the cable industry at the national, state and/or local levels. This year’s honoree is:
Carol A. Melton, Executive Vice President, Global Public Policy, Time Warner Inc. Melton is responsible for overseeing all of Time Warner’s domestic and international public policy operations, including offices in Washington, D.C., London, Brussels and Hong Kong. As the company’s chief public policy strategist and advocate, she also works closely with the senior management of the company’s business units on policy issues affecting them worldwide. In particular, she is integrally involved in developing business and public policy strategies for Turner, HBO and Time Warner Cable. Under Melton’s direction and leadership, Time Warner has played a leading role in staving off efforts to regulate the Internet marketplace, a key area of growth for the cable industry.
This award honors an individual who has been instrumental in the development of marketing approaches that significantly enhance cable's public image and increase customers. This year’s honoree is:
Sam Howe, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Time Warner Cable. Howe leads Time Warner Cable’s marketing efforts – influencing virtually every aspect of the company’s successful efforts to drive awareness and sales. He heads Time Warner’s outreach to prepare customers for the 2009 Digital Transition, and has worked tirelessly on industry-wide marketing efforts. In 2007, he co-chaired the Marketing Co-op of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), leading a unified national marketing campaign for cable phone service and supporting the Cable Mover Hotline, retail initiatives, and integrated communications efforts, among others. He continues to be a member of the CTAM Board of Directors and he served as co-chair of the CTAM Summit ’07.
Associates & Affiliates
This award recognizes the important contributions of equipment manufacturers and service suppliers to cable industry innovation, growth and progress. This year’s honoree is:
Michael Pohl, President, Global Strategies, C-COR. Pohl’s 26 years of experience in the cable industry includes directing franchising for Tribune Cable and Douglas Communications, serving as CEO of SkyConnect and nCUBE, and in his current position at C-COR, a global provider of VOD access and management platforms. A longtime advocate for small cable operators, he played a critical role in the creation of HITS, which enables small operators to deliver digitallybased satellite signals to their customers. In addition to his work at C-COR, Pohl remains heavily involved in the cable industry’s leading organizations including CableLabs, NCTA, Cable TV Pioneers and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE).
Attending the Awards Ceremony
Reservations are required to attend the Vanguard Awards and Reception at The Cable Show ’08. For more information, contact Tobi Brown in NCTA Industry Affairs at 202/222-2430. For additional, up-to-the-minute information, or to register for The Cable Show ’08, visit the official web site (www.thecableshow.com) or contact NCTA's Department of Industry Affairs (202/222-2430).
- Media Attendance: The Vanguard Awards event is open to the media at no cost, but reservations are mandatory. Reporters and editors may make reservations by contacting Licet Ariza at The Fratelli Group, at 202/822-9491 or email@example.com, no later than May 16.
- Photo Editors: To obtain photos of the Vanguard winners, please contact Pam Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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