In my interview with her, Schulman talks about her career, digital mobile, social media, national and local efforts, research trends, big data and what the future might look like for television stations and their multiplatform efforts. And she offers a way to view CBS (and other broadcast networks) that is not affected by any MVPD negotiation.
Below is a short excerpt from the interview. To view all the interview videos, click here.
CW: What exactly is digital mobile TV?
SLS: A lot of people like to talk about broadcast TV as if we are the old analog version of the world. The truth is, that when everything evolved to digital several years ago, all television went digital. All stations signals are digital. In fact, if you are a “broadcast only” home (or what we would have called an analog home) you can’t receive your own broadcast network signal unless you have a converter box of some sort to get that digital signal.
That is not what we talk about when we mean digital mobile TV. The mobile piece is a separate idea…. If you wanted to take TV with you anywhere and everywhere you go, you now have the capability to do that because the stations are sending out a signal that can be captured on a mobile device through a small antenna. And that is digital mobile TV.
There are two groups that are very focused on digital mobile. There is the Dyle Group and there is the Mobile 500. So there are lots of efforts in the local television station community to get their signals up, to get them mobilely available with an antenna of one kind or another, so that you can take your free over-the-air TV wherever you go with you.
CW: It sounds like this could have given all Time Warner cable customers access to CBS whether or not it was available on their channel lineup.
SLS: Yes. The important piece about digital mobile TV is that consumers do not need to feel victimized by television delivery mechanisms like cable or satellite choices. They can still receive over-the-air TV stations -- and all of their digital subchannels (some of which aren't being carried currently by cable or satellite providers) -- by purchasing a regular antenna at their local electronics store or by purchasing what we call a "dongle" (a mobile antenna) from Amazon.com. The dongle connects easily to a cell phone or tablet computer and allows the consumer to view over-the-air television signals, for free, anywhere. No WiFi required.
CW: There is a lot of data out there, and the challenge is how to derive insights from it – what is important and what is not. What are your thoughts about this issue?
SLS: You need to have people in your organization who really understand what data is clean and which data can be used. It’s great to have lots of data from different sources but you need to know how to organize it correctly. You need to know what is relevant and what is not. You need to have data and analytic experts who focus on what the questions are -- and not what the infinite possibilities of answers are.
Any good market researcher will tell you that this enormous data set is exciting -- almost like a being in a playground. But it means nothing if you don’t ask the right questions….
Some people say that the benefit of big data is that it will lead us to questions we never knew we needed to ask -- or see a pattern we never knew existed before. But that cannot be applied all the time. Deliberate diligence is the best approach.