ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Michael Park of Fox

Fox Corporation joined USC students via Zoom for the fourth installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series. Sixteen graduate students from the Marshall School of Business and the Iovine and Young Academy, many preparing to work in entertainment, shared their views on the future of media with Michael Park, VP of digital marketing for Fox Corporation. The discussion topic for the October 14 session was “What is the future of streaming entertainment, TV consumption, marketing, advertising and revenue models?”

Executive MBA student Jenny Lu sees a shift from paid subscription to ad-supported streaming video services. Iovine and Young’s Arlo Rosner would like to see a return even further — to brand-supported content (e.g. ‘Presented by ____’).

Rosner noted that his streaming service menu has become as user-unfriendly as his cable menu was. Lu agreed, saying there is too much friction to get to the content that she wants. Almost every student watches through an app or a smart device rather than through a cable box due to the better user experience. They also pointed out that smart devices do more than a cable box; they can webcast, play games and have other functions.

MBA student Ray Campos and others discussed how live polls and chats improved audience engagement for reality programming. Iovine and Young student Siddarth Sundaram enjoys hosting Watch Parties, but he runs them through FaceTime or other video chat tools because the Watch Party implementation on his service does not allow him to see the other people. He wants to see his friends’ reactions when he chats with them without that video covering the program.

MBA student Daisy Shi noted that in China she and her friends can share comments in real-time during programs, but in the U.S. that capability can be disabled to protect against inappropriate content.

Reddit usage split the group. Some students love how you can do deep research on a topic on Reddit. They also like how unfiltered it is. Other students found the UI and the amount of information on it intimidating.

Many students mentioned that they maintain their cable subscriptions purely for sports and other live events where spoilers would detract from the experience. They also mentioned that they keep cable as a fall back for reliable bandwidth. Sundaram summed up a commonly held view by saying that in the future he expects to pay for services but he expects reliable bandwidth and quality of service in return.

MBA student Alexandra Ingersoll’s comment that she records sports but watches them semi-delayed so she can fast forward through the commercials got a lot of support from the other students. Paying a la carte for individual events was a popular concept.

For more of the discussion, check out the 13-minute highlight video online.

The ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… Series

The Entertainment Technology Center at USC produced a series of virtual “executive coffee discussions” during the Fall semester. These one-hour discussions provide an opportunity for students and ETC member company executives to connect and discuss topics of mutual interest during this period of remote learning and social distancing.

For each session an executive posed one question or topic, students from across USC submitted brief statements of interest, and the ETC invited between 5 and 16 students to participate in the Zoom meeting. Each session was recorded and an 8- to 13-minute highlight video was produced.

The sessions were hosted by Verizon (September 23), Universal Pictures (September 29 and October 9), Fox Corporation (October 14), Equinix (October 22), ETC execs (October 29), Vubiquity (November 4) and Dolby Labs (November 12).

The videos are available on the Executive Coffee with… page online.