By Jake Mulick
Seasoned veteran of the television industry and current president of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Bob Mauro spoke at the College on Friday, Feb. 19, in Mayo Concert Hall as a part of the weekly Brown Bag Series. Mauro boasts an impressive résumé, having worked as a former president at CBS and chief operating officer at the Leo Burnett Worldwide ad agency, as well as overseeing broadcast operations of radio and TV clients for Empire State Realty Trust.
Students were excited to see such an experienced speaker.
“It was nice to hear Bob Mauro speak on his accomplishments,” senior communication studies major David Brown said. “He provided a real and honest glimpse into the broadcasting world, inspiring many of the communication students who were in attendance.”
Mauro earned a degree in business and so spoke of the importance of financial knowledge, regardless of the degree you choose to pursue. Mauro emphasized that although his field of expertise mainly deals with communications, having a good business mind and being fiscally responsible is incredibly important.
Mauro spoke at length about the state of the television industry, comparing and contrasting what it was like when he first started his career to how it is currently. This included how technology and the innovation of the internet as well as how online television providers such as Netflix and HBO Go have changed the landscape of his profession.
Mauro also spoke about the evolution of online television, referencing the sale of “Sesame Street” to HBO as an example. Mauro explained that “Sesame Street,” which has always been owned by PBS, was losing a fair amount of money because the show lacked an online presence. The reason HBO bought them was not because of anything going wrong with PBS, but rather because of their online service, HBO Go. Mauro went on to discuss the importance of evolving with the industry and making sure to compete on every platform.
Early on in his career, Mauro bounced around a fair amount, working about half a dozen different jobs before settling at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
“I’ve always wanted the experience to be an effective executive,” Mauro said.
He mentioned that at certain jobs, he found it difficult to evolve or grow after a certain point and when he reached that point, he would often leave for a new job. It was evident that Mauro’s varied experiences have been an asset to him in the field of television and one of the reasons he remains such an effective executive.
Mauro also went into detail about how to appeal to different audiences, including the unparalleled effectiveness of Netflix.
“They have a model you can’t beat,” he said. “You watch it when you want to watch it.”
He highlighted that the convenience of the service was it’s most appealing aspect and the fact that similar services such as On Demand is having a hard time catching up with the online service because of how prevalent the online companies already are.
Mauro was also critical of the news media, specifically pertaining to the election coverage. He expressed his dissatisfaction with news outlets who neglect to report the important facts and instead angle stories in order to receive higher ratings. He believes that the media has a job to report the facts and information pertaining to the candidates and the media has been failing to do so.
Overall, it was an enlightening lecture about the ever-evolving landscape of modern media and an inside look at the factors at play behind-the-scenes.