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Developing Tomorrow's Media Leaders Today

Alan Breznick

Seeking to help find and foster the next generation of media leaders, Light Reading is joining forces with other industry organizations to support students developing new TV, broadband and online technologies and applications.

Known as the Interactive Launch Competition, the program pits teams of four to five students from leading US business and graduate schools against each other in intensive case-study projects about a wide range of new technologies and apps. Working with industry executives who serve as mentors and coaches, the teams tackle subjects like TV Everywhere, cloud DVR, 4K/UHD, advanced advertising, big data analytics, wireless video, virtual reality and IoT.

Now in its sixth year, the Interactive Launch Competition has already helped educate more than 175 graduate students from across the nation about cable, broadband and digital media. Participating schools include Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, The Wharton School, Columbia Business School, Georgetown University, University of Chicago Booth, University of Denver Daniels, UCLA Anderson and USC Marshall, among others.

The novel program is the brainchild of Interactive TV Works head Craig Leddy, a leading cable industry writer, editor, lecturer and consultant who also happens to be a contributing analyst for Heavy Reading. He produces and hosts this annual competition.

But Leddy has plenty of help. Besides Light Reading, the lineup of supporting industry organizations includes the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) , Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) , Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) , Women in Cable Telecommunications and the Kaitz Foundation.

Aiming to "bolster" the cable industry by funneling more top business students into the industry, the NCTA now hosts the competition finals at its Washington, DC headquarters each fall (November 8 this year). "We love the energy and creativity sparked by the student competition," said Rob Stoddard, SVP of Communications & Public Affairs for the NCTA. "It helps sustain our industry's entrepreneurial spirit, and the participation of business students brings fresh eyes to our many challenges."

The list of mentor companies encompasses nearly two dozen major firms from across the media spectrum. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Samsung Corp. head the list of companies contributing their execs as student mentors, coaches and judges.

Former Bright House Networks President Nomi Bergman serves as the lead judge for most of the competitions, providing feedback for the students and insights for the audience. "The students continue to impress and inspire me," said Bergman, who's now senior executive officer of Advance/Newhouse. "They bring a uniquely fresh, millennial perspective to the new products and emerging technologies that we're introducing to the marketplace, which ultimately helps us all to be more successful."

As a new media partner of the Interactive Launch Competition, Light Reading will help promote the program and contribute coaches and judges. LR will also provide a forum for the winning student presentations at our two main cable events each year, namely the Future of Cable Business Services conference in New York City in the late fall (November 30) and the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference in Denver in the early spring (March 21 & 22).

We'll keep you posted on the competition's progress as the November 8 finals draw near. In the meantime, we encourage media firms to participate in this fine program.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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5/31/2017 | 11:25:12 PM
This is excellent news! It's good to see Light Reading so involved. I can't wait to see the great things that come out of Launch this year.
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