Interview Date: December 1, 2016
Interview Location: New York City, NY USA
Interviewer: Seth Arenstein
Collection: Cable Center Hauser Oral History Project
SETH ARENSTEIN: Hi, I’m Seth Arenstein. I’m here for the Hauser Oral History Project for The Cable Center. It’s December 1st, 2016. We’re in New York City, and we are here joined by the chairman of the board, the president, and the CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive, Ken Lowe. Ken, welcome.
KEN LOWE: Thank you. It’s great to be here.
SETH ARENSTEIN: And I should mention that this is part two of your oral history. Steve Nelson did your oral history, part one. Really good one, by the way, I thought it was very interesting —
KEN LOWE: Thank you.
SETH ARENSTEIN: — back in 2005. So now we have about an hour to go over 11 years. Are you ready?
KEN LOWE: I’m ready. It’s hard to believe it’s been since 2005 since I sat down with Steve.
SETH ARENSTEIN: So I guess one question that comes to mind by reading your title — President, CEO, Chairman of the Board — how does one person do three jobs?
KEN LOWE: You have great people surrounding you, that’s for sure. Very fortunate. It’s been — this is my 36th year with Scripps. Started out in the radio division, oversaw their television division, and was fortunate enough to have the idea for HGTV and the company wanted to back that idea, and it grew into the cable network division. So with that comes some responsibilities and along the way, a few titles. So I’ve been very fortunate.
SETH ARENSTEIN: You know, it’s funny. I was going through your 2005 oral history, and I — an old journalist, I’m trying to find something to trip you up on, but gee, I really couldn’t find anything. I mean, you said so many interesting things in that interview and made a couple predictions and — pretty much came true. So I have nothing to trip you up on, unfortunately.
KEN LOWE: Well, I’m sure over the course of the interview you’ll find something.
SETH ARENSTEIN: All right. So let’s pick it up from about 2005. So what did Scripps look like in 2005? What kind of carriage did you have? Who was on your slate, who was on your programming slate? Just remind us.
KEN LOWE: Sure. Well, you know, in preparing for the interview, I had to myself think back. Because so many things have happened. At that time, I was the CEO of the E.W. Scripps Company, which was a larger media-holding company, and our lifestyle media networks — our cable networks — were one of the divisions. We had newspapers, television stations, and the cable networks. The cable networks were really coming into their own at a time, being a good journalist, when newspapers and broadcast television was really starting to get some headwinds. So it was becoming very obvious, to the management team and to our shareholders, that really the shining star of the company were the cable networks.
But being a good, family-controlled company — the Scripps family was very, very emotionally involved in all the businesses — we wanted to continue. But we knew, probably down the road, the cable networks would probably have to be spun out on their own. But at that time, shows like House Hunters on HGTV were really starting to break through. Food Network Star was a show that was starting to really peak on the Food Network.
And at the same time, domestic growth was really peaking. We were topping out on a hundred million households. We were fully distributed cable networks. And we had added the DIY Network, we had added the Cooking Channel. So really, it was a great time for the cable networks. They were growing like Topsy, as they say in the South, and really becoming what we’d envisioned years ago when we started these things, as what was going to be the focal point of our company.
And we were starting to get recognized. It sounds funny now, but for the longest time — and if you go back and look to the older interview — it took us a while to gain some respect. We were a small lifestyle group, and everybody said, “Hey, these are nice little businesses, but they’re not going to be huge. Never going to be some of the big cable networks.” And during that period, it was becoming obvious that they had the potential to be. And so it was a great time for the cable network business. Not a great time in the newspaper and broadcast division businesses.
At the same time, we had a very supportive board, who were spending a lot of time just thinking about the future and what was the best way for us as a management team to expend our resources and time. As an example, about 25 percent of our business was devouring about 70 percent of management’s time. It was obvious that we needed, as a company, to put more focus on this cable network division.
Now, we wouldn’t spin them out into a public company, into a separate public company, for three more years, until 2008. But even at that time, you were beginning to sense that, okay, this is a business that can support a standalone public company.
SETH ARENSTEIN: Filling in the canvas, Ken, how many employees were there in 2005 and how many are there today? And if I turned on my set back in 2011 — 2005, rather, 11 years ago — what would I find on HGTV? What would I find on Food Network?
KEN LOWE: Great questions, because at the time, we were probably beginning to approach a thousand employees, and now we’re approaching four thousand. But as far as turning on your television, it was very reflective — and I think that’s one of the reasons that we’ve been successful, because we’ve been somewhat of a mirror, if you will, to society. We haven’t necessarily tried to lead in trends in home improvement, home design, decorating, etc. But we certainly tried to follow and be reflective. And the same in food.
And if you recall, we were leading up to a pretty tough period for the housing industry, in the later 2000s, when we really had the housing downfall, if you will. So at that time, there was a lot of decorating and design. But there’s also some house flipping. And there was also some exuberance in the whole housing market that, while not completely unfounded from a standpoint of passion and “this is where I want to invest some of my money,” some of the folks were invested beyond just one home. So we got caught up in that a little bit.
I remember Businessweek Magazine came out with an article after the housing bust, and one of the reasons they said was the problem with the housing industry was HGTV. It got people too excited about their homes. We didn’t quite buy into that theory. But the point I’m making is, if you go back, it was pretty frothy in the home-building industry at that time. Ironically, when the housing bust did come along, it allowed us to move into more redesign, redecorating, reinvesting, if you will. And not some of this craziness about how many homes can you own, as opposed to what’s your home and what’s your passion really about.
SETH ARENSTEIN: Can you remember back then, around the time of the housing bubble, of busting — again, we’re looking back years later and saying, “Oh, well, we knew that we could move into redecoration and redesign.” But what was it — what did it feel like at that point?
KEN LOWE: Well, there were several things, not the least of which was advertising. Our cable networks are unique in the sense that we probably have more advertising as a percentage of our business than most. Most are 50-50 subscriber fees and advertising. We’re more 70-30. So the advertising market actually was probably more of a negative impact to us than was really what going on in the housing industry.
People’s passion for their home — that never changed. It was a financial correction. It was just an overexuberance on home loans. There was really — people had their hair on fire about, “Oh, this is a market that’s never going to go backward.” So that got a little bit out of whack. But once we got through that bubble, the passion, the heart-to-home, that connection, it never really changed. Once we got over that bump, we didn’t have to change our programming very much on HGTV.
Ironically, during that period, we saw a spike in comfort food on the Food Network. Because what people were doing is what we always do in times of trouble, in times of concern, what do you do? You eat. You go to Mom’s, right? You go to Grandma’s. So we — ironically, what we were noticing on the Food Network, instead of some of the crazy recipes and cooking and fun — which it was still a fun network, but — comfort food just went crazy. And if you go back and look at when hamburgers really started taking off again in the United States, a lot of that was during that period. Because people were downsizing a little bit, they were being more concerned about their food budget. But it was being reflected in the kitchens around the country as well.
So it was interesting to have those two barometers, if you will. The home category and the food category. And we could watch. As one was impacted to the negative side, the other went, in my opinion, a little more positive, from getting back to home and getting back to the kitchen.
SETH ARENSTEIN: Just out of curiosity, a question occurred to me. We talked about the home problems and then moving into redesign. Did that inform, perhaps, your strategy on food, when people were starting to say, “Oh, well, comfort food’s great, but we really have to watch our waistlines, we have to watch our nutrition, and we have to be healthier.” I would think, with your experience from the home side, you’d said, “Look, okay, people aren’t going to stop eating. But where are they going to go?” You would start to look at different types of programming for food.
KEN LOWE: Well, look, it’s a very insightful question, because those truly were — no pun intended — the salad days for the Food Network. But I mean that in the sense of the ratings and the popularity. It absolutely soared. Many times, Food Network was the number-one cable network in prime time. Some of that had to do — and you’re right, there was this sense — I think because of what the economy was, it wasn’t just housing, as you recalled, it was a pretty bleak time, stock market and so on and so on.
But ironically, and this is the dirty little secret, it’s — I’ll use myself, you know? Of course I eat healthy. Are you kidding? I don’t eat junk food. I don’t eat comfort food. But when we put healthy cooking and programming on the Food Network, ratings aren’t all that great. About that time, a show emerged from a guy who won Next Food Network Star, Guy Fieri. And this show, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, did nothing but tour around America and go to the great dives, the great diners. And guess what? That ain’t healthy food. But it’s great food. And that show, today, is an icon.
But in looking back and thinking back for this interview, I really — sometimes you just don’t connect all the dots that’s right there in front of you. But I’d forgotten that, during that period, when comfort food was taking off, when people were looking for comfort — and, by the way, high-end dining was starting to fall off, not just because of the economy, but — people were looking to feed their soul, if I may. And “Gosh, this is a lot of bad news,” or “My bank account’s been hit,” or My home’s not worth” — let’s go have some comfort food. And ironically, we still probably see some signs that healthy cooking and healthy eating has made more of an impact over the last few years. But at the end of the day, as far as what people want to watch — it’s one thing to cook it, it’s one thing to eat it — they want to watch fun stuff, fun food.
SETH ARENSTEIN: I’ll tell you what, you bring up triple-D — Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives — we talked — today, we have this term called “binge watching.” Well, I think you all started it. Because on certain evenings, maybe, I think, on the weekends, Friday or Saturday nights, you can put on Food Network and watch hours and hours and hours of Guy Fieri. I have watched hours and hours and hours, and I wouldn’t say it’s an iconic show. I would say it’s an addiction, and you’ve addicted me, so…
KEN LOWE: Well, you’re kind. Ironically, when we first launched HGTV, back in 1994, there was no social media. You know, we got input by creating a 1-800 number and asking people to call us and tell us what they thought. But we also got faxes. We got letters. The one word — and if we would launch in a market, let’s say we launched in Seattle, and nobody ever heard of HGTV — the one word that was uniform at the time: “I’m addicted to this network.”
Now, I will tell you that it was part of the plan. If you go back to my old radio days, in radio, the real barometer, the real measure, was time spent listening. You wanted to get someone, and you wanted to keep them listening to their station as long as possible. And it was all predicated on, “You like this song? You’re going to like the next song.” So our research was not just to get you to tune in and hear one or two songs, but to at least keep you for a quarter hour, 30 minutes, whatever.
So I was building HGTV, the idea was to put in as few roadblocks as possible. And by that, I mean as few reasons to tune out and more reasons just to leave it there. So HGTV, and eventually Food became the same, was built to go from show to show to show. If you don’t particularly like the show, just wait a minute, because we’re about food. We’re about home. The next one, you probably like.
The other thing is when we made the decision from the get-go not to really, in my opinion, program to the lowest common denominator. And there was not going to be any violence. There was not going to be any sexual innuendo. There was going to be no profanity. It really was going to be a programming that you would welcome into your home. It was targeted to women, which, at the time, in the ’90s, mid-’90s, was a bit unusual. We only — we already had, in the industry, Lifetime as a channel targeted to women. I think that’s why it resonated.
That addiction, it came mostly from women, in the early days. And over the years, men have picked up. But we now, among cable networks, have the longest time spent viewing. People still, to this day, will say, “I turn it on and leave it on. It’s a very comforting environment, both in home and both in food.” So I think some of that has played very well into our success.
SETH ARENSTEIN: Ken, let’s talk a little bit about international growth and what you’ve done in the past 11 years there, some of the properties that you’ve picked up, some of the channels and programming. I’d also like you to talk about business and doing business overseas and what you’ve learned.
KEN LOWE: Sure. Well, as we approached 2008, it did become obvious that we needed to spin out our cable networks into a separate division. In 2008, we spun Scripps Networks from the E.W. Scripps Company, leaving behind newspapers and television stations. It became a separately publicly traded company, SNI. We added the word “interactive.” Scripps Networks Interactive. We did that intentionally, obviously. But we did it because we really felt that the opportunities that cable was going to afford us — through broadband, through enhancements in technology and our ability to hyper-target and to direct advertising — we felt that was going to be a huge opportunity for us, our content, and our audience.
So we added “interactive” when we spun the networks. And at the time, we got a lot of questions. “Well, why is Scripps Networks interactive?” What we said was, “Look, we’ve been interactive since day one. We’ve got a call center,” and then social media picked up. I don’t think people, the investment community, completely understood at the time. We have anywhere from 20 to 25 thousand of our viewers, our users, our consumers, in any given month in a panel, they come in and out, called Under One Roof. And the idea is to be constantly in touch with our users. What are you seeing, what do you like, what do you don’t like, what are your trends? How much time are you spending in the kitchen? How much time are you spending on your home?
So that’s always been a barometer for us. I think it goes back to our roots, if you will, and that is let’s make sure the audience is a partner in the front seat with us as we go forward, and not just push stuff out. I think, in hindsight, even though we didn’t seem to get traction with interactive, that now, people are beginning to understand what it was all about. But I think it was an important point when we spun the networks out.
But it was important for two reasons. One, it gave shareholders an opportunity just to invest in cable networks. They didn’t have to buy a company that had newspapers, television stations, and cable networks. And, unfortunately, people were trying to shy away from newspaper stocks. They just didn’t want to buy into them. So, financially, if you were a shareholder and you got split shares, it was — in hindsight, it worked out very well. For us, it also gave us an opportunity from a management to just focus clearly on the future of the cable networks and not have to be bogged down with, “What are we going to do with the newspapers?” etc.
So we went more into an aggressive M&A strategy. We acquired the Travel Channel. And we began to realize that a lot of the programming that we had syndicated internationally — we’d mostly just sold our content, because we owned all of it. That was another decision from day one, and if you go back to the 2005 interview, that’s one of the things that I really emphasized, and that is you need to control your destiny. You need to own your content. As we sit here in 2016, I think that’s become pretty obvious. Because as we look at what the Netflix of the worlds are doing, and now Amazon, and Google, and etc., a lot of people are getting into content. So if you don’t own your content, you don’t own your destiny. So by owning our content, we’d already been syndicating it internationally. Then we decided, “Let’s become more aggressive. We don’t want to be just a domestic company.” So we started moving more offshore. We acquired Asian Food Channel. We became 50-50 partners with the BBC in UKTV. We really decided to move from syndicating programming to actually creating our own channels worldwide, either through partnership or ownership on our own. We acquired TVN in Poland, which is kind of the equivalent of the NBC or Fox of Poland. We’ve gone from, in 2005, let’s say one percent of our revenue that was coming from international, even 2008, it was maybe one or two percent. Today it’s almost 25 percent. So we’ve changed the profile of the company, intentionally.
But to your question, I think moving offshore — successful as we are in the States, in many ways — I was constantly reminding our people, “Let’s not become arrogant. Let’s not assume that we have all the answers in home and food. As a matter of fact, this is a great opportunity for us, because the old cliché is ‘food is the international language.’ Well, let’s make sure we’re not speaking just English and speaking American.”
So for us, it’s been a learning experience. As you go into these countries, you go into cultures. Asia’s a great example. When we decided to launch HGTV in Asia, we were very, very careful to make sure it was reflective of the Asian view of home. And the Asian view of home was much more family. You have families who live under one roof for generations. So it wasn’t so much about design and decorating and remodeling, because that’s not as robust in some of these other countries as it is here. As it was, in the case of Asia, about family.
In other countries, a little bit different. They liked a little bit more of the American programming. Not so much necessarily for, “Oh, that’s a great tip. I’m going to repaint my dining room.” In some cases, “These crazy Americans, look what they’re doing.” It was entertainment. At the same time, trends that we picked up internationally came back here. Tiny houses, which right now is huge. We can’t put a show on the air about tiny houses — a lot of that was influenced by what we were seeing in smaller condominiums, smaller homes, around the world. So we were learning.
The same with food. I want to think, and I think it’s true, that we’re a much more diverse company as well, now. Because it has been an opportunity for us to learn, as we’ve moved internationally, that there are some different ways to do some different things. So we’ve imported some ideas, if I may use that term. We’ve imported talent. I think, as we talk about a global society, what we’re trying to do is learn as we grow.
Sometimes it’s painful. There are times when our culture gets in the way of, I think, our understanding and appreciation of other cultures. We see it playing out now in the geopolitical world. But the same is true about understanding just the differences in — if I invite you into my home, it may not be reflective of your taste, etc. But coming into my home is an opportunity for us to get to know each other at a different level. And what we find, in the rest of the world, is it’s a different experience. It’s not just, “Come into my home for a party. Come into my home for — come to my home for socialization.” The same is true with food.
Look, it’s a journey. We’re learning. It’s exciting. It’s given our company tremendous growth opportunities. But cultures, and understanding how to approach culture, and sometimes not even say words or do things, it could be offensive. And then what we’re experiencing right now, as we’re sitting down doing this interview, is somewhat the populist movement in other countries, as well. We have to be respectful of that, because we don’t want to be, quote-unquote, an “American” company that comes in and thinks we know what’s best for you. So we really have to focus on local talent, local content. I would say our success, on the international side, is very dependent on being reflective of those countries, those cultures, and those people.
SETH ARENSTEIN: Ken, very well said. And I just want to — the first thing that comes to mind, though, of course, is how Scripps Networks Interactive took on a really big push — and I think I heard you give a speech at an event where you said we need to do more work on diversity. It seems to me that — or tell me about taking a diversity push here in the United States. I would assume that has helped you understand and be respectful of cultures overseas.
KEN LOWE: Yeah. I appreciate the question. It really goes back to, and — I get the benefit and the great joy and certainly the adulation of being the chairman and the CEO. The truth of the matter is there was a founding group of folks who, back in the early ’90s, left great jobs, great organizations, to join me, because they believed in this dream of HGTV.
But what the founders of HGTV put in place that, I think, really has given us the chance to be as successful as we are today, was a set of core values. Okay? We hope we’re going to be successful. We hope we’re going to make money. But we’ve all been in different places. We were, at that point in our lives, late thirties, early forties, where we said, “Okay, if we’re going to invest time, or we’re going to be from away from our families, and we’re going to build this business, let’s at least make sure that it’s reflective of the kind of values that we all aspire to.”
So we created our core values in those days, and they’re with us today. You walk into any building in our organization, company, they’re on display. The employees are well aware of them. We all carry core value cards in our wallets and purses. But it’s not so much that, it’s just be able to hang it on the wall. It is to live the core values. By the way, set a very high standard for a company to achieve it.
So from day one, diversity was on that list. Now, I will tell you, as we sit here in 2016, I don’t think we’re as far along, even after 20-some years, as we should be. To your point, growing internationally has really allowed us, though, to understand that to be successful, it ain’t about just us. Right? And this is not just male and female and racial. It’s cultural. It’s transgender. It’s all. And it produces, sometimes, in my opinion, challenges for companies. But if we, as a company, are not willing to accept those, embrace those, and understand this is going to be the future of the world, then, I think, you’re not going to be able to grow and expand.
Not easy, and it’s not just the organization, but it’s what’s on screen. Because sometimes, trying to push diversity on-screen is a challenge, on one hand. On the other, I think we see it as an opportunity. We see it as a glass-half-full. Because as we, again, have started importing chefs and folks who may design and decorate, and architects from around the world, we’re seeing more of an openness. Okay, this is a little bit of a shining light on the hill, to share. We’re seeing more openness, I think, especially with millennials. That “I want to be more global. I want to think beyond our borders.” And so if you start thinking about trends over the next 10 years, just in our categories in our corner of the world, I think you will see more international programming coming back to our country, and more of an openness to international programming.
Now, the irony is, you take something like Downton Abbey, which was this programming phenomenon. And in many ways it highlighted, again, I think, some of the qualities of PBS and BBC, etc. But it’s not the undertaking that most content folks want to go after, right? It’s not — it doesn’t scream loud, it doesn’t get a lot of attention, it’s not profanity. It’s reflective of society that most folks, even Brits, were surprised about.
But my point is, we’re starting to see more openness to thinking beyond just life in fast-food lanes and strip malls. What can we learn from great architecture of the world? What can we learn from great food of the world? And this is the first time I can remember looking at research and seeing what we’re seeing, internationally and domestic, we’re just really starting to open. I think, quite frankly, some of it’s the millennial generation. It’s the change in thinking.
So as frustrated as many of us get today about, “Oh my gosh, are we regressing?” or “What’s going on in our country?” or da-da-da. “What’s going on worldwide, this populist movement?” You know, it’s just — this is a short blip in time. So I’m somewhat the optimist when it comes to becoming more of a global society, if you will.
SETH ARENSTEIN: You know, Ken, listening to what you were saying about international programming things, you recently, or in the last couple years, you were invited to the Vatican to talk about values and integrity. Tell us about that. Very few people get invited to the Vatican.
KEN LOWE: Well, because I have quite a few friends that love practical jokes, I assure you that I really researched to make sure this was the real Vatican. Because the last thing you want to do is, “Hey, I’m going to the Vatican, I’m going to meet the Pope.”
But no, in all sincerity, the Vatican, in the last few years, has made the decision to host seminars. And this particular year was on family values in media. It’s not just cable network programming. It’s social media, it’s all media. I think a valiant effort, and I was really impressed with the Panel. Eric Schmidt from Google, and on and on and on, some of the top folks from advertising around the world. From Martin Sorrell, and — so I mean, the quality of the panel was really impressive. And when you go there, and you realize, it’s a little bit like the UN, so many people listening on headphones and speaking in different languages — it’s the Vatican.
It was somewhat overwhelming on one hand, but it also really resonated with me about the opportunities to continue to talk about how media — how social media in particular, but also video media and what we do — impacts people, and the responsibility we have, as content creators, to think about that. Not just the P&L, but also what is it saying to society about us? What is it saying to the youth, not only of this nation, but around the world? So it was an incredible opportunity. I would love to see that happen on a larger scale.
And then we did get some private time with the Pope, which is very hard to describe. I’m not Catholic, but I was overwhelmed. Everyone in the room was. And he came in and spent time with us. This was in his private residence, came around the room and spent at least five, six, seven minutes with each of us. I have to say, it was — I never thought about this in my life, but I’m standing there with this man, and this aura is emanating from him that you can’t really put into words. I’m not sure it’s something that I could articulate. But it flashed on me, can you imagine, over two thousand years ago, somebody come up and said, “By the way, this is Jesus Christ, the son of God?” “Oh, really? Looks like me.”
My point is, there was something in this man, in this human being, that was different from me. His life, the way he’d led it, his humbleness, his aura — so you knew you were in the presence of somebody who had the same form and obviously was another human being, but was in a different place. And in this place that you actually want to be. And we — David Zaslav, a good friend of mine, he and his wife were there as well. We were talking about this later at dinner. We really were all struggling to articulate it, but we knew we had been with an individual who had devoted his life to the good of humankind.
I have to say it had a rub-off effect. Because it did make you think, not just about your own life, but, “Okay, this stuff we’re putting onscreen, this content we’re putting on our websites and on our mobile devices, we’ve got a responsibility here. And where does that stop and start?” So not to get too far afield from the cable industry, but I do think it’s something that we as content creators, we as people who control pipelines and taking information and entertainment into people’s homes, there’s a responsibility that comes with it, and I think we have to be cognizant of that.
I have to say, I was rather surprised about how much a lot of the folks in the Vatican were aware of our family values content, and how — and they were talking about Americans, more, I think, than they were internationally, how it influenced. For example, we have a high amount of co-viewing. Co-viewing meaning mothers watch with their daughters. Fathers watch with their sons. Family viewing, you know. You and I grew up with that term, family viewing. Because there weren’t that many things to watch, so kind of — family gathered around the TV set. There weren’t multiple television sets.
We have a high percentage of co-viewing, because a lot of it is family-oriented. I get this a lot from mothers that say, “I’m teaching my daughter to cook with the Food Network, because she finds that entertaining. And what I do in the kitchen, we’ll just like chop together, and then we’ll created Chopped in the kitchen, and she said, ‘Next thing I know I’ve spent two hours with my daughter, and she doesn’t even know it.’” And when I was sitting with these guys, they go, “Well, we really admire the amount of co-viewing you have.” Yeah, really. It was surprising, the finger on the pulse they have. Social media as well, the good and bad. At the time we were there, there was a lot about between fake news and what’s coming out on the internet, etc., etc. They had a very good handle on a lot of that.
At the same time, they see a big challenge or opportunity for the Catholic Church, if you will, of using media in a more proactive and positive way. So anyway, it was a great learning experience. It also tells you that, as I said, at the risk of being redundant, it’s not just creating the stuff and putting it out there. At some point, you have to say, “We’re also responsible for what we create.”
And being a journalist, I know I’m preaching to the saved right now, but quality journalism, to me, is at an all-time high. It’s never been more valuable, and yet it’s been devalued in a way that, from an investment standpoint, it’s not a good place to quote-unquote “invest.” It is. I think what you’ll see is — I think we’ll see a renaissance of quality journalism in the next 10 years as well. Or at least authentic and sourced journalism.
SETH ARENSTEIN: I hope you’re right. Talking about creations, one of the things that I know the Cable Center wanted me to ask you about are some of the people, some of the stars that you’ve created on Food Network. And let me get into it by saying this, or asking you this: If you had a bunch of Food Network personalities here with you, whose cooking would you want first? I know you’re going to insult somebody if you don’t put them on the list, but I remember asking Brooke Johnson this question a few years ago for her oral history, and she sidestepped it very delicately. But let’s try to put the hammer down here, Ken. Who would you want to eat with? No, she said Bobby Flay, she named a few, she said. But who —
KEN LOWE: Well, look, I think this is a great question, because people talk about the stars on HGTV and the stars on Food Network. If you go back to when HGTV was created, back to my radio roots, I said, “Look, we can’t be all Billy Joel. We can’t be all The Eagles. We have to have diversity, and we have to have the heft of one show to the next.” If you have just one or two stars or talents, what happens to the other 22 hours of the day?
We also realized, early on, that we couldn’t quote-unquote “create” stars. We couldn’t manufacture stars. The reason is because of this trust we wanted to build with the audience, the trust, the brand equity we wanted in HGTV and Food had to be interactive. It had to be two-way. You had to trust us that the people we’re putting on our air actually know what the heck they’re talking about and how to do it. And even before we acquired Food Network, I was watching, back in the mid-’90s, when they would put quote-unquote “a manufactured chef” on, or somebody that was great on camera, looked great, talked, didn’t know a thing about cooking.
So what we did was start to really be more reflective, if you will, of talented people who could become quote-unquote “stars” or become popular on Food Network and on HGTV. You know, fortunately, as we sit here today, 20-some years later, our networks, in my opinion, are the stars. You can say, “I’m the greatest home decorator. I’m the greatest home design. I’m the greatest chef in America.” You could be, by the way. Might not be on the Food Network. You might not be on HGTV. Because on those networks, what we have, and this is a little bit of our secret ingredient, are teachers. What we found, and we kind of stumbled on it, back in the ’90s, the talent, the people who work best for our brands are people who want to impart information. And many of them have teaching backgrounds. Many of them come from a place where information is not to be held, it’s to be imparted. And that’s actually had an impact on the people we hire in our company. When we come across people who’ve had any kind of teaching, coaching, in their background, they get an extra star on their resume. And the same is true for talent. So what we try to find now are every day, normal people doing great things who, by the way, once they look in that camera, it comes across that “I want to help you. I’m sincere in this.” They happen to be nice people.
It’s hard for me to ever single out talent, but one of the most popular shows right now on HGTV, for example, is Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna Gaines, this couple in Waco, Texas, right, with four kids and they have literally created this business, Magnolia Homes, that’s off the charts. But at the end of the day, it’s about the sincerity and about two very nice people who are doing what they’ve done for 20 years, and that’s redecorate and redesign houses, because they want to make people’s lives better. And they’re a great family. And so when people watch the shows, I think there’s an impression that, oh, they’re watching to see decorating and design and home makeover. You know what they’re also watching? They’re watching relationships. They’re watching how Chip and Joanna react. And they’re watching how they react to their kids. And through that, it’s a lifestyle choice. In some cases, it’s primary to the secondary part of the decorating, designing, or the cooking.
If you take the Food Network, and again, it’s hard for me to single out individuals, but Bobby Flay and Giada and Guy and Alton and people who’ve been with us for a long time — the reason they’ve been with us for a long time is because people love them. It’s not because each day, “Oh my gosh, Bobby Flay’s got this brand-new recipe, I can’t wait to tune in tomorrow.” You know what? “I can’t wait to visit with my friend Bobby Flay, my friend Giada.” There’s a relationship that viewers and consumers build with our talent that’s built on trust and that’s built on comfort and that’s built on this. “Hadn’t seen you in a while, but it’s so good to see you. By the way, you have any recipes to share with me?” Or a comfort meal, or whatever.
So interestingly enough, over the years, I’ve had a lot of people say, “We’ve actually tried your kind of programming on our network. Doesn’t work. And, by the way, we don’t quite understand it. Because we hired a great chef. We hired great decorator. And we did the show. It didn’t work.” And I never tell them, part of the reason it doesn’t work is that person is not — they’re just not connecting.
And we’ve taken, over the years — and I’m not going to mention any names — some of the top chefs around the world. Bring them in, put them in a studio — it just doesn’t work. The chemistry’s not there. So it’s not that we create stars. We just find some great people, put them in front of a camera, let them do their thing, give them some direction, you know. Give them some help. But at the end of the day, they’re the ones who really make themselves stars. And by the way, they can also undo it, as well.
SETH ARENSTEIN: It’s funny that you say that they can make themselves and unmake themselves. I was reading an article the other day about influencers. And there was an article about pets, a little corgi in San Francisco, that gets a thousand dollars an Instagram post, and this woman who manages pets to do your influencing. And she says, “By the way, they stay out of scandal much better than humans.”
KEN LOWE: Well, to your point, when we bring talent on, before their show ever airs, we put them through kind of social media. And the point being that even well-intended and coming from a good place, you can say something or put something on social media today that — you almost want somebody to say, “You really want to hit the send button? Give us five seconds.” And if you’ve had a glass of wine, you don’t want to hit the send button.
So it — because it’s so prevalent, and it’s so easy to use. And by the way, it’s a great tool. Because you can self-promote, you can talk about upcoming shows, you can talk about this, you can talk about that, but you have to be very careful. We’ve had some talent over the years that have misused it. They know that. So we try to minimize the areas of risk for quote-unquote “talent” as they come on the air. But, you know, these people are so popular and are such in-demand, it’s really hard not to occasionally say or do something that not everybody agrees with.
So that’s one of the challenges today, but I think, again, if you start from the point of — we like to think that the people we put on our air, generally, are good family folks. And that’s just the core of who they are. Could not always be the case, because the world is made up of a lot of interesting individuals, and people want to watch interesting individuals. But it can’t be the focus of what we do.
What we do, day in and day out, is build shows around relationships. And the biggest and most important relationship is between our talent and the end user, whether it’s through the TV screen, whether it’s through a tweet, whether it’s through social media, short-form video, on Facebook, on Snapchat, all of these things combine into whether or not this person is a star.
And I will tell you, I’ve dealt with talent my entire career. Majority of our folks aren’t stars. They don’t conduct themselves that way. They’re businesspeople. And they want to succeed, and they’re smart about how they go about it. And to make shows that are informative, entertaining, and inspirational, there also has to be responsibility. And there has to be an understanding that, at the end of the day, it is a business, okay? And if it doesn’t work, then the show’s not going to get renewed, so how can I help make it work? How can I, when I’m not on-screen, enhance me and enhance my show?
And so I would say, over the years, we’ve had great fortune in working with good businesspeople who understand it is a business, but at the same time, there’s some responsibility that comes with it.
SETH ARENSTEIN: Yeah. That’s an interesting point that you make, I mean. On the one hand, there’s a business, but on the other hand, there’s some principles and integrity. Do those ever — I’m sure they always bump heads. How do you deal with things like that? I mean, if you have a show or a personality who may be not quite agreeing, but gosh, he or she is going great, guns, ratings-wise, and tremendous following? How do you deal with that? And that’s really where the rubber meets the road, I would think.
KEN LOWE: It is, and believe me, it’s like life. It ain’t always easy, okay, and it’s not always black-and-white. There’s a lot of gray. I remember years ago, when I was becoming the CEO of E.W. Scripps, I was succeeding this wonderful gentleman, Bill Burleigh. He had spent his entire career with Scripps. He started out as a newspaper boy at 15, delivering newspapers, and rose to become chairman of the company. He was there 50 years. Wonderful man, you know, very smart, great journalist.
And I sat down with him, and I said, “Bill, I’ve never been a CEO. I’ve never run a company. Could you give me some advice?” He said, “Absolutely.” He said, “This is all the advice you’ll ever need. Just do the right thing.” And at the time, I thought, “Wow, this is so profound.” But when I got in the chair, it’s like, “Whoa, doing the right thing ain’t easy.”
My point being that we put together these core values, and they — our mile markers, they were to guide us, our map. You can have core values, you can have a mission statement, you can have a lot of things. At the end of the day, what calls do you make on the balls and strikes? There are going to be gray areas, and there’s going to be some great human beings and some great talent and some great employees that do incorrect things. And, you know, usually I think there’s got to be forgiveness. One of our core values is compassion. People go through challenging times in their lives, and this happens with employees as much as it does quote-unquote “stars” and talent. There has to be an understanding of, okay, where is this person on their journey in life? Is this an aberration? Are they going to get back on track? Let’s give them a second chance, let’s help them.
I can tell you, I made a lot of mistakes with giving talent second, third chances. And sometimes, you know, it’s, “Wow, their show’s pretty good. The right thing would be to keep the show.” Inevitably, the right thing is when you know that particular individual is not going to get it back, you know, you’ve got to call it, you’ve got to say, “Let’s walk away, let’s go a different path.” Hardest decisions in the world for people running businesses. But over the long term, if you really adhere to your core values, if you really believe in what it is you’re doing, then you have to call it like you see it.
And those are really tough. You develop friendships with some of these folks. I’m still great friends with some of the people who are no longer on some of our networks. And having to sit down with them and say, “We’re not going to renew your show,” that’s not easy. But later on, after emotions cool, generally, they would go, “You know, you did the right thing. I got a big head, I was out of control. I no longer was focused on the show. I didn’t see it at the time, but it was the right thing to do.” But, again, not easy, and as long as I’m in the business, I’ll continue to struggle with it. And there is no easy answer here, but I do believe that if you at least don’t have a set of guidelines, pretty soon you wake up and you go, “How did that show get on the network?” And the answer is, “Well, we’re making a lot of money.”
SETH ARENSTEIN: A couple of personal things. I know you’re about to join the Cable Center Hall of Fame, so congratulations.
KEN LOWE: Well, thank you.
SETH ARENSTEIN: And I know you’ve talked about, or you’ve announced, that you’ll be retiring in a few years. What are you going to do when you’re not working seven days a week, I would guess?
KEN LOWE: Well, first, the Cable Hall of Fame. I have to say, over the years, I’ve been fortunate to receive a few awards and some recognition. But I would have to put this right up there, because I was not a quote-unquote “cable guy.” I started in radios and broadcast. And when I first got into cable, people would say, “Don’t mention to anybody you were a broadcaster.” This was during the retransmission consent negotiations. So I became a cable guy. But in my heart, I’m a content guy. And what it’s been so fortunate for me is to have an idea that I was able to put into the cable industry and watch it succeed.
So along the way, there’ve been all of these people in the industry who championed me. First and foremost, it’s been the group that came with me, the founders. But then the employees we’ve added over the years. And so it’s one thing to have an idea. It’s another thing to have people come around that idea and take it to a level far beyond anything you could ever even have imagined on your own.
So to get this recognition in the Cable Hall of Fame, I know people say this all the time, but it’s absolutely the truth. This isn’t about me. To me, this award is about HGTV and Food and Scripps Networks, and the fact that, you know what? We did gain the respect of the industry. We did start with a little idea about grass growing and paint drying, as The Wall Street Journal said. “Who’s going to watch this? Who’s going to watch people fixing food? Cooking food? Are you kidding me? How boring can that be?”
So those folks who believed in this concept, and they believed in family values and our core values. So this is a celebration for them. So when I get the award, it’s about that. It’s about the bigness of that. So for me, it doesn’t get any better than that. So I’m thrilled at the honor of going into the Cable Hall of Fame. As far as retirement, we have to use that word.
SETH ARENSTEIN: I know, I was going to say, it’s just a word.
KEN LOWE: It is, but — look, I’ve had a lot of conversations. I’m at that point in my life where a lot of my friends have retired, they’re retiring, books are being written about it every day. There’s an expert being created every day who retired a year ago is now telling us all this is what you should, shouldn’t do. I’m a big believer in looking at folks who — retirement is not a word. It’s more about your interest in life.
I remember, I can’t exactly tell you the source of the term — restless self-renewal. My mother is 87, my dad’s 88. And they are interested in life. My mom has an iPhone. She texts me. As a matter of fact, we just had Thanksgiving dinner with her, and we’re sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner, and I was like, “Mom, will you — have you got your phone?” “Oh, I was texting.” Just — with my teenage daughter here, are you kidding? But what I learned from both of them is this zest for life. My dad reads five newspapers a day at 88. I sat down with him recently, and my wife, we were talking about something, and the name Kardashian came up. My mom said, “What’s a Kardashian?” My dad said, “Oh, it’s this family.” My mother said, “How do you know that?” He said, “Ah, I read it in the paper.” My point is, this isn’t just about quote-unquote “moving on from what it is I’m doing now.” It’s what other areas of interest do I have, and what can I do?
I love, absolutely love, Habitat for Humanity. And I’ve done some builds. I had the great pleasure of actually doing a build with President Carter in Americus, Georgia, years ago. And when you hand a person keys to their very first home that you’ve helped build, when you’re involved in things like No Kid Hungry. So there’s plenty of areas that I can channel my energy into.
And in some ways, it will be nice, quite honestly, not to be a CEO and not to constantly be worrying about a P&L and Wall Street. So it’s going to free me up to do some things I’ve looked forward to doing. But it’s not — I don’t think any more society kind of views retirement as going off and doing nothing, sitting on the beach. Because how many times do we hear, “That works for the first six months.” But what I love, what I absolutely love, about great journalists, and I think you would agree with me, is that thirst for, “Okay, wait a minute, why? Okay, I understand your story, but why did this happen? How did this happen? Let’s get into some facts.” And if you think about life, it’s like, “Okay, yeah, we can go to Italy. Well, why don’t we go to Italy, we’re going to spend some time — what are we going to do? What are we going to see? What’s there? And why” — blah, blah, blah.
So I’m really looking forward to the next chapter, but what I’m really looking forward to is the folks who have built this company continuing to rise up. We have folks that have been with this company a long time. You know, it’s the good and bad news. Sometimes we don’t have turnover. Some people don’t take you up on an opportunity. But I’ve watched people grow from producer to show producer to line producer to da-da-da-da-da-da-da. So we’re so blessed to have this great bench of people. So the business will flourish in a time that’s only going to get more challenging and tougher.
But I used to play sports a little bit, and there was nothing harder than realizing you were no longer going to be on the team, you’re going to be phased out, you’re leaving high school, you’re going to college. Or, “I got to tell you, this quarterback, this kid’s up-and-coming.” It’s very hard to give it up, the competitive spirit. This is what I’ve done, what I love. Created HGTV, my gosh. How are you not going to be around your baby every day? Because those people are going to take it to a level that I’m not capable. So I’m really excited about actually stepping back and watching this team take it to a whole new level in a challenging time that, you know, I’m not as equipped to, in my opinion, go there as I was 20 years ago.
SETH ARENSTEIN: You know, I interviewed Jim Robbins from Cox, a number of years ago, while he was retired, and I said, “How’s retirement?” He said, “I’m busier now than I was when I was running Cox.” And then, of course, I had to ask him. I said, “But your golf game’s got to be improving?” He said, “No, it’s getting worse.” So just two bits of wisdom there.
KEN LOWE: You know, I’m — gosh, Jim Robbins, what a great — it’s funny you mention that, because Jim and I played golf shortly after he retired. And what a loss for our industry, and what a loss for the world. But he was having a really bad day, right, and Jim was a great golfer. And he said, “This is all Cox’s fault. I should still be working.” But no, I — look, I’ve talked to enough folks, men and women, who say, “You know, more time on the golf course doesn’t necessarily equal lower scores.” So I think I’m prepared for that.
SETH ARENSTEIN: All right. So let’s slide into a legacy question, Ken. What’s your legacy going to be, and what would you like it to be? And what’s cable’s legacy?
KEN LOWE: I’m of the opinion that it’s great to have your name on plaques, and it’s great to have things written about what you did, what you created, what you were a part of. For me, the one thing I want to think about is, as I step away from SNI, is the impact that we can continue to make in people’s lives. And I don’t want to sound too speaking-from-the-mountaintop about this, but I do think we have an opportunity to continue to impact people’s lives in a positive way, by the three I’s — ideas, information, inspiration.
It’s not a very lofty goal. We’re not doing great research, great medical breakthroughs. But if we can make people feel better, healthier, cooking, or just enjoying the family around the table, if they can feel better about their home, if they can feel better about walking through the door and saying, “Ah, this is my haven.” And by the way, I can’t wait to turn on HGTV or Food Network, because that’s part, now, of my environment. Because I welcome them in. And so nothing has to be said about me. It’s just knowing that something you were involved in, something that was a piece of you, is continuing to improve, to add improvement.
Now, again, there’s a lot of things that will impact people’s lives. But I was listening to a futurist recently talk about the fact that one of the things we’re going to be challenged with, society, is that we’re going to become more homebodies. I mean, when you can sit there and Amazon’s going to bring everything to your front door, and then you can sit in front of this TV and you can have your tweets and da-da-da. Why leave? Well, you got to go to Starbucks. Oh, wait a minute, they can deliver that to you now. So if anything the home is going to become even more important. And if you look at what Amazon’s doing, you look at any of these quote-unquote “voice activated” — Google’s now into it, Amazon’s into it, “Start my sprinklers,” all the commercials — so the question in my mind is, “Okay, what are the relationships?” How — you’ve got all this technology. How do we sit at the table and talk to each other, talk to my son, talk to my daughter, talk to my husband, talk to my wife? For us to be able to still come into your home, come into your life, and give you opportunities to see how other relationships work, and the importance.
And this is why I think, globally, we can be a great conduit. How can we sit down with our friend across the table, who may be of a different religion, may be a different culture or color skin or whatever, and communicate? I don’t necessarily think that’s going to happen from shows on HGTV and Food. But I do think it’s an opportunity for us to use the business that we’ve created, to use the relationships that we’ve created with consumers, who trust us, say, “Well, let’s try this. What do you think about this? How about this conversation?”
So I’m very optimistic about where the next generation of leadership at Scripps is going to take our businesses, not just domestically, but globally. And this time of year, one of my favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And it’s just a constant reminder — it’s interesting that it is still relevant — that our lives are only as important as the friends we make and how we relate to other people. Legacies and accolades and awards and — you could have a wall full of them. But what’s going to be the impact that you left, 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now, when nobody knows who Ken Lowe — “I never heard of that guy. Oh, he was a part of that business? Oh, okay. He must’ve done some things.”
The one man who had a great influence on me, who I never really got to know that well, to be honest with you, but I used to go to his summer basketball camps when I was a kid, at the University of North Carolina, was a coach named Dean Smith. And I remember, there were about 40 or 50 of us kids, 12, 14 years old, whatever. We’d go to his college basketball camp, and we’d be in a room, and he would walk in, and he would go around the room, and he would know every one of us by name. Now, if you’re a 12-year-old kid and Dean Smith knows your name, whoa. That’s something else.
But over the course — and he had an incredible memory, and all that’s been documented, etc. But he was one of the greatest coaches of all time, because he was a teacher at heart. And he taught. And he was with us 14 hours a day. He didn’t need to be with these 12-year-old kids, making a little bit of money as a basketball coach in an off-season, when coaches didn’t make much money in college. But I learned so much from him, just from a standpoint of his impact on us as kids. And his legacy, when you really look at it, and you read his books now, is not about being a great basketball coach. But it was the impact on the lives of the players he had and how that impact lasted. So, you know, you can say, “How many wins did he have?” Well, he had a lot of wins. But what was his impact?
So it’s a longwinded way of saying, it’s more about how can whatever I’ve been a part of and joined with a group of people continue to influence people’s lives in a positive way? And I think we have an opportunity. And by the way, I think that the industry has that opportunity. We have an enormous opportunity. I mean, my gosh, we come into people’s homes 24/7. How many businesses would absolutely die to say –?
SETH ARENSTEIN: Kill for that, yeah.
KEN LOWE: — you know, “I’m just trying to be able to knock on the door and not be turned away.” So these opportunities, we’ll see. Do we squander? Do we absolutely look back and say, “Our legacy, as an industry, is we made a lot of positive impacts?” And, by the way, we have. The technology that the cable industry has created, it is the backbone now of so much of the technology that is influencing, not only our country, but the world. And with that comes a responsibility, but an enormous opportunity. So legacy, I think it’s the legacy of the industry and the legacy of these brands. And I look forward to someday saying, “I have no idea who Ken Lowe was, but if he was involved with that, must’ve been a pretty good guy.”
SETH ARENSTEIN: So, Ken, you’ve had this wonderful career. Are there people in the industry, or maybe also in your family, you talked a little bit about your mom and dad, and I can’t imagine that they weren’t big influences. I’m sure they are. And they’re still with you, so that’s great. But are there people in the industry that you want to mention to influenced you, who guided you, who helped you?
KEN LOWE: Yeah. People have influenced — hey, I’m one of those fortunate people who still have both parents alive, you know, 88 and 87. I remember, I grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina, which I hated. And my dad loved, he loved farming. And yet he had a medical condition that, fortunately, made him exit farming. It just wasn’t conducive, it was hell as it was. It’s funny, my folks never smoked, but raising tobacco was not necessarily healthy either. But as a young kid I’d make a mistake, and my dad would sit me down and say, “Well, son, you’ve just bought yourself some more learning.” He said, “Because what you did,” and da-da-da-da-da. And they’ve both been my role models. Because they’re very humble people and still live in the home my dad was born in. And every time their son would do something pretty neat, get another job in radio, “Oh, I’m moving up in a television market,” or whatever, they’d say, “Oh, that’s nice. How are you treating your employees? How’s your life?” My touchstone. They would keep bringing me back to what was really important. So even when we were sitting down over Thanksgiving, they’re still Mom and Dad, and they still want to make sure their son is doing the right things. So I’ve tried to always be respectful of them, and what I’ve ever done, whether it’s programming or businesses or relationships with employees or talent, I’ll always — I always really think about how my mom and dad would handle it, because it’s worked out pretty well for them.
In the industry, the gentleman that gave me my start at Scripps, Dick Jansen, back in 1980, has had an enormous influence on me. Because what he really did for me was he knew I was a content guy, he knew I was a creative guy. But he set me down early on and said, “Look, if you’re going to really be successful, you’ve got to understand business. You’ve got to understand sales, you’ve got to understand P&Ls. You can be the greatest creative content person in the world, but if you don’t understand the business, you’re never going to be who you want to be, in control of your destiny.”
I could never thank him enough for that. I just spoke to him yesterday, on the phone. He’s still an influence in my life. He retired many years ago. Another gentleman who I went to, to try to negotiate a package for my severance, because I was convinced he was going to fire me at Scripps when I mentioned this idea of wanting to start a cable network, because Scripps at the time was television and newspapers. Who’d want to invest in this crazy idea for a cable network called HGTV? The gentleman’s Frank Gardner, and he was one of those people who we should also all be so fortunate in life to meet, who went, “Oh my gosh, this is the greatest idea ever. I’m going to do everything I possibly can at this company to make this a success. And by the way, you should run it, I want you to build it, it’s your idea, and I’ll support you.”
I mean, how many times, in any business, do you not go to your boss and he says, “That’s a great idea, and of course you’ll be reporting to me, and let’s talk about the organizational structure. What’s in this for me?” Not once. As a matter of fact, just the opposite. I could never get him to take any credit. If you really want to write a real detailed story about the beginning of HGTV, you cannot leave this man out. But yet he doesn’t want to be included in anything. He lives on a horse farm in Kentucky, where he raises horses, and he’s the happiest guy in the world. But arguably one of the smartest people I’ve ever been around, a great journalist. He worked for CBS News for a number of years, managed some of their television stations. But he taught me so much, and the one thing we spent a lot of time on was, “Okay, HGTV has to function very much like a journalist would, and that is there’s editorial and advertorial. And there’s got to be a hard line between them.” And that’s why you never see product integration. You never see us really not separating editorial from advertorial. And we’ve created this incredible environment for our advertisers. It’s the highest engagement of any cable networks. People watch the commercials. Why? Because if you’re watching a bathroom modeling show, and a spot comes on for Kohler Sinks, you go, “Oh, that’s interesting. I may be interested in buying a sink.” So we create this environment, but we never blur the line. And that was all from Frank Gardner, in my opinion. He would constantly say, “Okay, they’re going to trust us, if we give them a reason to. But if we start going outside the lines, and we start integrating product, we start really, really losing our values here.” And I think that’s another reason for our success. That was Frank Gardner. I still speak to him. He’s a dear friend.
And my wife is a daily influence on me, because she’s not only a good barometer and keeps me grounded, but she also talks very much about where women are in 2016. And because we are fortunate enough to have some networks that overindex with women, they’re recognized as some of the top cable networks, top domestic brands, top content providers for women, that those shouldn’t be taken for granted. And it’s important that the mothers are watching with their daughters, but also what are we doing for the millennials? And that’s influenced a lot, I think, of what we do in mobile content and what we’re doing with Snapchat and what we’re doing with Facebook.
And that really is — I’ll conclude with the fact that if you look at the future, for us, it’s always been about not thinking platform, but thinking opportunity. So where can we take our content that the consumer is going to be? We want to get there just a day ahead of them, so when they arrive at that, “Oh, HGTV is here. Food’s here.” By the way, may be in a different brand. It might be in a different name. We have the number-one video, food video, in all of media. Ahead of Facebook, ahead of Snapchat, you name it. It’s a 10-year-old, 60-second clip from our library. It’s about a pizza made in a bowl. It’s 60 seconds, and it’s resonating with millennials like crazy. And what that should tell you is technology is fantastic, right? It’s still going to be about great storytelling and great writers and great editors. So for us, very excited about the future. Very excited about the future of the cable industry. Because what this industry has built, both on distribution and content, is going to influence, not just our country, but the world, for a long time. So a lot of exciting things going.
SETH ARENSTEIN: Great. Ken, thanks.
KEN LOWE: Yeah. Great.
SETH ARENSTEIN: It’s been fabulous.
END OF INTERVIEW