Sky CEO: TV Viewership Affects Climate Change

Sky CEO Dana Strong is asking broadcasters to work together to reduce carbon emissions across consumer households.

Speaking Nov. 1 at the United Nations’ 26th Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Strong said 70% of respondents of a Sky survey would be willing to change their behavior to address climate crisis, according to data from a joint study with Behavior Insights Team.

Using behavioral science techniques, Sky and BIT, in a report, identified ways broadcasters and content creators could help their viewers take action on reducing their carbon footprint.

Indeed, an estimated 4.3 billion people globally watch TV content on different devices for an average of 2 hours, 54 minutes a day, according to Sky.

The study found 80% of people across Europe support the idea of broadcasters using content and advertising to encourage people to adopt more environmentally positive habits. Of those asked, 75% support TV broadcasters encouraging viewers to think about the environment, whether that’s through documentaries, advertising or increasing the coverage of environmental issues in the news.

“At Sky we have set out our pathway to achieve net zero carbon, but we know this alone will not be enough,” Strong said.

The executive said broadcasters have a role and responsibility to encourage lifestyle changes that address the climate crisis. At the same time, many respondents said they are unsure how to make lifestyle changes to reduce their carbon impact. In fact, only 16% of respondents said they knew what to do to act sustainably, while just 20% said they know how to recycle or save energy at home.

“This means that for the first time we have empirical evidence demonstrating [the need that] creative industries work together to deliver the behavior change required to meet our net zero ambitions,” Strong said.

Strong’s comments are noteworthy because Comcast-owned Sky is Europe’s largest satellite TV operator with 23 millions subscribers. The media giant and its subsidiary also just launched a line of branded “Glass” HDTVs marketed as conduits to the internet and streaming video.

David Halpern, CEO of BIT, said people’s attitudes are significantly shaped by the media they consume. They also expect and encourage broadcasters to do more to educate and inspire viewers to do their bit for the environment.

“We hope this report will provide broadcasters with actionable and evidence-based insights on how they can do their bit to avert the climate crisis,” Halpern said.

Comcast Names Dana Strong Group CEO of Sky; Jeremy Darroch Upped to Executive Chairman

Borrowing a page from The Walt Disney Co., Comcast Jan. 6 announced that Sky Group CEO Jeremy Darroch will move from his current role to become executive chairman of Sky, and Dana Strong will succeed him as group CEO, reporting to Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

Darroch is one of the longest-serving leaders of a major British company, having been CEO of Sky since 2007, and Group CFO since 2004. During that time, he has tripled the size of the business and led the transformation of the company into Europe’s largest multi-platform TV provider with nearly 24 million customers. Jeremy has accelerated the development of award-winning technology and championed Sky’s broader contribution to the society and communities in which it operates, overseeing the expansion of its commitment to sport, U.K., and European originated content, in-depth news, the arts, young people, and the environment.

Jeremy Darroch

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Strong most recently served as president of consumer services for Comcast Cable, the largest broadband and TV provider in the U.S. with nearly 33 million customer relationships. In this role, she was responsible for Comcast’s residential business and has led innovative new product and market launches in broadband, video, home security, and mobile. During her tenure, the company achieved record subscriber and broadband growth and the company’s highest levels of customer satisfaction.

With more than 25 years of international experience in global telecommunications and media in the U.K. and European markets, Strong was previously president/COO of Virgin Media in the U.K., Chief Transformation Officer of Liberty Global as well as CEO of UPC Ireland and COO of AUSTAR in Australia.

“I would like to thank Jeremy for his exceptional leadership of Sky and his partnership since we acquired the company,” Roberts said in a statement. “Sky’s values have been a perfect fit for ours and I credit Jeremy with building an incredible culture and executing the seamless integration with Comcast. He and his team have established a world-class brand and a strong, well-run business that will continue to flourish. Jeremy has been a terrific colleague to me and everyone at Sky, but I respect his decision and I am pleased that he’s agreed to stay on to help with the transition and advise the company.”

Roberts said Strong is an accomplished executive with an extraordinary ability to transform, inspire and drive positive change. He said the executive made her mark on our U.S. business, driving growth and innovation with her leadership and track record at some of the largest media and telecommunications companies in the world.

“[This] make[s] her the perfect leader for Sky,” Roberts said.

Darroch said the decision to exit the CEO position was not easy after 13 years at the helm. But with the business firmly settled into the wider Comcast corporate structure, it was the right time to change.

“I would like to thank all of my colleagues at Sky and also Brian and the team at Comcast who I have thoroughly enjoyed working with,” said Darroch. “I have no doubt that Dana will take Sky into a new and exciting future. Her proven record for leading telecommunications and media businesses coupled with her experience in the U.S., U.K., and Europe will be great assets to Sky, and I look forward to working with her as she takes the reins.”

The corporate move is similar to Disney’s decision last year elevating longtime CEO Bob Iger to executive chairman, and promoting former home entertainment executive Bob Chapek to lead the media giant.