The iTV Doctor

The iTV Doctor is InThe iTV Doctor is Rick Howe, who provides interactive television consulting services to programmers and advertisers. He is the recipient of a CTAM Tami Award for retention marketing and this year was nominated to Cable Pioneers. He is also the co-author of a patent for the use of multiscreen mosaics in EPG's. Endorsed by top cable and satellite distributors, "Dr" Howe still makes house calls, and the first visit is always free. His services include product development, distribution strategy and the development of low-cost interactive applications for rapid deployment across all platforms.


August 16, 2018
By Rick Howe   At TVOT San Francisco 2017, I shared a Fireside Chat with Sinclair Broadcast Group President and CEO Chris Ripley.   We discussed Sinclair's plans to merge with Tribune Broadcasting, a move that would have resulted in an over-the-air broadcast audience potential of about 90 million homes - roughly 73% of US TV Households.   If the number of TVOT audience members who were madly... more
November 20, 2017
  Dear Readers:     I have the unique privilege to moderate a panel on ATSC 3.0 at the upcoming TVOT NYC conference on December 7th. This is very timely inasmuch as the FCC just voted to allow the voluntary deployment of the ATSC 3.0 standard.     (Doctor's Note: prior to that panel, if you happen to be watching The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, look for Harold the Baseball Player--a unique... more
August 08, 2016
Dear Readers:   One of the most productive trade organizations in the US television industry is CTAM.   I was an active CTAM member for a very long time, both during my long tenure at Showtime Networks and for years after that.   But CTAM’s membership rules changed a few years ago, which limited participation to corporate members and their employees, though individuals who don’t work for member... more
July 26, 2016
Dear Readers:   In 1994, Paul Saffo wrote in Wired magazine, "It's the Context, Stupid." Working against the commonly held belief that "It's the CONTENT, Stupid," Saffo opined that it's not only about WHAT you watch; it's about how the content is organized, and how you find it. Saffo called it the "Point of View."   "In a world of hyper-abundant content," Saffo wrote, "point of view will become... more
May 03, 2016
By Rick Howe   Dear Readers:     This is a terrific time to be in the TV business, isn't it? We're growing, consolidating, innovating and finding new ways to serve the viewers every single day.   But first, a bit of shameless self-promotion: if you are at INTX, you might stop by "Imagine Park" at noon on Tuesday 5/17; the topic is "Project Quantico," as we wrote about recently.   And it would... more
April 12, 2016
BY RICK HOWE     Dear Readers:      I was chatting over breakfast with a friend not long ago, and he was bemoaning the fact that our current TV Everywhere advertising model just annoyed him. The night before he was on the train, catching up on ABC's "Quantico" on his phone; an older episode--four or five weeks maybe. And it was loaded with the standard selection of ads that were locked into the... more
April 04, 2016
Dear Readers:     As we get closer to the Tenth Anniversary TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) conference in San Francisco (June 7/8 2016), we have a terrific guest column from Patrick Donoghue, the industry wunderkind who altered television forever with his work at Time Warner Cable and Cablevision. Patrick is now making his services available to the entire industry through Next Stop Willoughby Inc. which he... more
October 26, 2015
  (Note: The deadline for purchasing discount tickets to TVOT NYC 2015--representing a $200 savings on the full ticket price--is midnight, Saturday October 31st. Buy your discount tickets here!)         Dear Readers:     For a recent workshop that I ran for a client, I invited some real honest-to-God "Millennials." I wanted to give the group a reality check for what lay ahead.   Because--and... more
October 19, 2015
Dear Readers:    I was chatting with a senior exec at one of the OTT platforms recently while Hurricane Joaquin was winding its way up the Eastern Seaboard. And the Hurricane threat was only part of the problem; two major storms were stalled over most of the East Coast because Joaquin was keeping them from moving out to sea. As a result, most of South Carolina spent the week underwater... more
September 01, 2015
Dear Readers:   In 1974 I was working as a rookie marketing manager in one of Monty Rifkin's ATC systems--All American Cablevision in Columbus, Ohio. I had the brainstorm of matching rudimentary census tract information to subscriber accounts by using the unused "check digit" at the end of the account number. Cable Data (remember them?) added that number randomly, but ATC wasn't using it. So,... more
July 28, 2015
Dear Readers:     The television and entertainment industry is flush with news and opinion stories appearing daily, often hourly, on OTT and its impact on the business.   Today I'm going to dispense with the Over The Top (OTT) label and call it for what it really is: Television.   Witness some of the recent announcements and trends:   1) A+E Networks has introduced a Lifetime... more
June 09, 2015
  Dear Readers:    At TVOT 2014 San Francisco, we had an all-star cast of panelists at our Virtual MSO panel: Sherry Brennan from Fox Networks; Mick Darling from Tomorrowish; Paul Johnson from MPP Global; Adam Lowy from Dish Network; Tom Morgan from Net2TV; Eric Fitzgerald Reed from Verizon; and Eduard Zaslavsky from WebTuner    During that June, 2014 session, I described a... more