terry heaton
Terry Heaton
Sr. Vice President, Media 2.0

"The greatest threat to broadcasters today is flexible and imaginative technology companies from outside the market taking revenue from the community through digital doorways."


As Senior Vice President, Media 2.0, Terry Heaton leads new media development for clients by providing executive mentoring, management training, and the development of strategies and tactics, new businesses, content aggregation and digital sales & marketing efforts. Media 2.0 is AR&D's umbrella term covering everything from the internet to mobile devices.

Terry retired from television news management in 1998 after 28 years in the business and for the past eight years has been running Internet companies, building Websites and advising broadcast clients on the digital age. His views on the changing paradigms for local broadcasters are widely regarded as pioneering, and his vision has proven to be years ahead of its time.

Terry has a worldwide reputation as a unique innovator, futurist and writer. His ongoing series of essays, TV News in a Postmodern World, has been published from Seoul to Berlin, and he's widely regarded as one of the most original thinkers on the planet. Doc Searls, author of the acclaimed best seller, The Cluetrain Manifesto, writes of Terry, "Yours is more than a voice in the wilderness - it's a voice that's rebuilding a crumbling corner of civilization."

Terry brings real and proven solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems for broadcasters as they face a complex and confusing plethora of disruptive innovations and technologies. Along the way, he has developed a language that easily communicates difficult concepts and helps executives more clearly see the road ahead.

Heatonism: Revenue isn't the business problem; audience is the problem. Fix the problem and the revenue will follow!

As broadcasters go about the task of doing business, Terry says, it's easy to get caught up in the corporate mandate to focus on revenue and the generation of revenue. But he points out that revenue goals assume an audience that isn't there anymore, so Heaton offers recommendations on where to find those who used to watch TV and how to bring their attention to a place where revenue opportunities exist.

When listening to people who don't watch local television anymore, Terry adds, you get a very different picture of what's taking place. You understand why they've left and confront the reality that they're never coming back to the same thing, regardless of how we try and position it. Audience IS the problem, but that doesn't mean we're incapable of reaching the community in other ways. That's because...

Heatonism: Unbundled media offers remarkable opportunities for local broadcasters, because you don't have to be "just" a TV station anymore.

Heaton says this is the point at which most broadcasters make mistakes in their digital strategies, because they mistakenly assume that their broadcast brand is the only value they bring to people in the markets they serve. The reality is that their brand speaks only to people favorably predisposed to their product or service, and that usually means people who already watch local TV. Terry points out that local news viewing has dropped by an average of 30% industry-wide, and that local media companies need to approach their communities in ways beyond their core business model.

What most local media companies don't understand about the digital world is that the value chain in the information and entertainment niches is farther down the stream than it is with broadcasting. Heaton points out that as easy as it is for content creators to distribute directly to consumers, the truth is that content consumption in the digital world is a lot like trying to take a drink from a fire hose, so filtering mechanisms have the most value. This is where Heaton believes local media companies need to be.

The costs associated with doing this, he adds, are far less than broadcasters assume. It is the low barriers to entry that bring in a new form of competition...

Heatonism: Mediated people make their own media. They want to know what you know and do what you do.

 

Of all the disruptive innovations eating away at local media companies, Terry believes this one is the most troubling. The demand side of our business equation, he points out, is supplying itself, thanks to the low-cost tools of the Personal Media Revolution. Broadcasters' first response to this is dismissal as irrelevant, but the more eyeballs that drift to the YouTubes of the digital world, the fewer are there to watch television or even visit TV station Websites.

Terry encourages clients to embrace this disruption, for there's money to be made in supporting the needs of a new generation of video creators in every community in the world. And perhaps more importantly, he adds, it's a doorway into the local digital media community, where new talent, concepts and opportunities are percolating.

From building the first statewide radio news network in Wisconsin to transforming a religious talk show (The 700 Club) into a point-of-view news magazine, innovation has been a regular part of Terry Heaton's business career. He has authored and analyzed scores of research projects, and was nicknamed "Captain Statistics" for his ability to define important items and trends within research numbers. He's been advising general managers, group presidents, and representatives of Fortune 500 companies on innovative ways to move their business models to profitability in the digital world, and now he's brought his gifts and talents to AR&D.

Terry is comfortable in both the technology and media worlds, when most people exist in one or the other. This is a significant attribute, for it allows him to communicate complex needs and solutions to each group, and the results are usually more than either could have accomplished alone.

Terry lives in Grapevine, Texas, with his faithful dog, Piffy, where in his free time, he enjoys golf, music and thunderstorms. He has three children and four grandchildren.