CBS Interactive’s Christy Tanner Bullish on Second-Screen Prospects

She will keynote min’s 2014 Digital Awards on May 19.

By Bill Mickey

Digital media’s accelerated rate of change is causing many companies to make rapid strides to stay ahead of the pack. In a Q&A with Christy Tanner, senior vice president and general manager of CBS Interactive Media, which parents TV Guide, Metacritic and more, and keynoter at min’s 2014 Digital Awards on May 19 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, she talks doubling down on the second-screen experience, capitalizing on mobile and staying ahead of digital trends.

min: Which major digital trend is influencing CBSi strategy and how are you navigating around it?

Christy Tanner: There are three major trends—the shift to mobile, the demand for video and the massive amounts of data we’re collecting—that could potentially enable the future of our business. We’re seeing demand for better targeting and we have the data to enable that. We want to use the data in a way that benefits both our user base and our advertiser base.

On mobile, there’s an immediate design need to create an optimal user experience on any device. Long term, mobile is fundamentally changing our audience’s relationship with the content we produce and the way we produce that content has to change to meet the audience’s needs. The pace of change is so accelerated at this point in digital it’s hard to stay ahead of the curve and place the right bets.

min: The second-screen opportunity continues to grow. What’s the latest you’re doing to capitalize there?

Tanner: We have two businesses within CBSi capitalizing on the second screen in different ways. Our CBS-branded properties are creating very smart experiences that are the right fit with the broadcast content we’re creating.

On the TV Guide side, we have an incredible asset to leverage as the ultimate second screen. Our mobile app usage spikes dramatically during prime time. We are seeing TV Guide users use their apps multiple times within an evening to make decisions. With that property we made the right bet with creating an incredibly useful product that has off-the-chart engagement. It is the ultimate utility for television watching.

min: What’s one emerging media trend that you’re keeping a close eye on over the next year?

Tanner: The most immediate consumer shift that we’re focused on is mobile. We want to create the best mobile experiences in the marketplace. TV Guide was definitely ahead of the curve. A few years ago people were wondering if apps would negate the Web, but what we’ve seen is everyone uses everything. Our customers use their desktops, mobile devices and mobile apps. It’s definitely working out for the business that one platform has not cannibalized the other.

To hear more from Christy Tanner, join us during min’s Digital Awards breakfast on May 19 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City. Click here to register.