Compensation Surges for Programming and Customer Care
Industry Responds to Competition with Robust Pay Raises
NAPERVILLE, ILL., February 18, 2020 — Employees working in content development and customer support earned big pay increases this year — as much as four times the national average. Data from the C2HR Annual Compensation Surveys, recently released by the Content & Connectivity Human Resources Association (C2HR), also uncovered that programming compensation escalated for executives and middle managers, while management grabbed the biggest gains among connectivity providers.
Findings were based on 2019 compensation data collected from 55 companies, including 14 connectivity providers (MSO, satellite, telecommunications and home security companies) and 41 content developers (cable programmers, broadcast networks and digital content creators). New participants included Vivint, Inc., and Vector Security, Inc., which represent an expansion into the home security and smart home services market, Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, Fox Corporation and Ovation LLC. The Croner Company, a leading compensation consulting firm, conducted the surveys for C2HR.
“The C2HR Annual Compensation Surveys reveal that our industry is willing to reward those jobs most critical to success with pay increases well above the traditional 3% merit budget,” said Pamela Williams, CAE, C2HR’s executive director. “This willingness highlights our industry’s nimble response to competition.”
Among programmers, content jobs garnered year-over-year increases ranging from 6% to 11% (see Figure 1). For example, executive producer and senior vice president (SVP) of original programming captured 11% and 9% base salary gains, respectively. Director of music content scored an 8% raise, while vice president (VP) of original programming, SVP of current programming and manager of program acquisitions reaped base salary increases of 6%.
Content developers saw similar gains among jobs related to content distribution. Base salaries climbed 9% for studio/remote technician and 8% for senior manager of broadcast operations, while SVP of broadcast operations and senior master control salaries rose 6%.
Keeping Customers Happy
Competition, combined with the desire to deliver a seamless customer experience, also drove up pay among connectivity companies. C2HR’s survey illuminated a whopping 12% increase — four times the national average — for expert-level customer care technical support Level 3 (see Figure 1). Individuals beginning customer care careers also garnered above-average base salary gains. Customer care technical support Level 1 (developing) nabbed 5% raises. Technology experts who keep networks running smoothly also benefitted. Network operations center support engineers and managers of network operations centers received 8% and 7% salary boosts, respectively.
“It’s clear that the companies in our industry value the people who can resolve problems quickly,” said C2HR’s Williams.
Connectivity Companies Raise Pay
C2HR’s Compensation Survey revealed escalating compensation at all job levels for connectivity providers (see Figure 2). Management captured the largest gains — a 5.3% increase in total direct compensation (TDC), which includes salary, bonus and incentives. Management’s increase was largely driven by stock awards. Salaried and hourly employees scored 4.1% increases, which was above the 3% merit budget and much better than last year when salaried employees only saw 2.1% growth. Competitive pressures to retain experienced talent helped drive up the across-the-board increases, Williams said.
Results were mixed for content developers. Like connectivity providers, executives and middle management accrued the biggest gains, driven by hefty bonuses and stock. TDC for executives escalated 6.9% and 6.1% for middle management. For professional positions, TDC rose just 3.2 percent, close to the merit budget, and 3.8% for operating support (See Figure 3).
Tight labor markets in the East and West continued to skew installer salaries upwards in those regions, especially for skilled talent. Expert-level service techs earned 11% more in the West and 8% more in the East.
Having access to this wealth of pay data enables companies to provide market-driven total compensation packages that attract and retain the right talent, explained Halcyon Worrell, director of compensation at Charter Communications.
“The C2HR Compensation Surveys provide valuable and insightful information, which allows us to continue to make strategic and informed compensation decisions,” Worrell said. “Unlike other salary surveys, our peer competitors participate in these surveys, which makes the data reflective of our specific industry. That’s unique.”
Bonuses Remain Prevalent
The industry continued its broad-based support for short-term incentives or bonuses. Every connectivity respondent offered bonuses, as did 90% of content creators. Eligibility reached deep into the organizations, with 64% of connectivity providers and 54% of content developers offering bonuses to employees below managers (See Figure 4).
However, long-term incentives (LTIs), such as shares, stock options and long-term cash, remained limited to management. At connectivity companies, 86% offered LTIs, with 100% of executive management and VPs receiving incentives. Among content respondents, 76% offered LTIs in 2019, with 100% of executive management and 74% of VPs receiving awards.
“From the executive search perspective, the top talent wants to be rewarded for the significant impact they are making towards their company’s business goals,” said C2HR Board Member John Warrack, partner at JM Search. “Competitive cash compensation and long-term equity rewards that are directly tied to their results are critical.”
“The findings reflect our industry’s ability to creatively apply responsive pay practices to attract and retain top talent in this digital age,” Williams added. “C2HR’s Compensation Surveys provide our members with the data they need to hone their approach to compensation in this competitive industry.”
C2HR’s 2019 Compensation Surveys included 55 participants. Companies included 14 connectivity providers and 41 content developers (see attached 2019 participant list). The survey results are industry-specific, providing an in-depth analysis of pay practices for roughly 176,118 incumbents, including both exempt and nonexempt positions ranging from technicians to top
executives. The participants submitted data reflecting 2019 budgets, base compensation figures, amenities and benefits.
2020 Survey Participation
C2HR is currently enrolling eligible content and connectivity survey participants for the 2020 Compensation Surveys. For more information, please visit https://c2hr.org/compensation-survey/.
2019 C2HR Content Developers Compensation Survey Participants
A + E Networks LLC
AMC Networks Inc.
BBC Studios Americas Inc.
CBS Corporation – CBS
CBS Corporation – Showtime
Crown Media Holdings Inc.
Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
Fox Corporation – FOX
Fox Corporation – Fox Business, Fox News and Fox Sports
HBO Latin America Production Services, L.C.
Home Box Office Inc.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
MLB Network LLC
National Basketball Association
National Football League
NBCUniversal Media LLC – NBCU
NBCUniversal Media LLC
New England Sports Network, Ltd.
Public Broadcasting Service
QVC Inc. – Qurate Retail Group
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC
The E.W. Scripps Company
TV One LLC
Univision Communications Inc.
Viacom Media Networks
Walt Disney Television – Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD and Freeform
Walt Disney Television – ABC
Walt Disney Television (previously Fox Networks Group) – Fox TV Group, FX and National Geographic
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. – The CW
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
2019 C2HR Connectivity Providers Compensation Survey Participants
Cable One Inc.
Charter Communications Inc.
Comcast Cable Communications Inc.
Cox Communications, Inc.
Midcontinent Media Inc.
RCN Telecom Services LLC
TDS Broadband Service LLC
Vector Security Inc.
WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone