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Streaming Jobs Garner Largest Pay Gains
Salary Raises Align with Industry Business Strategies
NAPERVILLE, ILL., February 18, 2021 – Increased demand for over-the-top content fueled pay for streaming-related jobs as reported in the recently released findings from Content & Connectivity Human Resources Association’s (C2HR’s) 2020 Compensation Surveys. As industry companies accelerated launch plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, pay rose substantially for employees in those strategic positions.
The 37 content developers (representing 30,732 employees) that participated in the 2020 Compensation Surveys revealed that year-over-year pay for critical streaming jobs spiked from 6% to as much as 16%. By comparison, their 2020 merit budget increase averaged 2.3%.
“C2HR’s 2020 Compensation Surveys continued to illuminate the ongoing competition for digital talent,” said Pamela Williams, CAE, C2HR’s executive director. “Streaming is a priority business strategy for most of our members. A limited talent pool and high demand are escalating pay for those jobs.”
Among content developers, workers responsible for developing and producing new streaming programming (both technical and creative talent) realized compensation gains ranging from 6% to 10% (See Figure 1).
Individuals in jobs supporting the launch of streaming services garnered even larger increases. For example, employees who negotiate sales and distribution agreements for new streaming services achieved pay raises ranging from 6% to 8%. Legal and business affairs workers, who dot the I’s and cross the T’s of the negotiated agreements, accrued increases ranging from 6% to 9%. Senior employees in research and analytics captured the largest awards — as much as a 16% year-over-year gains. These workers collect and parse the data critical to understanding who is watching what to best target new content and advertising.
“Building their own streaming platforms has been tough for media companies, as they must compete with technology providers for talent,” said Hali Croner, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of The Croner Company, the research and compensation consulting firm that conducted the surveys for C2HR. “It’s a challenge to pay so differently for one segment, while keeping compensation fair and not busting the bank account.”
Engineering and Tech Jobs Continue Growth Trend
Senior engineering and technology positions at connectivity providers continued their multiyear compensation increases. The 13 connectivity participants, which include multiple system operators and satellite providers and represent 142,463 employees, reported pay gains from 6% to 8% for software engineers, product engineering managers, and network operations supervisors (See Figure 2). These individuals kept the broadband backbone and new service launches running smoothly as the country pivoted to telework, home schooling and increased viewing. The compensation gains were more than double the connectivity companies’ average 2020 merit budget of 2.9%.
Positions with an employee focus, such as director of human resources and manager of training, accrued 5% raises. These jobs proved strategic as HR departments pivoted quickly to tailor compensation, add benefits and manage pandemic-driven furloughs with empathy (see February 8, 2021, press release).
Employees producing and directing local news and advertising garnered 9% raises — triple the planned merit budget. Once again, increases accrued to key positions, as local news regarding COVID response became especially critical as the pandemic intensified.
“During unusual times, it is especially important to remember that compensation programs should always align with, support, and reinforce the business strategy,” advised Nick Dunlap vice president of executive compensation, for Charter Communications. “Compensation programs don’t deliver business results, the strategy does. Our focus should be on understanding how the business strategy is evolving in response to the pandemic — and other factors — and determining the compensation actions that may be appropriate within that context.”
Industry-Specific Benchmarks Keep Pay Competitive
C2HR’s Annual Compensation Surveys are unique in that they provide industry-specific salary, bonus and equity benchmarks for more than 600 jobs. These benchmarks enable participants to offer market-driven compensation, key to attracting and retaining top talent.
“In a world where we are competing for talent, we must know what we are up against to stay relevant,” said Angela Auz, vice president of human resources for Univision Communications Inc. and C2HR board member. “The surveys help us assess… ‘Are we being competitive enough? Are we being progressive enough in our thinking? Are we truly pricing these jobs based on where the market is today?’”
Charter’s Dunlap concurred. “The surveys provide valuable, insightful information, which allows us to continue to make strategic, informed compensation decisions,” he said. “In addition, they help us identify the emergence of jobs in demand within the industry as skills continue to converge.”
Digital Continues to Pay More
In spite of pay increases for strategic streaming and engineering positions, digital employers continued to out pay technology, media and entertainment companies. Base salaries for key job families ranged from 7% more for content jobs up to 39% more for data science positions at digital firms1 (See Figure 3).
Factor in stock awards, and the pay differential exploded. Total direct compensation (TDC) for editorial talent is 41% higher at digital companies, while data science specialists captured 110% greater pay. TDC includes base salary, bonus, and equity, with equity contributing the most to the compensation differential. Digital employers push equity incentives lower in their organizations, while the C2HR Salary Survey participants primarily offered stock incentives to directors and above.
How should the industry respond given the constraints posed by the pandemic? “Companies still need to attract and retain their people,” said Croner. “If they can give raises, they should, otherwise they will fall further behind.”
Univision’s Auz advised industry employers to focus on total rewards, not just compensation. “Examine the other factors that engage, motivate, recognize and reward your people,” she said. “You must understand what motivates your people. Not everyone will say money.”
C2HR’s 2020 Compensation Surveys included 50 participants. Companies included 13 connectivity providers and 37 content developers (see attached 2020 participant list). The survey results are industry-specific, providing an in-depth analysis of pay practices for roughly 173,195 incumbents, including both exempt and nonexempt positions ranging from technicians to top executives. The participants submitted data reflecting 2020 budgets, base compensation figures, amenities and benefits. This year, the Compensation Surveys also included two Pulse Surveys to gather data on pandemic response and an Essential Worker Survey.
Content & Connectivity Human Resources (C2HR) is a professional association serving 4,300 members from 50 companies spanning the technology, media and entertainment sectors. C2HR provides industry-specific analytics, information and resources, as well as networking and educational opportunities. Its signature initiatives include the C2HR Annual Compensation Surveys and the C2HR CON. For more information, visit www.C2HR.org.
2020 C2HR Compensation Surveys Participants
Altice USA, Inc.
Cable One, Inc.
Charter Communications, Inc.
Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.
Cox Communications, Inc.
General Communications, Inc. (GCI)
Mediacom Communications Corporation
RCN Telecom Services, LLC
WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone
Altice USA, Inc.
AMC Networks Inc.
BBC Studios Americas, Inc.
Charter Communications, Inc.
Crown Media Holdings, Inc.
Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
Fox Corporation, Reporting for: Fox
Fox Corporation, Reporting for: Fox Business, Fox News and Fox Sports
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
ION Media Networks, Inc.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Madison Square Garden Company
National Basketball Association
National Football League
NBCUniversal Media, LLC, Reporting for: NBC
NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Public Broadcasting Service
Qurate Retail Group, Reporting for: HSN and QVC
Riot Games, Inc.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Reporting for: Sony Pictures Television
Starz (A Lionsgate Company)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
The E.W. Scripps Company
Viacom Media Networks
ViacomCBS Inc., Reporting for: CBS
Walt Disney Television, Reporting for: ABC
Walt Disney Television, Reporting for: Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, National Geographic and National Geographic Wild
WarnerMedia, LLC, Reporting for: The CW
World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
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