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 also uncovered that compensation
escalated for executives and middle managers among content
developers (programmers), while management grabbed the
biggest gains among connectivity providers (MSOs).
These findings were based on 2019 data collected from
55 companies, including 41 content developers (cable
programmers, broadcast networks and digital content
creators) and 14 connectivity providers (MSO, satellite,
telecommunications and home security companies). 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 C2HR Annual Compensation Surveys reveal that
our industry is investing in mission-critical jobs with
pay increases well above the traditional 3% merit budget,
said Pamela Williams, CAE, C2HRs Executive Director.
Content and Scarce Talent Spurs Pay
television is still the most widespread content-based
medium, digital viewing is rising steadily, fueled by
the proliferation of direct-to-consumer streaming products
and the ensuing need for original content. As a result,
content investment is increasing at media and digital
companies. Collectively, Disney/21st Century Fox,
Netflix, Comcast, AT&T, and
the new Fox invested over $60 billion in original
content in 2019.1
not the world we used to know. There is a tremendous
amount of competition for talent, and it has created
some compensation disruption, said Hali Croner,
President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The
Croner Company, the leading compensation consulting
firm that conducted the surveys for C2HR.
The recent C2HR Compensation Surveys
revealed the extent of that disruption (see Figure
1). Among programmers, content jobs garnered year-over-year
increases ranging from 6% to 11%. 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
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 pay among connectivity companies. C2HRs
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
Its clear that the companies in our industry
value the people who can resolve customer concerns quickly,
said C2HRs Williams.
These results were also reflected in broader industry
trends, as highlighted during C2HRs Conference
in October 2019. Problem-solving, customer service and
technical skills were identified as key attributes of
the workforce of the future. Attracting and retaining
such talent not only impacts compensation but also learning
and development programs.2
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. Managements 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 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
Croner cited competition with content creators like
Netflix and Apple as the driver behind executive compensation
increases. [Technology companies] need people
who know how to acquire programming, do the legal and
business affair negotiations and have the talent relations,
she explained. As programmers, those individuals
have always been executives, which is why we see compensation
lifts like these.
markets in the East and West continued to skew MSO 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. MSOs in the Southwest,
Mountain, Midwest and South generally reported salaries
below the median (up to -5%) for installers and techs
(See Figure 4).
Bonuses Remain Prevalent
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 5).
However, long-term incentives
(LTIs), such as shares, stock options and long-term
cash, remained limited to management (See Figure
6). In spite of pressure from digital competitors,
many of whom offer LTIs to all employees, penetration
of LTIs remained largely unchanged in 2019. 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 companys 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.
This year, one connectivity
company expanded eligibility for LTIs. As a result,
the percentage of employees below manager receiving
incentives rose to 17% the highest in four years.
Content developers pulled back on their LTI offerings.
In 2019, 6% of employees below managers were eligible.
Employers continued to primarily offer full-value shares
rather than options or cash.
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.
Digital Continues to
Although many key content
and connectivity positions accrued big compensation
gains in 2019, digital natives continue to pay significantly
more than traditional media companies (See Figure
have kept their eye on where pay is going and have made
adjustments by job family if not universally
within their organization, Croner said.
According to The Croner Companys 2019 Digital
Content and Technology Survey, TDC at digital and technology
companies ranges from 46% more for editorial (an increase
from 2018, when editorial was the only area where media
outpaid digital), to 68% more for content talent, to
91% for software engineering, to a whopping 143% more
for data science jobs.
How can legacy companies compete against the challenges
posed by the fast-growth of digital and its associated
Compensation professionals have to be open to
seek and consider more innovative ways to attract and
retain talent, observed Worrell. One way
is to continue to build competitive total reward offers
and not just follow the traditional approach.
C2HR Board Member John Warrack advised members to play
to their strengths. Legacy companies have the
experience and sophistication to create and maintain
cultures that are meaningful and value career growth,
development, diversity and inclusion for all employees,
Warrack said, adding that many fast-growing digital
competitors are less focused on HR.
C2HR members have robust HR systems in place, enabling
them to offer career development, succession planning
and diversity initiatives. These companies have
the HR sophistication and experience to create meaningful
environments for employees, he said.
While perks and amenities are important and should
not be ignored, executive-level talent places a higher
value on competitive cash compensation, career development
and meaningful work, Warrack added.
Health and Fitness Investments
Surveys revealed that our industry fully embraced the
idea that amenities are an important element of a compensation
package. Whats more, the surveys demonstrated
the employers creativity and ability to harness
the power of their individual cultures when offering
C2HR respondents increased their investments in free
gym memberships and recreation with 57% of connectivity
companies offering a gym benefit (an increase from 50%
last year), and 46% of content creators (up from 29%
last year). (See Figure 8).
Given the challenges companies are facing in todays
competitive landscape, it was somewhat surprising to
see the focus companies are placing on finding the right
mix of amenities to attract and retain talent, such
as onsite gyms and local gym memberships, daily meals,
stocked pantries and commuter assistance, noted
Enhanced work environments continued to be popular,
as 71% of connectivity providers and 71% of content
companies offered them. These enhanced workspaces often
reflect a companys culture or unique personality.
Telecommuting can be an important talent lure. Flexible,
efficient use of office space, which is often unoccupied,
has financial benefits as well. C2HRs Surveys
revealed that comprehensive telecommuting policies,
those available to everyone, were not widespread. However,
when examining telecommuting on a case-by-case basis,
the prevalence of telecommuting was higher: 79% of connectivity
providers offered the benefit and 71% of content creators.
Industry employers have fully embraced the idea
that amenities, combined with responsive pay practices,
help attract and retain top talent in a highly competitive
job market, Williams said.
C2HRs 2019 Compensation
Surveys included 55 participants. Companies included
14 connectivity companies 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
2019 C2HR Cable Programmers
/ Broadcast Networks Compensation Survey
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
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
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 Cable and Satellite MSO Compensation Survey
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
1 Wall Street research, SNL
Kagan, company filings.
2 The Workforce of the
Future, 2019 C2HR Conference, Tina Naser, Principal