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Profile: Manish Jha

Feb 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Manish Jha, VP of broadband and interactive TV sales, ESPN.
Background: Mr. Jha joined ESPN after graduating from Colgate University in 1990 and has served as VP of affiliate sales development and operations, among other positions. He continues to oversee affiliate sales development and now also handles alternative technology and new media sales divisions since he assumed his new post in July 2001.
Cable partnership: Mr. Jha is charged with overseeing three new technology products: video-on-demand, interactive TV and ESPN Broadband, though the latter is his primary focus. ESPN Broadband is a service available to affiliates that features high-quality sports clips for cable modem users. The clips cannot be viewed and the site cannot be accessed using a dial-up connection. “We focus on communicating to consumers that [by] connecting through high-speed connections, you can enjoy things you couldn’t experience with narrowband,” he said. “I talk to cable partners about what we are developing for the PC/cable modem package to be delivered on broadband. I encourage them to take advantage of this branded content and show them yet another reason to subscriber to high-speed data or VOD service.” Currently, the service is available to AT&T Broadband customers in Boston; Aspen, Colo.; and the operator’s high-speed markets in Maine and New Hampshire as well as several Comcast markets.
Moving beyond speed: While broadband subscriber growth has slowed over the last year, Mr. Jha believes content like ESPN Broadband can drive the next wave of interest in high-speed service. “The market opportunity is so big because cable operators are so focused on driving beyond early adopters. You can get to a certain market penetration by selling speed and always-on at a price $20 higher than dial-up. But if you want to get beyond that, you need to sell them products and services. The way we got to penetration of 85 percent with multichannel video is by having compelling content that people are willing to pay for. The first 10 [percent] to 15 percent [for broadband] is not a hard sell. Beyond that, to get into the mainstream you need brand and compelling differentiated content, and that’s where our brand comes in. Collectively, we can make broadband penetration to 85 percent like multichannel video over the long term. There’s no reason it can’t.”