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Profile: Steve Necessary

Jul 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Steve Necessary, president, Xstreme Division of Concurrent Computer Corp. Xstreme is the video-on-demand business of Concurrent.
Background: Mr. Necessary joined Concurrent July 1 after serving as president, CEO and director of Power TV, a software subsidiary of Scientific-Atlanta, since January 2000. He also worked as VP, marketing, with Scientific-Atlanta and spent nearly 20 years at the company, with a four-year stint at Antec.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: “I have the relative luxury of joining an organization that’s doing well, so I have the luxury of not trying to fix something [that’s] broken,” he said. Still, he has three primary goals in his new position: to focus on customers, evaluate research and development and foster partnerships. He hopes to visit customers more frequently and ask them: “What are we doing and how can we do it better? It’s not that we think we are doing something wrong. [We want to know] how to meet their needs better,” he said. As for R&D, his job is to balance the limited resources of dollars, people and time against the list of things Concurrent wants to do.

“It is somewhat of an art form to force yourself into a framework of thinking about where to spend R&D dollars as a long-term and short-term project.” Finally, he hopes to nurture the partnerships the company has with Pace, Pioneer, Liberate, WorldGate, Scientific-Atlanta and other companies with which it collaborates.
VOD school: “We are all heavily in a learning mode. As early in the game as VOD is, we are going to learn a lot more, so we have to be diligent about that and learning best practices and what consumers want-user interface, latency, the way content is distributed. What is the consumer impact of peak loading on SVOD and what impact does that have on churn?” he asked.
Killer app: Mr. Necessary does not buy into the commonly held notion that movies are the killer app of VOD. “I think movies are one of the killer apps and it will be a different killer app for different people at different times. On a snowy night in Buffalo, movies will be a killer app. For a sports fan on Saturday night, the network-based PVR and the ability to rewind live TV will be the killer app. The killer app has both a functional and a situational dimension,” he said.