People always want to watch great content but viewing habits have changed significantly in recent years. Service providers must respond to this and deliver what viewers want when they want it.

It’s a tough world out there, and not just for traditional media service providers battling against OTT disrupters.

The average consumer of TV – or perhaps it’s best to say ‘video content’ – can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by the multiplicity of choice.

“Ultimately, customers want to watch the programmes they want, the way they want to watch them,” says Kerris Bright, Virgin Media’s CMO, spying an opportunity for her company to exploit.

“There’s a real role for a customer champion to bring them wonderful programming in the most convenient way and then to help people navigate what is an increasingly complex world.”

Changing habits

While people still love to watch great programming, the way people watch has changed profoundly. “From binging on box sets to on-demand, on-the-go via tablet, the multi-screen universe challenges service providers to respond,” she asserts.

“At the same time, the number of different sources of programming and price models out there is confusing to people. Our role is to simplify this for consumers and offer an open platform for linear or catch up or OTT providers to reach consumers in one place.”

“We have the ability to use data to really help and inform what we do for the customer”

Bright, who has a Ph.D. in molecular neuroscience, was lending her insight to ‘The Evolution of the Consumer Experience’ session at the IBC Conference. Her belief is that connectivity and entertainment are colliding. 

“Different people in a household are watching different things on different devices at different times, and for that you need great bandwidth,” she says.

“Our customers use 50 per cent more bandwidth than our competitors because we have great connectivity. Our customers really want to do more online, from streaming to gaming, and that makes this business incredibly rewarding.”

Bold approach

Prior to joining Virgin Media, Bright earned herself a reputation as a ‘fixer’, having worked at brands such as Unilever, British Airways, Ideal Standard and Dulux paint owner AkzoNobel, where she led the turnaround of Dulux from ‘your dad’s favourite paint’ to a brand synonymous with colour. 

“I’ve had my greatest successes and most fun when I have been bold and taken risks, but it’s not always a comfortable place to be,” she says.

The collection of data and use of analytics made possible by broadband is a key advantage which media has over her previous career experiences, she says.

Virgin media at a glance

Virgin Media at a glance

Source: Virgin Media

“At British Airways we knew a lot about some passengers who regularly travel with the airline but hardly anything about many of the fellow travellers onboard each flight. Likewise, in a fast moving packaged goods environment you are several steps removed from that direct customer relationship.

”At Virgin, we have the ability to use data to really help and inform what we do for the customer, and for us it’s a source of competitive advantage.”

That said, she finds the broader media industry “very technology driven and product development focused” – strategies which may not always be putting the customer at heart. 

“The opportunity to combine brilliant technology and product focus with insight into how customers really live their lives can be very powerful. That is what I find exciting.”


Kerris bright

Kerris Bright

Kerris Bright

Chief Marketing Officer, Virgin Media

Region: United Kingdom

Kerris read Biology at Sussex and enjoyed it so much she completed a PhD. Her greatest discovery however, was that she wasn’t cut out for lab life and her love of shopping led her to the world of marketing at Unilever.

Following several years peddling perfume and pregnancy tests for Unilever and fueled by her love for interior design Kerris joined ICI/AkzoNobel where she led the turnaround of Dulux from ‘your dad’s favourite paint’ to a brand synonymous with colour. She was appointed CMO and during her tenure transformed the company from a ‘multi-local’ to global brand building organization.

Kerris was subsequently appointed Head of Global Marketing for British Airways where she spearheaded the development of ‘To Fly: To Serve’, a new purpose for the organisation and a multiplatform communications campaign.

Seeking a broader commercial challenge, Kerris joined the world of Private Equity with Bain Capital where she led the transformation of Ideal Standard International to a more customer led business.

Kerris is currently Chief Marketing Officer for Virgin Media where she is tasked with driving unparalleled growth, to provide customer centered leadership for the iconic brand and to find a way to unlock the power of big data.

This interview was first conducted for IBC2016.