In his new position as Pac-12 Network president, Mark Shuken can shake things up.
Or, he could simply try to appease those getting a little stir-crazy.
The conference-owned media business has achieved measurable success in elevating exposure for the member schools, but when compared to the millions generated by other conference-based networks for their institutions, the Pac-12 may look like it’s coming up on the short end heading into its sixth year. The problematic distribution issues impede some of that progress.
Now, aside from the buzz created in the months leading up to its launch in August 2012, this may be the most opportunistic moment for the six regional channels bundled with one national feed to punch its way out of stagnation and get back into the ring with primary holdout DirecTV.
The great new hype comes from the hiring of Shuken, who once led DirecTV’s sports regional networks (from 2009-2011) and then jumped at the challenge of launching the then-Time Warner Cable SportsNet (2012) followed by the Dodgers’ SportsNet L.A. (2014) as that organization’s senior VP and general manager.
Shuken should know how to navigate through the egotistical landmines and public posturing, tasked to push the rock up the hill again as the estimated 19 million homes who get these nets – including some three million in Southern California – have come to know the benefits of having access through either the Dish Network, Charter Spectrum, Frontier FIOS or AT&T Uverse (AT&T also owns DirecTV).
As the Pac-12 Net football season includes USC’s opener against Western Michigan (Saturday, 2:15 p.m.) and UCLA’s second game against Hawaii (Sept. 9, 2 p.m.), with more appearances this fall, Shuken explained his new marching orders:
Q: The two previous presidents at the Pac-12 Network may have been more focused on building content and structuring production to a point to where there are more than 800 live events a year and several platforms to show it on. With what…