Connecting with Bill Sobel

Mention Joan Hogan Gillman, and people in media and advertising tend to listen. Gillman is executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer, media services, for Time Warner Cable, where she leads the effort to deliver advanced advertising, data and interactive solutions for advertisers and network partners.

Gillman joined TWC in May 2005 as vice president of interactive TV and advanced advertising. But she's been on the cutting edge of new technology in media and advertising since 1995.

From 1995 to1997, she served as vice president of marketing for Physicians’ Online, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the healthcare industry. From there, she made the jump into digital TV when she moved to the UK to head the business development, regulatory and legal teams for British Interactive Broadcasting, the digital and interactive TV joint venture between BSkyB, BT, HSBC and Matsushita. After returning to the US in 2001, Ms. Gillman served as president of Static2358 when it was an interactive TV, games and production subsidiary of OpenTV.

Build from the Customer's Perspective


Gillman said consumer-centric organizations build processes from the customer’s perspective. It’s the key to delivering the most positive customer experience, she said. She elaborated on that and much more during a recent interview with CMSWire.

Sobel: You've been described as someone who “has been on the cutting edge of new technology in media and advertising" since 1995, and have experience in both Internet and cable television. Beyond the obvious, what differentiates cable from online?

Gillman: Cable and the Internet have always been closely connected and interdependent. Internet 1.0 was ISPs with dial up software. Do you remember the discs? While at Physician’s Online, we went from mailing ISP discs to building our portal in HTML with clients logging in via DSL and browsers.

It was not until cable decided to disrupt DSL with significant investment in broadband did we see the surge in websites, as well as established publishers moving to the web and the birth of Internet brands that are part of our everyday life. Whether it's cable, publishers or Internet tech companies, each wants to see the Internet flourish. The healthier the network, the better the consumer experience.

Sobel: Before your work in technology, you worked in politics for former Democratic US Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut. Can you tell us how and why you made the move from politics and into the Internet side of the health care industry?

Gillman: In 1995, the Internet was the new thing. AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, Physician’s Online, Netscape … these companies were opening up a new world for content distribution, communications and community. While the consumer was at the center of the innovations, what interested me most was the coming together or convergence of industries — health care and communications, publishing and communications and so on.

In my years working in DC, especially as a legislative director, it always came down to communication and an industry/policy issue. It was never enough to just know the subject matter. Learning how to communicate the importance of a subject and learning how to build a community of support for an issue was critical to an issue advancing through the process. In 1995, I could see that the Internet was going to change industry and politics across the board and was excited to be a part of the change.