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‘It’s time for women in the media tech industry to step up’

To mark International Women’s Day 2019, TVBEurope talks to Telestream’s Anna Greco about a career in media technology, how to encourage more women into the industry, and where we go next

Anna Greco has worked in the media and technology industry for most of her career, racking up an impressive 18 years with Telestream. In January 2018 she was promoted to president of media workflows and production.

During her time, Greco has watched both the industry and Telestream itself undergo fundamental change: “There’s been an amazing amount of change in the time I’ve been at Telestream. When I started we had 34 employees and today we have slightly under 400!” she tells TVBEurope. “We have gone from being a single product company to having a wide range of products that span file-based, streaming, live, consumer, prosumer, monitoring, quality assurance; we’ve gone through multiple acquisitions during that time, we have had a change of management in the last couple of years, so there have been a lot of changes!” she laughs.

Anna Greco

Sadly one of the things that hasn’t changed in the industry is the lack of women. Greco admits she has been in multiple meetings over the years where she’s been the only woman in the room. “I’d love to say it’s completely different now than it was 30 years ago, but it’s not,” she says. “It’s a little better, there’s certainly more awareness but it is still very much a male-dominated business.”

How does Greco think media tech companies encourage could more women to enter the industry? “I think it starts at a very young age and I think it starts with the schools and the families. We need to empower young girls to follow a career path in maths and science and some of the more technical arts.

“But I think it’s also up to us, it’s up to the women who are already here, who are working in the industry, they need to step up a little bit and do a bit more mentoring and helping. It’s not that hard to do. I talk to a lot of women who are a little reluctant because they think it is a big time commitment but it really isn’t. It’s amazing what spending just a little bit of time with young girls can do to change their outlook. I think it’s slow, it’s slower than anyone would like it to be, but it will eventually change.”

Greco says that while it’s obviously important to encourage young girls to consider a career in technology, we need to talk about boys too. “That’s the other game-changer,” she explains. “It’s about how do men relate to women and that’s changing quite a bit. That starts at a very young age too and I can see now in the younger generation that it’s different. I think boys are much more accepting than they were when I was growing up and ultimately that is the other piece of the puzzle.”

Looking at the industry as a whole, we’ve obviously seen an explosion in content, and content providers, in the past 5-10 years. How has Telestream viewed that explosion, and what impact has it had on the company? “Previously we had customers who primarily had to produce content for one end point and that was really easy,” Greco explains. “They were broadcasters, they did linear TV. Now we have the same customers having to produce different content for a variety of end points and they’re all different. They need to be able to manage that process, they need to do it efficiently and effectively, they can’t start over for every different end point, it’s just not feasible, so they need the tools to be able to say ‘ok, here’s this file of a show and we need to produce 10 different versions of it’.”

With the explosion of content and the introduction of technologies like the Cloud and IP, can Greco gaze into her crystal ball and give us an idea of where she thinks the media tech industry will go in the next 10 years? “I think OTT is absolutely a growing space and we’re going to see more and more of that. I think we will see more and different end points, I don’t think that has stopped yet, but I don’t know what they are yet. We will have to adapt to that.

“I also think that customers are going to want to consume that content a little differently, I think we’re going to see a bit more customised content for consumers in terms of both the ads that are served up to them or how that content itself is served up to them,” Greco continues. “The next 10 years is going to be an exciting time!”