June 15, 2007
An Interview with Bruce Leichtman: Part I of IV

One of the leading voices of research in relation to new television and video technologies is the Leichtman Research Group, based out of Durham, New Hampshire. At the head of this research is Bruce Leichtman, who serves as principal analyst and president of the company.

Leichtman is regularly quoted as an expert in the field based on his continued research on high-definition television, video-on-demand, digital video recorders, online video, and other important issues in the television industry.

Since these are areas that C3 focuses on as well, I thought it might be of interest to our readers to interview Leichtman about his research, his background, and his thoughts on the current and future of the market. This interview was conducted via phone this morning. It will be presented in four installments. See more about Leichtman Research Group here.

Sam: What is your background in media and technology research?

Bruce: I have been in this industry for a while now, and I have run my own company for the past six years. I was previously the Vice President of Media and Internet Strategies for the Yankee Group., and I worked as director of marketing for Continental Cablevision before that. Prior to all of that, I was a communication major at Syracuse University. At the time, I was looking at going on-air, and I've even done some on-air internships. Basically I've been involved in this field and this field has been in my blood since before I started school in 1980.

Sam: What is the history of Leichtman Research?

Bruce: Basically, I run a small but focused analyst firm. Having worked at a larger firm, I know the strengths of a firm like that as well as the challenges. Here at Leichtman, I like focusing on specific areas. For me, those areas are cable and satellite and broadband. I want to mix consumer research with provider-side research. I try to add a lot of consumer research tracking studies into what I do. We do five of them a year, and I like to let those studies evolve over time.

I also like to look at it from the provider side as well, though, to make sure that we are tracking what the provider numbers are so we can mesh those two streams of research together.

I think it's important that, when companies do research, they are aware of the industry they are researching. I can't research the toilet paper industry because I don't know a lot about that business. My strength is focusing on these industries and developing how to ask the questions and how to analyze the answers. When you are doing research and you see a mistake that you have made, you don't report it and think about how to adapt your questions and methods to have more accurate results the next time. Research is a constantly evolving process.

More than anything else, though, if you are going to own your own company, no matter what it is, you had better be interested in what you are doing.

Sam: What led to your specialization in high-definition in particular?

Bruce: When I started the Leichtman Research Group, I had some core areas I was researching. I have been interested in cable, high-speed Internet, on-demand, and a variety of other issues for a long time, and I'm constantly looking at what is evolving.

In talking with some of my colleagues and advisors, and in asking clients what they need to know and what's next, high-definition keeps coming up. We will be doing the fourth round of our annual HD study in September, and that's one of the longest-running ongoing HD studies in the industry. That type of special focus is one of the keys of running a focused business, and what interests me in particular makes a difference, such as the adoption of high-definition television.