phillytechnews bytes 11/8

Philly Tech People News 11/8/2015: Eatroff joins Comcast as EVP, Global Corporate Development and Strategy.

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Robert L. Eatroff has joined Comcast Corporation as Executive Vice President, Global Corporate Development and Strategy.
He will join Comcast in January 2016 from Morgan Stanley in New York where he was Managing Director and Head of Mergers & Acquisitions for the Americas. He will report to Michael J. Cavanagh, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Comcast Corporation.

Mr. Eatroff will succeed Alexander D. Evans who will join Michael J. Angelakis, former Chief Financial Officer of Comcast, in January 2016 at the new strategic company Mr. Angelakis formed in partnership with Comcast that will focus on investing in and operating growth-oriented companies. He also succeeds Bob Pick, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, who is retiring at year-end and will consult for the company on special projects.

Mr. Eatroff earned his MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Bucknell University. He will be relocating from New York City to Philadelphia.

The word "Global" in Eatroff's title probably has particular significance.

Accolade, the Plymouth Meeting-based corporate health services firm, announced that Rajeev Singh has joined the company as chief executive officer and member of the company's Board of Directors. Singh most recently was co-founder, President & COO of Concur prior to its acquisition by SAP last year for $8.3 billion. Also, two other former Concur execs will join the company; Michael Hilton, another Concur co-founder, and Rob Cavanaugh will both be in senior operating positions. Along with their additions a dual headquarters structure will be established with a Seattle headquarters to complement the one in the Philadelphia area.

Quality Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: QSII), announced this week the election of Jeffrey H. Margolis as the independent chairman of the board of directors, effective immediately. Margolis succeeds Sheldon Razin, 77, founder, who has served as the chairman of the board since the Company’s inception in 1974.

Following his decision to retire as chairman, Razin will continue to serve on the board as chairman emeritus. Since founding Quality Systems more than 40 years ago, Razin has led the Company to its industry leadership position in the continually evolving healthcare information technology sector, with an installed user base that spans 85,000 providers across 4,000 clients.

Quality Systems' principal business is Horsham-based NextGen Healthcare.

Jim Brady, a former sports and executive editor at and currently the CEO of Spirited Media, is the new public editor at ESPN.

Brady will start on Nov. 15 and serve for 18 months in the role, which was formerly called the ombudsman. Brady will be charged with providing "independent examination, critique and analysis of ESPN's programming and news coverage on television, digital, print, audio and other media," ESPN said in a statement.

Brady has more than 20 years of experience in digital and print news at AOL, the Washington Post, Digital First Media (where he served as editor-in-chief) and currently at Spirited Media, which runs the mobile news platform Billy Penn in Philadelphia.

CoreDial, LLC, a leading cloud communications software and services provider, announced that Caitlin Clark-Zigmond has joined the company as Vice President of Product Management for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

Ms. Clark-Zigmond comes to CoreDial from Comcast Business, where she served as Senior Director of Product Management since 2013. Her core focus, among other responsibilities, was managing advanced voice solutions, specifically Comcast’s Business VoiceEdge platform. She also previously worked for companies such as unified communications wholesaler, New Global Telecom (NGT), and enterprise video provider, Level3. She now joins CoreDial with over 20 years of experience in the telecom and unified communications industries.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania announced Thursday Chris Satullo will be its new professional in residence for the 2015-16 spring semester.

Satullo was the former WHYY executive who was reportedly forced out recently over policy disagreements.

Sunday Highlights: Recounting what happened to GSI Commerce; Comcast responds to cap criticisms

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How Campbell is taking cues from tech to reorganize internally (Digiday)

Trade In, Trade Up (Joseph DiStefano / Philadelphia Inquirer)
On remnants of Ebay Enterprise / GSI Commerce. Amazing how closely Rubin's account of what happened with GSI Commerce and Ebay, as retold by DiStefano, is in sync with my account here written before the IMPACT event, though I've never discussed the matter with Rubin or any of his associates.

Comcast says it publicly outlined its usage-based pricing philosophy back in 2010 (FierceCable)

In the cloud, beware the sinking ships (David Linthicum/Infoworld)

The cloud wars explained: Why nobody can catch up with Amazon (Business Insider)

QVC: Usual pattern; Low overall US Growth, but higher mobile & web growth; Amazon's possible entry threatens status quo

Tom Paine

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QVC Group (QVCA) reported its results for the 3rd quarter 2015 on this past Wednesday.

QVCA (NASDAQ: QVCA) consists of West Chester-based QVC's worldwide businesses, about 38% of HSN, and 22% of the equity in TripAdvisor.

QVC US revenue increased 4% to $1.4 billion in the third quarter, while operating income grew 5%. revenue (originating from the website) as a percent of total US revenue increased to 48%; QVC US mobile penetration accounted for 52% of orders. Overall, QVC's US web sales grew 15%. The acquisition of Zulily closed at the completion of the quarter, so its results were not included in QVCA results.

However, due to unfavorable cuurency fluctuation, according to QVCA, QVC's consolidated worldwide revenue decreased 1% in the third quarter to $2.0 billion. International revenue decreased 10%.

While the growth in ecommerce and mobile transactions is important and necessary, some percentage of those orders are simply replacing busineess from existing customers rather than coming from new customers. Even if it were all new revenues, it would take quite some time before QVC might emerge as a growth company given the continued detorioration of its older (mostly telephonic) orders base.

"There's been no growth in the number of consumers shopping by television in three years. The majority of their business is repeat customers, but the number of new viewers isn't growing," said Britt Beemer, chairman and CEO of America's Research Group, a retail consulting agency, as quoted by the Tampa Bay Times.

Entrance to QVC headquarters /
Pennsylvania Center
for the Book)

But QVC has been on a well-orchestrated PR campaign recently, seemingly aimed more at the financial community. Besides the Zulily acquisition, they've also been touting a new QVC app on Apple TV , and there was also a well-timed feature in the Washington Post, among other articles.

But the news that sent the closely knit home shopping industry into overdrive was a well-substantiated report by Seattle-based GeekWire posted on October 28 outlining Amazon's plans to enter the market. Obviously Amazon sees TV shopping as one outlet among numerous ecommerce buying possibilities, but its unclear whether Amazon could bring either the technology or showmanship need to increase TV shopping's percentage of the overall ecommerce spend.

There has even been speculation, far-fetched at this point, that Amazon may eventually try to acquire QVC.

Despite its slow growth, QVC has been very good at generating cash flow. That has given it a current market valuation in excess of $19 billion. Actually, QVCA was created as one of Liberty founder & Chairman John Malone's tracking stocks, which help investors focus on a company or group of companies with distinct characteristics, and maybe gives management more freedom to manuever.

One thing executives emphasized in the earnings call - yes, QVCA has its own earnings call now (transcript courtesy of Seeking Alpha) - is the work its put into making its software more responsive and personalized. Personalization often refers to Monetate, though QVC has been working with Monetate for several years now.