Long reads

The Euro50 Q&A – Irina Cazacu, Romtelecom

Romtelecom has consistently been one of the most innovative players in the competitive Romanian pay TV market. Irina Cazacu, Romtelecom’s product development manager, has been behind the launch of services including online video portal dolcetv.ro and new personalised bundles.

Age Well…I think only men should get this question. Definitely pretty young, but my “TV age” is four.

Education MSc in Business Administration, Faculty of Economics; MSc in Statistic and Probabilities, Faculty of Mathematics.

Previous positions Previously, I served in several positions most of them in the sales and financial areas. When I joined the team having as my mission to develop one of the most innovative TV service in central and eastern Europe, I saw this as huge opportunity for making a fresh start. I am now enjoying working in a dynamic company, facing the challenges of a high demanding and fast changing market.

Last year’s highlights Probably one of the main achievements is that I succeeded in driving from start to completion the build of a solid and comprehensive development roadmap of our IPTV product. A considerable amount of work was needed to build and interpret complex market analysis, adapt the supplier roadmap to our needs, get agreement from all stakeholders and synchronise with the overall company strategy on consumer products in general and TV in particular. Another achievement was to succeed in fine tuning the existing IPTV product to market requirements by building offers which were better adapted to the needs of our customers. This will help us to maintain our healthy growth in a very challenging market.

Most significant industry development The entire TV industry is changing shape very rapidly. Fast and innovative technology development is supporting new value added services, new content and new ways to deliver and discover it. Although I was expecting this,  the accelerated growing interest in OTT and multiscreen is remarkable.

Goals for next year I will continue to focus my efforts to ensure that we keep our leadership in developing and implementing new and innovative TV services. Therefore the implementation of the agreed IPTV roadmap is the key goal for me next year. Equally we need to keep working hard to ensure we are continuously fine tuning our commercial offers to ensure they meet the customers’ and market’s demands.

Industry challenges and opportunities I think that we’re all witnessing a big change in users’ lifestyle and the way they are now consuming the content. There is now strong evidence that there is an increasing demand to enhance the TV experience with “social media” features, just to give one example. From the usability perspective the main questions would be which have to be integrated on the main TV screen, under what form and how they should be linked with the content. Not to mention that, for some of these features, it makes more sense to be available only on the second screen. Another major challenge I can see is that content discovery and recommendation need to be speedily integrated into the overall TV experience. Considering the fast-growing variety and amount of content, it will be an essential aspect for the user to quickly find the content which will better suits his preferences at any certain moment, while the operators need be able to monetise it. Also let’s not forget that the business models able to generate the revenues to back the implementation of these extra features are still to be proven, especially in “low ARPU” markets.

Alternative career choice It’s hard for me to answer to this question when I am now so much into TV product development. I always enjoy developing products capable of getting to people’s hearts by bringing extra value and being easy to use. Over and above that I need challenges in my career to keep myself motivated. Leading product development in a very demanding and price sensitive market is just an aspect of what I savour. Very likely I will always work in an area that encourages innovation and the use of the most recent technology.

TV character most identified with I can’t really identify myself with a TV character. I think each of us has lived some interesting experiences and we can each have our own movie to tell a story. However, I have to admit that one of my favorite movies is Inception simply because it makes you wonder and is generating so many open questions.

Most admired personality I’m rather trying to look for models among people around me. And I have some good examples. There is a lesson to be learned from anybody, even if it is a lesson of “how to” or “how not to”. All we have to do is carefully watch and listen.

Life outside work I try to mix and match leisure time with my mood. It’s a bit of everything from socialising (real and virtual), sport and painting – to list the main ones only.
It’s a true joy to have so many options available nowadays.