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Shahrzad Rafati founder and CEO of BroadbandTV Corp says leveraging AI and Big Data is key as technolgy now powers all aspects of the digital video ecosystem. Interview.

Can you tell your story in a few words?

Certainly, I’m the Founder and CEO of BroadbandTV (BBTV), a digital entertainment company which exists to empower creators and inspire audiences. I was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to Canada when I was 17. Growing up, content was rationed and after visiting North America I was inspired by the freedom of access to popular content. It was this access that inspired me to build the business model for BBTV while studying Computer Science at The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. I founded BBTV in 2005 and it’s grown from a small startup to a global leader with more than 400 employees. BBTV’s platform currently operates in 11 languages and 32 countries and we continue to experience unprecedented growth. 

«Our tech platforms offer real solutions for creators and our brand partners, which translates into multiple revenue streams for BBTV.»

BBTV has 34 bn views/month. How did you achieve this?

BBTV is building one of the strongest ecosystems in digital video worldwide by connecting our owned and operated brands, content, top talent, millennial audiences and digital platforms, powered by its smart proprietary technology. BBTV remains the third largest video property globally following only Google and Facebook. As of last year, BBTV represents 31 percent of Google site viewers and 59 percent of Facebook. To put that into context, almost one in three people on Google sites, including YouTube, are watching BBTV content. Our core foundation in technology leveraging AI and Big Data has allowed us to stand out from the competition as tech now powers all aspects of the digital video ecosystem, from content production, distribution, marketing to monetization, allowing us to achieve success at scale. Our tech platforms offer real solutions for creators and our brand partners, which translates into multiple revenue streams for BBTV. 

How is gender-equality evolving in the corporate world?

We know there is still a long way to go in terms of true equality in the workplace and we have a duty to make change. It is no myth that a gender balanced organization equals a higher performing organization - the data and facts are there. On a global level, it’s estimated that fully bridging the gender gap could produce up to $28 trillion or 26% in additional global economic output in 2025. Practicing gender diversity is not the moral thing to do but the smart thing to do.  I couldn’t be more proud to say that we’ve implemented equal pay for equal work at BBTV, there is 0% pay discrepancy between male and female employees. 43% of our employees are female, and 46% of our managers are female managers. Unfortunately, there aren’t many companies in our space that can say that. I’m also honoured to have been appointed by PM Trudeau to represent Canada for G20 BWLTF to help with female economic empowerment and social participation across G20 regions.  It’s 2018 and it’s time for change. 

Prime Minister Trudeau has appointed you to represent Canada on the G20 Business Women Leaders task force. How do you approach this mission?

I am incredibly honoured to represent Canada on the G20 Business Women Leaders task force. Gender equality and female economic empowerment are essential to the success of global economies and industries across all sectors. I created an executive committee of leaders from the private, public and non-profit sectors in North America to advise on specific issues related to advancing women’s leadership in business, such as equal pay, quality employment, social services and education, financial parity and economic opportunity. In forming the executive committee, I looked to ensure that we had a variety of different impactful perspectives across different sectors, industries, regions, and spheres of influence. We will communicate our plans ahead of the next G20 summit, we look forward to making an impact!

Shahrzad Rafati (BroadbandTV Corp): NextGen Broadcasting

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