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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
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Eric Sperling

President & CEO

The Social Television Network (STN)

Location: Phoenix

Founded: 2012

Industry: Media

In 2012, Eric Sperling founded STN in his upstairs bedroom with just one camera and one microphone. Over the course of a decade, the company has grown to include some of the best leaders and managers from the local news industry. Today, STN operates out of a 10,000-square-foot studio in downtown Phoenix, providing a superior studio and production layout compared to traditional local news outlets.

At STN, the mission is to create a better local media experience, the company said. The company offers a streaming network available for download on the Apple App store and Google Play. All of STN’s shows and segments are dedicated to showcasing local leadership, fostering community growth and providing solutions.

Sperling is president and CEO, and he and his team have worked to shift the focus from monetizing attention and attracting eyeballs to emphasizing cohesion, collaboration and community impact. They created a new model for local media that prioritizes data and drives change in the community.

“One of the biggest risks I took was ensuring that our team focused on prioritizing impact over revenue,” Sperling said. “When a startup begins to experience success, it’s easy to start chasing dollars and lose sight over what was the original mission of the company. We reached a crossroads about five years into the organization where we had to decide if we wanted to continue to ride the success of revenue streams that continued to lead us off the mission path or make significant sacrifices, investments and difficult decisions to get the organization back on mission.”

Sperling envisions expanding STN’s model beyond Arizona. The company aims to establish affiliates in TV markets across the country, using Arizona as ground zero to perfect the model and adapt it to other markets. The ultimate goal is to recreate the role of local media in communities by using technology, prioritizing community interests and providing a platform for content creation and distribution that serves the local audience.

STN has secured funding for homeless shelters, increased diversity and inclusion in major businesses and nonprofits, strengthened mentoring organizations and addressed Arizona’s food waste problem.

“We don’t need another streaming service, but we do need another form of local media that utilizes technology and puts the community’s best interest on the priority list when it comes to content creation and distribution,” the company said. “We plan to utilize scripted content, movies and aligned TV series in the form of premium subscriber content.”

Sperling’s proudest accomplishment is the launch of the monthly series “It Happens at STN,” which combines multiple community action shows into one streaming product and engages a live audience of aligned community leaders. The series has created significant social change, the company said.

Presented by:

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Comerica Bank

I was in a near fatal car accident at the age of 18. I was unconscious in the passenger seat of a burning car when a good samaritan pulled me out seconds before it exploded. I’ve since recovered from the physical injuries, but my new outlook on life has allowed my to make sure I’m here to serve.

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