As mantras go, “know thy audience” certainly speaks volumes about cross-platform television viewing. Content providers that take this to heart will become preferred partners to agencies and advertisers as innumerable publishing options are inevitably winnowed out by their capabilities and the quality of their offerings, says Nancy Dubuc.

The President and CEO of A+E Networks views cross-platform opportunities through the lens not of a TV company but “as a great content company” constantly honing its capabilities and execution.

“Historically, we’ve had to think in increments of 30 or 60 minutes. And now we have to think in increments of six seconds to six hours and everything in between,” Dubuc says in this interview with Beet.TV.

Knowing one’s audience is of paramount concern because it’s now more crucial than ever to know who you are speaking to and how you’re speaking to them, according to Dubuc. “It’s not enough just to put great television shows out anymore,” she says.

The question of balancing content and ad load gets lots of attention at A+E, but there’s only so much progress to be made given things on the agency and advertiser side. Dubuc cites a pace of change that’s “still lumbering” despite advances on the supply side.

“There’s a lot of friction between the publishers, the agencies and the clients. Unnecessary friction in some instances,” Dubuc says. “We know it goes back to the capabilities conversation.”

The concept of preferred clients and preferred partners “I think will take hold in the future,” she adds, “in that there’s just going to be too many publishing options, too many distribution options and too many options in general for brands to try and market their product.”

That’s when frictionless ease of use, along with brand and content safety, plus quality of content “will be key in differentiating yourself as one of those preferred partners.”

This interview was recorded in Manhattan as part of the Comcast/FreeWheel 2017 U.S. Client Summit “Unifying The New TV Ecosystem.” This series of videos from the summit is presented by FreeWheel.