2021 Emerging Leaders - Roku's Nicole Fencel

The Fierce Video editorial team is proud to present its second annual Emerging Leaders Awards, recognizing the brightest young professionals rising up the ranks of the streaming TV industry. Throughout the months of May and June we’ll be featuring these profiles with each of our finalists. We will announce the winners during our StreamTV Show with an awards ceremony June 17 at 3:15 p.m. ET. Not yet registered for the StreamTV Show, running June 15-17? Be sure to register now and save your spot at this free virtual event!

Nicole Fencel/Roku:

As senior manager for The Roku Channel SVOD, Nicole Fencel is responsible for developing and executing strategies to scale The Roku Channel’s premium subscriptions business. She is the business lead for all negotiations with new premium subscription partners and is also responsible for evaluating new business transactional models for The Roku Channel. Nicole oversees a team responsible for implementing major product releases, such a subscription bundling and promotional pricing, and evaluating additional business opportunities internationally, as well as off platform, for premium subscriptions.

What her colleagues are saying:

“As a founding member of The Roku Channel premium subscriptions team, Nicole directly helped build the business up from scratch into an offering that now includes 50 premium SVOD services. She is a skilled strategist and constantly pushes herself and her team to innovate how we can be bigger and better. Congrats to Nicole on her well-deserved recognition by Fierce Video!” - Rob Holmes, vice president of programming at Roku

“Since joining Roku, Nicole’s work has defined what success for subscription services within The Roku Channel looks like. The incredible growth of The Roku Channel Premium Subscriptions is a testament to Nicole’s hard work and bright future in TV streaming. I am excited to see her accomplishments recognized by Fierce Video!” - Randy Ahn, director The Roku Channel SVOD at Roku

Streaming Industry Q&A:

What streaming services do you subscribe to? 

This is a tough one! I subscribe to Starz, Showtime, AMC+ through The Roku Channel, in addition to Discovery+, HBO Max, Disney+ and Hulu (to name a few). And of course, beyond subscriptions, my go to destination for incredible free content is The Roku Channel 😊

Describe your biggest career highlight so far.

Pressing the “launch” button on premium subscriptions after a year and a half of negotiations and building the product up from scratch was extremely rewarding. Getting the chance to set the service live and watching the first users subscribe to one of our services was awesome! I am so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to contribute to such an important step forward for The Roku Channel, and to continue to build and grow Premium Subscriptions everyday with the best team in the game!

What has been your biggest career learning experience?

There are so many learnings that come from working in a rapidly changing and growing ecosystem like TV streaming, but I think the biggest theme across every challenge I’ve learned is that it is crucial to be nimble with your decision making. Things can change in an instant and you might not have all the information at once. It’s important to be flexible and adaptable, while also knowing when to ask for help. Any challenge can be conquered through teamwork!

What's next for you in terms of new challenges in streaming TV?

In the SVOD world, one of the top reasons a user cancels a service is that they aren’t watching enough content. They come in for a single show and do not or cannot find something else they want to engage with. It is our job to ensure that the consumer understands the depth of an offering and is presented the right content at the right time. A more engaged consumer tends to stick around longer—but the definition of what engagement means can differ, so for me it’s important to look at all of the pieces of the puzzle to make decisions around retention that are in the best interest of the partner.