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THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100

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    4. Abbe Raven
    Abbe Raven
    President and CEO, A+E Television Networks

    Raven takes the commuter rail back and forth between her Manhattan office and her home in suburban Westchester County. And while she admits to whiling away some of that time playing Scrabble with friends on her iPad, she also uses it as an opportunity to observe the media consumption habits of her fellow Metro-North passengers.

    "That's been a real laboratory for me," she says. "The proliferation of iPads on the train is astounding. I get to see what people who are not in our industry are doing, what apps they're using, how they're using technology, what they're watching on their devices."

    PHOTOS: THR's 2011 Women in Entertainment Power 100

    Raven isn't the only one doing the observing. If she's watching some of the programming on her own networks, "the conductor will stop and say, 'Oh, I love Pawn Stars,' " she says. Or if she's carrying a shoulder bag with the A&E or History logos, people will inevitably inquire as to where she got it. "I just say 'I work there,' " she says.

    If such evidence is purely anecdotal, there is also plenty of empirical data attesting to the broad appeal and global reach of the networks in her portfolio. A+E Networks -- which includes A&E and History, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Channel, Bio, Military History, Crime & Investigation and History En Español -- reach more than 300 million households in 150 countries.

    For the third quarter, History and A&E were the only cable networks to experience double-digit ratings growth in the channels' target demographic of ages 25 to 54 (History was ranked No. 2 for the quarter, and A&E came in at No. 5). Already players in the international market, History recently launched in India -- in six languages. "In the factual entertainment space, we are the No. 1 or No. 2 network in many countries," Raven says. "History has now surpassed Discovery as the No. 1 nonfiction brand around the world."

    Raven, 58, has been with the company for 29 years, joining in 1982 as a production assistant at Daytime & Arts, which became Arts & Entertainment, the early incarnation of A&E. She moved up through the executive ranks and was promoted to president and CEO in 2005.

    Raven is unassuming and quick to share credit ("I have an incredible management team," she says), and her longevity is an anomaly in a business where a revolving executive-suite door is the norm. "I started at the bottom," she says. "I'm very proud of that."

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