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Friday, December 19, 2014

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Analysis for 'People'

  • Altitude Digital Adds Executives, Doubles Revenue and Expands Capabilities

    Altitude Digital, a video supply side platform, has added two new VPs and anticipates more than doubling revenue to $50 million in 2014 as it has continued to expand its programmatic video advertising capabilities. Altitude has its roots in display, but has aggressively invested in programmatic video, now working with over 1,800 publishers.

    The new hires include Ryan Abrahams as VP of New Revenue and Max Gideon, VP of Mobile. Abrahams was most recently Director of Publisher Development, East, for Nexage, a premium mobile ad exchange that was acquired last week by Millennial Media. Gideon was previously at Zynga, in business development and ad management positions.

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  • Clearleap Hires First COO, Joe Oesterling

    Clearleap, a multiscreen platform provider for pay-TV operators and content owners, has hired Joe Oesterling as its first Chief Operating Officer. Oesterling comes to the company from managed service provider Cbeyond, where he was EVP of Technology and Operations and spent 14 years helping build the company from startup phase to $500 million in annual revenues.

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  • Watch Jerry Seinfeld Gush About the Internet and Online Video's Potential for Content Creators [VIDEO]

    Jerry Seinfeld gushes about the role the Internet has had on society and online video's potential for content creators in a "BuzzFeed Brews" interview with business editor Peter Lauria. It's pretty cool to see how deeply Seinfeld gets the power of online video and how it's reinventing entertainment.

    Seinfeld himself has hit upon a successful formula in online video with his interview show, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," which just exceeded 25 million streams on Crackle and got great visibility during the half-time of the Super Bowl with the mini Seinfeld reunion episode.  

    Among Seinfeld's choice quotes in the interview:

    watch the interview

  • LiveRail Appoints Former NBCU Executive Peter Naylor to Board

    LiveRail, whose programmatic video ad platform powers monetization for numerous premium content providers, announced this morning that it has appointed former NBCU ad executive Peter Naylor to its board of directors. Peter had headed up digital media sales at NBCU, where he helped lead the company's programmatic initiatives. Peter is a well-known digital media executive, serving as chairman of the IAB board and treasurer of the OPA.

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  • Interviewing Roku's CEO Anthony Wood at NATPE Next Week. Suggestions On What To Ask?

    I'm excited to be hosting a one-on-one interview with Roku's CEO and founder Anthony Wood at NATPE in Miami next Monday, Jan. 28th. Anthony is one of the true visionaries in the online video / connected TV device world.

    Among the topics on my list to discuss with him are Roku TV (launched with Hisense and TCL at CES last week), how Roku owners actually use the device since there are now over 1,200 channels to choose from, the status of Roku's work with pay-TV operators and whether transactional VOD will play a bigger part in Roku's future. I'm sure we'll also discuss larger industry trends like cord-cutting, the connected TV device landscape, Smart TVs, TV Everywhere and the role of mobile devices.

    That's a long list, but what do YOU think I should ask him? Send me suggestions via email or leave a comment!

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  • Mixpo Hires Ad Industry Veteran Jeff Lanctot as CEO

    Ad tech provider Mixpo has hired ad industry veteran and long-time board member Jeff Lanctot as its new CEO. Lanctot takes over the role from co-founder Anupam Gupta who remains on the board. Lanctot was most recently Chief Media Officer at digital agency Razorfish, and previously served as GM and Chief Strategy Officer. Prior he was at aQuantive and Microsoft Advertising.

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  • TheBlaze's Betsy Morgan: "All of the burdens of legacy media really suck." [VIDEO]

    Betsy Morgan, currently president of TheBlaze (Glenn Beck's media company) and former CEO of The Huffington Post and SVP of CBS Interactive, has a highly informed perspective of today's video landscape. And in a recent interview I did with Betsy at NATPE, she doesn't mince words, observing, among other things, that "all of the burdens of legacy media really suck" and that "advertising will be disrupted first" and that "cable still has enormous value."

    In her role at TheBlaze, Betsy is on the front lines of defining a new kind of cross-media, personality-driven media company. TheBlaze has a free, ad-supported online property, a subscription service called TheBlaze TV that has 300K members (who pay $9.95/mo) and a distribution deal with Dish Network which it hopes to emulate with others. Betsy explains how in the new video landscape, there's no longer a one-size fits all model; rather what's needed is a flexible approach that serves consumers however and whenever they want to access content.

    Watch the interview

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  • Video Interview with Vuguru's Chief Creative Officer Kristin Jones

    Today I'm pleased to share a video interview I did with Vuguru's Chief Creative Officer Kristin Jones at the recent NATPE Market conference in Miami, FL. Among other topics, Kristin describes Vuguru's business model, some of the successful originals that it has created, how she sees online distributors differentiating themselves and where the market for digital content is heading from here.

    The interview runs about 7 minutes. (Note, I'm off camera and my audio isn't great, so the questions are overlaid in text.)

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  • Video Interview with Yahoo's EVP, Americas Ross Levinsohn

    Today I'm pleased to share a video interview I did with Yahoo's EVP, Americas, Ross Levinsohn at the recent NATPE Market conference in Miami, FL. Among the topics Ross addresses are::

    How Yahoo is breaking through given the proliferation of online video choices?

    How did the new Tom Hanks project "Electric City" for Yahoo come about?

    Why is Yahoo's user data so important to developing original programming?

    What's the timetable for shifting TV spending to online video and what are the key challenges?

    Are there non ad-based revenue streams Yahoo envisions for its video?

    What's the big surprise he foresees for 2012?

    The interview runs 12 1/2 minutes. (Note, I'm off camera and my audio isn't great, so the questions are overlaid in text.)

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  • News Corp's Jon Miller and Yahoo's Ross Levinsohn at NATPE

    This morning at the NATPE Market and Conference in Miami, Jon Miller, Chief Digital Officer, News Corp and Ross Levinsohn, EVP, Americas, Yahoo participated in an interesting keynote conversation with Michael Nathanson, Managing Director, Nomura Securities. No surprise, 95% of the discussion focused on online video. Below I have paraphrased some of the key quotes and takeaways:

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  • Video Interview: HBO Co-President Eric Kessler at VideoSchmooze

    A highlight of last week's VideoSchmooze:NYC Online Video Leadership Forum was the leadoff fireside interview I did with Eric Kessler, HBO's co-president. Our conversation focused on HBO GO, the streaming app that HBO officially launched on May 1st, which has received approximately 5 million downloads to date.

    In the interview, Eric offers a comprehensive explanation of how HBO's business model works and the value-added role that HBO GO plays in extending subscribers' life-cycle. He provides a slew of new data points on HBO usage by content type and device, as well as how it's changing subscribers' perceptions of HBO. Eric also notes that the most critical decision HBO made was to include virtually all of its programs' episodes in HBO GO, although the move undermined its lucrative home video/DVD business for a segment of buyers.

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  • Video Interview: News Corp.'s Jon Miller On "Tensions" Content Providers are Experiencing

    A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a fireside chat with News Corp.'s Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller (also formerly CEO of AOL) at Akamai's Edge 2011 customer conference. The video is now posted here (note it's not embeddable, but it's the fourth thumbnail from the left labeled "04: Evolution Digital Media: NewsCorp 2011-10-13.")

    Jon provides candid and thoughtful insights on the various "tensions" he believes premium content providers are experiencing with the rise of online and mobile delivery. Given his role at News Corp. and that he's on Hulu's board of directors, Jon has a very well-informed perspective. The interview is wide-ranging; among other things we discuss are the pressures on the pay-TV business model including the prospect of a la carte, cord-cutting threats, important distinctions between "TV Everywhere" and "authentication," Netflix's recent stumbles and the concept of a "good enough" value proposition and how premium-quality content licensing now often serves distributors' larger goals.

    I learned a lot from our discussion so if you're interested to hear from one of the most plugged-in executives in the industry, it's well worth your time. Note there are some periodic stutters in the video, but they resolve themselves quickly.

    (Thanks to Akamai, which is a VideoNuze sponsor, for making the video available.)

  • Steve Jobs and the Elusive Connected Device

    This morning the world remembers Steve Jobs, whose influence on the computing, music, film, communications and other industries is immeasurable. Jobs's ability to imagine how things could be - and then make them so - made him the most unique business leader of modern times. His personal philosophy, articulated in his memorable Stanford commencement speech in 2005, is likely the only career advice anyone should ever need. Setting the bar high, and never being willing to settle for less, was Jobs's mantra. His ability to infuse this in his Apple colleagues was the reason the company turned out one hit product after another.

    Yet for all of Jobs's successes, one product he had yet to nail was the "connected device," the industry term for something that delivers personalized video, including TV shows and movies, to a large screen. To be sure, Apple has begun having success with its Apple TV, yet Jobs still considered that device a "hobby" (his words) because he saw that it fell well short of the revolutionizing impact the iPod or iPhone had in their respective industries.

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  • Here's What the World's Largest Media Buying Agency Thinks About Online Video Advertising [VIDEO]

    A couple of weeks ago at the ELEVATE: Online Video Advertising Summit, Mike Bologna, head of emerging communications at GroupM did a fireside chat with Jack Myers, Chairman, Media Advisory Group, to discuss the agency view of online video advertising. For those not familiar with GroupM, it is a unit of WPP and is the world's largest media buying agency, accounting for over 32% of global media billings. Mike is the point person on all emerging media and has a front-row seat in the unfolding drama of online video's efforts to attract traditional TV dollars.

    In the 25-minute video (after the jump), Mike provides a candid view of online video's opportunities and challenges. Among other things, he clarifies what constitutes "professionally created" content, explains that online video can be viewed as more economical than TV despite its higher CPMs, discusses how the strong recent upfront actually benefits online video, shares why he just advised a client to shift 4% of its TV spending to online video, describes why a single source of measurement is critical to the industry's growth and articulates the challenges YouTube has in attracting ad dollars.

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  • Audio Interview With Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos

    I'm pleased to provide an audio recording of an on-stage one-on-one interview I did with Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos, at the NATPE Market conference on January 25th. I've been meaning to post this for a while, but experienced a few technical issues in getting it done. The interview is particularly timely given news this week that Netflix may be looking to distribute its first original TV series, "House of Cards," directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey.

    In this wide-ranging interview, Ted and I discuss topics such as Netflix's content acquisition strategy, how it decides how much to spend on licensing, the critical role that data plays in informing Netflix's decision-making, the future of the DVD business and lots more. Of note, this is the interview in which Ted said that Netflix would bid against HBO for Warner Bros. films when those parties' distribution deal comes up for renewal in a couple of years and that Netflix had the resources to fully compete. That declaration was a departure from Netflix's traditional public posture about working closely with premium cable networks rather than disrupting them, and set off a raft of media coverage.

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  • Hey Jason Kilar: You Should Go Back to Amazon and Compete Against Netflix

    Not that Hulu's CEO Jason Kilar has asked for or needs my career advice, but in light of his controversial "speaking truth to power" blog post on the future of TV, which has wags all over the industry saying his tenure at Hulu is all but over, I'll offer it up anyway: he should go back to Amazon (where he was prior to Hulu) and run their soon-to-be-launched video subscription business that will compete directly against Netflix.

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  • On-Stage Interview With Netflix's Content Chief Ted Sarandos, Next Week in Miami Beach

    Please join me in Miami Beach next Tuesday, January 25th when I'll be doing an exclusive one-hour interview with Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos at the annual NATPE Market conference. The session is sponsored by William Morris Endeavor. The NATPE Market conference runs from next Monday to Wednesday at the luxurious Fontainebleau Resort.

    Ted is Netflix's point person for the company's lengthy list of recent content deals (e.g. EPIX, Disney/ABC, NBCU, Relativity Media, etc.) that have powered the popularity of Netflix's streaming service. Among the topics we'll discuss include how Netflix decides what type of content to pursue, how these deals are typically structured, how big Netflix's budget is for ongoing content acquisition, which connected devices are most popular for Netflix streaming use, which competitors he's most worried about, and what's on the roadmap for 2011 and beyond.

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  • Interview with Tremor Media's New CMO, Melinda McLaughlin

    Yesterday I had a chance to ask Melinda McLaughlin, the new Chief Marketing Officer at video ad network powerhouse Tremor Media, a few questions on her second day of work. Prior to joining Tremor, Melinda spent 10+ years at cable network group AETN and prior to that was with 2 ad agencies. An edited transcript follows:

    VideoNuze: What attracted you to the online video adverting space and to Tremor Media?

    Melinda McLaughlin: I spent the last 11 years on the traditional TV side, in many areas of AETN such as consumer insights, sales strategy and corporate strategy, always around monetizing the assets of that global platform. At a certain point, because I'm a closet geek, and am into what the future is going to look like and how media is going to evolve - plus what fundamental truths about how business models work will remain - I sort of hit a point where a company like AETN and competitors are just not on the cutting edge of where this area is going.

    And so although it was a terrific job, for good reason companies like AETN aren't going to lead in terms of changing consumer behavior or how advertisers are going to change the way they think. I see Tremor bringing together all of the benefits marketers have been saying they require in order to take the online video advertising space seriously. Tremor, together with ScanScout, is the one that can give advertisers the platform and set of tools to do targeting at scale, with real-time intelligence and content screening. Throwing myself into where the revolution is happening is an exciting next step.  

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  • HealthiNation Adds Doug McFarland as Chief Digital Officer

    HealthiNation, an independent provider of health-related online videos, is announcing this morning that online industry veteran Doug McFarland has joined as Chief Digital Officer to oversee digital strategy and operations. McFarland was previously co-CEO of Dimestore Media (acquired by Knowledge Networks), CEO of online video ad network ScanScout, EVP/GM of Eyeblaster and EVP/GM of He's also been on HealthiNation's board for the last two years.

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  • Intel's CEO is Bullish on Google TV, Less So on Apple TV

    Intel CEO Paul Otellini is plenty bullish on Google TV. In a short video interview with's Poppy Harlow, he praises Google TV's vision, saying that "we're just at the beginning of the smart TV revolution" and that "the holy grail here is a seamless proactive integration of this content." Of course, Otellini has a vested stake in Google TV's success as Intel is supplying its Atom chip to power Google TV.

    Otellini is decidedly more bullish on Google TV than he is on Apple TV, though he's cautious in noting that Apple is an Intel customer too. He says that Apple TV is "a streaming device for protected content, and there's a market for that," but quickly adds, "I think there's a bigger market for a deeper integration of the Internet into content." I think he's right on both accounts. It depends on what the user values - an open Internet experience on their TV, or a closed, but easy-to-use way of accessing a high-quality library (not to mention the price for each). There isn't one right answer, yet anyway. See "For Connected Devices, To Browse or Not to Browse - That is the Question" for a deeper discussion.

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