I’m pleased to present the 393rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
It’s been a big week for executive changes in the SVOD world. Hulu’s CEO Mike Hopkins is departing to become chairman of Sony Pictures Television. Randy Freer, president and COO of Fox Networks will take over as Hulu’s new CEO. Colin and I both think Hopkins accomplished a lot in his four years at Hulu and we review the company’s progress. Still, the SVOD space is more competitive than ever and Hulu has a range of challenges ahead of it.
Speaking of executive changes, Amazon Studios is undergoing a brain drain, with its head Roy Price leaving due to sexual harassment charges followed by 3 other senior executives. Amazon Studios was already under pressure to create blockbuster programming and these management changes would seem to only increase the pressure. We dig into what’s happening at Amazon.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 50 seconds)
Hulu announced yesterday that CEO Mike Hopkins will depart after four years running the company. Hopkins is heading to Sony Pictures Television where he’ll become chairman. Taking over as Hulu CEO will be Randy Freer, currently the president and COO of Fox Networks Group and a Hulu board member. Fox is one of the main owners of Hulu.
Hopkins leaves Hulu with a strong record of accomplishment, but with many challenges still looming. He joined Hulu in October, 2013 just a couple of months after the company’s owners reversed course, deciding to invest another $750 million rather than sell it outright.
OpenSlate, which provides contextual data on YouTube channels to 600+ advertisers and agencies, has raised a $7 million round led by North Base Media and hired 2 new senior executives.
New COO JoAnna Foyle was most recently SVP of Enterprise Platform Services at AOL and will oversee client services, account management, enterprise partnerships and business operations at OpenSlate. Brian Quinn takes over as President of OpenSlate, a newly-created role, heading up domestic and international sales, business development and strategic partnerships. He was most recently Chief Revenue and Innovation officer at Triad Retail Media, which was acquired by WPP/Xaxis last October.
Video ad tech provider Eyeview is ramping up its emphasis on addressable TV, hiring former TiVo SVP Brian Katz as its new VP, Advanced TV Insights & Strategy. Katz is charged with helping retail, CPG, auto and travel clients understand how to leverage addressable TV in conjunction with their digital campaigns. Eyeview focuses on outcome-based video marketing, with highly personalized video ads driving purchase conversion.
In an interview, Katz told me that a key part of his role will be removing the complexity of addressable TV advertising for clients and helping to educate them, in order to accelerate spending. Addressable TV has been complicated by fragmentation in the pay-TV space, where addressable set-top boxes have been rolled out at different paces by operators, making it difficult to execute and measure campaigns at scale.
Extreme Reach has operated under the radar for many years, but this Boston-area company has become a powerhouse in the delivery of both TV and video advertising. Now it’s poised for a much higher profile, following the recent hiring of industry veteran Melinda McLaughlin as Chief Marketing Officer, who most recently had the same role at Tremor Video. Melinda’s an old friend and I recently discussed her move, plus what’s ahead for Extreme Reach and the industry. Following is the transcript.
Topics: Extreme Reach
thePlatform’s co-CEO Marty Roberts has left the company, GeekWire first reported yesterday. Comcast, which owns thePlatform, confirmed the move subsequently in a statement (see below). Roberts had been with thePlatform for 9 years, beginning as VP, Marketing, then as SVP, Sales and Marketing, and finally as co-CEO, with Jamie Miller. Both were appointed in May, 2014, upon prior CEO Ian Blaine’s departure.
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.
Topics: Altitude Digital
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.)
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.)