• Interview with Extreme Reach's New Chief Marketing Officer Melinda McLaughlin

    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.

    VideoNuze: Congratulations on recently joining Extreme Reach as CMO. Why did you make the move?

    Melinda McLaughlin: I think the last five years will go down in advertising history as the most pivotal time in the business of buying and selling video advertising. We saw great ad tech companies emerge from the cacophony to lay the groundwork for a programmatic future. But it’s a cart before the horse situation now and there’s a pretty ugly underbelly of broken workflow, gummed-up operations and disconnected processes holding back programmatic’s full potential. Over the last 8 years, Extreme Reach has been quietly connecting all the dots to bring the TV and Video production, creative, distribution, ad serving and talent rights management aspects of a campaign in sync with the speed of buying and selling. I was drawn to the groundbreaking nature of Extreme Reach’s technology, the innovative teams driving the company’s success, and the opportunity to tell its important story to the industry.

    VIdeoNuze: What are 2-3 of your key near-term goals?

    McLaughlin: I bet most people on the digital side of our video ecosystem would be surprised to learn that we are one of the largest, profitable ad tech companies in the video advertising space.  So job #1 is educating the market loudly and clearly so that every facet of the ecosystem can imagine and benefit from the value we bring in connecting everything that’s been previously disconnected. Think about it -- what if one enterprise platform could connect every step in the TV and Video advertising process -- from creative production on the set to the talent rights compliance to those great ads on every screen, every where? Oh, and by the way, returning insight back to the marketer in real-time? Extreme Reach does that today and while we are extremely well-known and loved in the TV and Talent Rights sectors, I have a big job ahead to tell our full benefit story across the breadth of the industry. So Job #2 right now is building a world-class B2B enterprise marketing team, which is one of my favorite things to do, and I couldn’t be more excited.

    VideoNuze: Extreme Reach has operated somewhat below the radar - what are the company’s key strengths?

    McLaughlin: You are right about the company being below the radar. The crazy thing about that is thousands of brands and agencies, including all of the Ad Age 100, currently work with Extreme Reach and we get over-the-top kudos for our white glove customer service.  We have 74,000 registered users on our enterprise platform. The three core parts of our business are TV, Talent and Video. It’s the combination of the three that makes Extreme Reach able to manage all aspects of a brand’s campaign on every screen in one simple, connected workflow for TV and Video.

    VideoNuze: Lots of companies talk about “converging TV and online video advertising.” What gives Extreme Reach an advantage in doing so?

    McLaughlin: Extreme Reach has deep expertise in the area of TV ad distribution and measurement, and a suite of products that manage talent payment and rights compliance. We do all this not just for TV, but for digital video ads that run on any screen. Our platform shepherds a commercial all the way from the production house to every screen, ensuring consistent quality and never losing track of that ad. For clients who use our platform for every step of that journey, Extreme Reach ensures placement of ads, on-time delivery of talent payments and rights compliance, optimization of campaigns, and detailed campaign metrics. And all these pieces are neatly managed in a simple, connected workflow. That is a pioneering concept in an ecosystem that currently needs “Cirque de Soleil” coordination but operates, at best, as a C-level circus where balls are dropped, money is wasted, and people go home cranky every day.

    VideoNuze: Extreme Reach is the biggest player in TV talent management services. How does this differ in the digital world and what new challenges are you seeing?

    McLaughlin: You’re correct -- we have roughly 90% market share in managing the complex world of talent rights compliance and talent payment in the industry.  We actually cut the checks to pay all those terrific actors, actresses, voiceover people, music creators, etc. and paid out over $1.2 billion in 2015! So TV and video brand advertising is definitely alive and well and relies on the people, music, imagery and everything else that brings those brand stories alive.

    Here’s the thing no one sees coming but boy will they see it fast. Now that TV ads have escaped the contained appliance on the wall en masse, the industry is faced with an enormously costly problem.  It’s like a “who let the dogs out” scenario where TV creative flooded into digital video and caught the industry off-guard as there was no way to truly track that exodus once out in the wild.  Last year, marketers opened their windows and threw out millions (and we think maybe over a billion) dollars in talent late fees and penalties. It’s just unacceptable and so easy to solve. You’ll hear more about that in about 3 weeks so I’ll leave it at that.

    VideoNuze: Looking longer-term, how do you see the online video world shaking out? Any big surprises you see?

    McLaughlin: I see three big changes to the video market ahead:

    - CFOs, Procurement, Legal, and Business Affairs leaders will put their foot down on the mess created by the disconnect in talent rights management between TV and digital video and require disjointed teams to figure it out fast to stomp out millions of coveted dollars being wasted.

    - The ridiculous time and energy spent clamoring to find assets in all the right formats to implement a video buy will finally go away completely with simple, cloud based creative asset management and automatic transcoding easily done in seconds with advanced technology. 

    - There will be more consolidation of all the 3rd party verification companies as marketers and their agencies insist on a single source of truth that illuminates all their TV and Video activity on one place.

    There’s definitely never been a more exciting and challenging time to be in this business. I believe all of us in ad technology will look back one day and know that we were part of the most massive evolution this industry has ever seen. What could be better than that?!

    VideoNuze: Thank you for your time and good luck.