Episode 33 - Adam Gerber, CMO Quantcast on The Soul of the Viewer and the Enablement Side
Meet Adam Gerber, now helping Quantcast, an upstart online audience measurement company get a seat at the table beside Nielsen, comScore, Alexa, Compete, Omniture and on. Learn about "hybrid ratings" and why they make sense in understanding the soul of the consumer. Adam takes questions about metrics and the state of online video from listeners including John Durham of CatalystSF, Rex Briggs of Marketing Evolution, Larry Everling, Mark Silva of RealBranding and Jed Savage of ScanScout.
Adam's career spans media planning and buying, a stint at AOL in the ad services group, a recent foray into online video at BrightCove and now his position at QuantCast. Learn how this once journalism/poli-sci major got into advertising and how he's transitioned from the buy side to the "enablement" side. Hear his biggest career mistake - leaving AOL in '97 before he vested and why he made the move. Get the story on how he helped build two of the industry's most progressive digital agencies, WPP's Digital Edge unit - now MEC Interaction (formerly known as MediaEdge: cia) and Publicis' MediaVest and his advice for serving on committees for those who are trying to continue the goal of standards for the industry.
Hear Adam's story of finding Sarah on JDate and how they broke it to their family. He's not just a mild-mannered nice Jewish boy who's good with numbers...he puts his analytical skills to the test in Vegas at the Black Jack tables and apparently has had some pretty good times in New Orleans and the Super Bowl! Then there's the story of the Hot Chicks, Video and Hot Chicks AND Video. Suz scares Adam with her verbiage - find out what it's all about and what it has to do with Adam. They do a final review of the books Adam wants to read, including Freakonomics, BlackSwan, I am American, And So Can You and Suz' shameless plug for her sponsor Audible has Adam convinced to sign up for the service. That will give him something to do on his bi-coastal commutes from NY to SF every other week for QuantCast!
Adam Gerber has been a leader in the digital marketing space since it's inception. He's been an evangelist, a pioneer, spending solid budgets on digital media on behalf of his blue chip clients. He's a believer. He's amazingly smart. He's a great man and you'll enjoy knowing him better in this entertaining and informational interview. You'll grow. You'll learn. Enjoy!
Announcer: This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com
Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix, I'm your host, Susan Bratton. Glad to have you here today and really glad to introduce you to Adam Gerber, currently the chief marketing officer of Quantum Cast.
Adam is on the show today because I've known him for years and he has an amazing and interesting history in the industry, which gives him a perspective you'll enjoy.
On today's show, we're going talk about everything from transitioning from the buy side to the sell side, from J Date to audience measurement, from widgets to Vegas. And, of course, we're going to talk about hot chicks and video. And just for Jed Savage, we're going to talk about hot chicks and video.
Adam Gerber: Yeah, some of the challenges I had personally at AOL were related to making that shift from being a brain that thought about how to buy and how to make sure you're getting the most for your clients to sitting on the other side of the desk where you're not necessarily always prioritizing in that fashion.
You know, this is not an easy industry that we're trying to build here. This is not something that's simplistic. It's not something that's straightforward. We're creating something from scratch and it's incredibly complicated. And the only way that the long term plays out is if we have everyone, or most people at least, kind of pushing in the same direction.
We believe that understanding the very specific nature of your audience, in terms of demographics or lifestyle or affinities, in terms of behavior or other content that is consumed, is an incredibly valuable component of a publisher's business.
Because of our direct measurement nature, we're enabling the smallest sites, the most distributed media and the largest publishers on the Internet to all benefit in the same way from direct measurement.
Susan Bratton: Welcome, Adam.
Adam Gerber: How're you doing, Susan?
Susan Bratton: I am great. Thank you so much for being on the show today. It took us a couple of months with your busy schedule to get you here, so thank you. Are you in New York today?
Adam Gerber: I am in New York, looking out over Madison Avenue.
Susan Bratton: Nice. So you've been doing the bi-coastal thing since you went to Quantcast? How's that going for you?
Adam Gerber: It's—it wears you down, but I'm having fun with it. Every two weeks, I'm out in San Francisco, but I've gotten into a routine.
Susan Bratton: Well, I definitely want to talk about Quantcast and what you're doing there today? And I want you to describe it for all of us because it's a relatively new concept and one that, as people in the digital media industry, it's really important for us to know about measurement of audiences.
So, we're going to get to that. But before we do, I want to talk a little bit about your history. You have recently left Bright Cove and we're also going to talk at the end of the show about Bright Cove and your experiences there and where the world of video is going, especially with regard to hot chicks. [laughs]
And I tell you more about that, Adam. You don't even know what I'm talking about. It's a funny little joke.
Adam: Yeah, I'm a little worried at this point.
Susan Bratton: You're worried! [laughs] Don't worry—it'll be OK.
I want to talk about Bright Cove but, really, when I first met you, you'd come out—you've got 15 years of traditional and digital agency media planning and buying experience. You were both WPP's Digital Edge, which is now called MEC Interaction.
And then you went there and went to Publis' [?] Mediavest unit, which is the Starcom conglomerate. You have worked with some amazing companies—everybody from P&G and Unilever to UPS to Goldman Sachs, and so, what I wanted to know was, really this first question comes from John Durham, who's the co-founder of Catalyst San Francisco and was on recent Dishy Mix.
He wanted me to ask you what the biggest change was in going from this buy side—the media side mentality—to being in a market class, a marketplace and asking people to buy or invest in Bright Cove or Quantcast. So tell us the story of that.
Adam Gerber: Well, I would just say that prior to the two interactive that I worked with, I spent about six or seven years running traditional planning, as well, at some of the major shops in the city, so I've crossed both traditional and interactive throughout my career.
But John's question is a great one. In a nutshell, I'll say moving from the buy side to the—I don't want to call it the sell side, but I'll call it the enablement side, whether it's publishing enablement or audience measurement—but moving to the other side of the marketplace opens your eyes up.
I think the best thing that any agency person could do to get a better understanding of the broad marketplace is to spend some time outside of the agency. [laughs]
And I'm not, I'm not promoting anyone leaving their existing jobs, but there are a lot of things that you kind of take for granted or think that you know growing up on the buy side of the business. And I think there's a certain level of both arrogance and naïveté that comes along with that.
And once you move to the other side of the market or you have insights into kind of how the business operates from the other side, you start to learn a lot about how the bigger picture works. And what you thought was important or critical before, all of a sudden becomes a much smaller piece of the larger picture.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, you continue to expand yourself, which I'm always really impressed by.
One of the things that I'd ask you before the interview today was what the biggest mistake in your life was. And you said it was leaving AOL in 1997 because if you'd stayed until you vested, all of your stock would've been pre-crash.
You joined AOL in 1996. You were part of the ad services group there. You only spent a year there. What made you leave after a year? What happened with that?
Adam Gerber: Well, it was a couple things. I was still fairly young at that point in my career. I think I was in my mid-20s or my late 20s. I was single and I had moved down to Dulled, Virginia, to go to work for AOL, and it was a big change from having been in New York City for a number of years.
I got a tremendous [amount] out of my experience at AOL. I was there during a period of time when a lot of things happened, from the infamous blackout to going from four million members when I joined to, I think, close to eight million by the time I left.
There was rapid growth in the advertising services business under Meyer Berlow while I was there. It was incredibly fascinating. It was a great place where I learned a tremendous amount about the interactive business, but I missed New York. And I missed, at the time, I think my heart was still on the buy side.
Yeah, some of the challenges I had personally at AOL were related to making that shift from being a brain that thought about how to buy and how to make sure you're getting the most for your clients to sitting on the other side of the desk where you're not necessarily always prioritizing in that fashion.
I think I wasn't ready to make the shift out of the agency world when I went to AOL, but it was a great experience and I ended up coming back to New York and refocusing on my agency work.
Susan Bratton: So, what happened to Myer Berlow?
Adam Gerber: You know, I don't know. I've heard that he lives in New York, and I don't want to claim that I know exactly what he's doing, but I hear he has a loft somewhere in the city, or in Brooklyn, and is a craftsman.
Susan Bratton: No way! A craftsman? Oh, we're going to have to dig him up, huh? I was always thought he was fascinating. God! Just a fascinating guy!
And so question for you about the forays and the IAB. You worked in committee chair positions. Can you tell me what you learned that you would pass on to a committee chair today who was trying to wrangle something like standards or whatever it might be? What's the thing you learned that you didn't know going in that would be really invaluable for someone to know?
Adam Gerber: It's really hard.
Susan Bratton: [laughs]
Adam Gerber: When you're working at an industry level, whether the IAB or the forays, you have to think of things in terms of the industry and the fact that there are hundreds of participants that are stakeholders. And it's hard to get lots and lots of people to agree to one way of doing something.
I think that's always the frustration that everyone brings up when you talk about engaging with the IAB or the forays around standards or guidelines or anything, for that matter. But, I come back to believing that this is not an easy industry that we're trying to build here. This is not something that's simplistic. It's not something that's straightforward. We're creating something from scratch and it's incredibly complicated. And the only way that the long term plays out is if we have everyone, or most people at least, kind of pushing in the same direction.
And that requires debate. It requires discussion. It requires lengthy process around building consensus. And if a chairman doesn't have that in their veins and the ability to do that and to drive that, then they're probably not right for the position.
Susan Bratton: Got it. That's good advice. Thank you. And before we got to break, I want to talk a little bit about Quantcast. What you're doing with Quantcast is audience measurement. Measuring the audience, measuring the traffic on Web sites.
And you're doing something that's really a hybrid process that's actually becoming increasingly popular among online audience research companies, including the IAB's online audience metrics forum. Neilson's doing some things with that around video census.
Tell us, in a nutshell, at a very high level, what Quantcast does and how it's unique. And then I'd like to hear what your goal is, kind of like the big, hairy goal.
Adam Gerber: In a nutshell, we enable any publisher of content on the Internet to have their audience measured directly. We believe that understanding the very specific nature of your audience, in terms of demographics or lifestyle or affinities, in terms of behavior or other content that is consumed, is an incredibly valuable component of a publisher's business.
In a lot of cases, that is not supplied today by the existing services, mainly because panels, although they do a great job at some things, don't have the ability to measure everything. So, we believe in a participatory marketplace where publishers can secure directly-measured data about their audiences.
Susan Bratton: So, Mark Silva of Real Branding really wants to understand what the power of the panel, the way Neilson and Comscore do things, that the power of that panel data, how that, in your mind versus pure behavior-based data—things like Compete and Offermatica, the performance side of things.
So, as markets, as publishers, as agency people, we're getting a lot data from a lot of different places. How do you break those things out in your mind? What's the relative value of them? How do they fit together? How does that work with what Quantcast is doing?
Adam Gerber: Sure, well, I think you mentioned Compete, and Compete is another form of a panel, right? It's not census-level data. And with regards to the concept of the power of the panel, I mean, look, there are lots of different data points that people are interested in. And I think that the marketplace hasn't focused enough on what those data points are.
They're basic traffic metrics, which really relate to the number of unique whatevers someone is interested in tracking. And the reason I say "unique whatevers," is because there are really three core things you could track at a unique level.
There are unique cookies, there are unique machines and there are unique people. I think the industry hasn't done a good job of really understanding that or coming to consensus around what's reported in different tool sets.
If you look at analytic-side services, like Omniture or Google Analytics, those tend to measure unique cookies. And if you look at the audience measurement services, they tend to project unique people. Those are very different metrics, and for some sites, there can be huge variances in the cookie count to the people count.
So, I think, depending on which type of service you're talking about, they're very different kind of angles, as to the type of data they project, but relative to the Competes and the Lexis of the world, they really just focus on traffic. They don't get into the audience dimensions of who the people are. What's the soul of the viewer.
Panels do do that, but they only do it at a high level. They aren't able to predict or project down to a very granular or addressable level in the marketplace because at the end of the day, they're based on panels or small samples of people, as opposed to the raw census-level data.
Quantcast is trying to solve against all of those things. We're trying to wrap better definition around the data that we track. We're trying to be transparent about what we supply to the marketplace. And, because of our direct measurement nature, we're enabling, we're enabling the smallest sites, the most distributed media and the largest publishers on the Internet to all benefit in the same way from direct measurement.
Susan Bratton: That was a helpful and clarifying answer. There's so much to this, especially if it's not your area of expertise, it does get a little overwhelming.
I have a couple more questions about that, with regard to long tail end widgets.
We’re going to take a break, and when we come back, I want to go a little bit deeper with you into Quantcast and then I want to get know Adam more, so will you stay with me?
Adam Gerber: Terrific.
Susan: All right. Good. We'll be back after we thank our sponsors. Here with Adam Gerber, the CMO of Quantcast and your host, Susan Bratton. Stay tuned. We'll be right back.
[commercial break 0:15:30.1 to 0:15:54.5]
Susan: We’re back. I'm your host, Susan Bratton, and we're with Adam Gerber, the CMO of Quantcast.
Before the break, when we were talking about Quantcast and measurement, one of the things that Adam touched on was the idea of small sites for the long tail. And Rex Briggs, the CEO of Marketing Evolution, one of your friends and mine, had a question.
He wants to know you, at Quantcast, provide an advantage to the long tail, compared to what Neilson and Comscore do.
Adam Gerber: I think in the most simplest form, we allow them to report their audience dimensions.
Susan Bratton: They get included, right?
Adam Gerber: They get included. We include any publisher, no matter the size, who chooses to participate in direct measurement. And we have sites that have full audience dimensions reported for them with as few as 1,000 or 1,500 unique visitors a month.
That type of reporting is just not possible from a panel-based service.
Susan Bratton: So, this brings me to my next question, which is near and dear to my heart. Larry Everling, the director of online product development at Gannet, asked if you could cover Quantcast's plan to measure widget use, sharing, engagement, etc
So, I want to dovetail on that question. I want to go beyond widgets to things like podcasts, audio and video files, which are downloaded and taken away. Because, right now, Quantcast can't measure Personal Life Media, as an example. Almost all of my traffic is in my shows, not on my Web site, so we're missing these little nooks and crannies of the Web that are some of the fastest growing areas.
So, could you answer more, for Larry and I, about widgets and podcasts and things like that.
Adam Gerber: Sure, well I think that you have to separate out widgets and podcasts, and you have to talk in terms of content that's streamed or delivered in real time during an Internet connection versus content that's downloaded, portable and consumed in an offline or disconnected type of environment.
Widgets and distributed media, as the Web moves more and more to a modular architecture, where pages and sites and destinations become less relevant and content that flows freely becomes more the norm, it's going to be critical to be able to report audience aspects or dimensions against those types of content experiences.
And we actually do that today. We enable measurement of widgets and distributed video players and any form factor that flows across the Web. All of that can be measured today via a Quantcast solution.
Portable media, downloaded media is a much bigger problem. And I don't think anyone's cracked it yet. There are a number of companies out there that are trying to work on ways to capture some level of viewership data during an offline experience that can be fed back into audience reporting during a time when a user re-syncs their device or their computer with the Internet.
But I think there's tremendous challenge in that model and I think there's going to have to be a lot of work done around how you track and measure consumption of media in a disconnected type of situation.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, we're trying to crack that nut with the Association for Downloadable Media, so I'll circle back with you about the companies that are measuring that downloaded content. That sounds like a good conversation for us to have.
I want to switch gears here, and I want to talk a little bit about you. One of the things I know about you is that your dad is a rabbi, and you met Sarah on J Date.
Well, I thought those things were interesting, but what Rex Briggs told me is that I should ask you stories about how you told your friends and your parents about your meeting because you didn't necessarily want to reveal that you'd met Sarah on J Date. Tell us the story of that.
Adam Gerber: Yeah, I'll have to remember to send Rex a Christmas card for giving me that question.
Susan Bratton: [laughs]
Adam Gerber: Clearly, I met my wife, Sarah, back in 2000, so almost eight years ago. I was curious, being in the interactive space, I was curious about these things that I heard about called dating sites, and J Date happened to be one that I was comfortable exploring. I was kind of tired and run down of the New York scene, meeting people through friends or through work or through social activities out at the bar.
I happened to come across Sarah's profile on J Date, and we met and hit it off and had a very typical one-and-a-half or two-year courtship before we got engaged, and it was wonderful.
But, telling your friends about it is a tough thing, and especially your family. I remember we jokingly agreed at first to just say that we met through friends whenever the question came up. And I think—I can't remember the exact occasion—but at one dinner, someone kept probing, "Well, who introduced you?" and "How did you meet?" and that's just when it all broke down and we had to fess up.
Once you get it out once and admit to it, it becomes a lot easier time and time and over again.
Susan Bratton: Absolutely, and one of the things you also told me is that, I asked you what pushes you most in life and you told me, "Being a good husband and father" pushes you the most.
I actually thought that was an interesting answer. I would think most people wouldn't feel like that's an area where they get pushed, like, yeah, there are certainly some challenges around relationships or sometimes your kids drive you crazy, and I understand that. But what is it about it that pushes you more than anything else you do?
Adam Gerber: I think what pushes—the reason that I answered that way is I know myself well enough to know that I'm a workaholic and I always have been keyed into my career. I probably haven't done a good job of balancing my own personal life with that.
I have made it a point over the last six or seven years, especially over the last few years, to focus on my wife and my son. Learning that side of life is a difficult thing to do, especially after you have been focused on career for so long. Changing your ways is no t an easy thing to do.
So, there are lots of things that push me. I think career-wise, I find it fairly straight forward and easy to be pushed. I don't mind it. On the family side, it's something that I aspire to and I want to be the best husband and best father I can be. There are a lot of challenges with that and you live in New York and you're in a career that puts so many demands on your time and travel.
So, that's what I've committed myself to.
Susan Bratton: Nice. That's—well, and lest our listeners think that you're just little Mr. Perfect, here's some more information I found out about you.
Adam Gerber: No, I'm not perfect at all. [laughs]
Susan Bratton: [laughs] So, I was talking to Jed Savage at Scan Scout and he told me—well, I paired these two things up—you told me that you love the blackjack table and that Vegas is something that has quite an allure for you.
Well, I figured "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," so Jed told me to ask you about your evening together in New Orleans or France or the Super Bowl. So, apparently, there have been quite a series of fun times out with Mr. Jed Savage. We want to hear the stories.
Adam Gerber: I think I don't even remember them at this point.
Susan Bratton: [laughs].
Adam Gerber: It's been so long ago, but, no, I've had a very good time with Jed on occasion, as well as many other people in the business, where we've had the opportunity to stay up late at the blackjack table or elsewhere.
I guess some things do have to remain or undiscussed or not discussed.
Susan Bratton: Mmhmm. OK. Well, so, remember at the beginning of the show when I said that we were going to talk about hot chicks and we were going to talk about video. And then we had to talk about hot chicks and video? Do you remember that part?
Adam Gerber: I remember, but I'm still waiting for the ball to drop.
Susan Bratton: You're worried? So, I was IMing with Jed last night. He was on the train coming home, and we were IMing. And yesterday, I posted a blog post about the top 10 hottest women in tech because, do you know that Web site askmen.com?
Adam Gerber: Yeah …
Susan Bratton: I like askmen.com. They do a nice job. They've got a sassy editorial style that I seem to always end up their Web site. [laughs]
Don't ask me why, but they did this thing about the top 10 hottest women in tech, and one of my friends, Morgan Webb from Webb Alert, was one of the top 10. But, Morgan I know, and she's very bright and beautiful and she does a daily podcast on technology that's excellent.
I didn't know a lot of the other women in there, but I didn't know any of the other women on there and I thought, "Boy, I'm going to make my own top 10 list up." And I put that list down, and these are all women that are coming on to Dishy Mix, and, after you, we're going all girls for, like, a month-and-a-half.
I have some of the most—what I consider to be hot women in our business—I've got Kim Palacy [sp]. She was founded Marimba with Java and now she runs Spike Source. She's gorgeous and smart and a CEO.
We've got Jessie Stickiola [sp], one of the most beautiful and brainy in our business. She runs Alchemist Media. We've got Wynda Harris Mylard. She's like the most amazing woman in the industry.
We've got, let's see, I'm going to forget a whole bunch of people. Amy Powell from Paramount. She's unbelievable. She's done amazing work.
I'm forgetting a bunch of people, but I did a whole top 10—I did eight. I said, "Here's eight hot women. Finish the list for me," and now people have been calling me and e-mailing me and commenting on the blog.
So, I was telling Jed about this and then I went back to him and I said, "Well, I want to talk to Adam about video and Bright Cove. What do you have? Any questions about that?"
And he said, "Oh, no no. Let's go back and talk about the hot chicks, " and I said, "Well, OK. So if I talk to Adam, I have to talk about hot chicks and video. I can't just talk about video." And he said, "That's absolutely right."
So, it was just this funny, little joke where I was trying to move him off the subject of hot chicks and in to the subject of video, and he didn't want to go there because hot chicks are much more fascinating.
Adam Gerber: You know, I don't know all of the people that you listed. I know some of them, and I'm not sure that they would appreciate being known for being hot over how well they've performed in terms of building and running their business, so I'll leave that up to Jed to defend.
Susan Bratton: Well, and really what I was doing was saying the women that I think are hot, aren't hot just because they're beautiful. They're hot because they're smart.
What's hot? Hot is a powerful, intelligent, successful, interesting woman who is happy with herself, right?
Julie Roan[sp] is going to be on the show. These are women who are just powers in their own right, and that's what I think is hot. So this was the Susan Bratton list of the hottest women in tech, and I'd love for you to take a look at is and tell me if you think I've missed anybody.
Adam Gerber: Absolutely.
Susan Bratton: All women want to be hot for exactly who they are—it's not all about beauty. It's about the combination of the beautiful inside and the beautiful outside. The brains, the whole thing.
So, I want to ask you a couple more questions. One of things you told me—we've got to wrap this up pretty quickly—one of the things that you told me was that you really want to do some reading, but everything ends up on your night table.
So, what are the books that are on your night table right now?
Adam Gerber: Well, I've got a couple books on the night table. One is The Black Swan. Another one is Microtrends. Those two have been sitting there for a while.
And then, of course, I've got my Stephen Colbert I Am an American and So Can You. And I haven't read any of them; they just sit there. I never have any time to actually crack the books open.
Susan Bratton: I know. Well, I thought Freakenomics was really good. You mentioned that one and you've read it.
I started reading The Black Swan. It's very dense. It's very hard to read and, basically, what he says is that there are these cataclysmic events that happen that you cannot predict. And that, often, it's those cataclysmic events that are world changing.
Adam Gerber: Yep.
Susan Bratton: And so you shouldn't even—regression analysis? Forget about it. Looking at history—not gonna help. And so, in a way, just knowing that that's the net of that book is almost enough because what we realize is that we try to be in control as humans and we simply can't plan.
But his prose is fascinating. Like, I haven't read a book that was written in a such a weird and interesting style in a long time. You can't get about halfway through it and still appreciate it for what it is, so my recommendation would be to skim it. If that's all you can do is skim, that's good enough.
Adam Gerber: I have to get it read for this interesting book club that I've gotten myself involved, and it's kind the little Kabul of New York's digital minds. I don't know if you know Seth Haberman from Visible World or Rick Mandler from ABC, but we've got a group of about six or seven of us who get together every six or eight weeks and actually try to recap a book that we've agreed to read.
And typically, the last three or four times, none of us have actually read the book, and we end up sitting there talking about digital media for two-and-a-half hours over pizza. So, hopefully, I'll get the black swan read.
Susan Bratton: And do you have a name for your group?
Adam Gerber: No, actually we don't. That's a good topic of discussion for our next meeting.
Susan Bratton: Yeah, since you don't actually have any books that you've read, you could talk about the Never-Read Book Club or something.
Adam Gerber: Exactly.
Susan Bratton: [laughs] I love it. Well, I want to ask just—Oh! And I mentioned, this is a perfect opportunity for me to plug one of my sponsors, Audible. Any of the books that you have on your bedside table right now, you can actually get—you can download one of them for free.
If you got to audiblepodcasts.com/dishy, you can get free when you join the Audible listener's club. So, if you're the kind of person that's listening to a podcast, which everyone is doing right now, you might want to get one of these books on "tape" instead of buying it and leaving it on your bedside table.
With you going back and forth to Quantcast from New York all of the time, it could be that's the way you'll actually accomplish this task.
Adam Gerber: Yeah, I think I just figured out what I'm doing for the new three or four flights.
Susan Bratton: There you go! So, make sure I get credit: audiblepodcast.com/dishy or I don't get the credit.
Adam Gerber: Absolutely.
Susan Bratton: All right. Good. Thank you. [laughs]
So, I've got a couple more questions about Bright Cove and then we've got to stop. We're going too long. But, I want to get a couple things out.
So, Mark Silva, from Real Branding, wants to hear your take on the video space now that you're kind of away from Bright Cove for a while. Like, who else besides them do you think is hot to watch? What do you think's happening with video? Just give us kind of your 50,000, objective, removed perspective from what's going on in that world.
Adam Gerber: I think it's an incredibly dynamic space. Not to overuse the word "dynamic," but video is one of the biggest kind of change agents of the Internet today. There's a tremendous amount of content that is starting to flow into direct distribution over the Internet by established media companies, by new media companies. It will be a form of media that will continue to grow tremendously over the next few years and over the next decade.
I think the business model of video will evolve. I think there's a lot of questions about how you monetized it, how media companies make money from it—whether it's subscription or ad supported or a combination thereof.
I think there are lots of issues revolving around distribution that still have to be figured out. We continue to have newsworthy events around piracy or take-down notices or distribution challenges around copyrighted content. I think that will continue to be a critical part of how the business evolves.
But from the standpoint of "is video on the Internet, is broadband video here to stay?" Absolutely. Will it continue to grow? Absolutely. I think it's an incredibly exciting part of the new media space, and I think that there are a lot of companies focused on figuring out how to make it work better—whether that's the companies that program and bring that media to the consumers, whether it's the enablement companies that deliver the back-end platforms and publishing tools to support that. Or whether it's the companies focused on monetization and how drive advertising solutions into that video content—I think all of them are doing a tremendous amount of work to improve the experience.
Susan Bratton: So, last question and that comes from Dean Harris over at Silver Mine Marketing. He's a managing partner there, now. He wants to know why you left Bright Cove and where you think their model's going.
Adam Gerber: I can't comment specifically on where the Bright Cove model is going, given that I've left the company and I've been away now for almost six months. I think the folks at Bright Cove have been very clear over the past six or eight months as to what their focus is.
Their focus is on enabling large, professional media companies deliver the best video experience they can on the Internet to their consumers and the viewers of their content. I think that if you look at the news about who Bright Cove is working with, the continued pipeline of new media companies that are choosing that platform—it's their primary distribution platform, an enablement platform—there's no question in my mind that Bright Cove is succeeding on all fronts and building an incredible business.
I think they were very open about noting that they were not going to pursue a direct media and advertising business and that's what I had been focusing on while I as Bright Cove for about a year-and-a-half. It was a very amicable separation. I actually continue to advise Jeremy and the folks at Bright Cove on key issues.
But, as all startups do, they made some decisions about where they wanted to head and focus resources as a company and it made sense for me to get back into a position that was more advertising and media focused.
Susan Bratton: That totally makes sense. I think people are glad to actually hear you say that, too. They want to actually understand what happened, and you're absolutely right—models change and you came in for a certain reason that wasn't needed anymore and I love where you've landed because I think it really takes advantage of two things that I think are really good about your talents.
One is that you have a very solid, analytical approach to things. I think coming from your media days and just naturally who you are. But, I also think that, especially the time at Bright Cove and just kind of your path where you've worked on the publisher side, the media side and then on the solutions side—all of those things really help give you a very high level view of what's happening in the industry.
And you can apply what Quantcast is doing with their hybrid measurement format into really building solutions that can help publishers and buyers. And so, I think you ended up at a really good place, if the commute doesn't kill you.
Adam Gerber: The commute one, and I'll leave you with a last thought and hopefully it'll help pull all of this together
Susan Bratton: Great.
Adam Gerber: Because we've been all over the place in this 30 minutes …
Susan Bratton: Absolutely.
Adam Gerber: I started my career planning and buying traditional TV, print and radio back in 1992, and I've witnessed—and anyone who's been in the industry for the past 15 or 16 years has witnessed—and unbelievable transformation of how the media business operates.
What we're really witnessing is this move from uncertainty to certainty. We're moving to a world where advertising will be able to be much more finely targeted to consumers who matter. A lot of that is about census-level data. It's about non-personally identifiable but highly-relevant dimensionalization of the audiences.
Whether it's in a TV space with set-top box data and addressability that will be facilitated there. Or whether it's in the interactive space and in the Internet space, where there already is quite a bit of direct measurement going on and addressability taking place, the media business is going to change over the next decade—drastically.
Data will be at the center of the media business moving forward, and that' what I love about Quantcast. It's really, in my view, on the cutting edge of how the business is going to change.
Susan Bratton: Nice. Well, we're looking forward to watching that and your success.
Adam, thank you so much for being on the show today and for our listeners, I'm sorry we ran long, and if you're still with us, thank you. So, Adam, thank you for being here today. I really appreciate it. I hope you had a fun time and it wasn't too scary with all of my crazy stuff.
Adam Gerber: No, no, no. Not at all. I hope I—sometimes I'm a little wordy and hopefully it wasn't too bad.
Susan Bratton: You did a fantastic job. And I want to let everyone know that there are a couple of ways that you can connect with use. First of all, you can call any time and leave a message for us at (206) 350-5333. I'm going to repeat that (206) 350-5333.
You can also go to dishymix.com to see companion blog information about the shows. And if you'd like a transcript, we have the text on the site at personalifemedia.com. We transcribe this whole show for you, so if there's something you want to cut and paste, some of Adam's fabulous words that you want to cut and paste and send around in e-mail, you're welcome to do that, too.
Thanks for tuning in today. I'm your host, Susan Bratton, and we've been Adam Gerber, the CMO of Quantcast. Have a great day and I hope we'll be with you next week. Bye bye.
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