Who are the most important executives in the online video space? Better yet, who are the best executives in the online video space?
That’s not an easy question. Even for an industry that most would describe as still emerging, there are many who can be considered very important. In fact, when we sent out a call for you, the industry, to nominate those who would best fit the description of an “online video power player,” we received an overwhelming number of submissions.
But that’s a good thing. It proves that this space, this oft-criticized space, is not one to be ignored. There are interesting deals, mergers, acquisitions, investments — groundbreaking moments — happening in online video, not to mention the gold-star content being produced.
And you, dear readers, didn’t make the decision of selecting the Power-Sixer candidates easy on us, either. The individuals you submitted for the “VI Power-Sixer,” whether they grace this list or not, have been at the forefront of the evolution of the status quo in entertainment.
Television is no longer restricted to the television screen. Creation is no longer only in the hands of the deep-pocketed. Democratization has already happened. Now it’s a race to see who will be the “firsts” in the digital video economy that’s emerging out of this revolution.
For our inaugural “VI Power-Sixer,” we’re betting that these six executives, who have already made plenty of noise in the online video space, have a lot more noise to make before all is said and done.
Come back throughout this week on VideoInk as we get intimately acquainted with the following six individuals spotlighting their important accomplishments in the space, how they’ve played an integral role in the development of this burgeoning industry and what they still have up their sleeves.
By his own words, “the best in entertainment are those that take the biggest risks,” and at age 62, Peter Chernin has been attributed with not only ideating one of the biggest risks (as it was seen at the time) for the television industry but shepherding it to success. But Hulu would mark just the beginning of Peter Chernin’s impact on the “Fourth Generation of Television,” which has been followed up with a series of large scale investments in digital media startups like Fullscreen, CrunchyRoll, Scopely, Mitú, and Base 79.
The overriding theme of Defy Media chief executive officer Matt Diamond’s career? Focus. This Power Sixer has, thanks to a combination of acquisitions and mergers, has accumulated a digital media empire that’s evolved to become a major player in the space. While others in the space are searching for monetization, or finding a profitable exit, Diamond has built a business that stands strong on its own.
At the heart of every move made in this industry, there’s one unifying thing: The right deal brings together the right people for the right project. And in the content world, it’s the right talent agent who makes those deals. Talent agencies have had digital departments for years, but their roles have evolved in dramatic ways as Hollywood’s engagement with digital content has shifted from “webisodes” to “House of Cards.” If you want to meet a man who’s leading that shift, allow us to introduce you to David Freeman. Chances are, though, you already knew (of) him.
If you trace back Ran Harnevo’s career in online video back to when he started in the mid-2000s, you’ll notice a man who foresees what’s next for the online video industry, and has the acumen to ensure he and his company are ready for it. That’s how he grew 5min Media, his first video company, into a powerhouse syndication business. That’s how he grew AOL’s video business ten-fold in a few short years. If someone knows what the future of video is, there’s a good chance that person is or works with this former Israeli air force officer.
What makes Erin McPherson a great programming executive? As a self-professed drama geek and, professionally, a former entertainment lawyer, she has an innate ability to work with and understand talent. She knows how Hollywood works. She speaks their language. When you combine that with her drive, and yes, a few doses of luck, then you can get a full picture of a woman who’s already made some waves in the online video world — both formerly as the head of video for Yahoo and currently as the chief content officer at Maker Studios.
For the layperson, it must seem like an incredible leap to take when you’re standing on the ground floor of a company/medium that isn’t yet established, committing years and capital to such an endeavor. Yet, this is the cornerstone of Dana Settle’s work. From online content giants like Maker Studios and AwesomenessTV to revolutionary technology companies like Wochit, Dana Settle knows a thing or two about making a good bet. It’s because she’s committed, not just to the idea, but the individuals behind that idea, as they aim to revolutionize the way consumers engage with content.