Blog Post

Metacafe gets a new CEO

Metacafe, the online video startup that was rumored to be close to an acquisition deal for $200 million or so last December, is getting a new CEO. Co-founder Arik Czerniak tells us that he is stepping down as CEO and will remain at the company focusing on products and strategy. Erick Hachenburg, previously of Electronic Arts, will be taking over as CEO of the company that has offices in Palo Alto and Tel-Aviv Israel.

Czerniak tells us that the guard change “is great news for the company,” and Hachenburg “is a guy who is going to lead us to the next level.”

Metacafe has been adding other new executives recently. In January the company said it had hired Mort Greenberg, VP Sales, Allyson Campa, VP Marketing, and added Bud Colligan as its Executive Chairman. Metacafe, also opened a New York office “to better serve its advertisers and media partners.” The company has raised at least $19 million from investors, including Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners.

In December TechCrunch reported that Metacafe’s acquisition deal might had fallen through because of traffic concerns, and cited Comscore numbers that showed the startup had a 25% traffic drop in monthly unique vistors — from a high of 4.2 million in September, to 3.1 million in November.

Numbers compiled on NewTeeVee from Comscore for the month of December, show that Metacafe had 2.95 million total unique visitors for that month (U.S. audience). Numbers from Compete compiled on NewTeeVee say that Metacafe is ranked #14 with a 1.3% market share and 1.57 million unique monthly visitors, also based on a U.S. audience.

Hitwise data says comparing Jan-07 versus Dec-06, the market share of visits to the site among all U.S. web sites increased 1% — that’s in contrast to the company’s growth between Jan-06 and Jan-07 where Hitwise says its market share of visits to the site increased 912% among all US websites. That year over year traffic boost came as a result of the company sharing the advertising revenues with video creators — an advantage now blunted by YouTube’s recent announcement.

It seems like the traffic concerns are real, and the company is looking for ways to turn around revive a traffic decline. Investors, for one, are always eager to press for the symbolic change of the guard when things go south. The new ceo will have his work cut out for him, trying to revive the company and beat its competitors

16 Responses to “Metacafe gets a new CEO”

  1. Indeed an interesting post by Katie fehrenbacher and many arguable comments. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Time will tell… All I know is that I joined Metacafe in Nov 2005 to establish and manage their marketing department. I think we all did a great job and we have a few dozen millions of entertained users to “vouch” for it. I personally witnessed Arik, Eyal and many others build a top notch entertainment destination. This was done with tremendous passion, creativity and dedication. I think that people on this blog (more than other people!) should appreciate and support young and talented entrepreneurs. Metacafe, Youtube and others have changed the way we experience video online. I think we should all give a little more credit to each other. Today, I moved on and started my own online healthcare company, but it doesn’t sound right to me to bad mouth the same people that pave the way with ingenuity and hard work for all of us. Before you comment next time ask yourselves? “Have I built a large scale web service from scratch lately?”

  2. Julianna

    Actually, Metacafe – as opposed to YouTube – DOES have a business model. They’ve been paying video makers for a few months now and they are also branching out. They actually HAVE a plan.

    Everyone is all excited about YouTube’s announcement that they will be paying people, but no one knows what the plan is: how much to whom under what conditions.

    Ran, I think you are wrong in your prediction of Metacafe’s demise. Metacafe doesn’t try to be YouTube – they don’t like the whole “your daughter’s 5th birthday party” thing – they want to good stuff. People go to Metacafe because they know they will quickly find good videos, as opposed to YouTube where you need to be featured to do well, and your videos get lost in a sea of millions of other videos.

    And Ran – how about some support for your fellow Israelis? Great Hasbara you have going there.

  3. Michael Stone

    I agree with Todd. We’ve seen this movie before. Companies with no clear business model gain a little traffic and hope (pray) for the major company bailout ala Geocities and To be clear, although these companies we’re ultimately successful for their shareholders, they were not companies to be proud of and certainly not worthy of emulation.

    Start a REAL company and slog it out like the rest of the thousands of Internet companies that try like hell to build something real!

  4. VanillaChin

    comScore numbers are a joke. They assume you believe that a random panel assembled by random phone digit dialing is the way to establish user data from which you can extrapolate the takeoff rate of a new service.

    Thanks to the Metacafe person giving real numbers. Let’s stop the comScore madness.

  5. Ran telem

    Metacafe is at the beginning of it’s drop down. I believe that in two years Metacafe will be a nice name for a new coffee shop down on 3rd and 8st. The thing about companies like Metacafe and its founders is that from the very start, they initiate this concept of: how we will get Yahoo,eBay,Google, and other giants to buy a product out of us. They build a company with no income, no nothing. But down to the bottom line, I think that Metacafe is just not good enough in compare to YouTube, and with Google acquisition, we, I think that nuff said…

  6. If you look at the global numbers from comScore you will see that Metacafe’s traffic has grown from 16 million unique visitors in November to 17 million unique visitors in December. We can’t explain why comScore shows a dip in US numbers because internally we are seeing consistent growth in our US traffic.

    Allyson Campa, VP Marketing, Metacafe