Next New Networks, which in June announced it was looking for a new CEO after raising a $15 million Series B round in March, has found its pick: Lance Podell, formerly CEO of the search marketing and ad network firm Seevast.
Next New had said it was looking for a CEO who had experience building a web business (its founders come more from the content side). Podell has experience on the publisher, advertiser, and ad network fronts in his various roles at Seevast, About.com, DealTime, Time, and Ogilvy and Mather.
But a hired CEO seems a bit out of place in the young web TV business, especially at NNN, which is a close-knit company led by a team of five co-founders. In an interview Monday, Podell acknowledged that challenge. “As a family they’ve done really well, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to take them all the way, and they need someone to come in and lead them a bit,” he said. Founding CEO Herb Scannell, now chairman of the company, will be stepping back from the company significantly to give Podell room to lead, according to Podell. (To be fair, NNN competitor Revision3 is no longer led by its founding CEO, but it’s a bit of a different situation.)
Podell, who doesn’t start until Oct. 1, seemed appropriately unsure and excited about where the original online content company is headed. “Clearly we have at Next New the best programming,” he said. “We don’t know if it needs to be broader or deeper, but we know that it needs to connect with consumers.”
Podell said he would also look to make programming more “scalable and efficient” and to increase audiences, and he said he didn’t know yet if he’d be cutting any existing shows or initiatives. As for monetization, he said he would look to continue tasteful product integration in line with what NNN has already down with Starburst.
Next New has raised a total of $23 million from investors including Velocity Interactive Group, Spark Capital, Goldman Sachs and the Saban Media Group.