We continue our weekly Cosmo quiz for prominent execs in the online video world with Jayant Kadambi, co-founder and president of the YuMe ad network. Kadambi is a holder of multiple patents and prior to founding YuMe worked at Netopia and AT&T Bell Labs. He also might have a soft spot for the wild kingdom.
1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?
Technical and administrative complexity: We need to find a way to make buying advertising in online video as easy as buying an ad on TV.
Advertisers shouldn’t have to worry about monitoring thousands of sites to make sure their brand isn’t appearing next to objectionable content in a syndicated player. They shouldn’t have to ever think about transcoding their video hundreds of times so that it appears properly in different player environments. They shouldn’t have to wonder how they’re going to differentiate their campaigns while staying inside the confines of an overly restrictive ad format. They shouldn’t need to spend hundreds of hours pushing around spreadsheets just to make a $50,000 buy.
Right now it costs media agencies four cents on the dollar in administrative costs to buy TV advertising, but 30 cents on the dollar for online campaigns. Online video advertising won’t reach its full potential until we can stop making it so hard for advertisers to buy it. At YuMe, we’re working on technology to try to solve that problem.
2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?
I could do without the whole mindset that produces some of these buzzwords. It seems like our industry is always picking some new concept and trying to shove it down advertisers’ throats. We’re not going to convince brands and media agencies to reinvent the way they do business overnight—we need to find practical ways for agencies to work with us today, and then lay out a path for incremental change.
3. If someone gave you $50 million to invest in a company in this space, which one would it be? (Mentioning your own doesn’t count.)
I think there is a tremendous opportunity for companies that can correlate online and offline audience data to improve campaigns in both environments. If I thought I had the opportunity to invest in a company that could do for online video what Nielsen does for TV, I would jump at it.
4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?
There’s a great video on YouTube called Battle at Kruger that shows a herd of buffalo banding together to save a calf from some lions at the edge of a water hole.
5. WILD-CARD: With all the ad networks out there, how does one provider differentiate from all the others? And how is YuMe in particular aiming to do this?
We’re a technology company that just happens to operate a premium ad network. Because of the tremendous investment we’ve made in our ACE technology platform, we’ve been able to solve many of the problems that have made it difficult for brand advertisers to buy online video, and for media companies to find viable online business models.
We sell enterprise software that makes it easier for publishers to sell their video inventory and deliver great results to advertisers. We also give publishers the option to monetize some of their inventory through our ad network. We think our combined model makes us a great partner, and that’s why publishers like MSN (s MSFT), Fox News (s NWS) and Funny or Die have chosen to ACE-equip their video players.
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