5 Questions With… Cisco’s Daniel Scheinman

Happy Sunday, y’all! For this week’s Five Questions With…, we’ve got Daniel Scheinman, senior VP and general manager of Cisco Media Solutions Group. One of the things that long title means is that Dan’s in charge of Cisco EOS, a platform designed to ease the process of creating websites and extra digital content for businesses in the media and entertainment sphere. Below, he talks about the friction between content and technology in media companies, the potential value of a standardized data service and how much he hearts the San Francisco Giants.

1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?

The single biggest limiter of the digital media space is the friction between content and technology.

Today, we are seeing the birth of the most media-savvy generation of consumers. Consumers want to be able to consume media across devices, and in different ways. Consumers recognize and value quality content (think paid vs. free apps), and want to be able to access and interact with that content anywhere.

Inside most media companies, there is a Frankenstein monster of systems –- bits and pieces from all over — that acts as a barrier instead of an enabler of that modern consumer experience. Media companies know they have tons of content, passionate audiences, and really exciting opportunities to bring the two together. Unfortunately, the current systems are acting as a limiter, not an enabler, of new, more social experiences and business models.

2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?

“Monetization.” Today, that word has become a buzz word for a lot of things that ail our space: bad technology, underinvestment in content, and an unclear consumer experience. Media companies need to build business online. They need to value and create powerful brands. They need to bring compelling and interesting content online. They need to find business models to gain value for their content. These are tasks that technology should be able to partner and enable. We, together, can create a new, billion-dollar opportunity of bringing consumers experiences that they truly value.

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.)

First off, $50 million is a lot of Benjamins. I used to run corporate development at Cisco, and generally investing that large an amount is really something that is only done when you see an exceptionally large opportunity which requires a huge amount of capital. So, I would not invest that amount lightly!

For me, I really believe that the industry ultimately is going to need to be able to gather data to compete. This may require people to think about how the media companies can share and use the data around their content (which is some of the most valuable data on the planet). Think, a “Visa” or “Fair Isaac” of entertainment data which could be a source of truth controlled by the entertainment companies. That sort of data service could do some of what Ultra Violet (formerly DECE) is doing to bring content to consumers across devices. It could also allow for creation of new and more personalized experiences.

4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?

Ashkon’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (the Giants 2010 Anthem).

My side interest is the San Francisco Giants. This video is fantastic!

5. WILD-CARD: What’s the one entertainment company currently active today that you wish was a client of the Cisco Eos platform, and why?

That is a tough question, as we love all prospects equally! Let me not name a single customer but describe our ideal media partner. Eos is an enterprise-scale platform which solves the challenge of how to build enterprise-level, social entertainment experiences around content, and is most appropriate for a large aggregator of original content, who has rights across both analog and digital channels.

In general, we are very focused on large media companies or divisions of bigger media companies. The larger media company has paid for the content, has full rights to that content and owns and controls the content brand. In general, we are not looking for folks who have sold or licensed their content and brands into the studios.

We love to work with those who are thinking about content online and how to create, brand and build an online business in a way where the content is differentiated from the traditional business. Cisco could really help that customer move from a world in which Frankenstein is the best option to a world where they can create massive value in brands, content and users.

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