Digital wunderkind JT Batson, a key player in the formation of media-buying data processor Mediaocean, has joined analog media giant Cumulus Media as chief revenue officer.
Batson, whose most recent role was chief strategy officer at Mediaocean, had been the head of digital operations at one of its predecessors, Donovan Data Systems. Mediaocean was formed earlier this year when Donovan merged with VC-funded startup MediaBank.
Prior to Donovan, Batson was mainly involved in sales of digital startups, including Rubicon Project and Mozilla’s Firefox browser.
The move is another vote of confidence for analog media, especially radio, which is where Cumulus’ business is focused.
“My big bet here is that we can build the best local sales force at scale,” says Batson, noting: “We are starting with a huge head start -- over 1,600 salespeople in 110 cities. If we can have success with this, then we can win big. Outside of Google, no one has really cracked this.”
Although many on Madison Avenue may see radio as an inherently local media business, Batson says the “legacy” of big media companies like Cumulus is that they still make most of their money from national advertisers, vs. search giant Google, which generates most of its revenues from small businesses, although the notion of “national,” “local,” and even “global” is somewhat semantic on the Internet.
Still, digital native Batson sees a more fundamental shift taking place as “the traditional TV model shifts,” noting: “Those who can bring both national and local advertisers to a piece of content will be able to win.”