5 Questions For: Matt Wasserlauf
Matthew Wasserlauf is a 16-year veteran in the media and broadband advertising industry. He created and formed broadband company and online video network Broadband Enterprises in April 2004 and currently serves as the company's CEO.
Prior to forming Broadband Enterprises, Wasserlauf spent four years as the vice president of sales at The FeedRoom. Previously, he served a year as director of sales for CBS.com, where he delivered over $10 million in revenue. In 1999, he completed his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He is a 1991 graduate of Indiana University, with a B.S. in marketing. Wasserlauf resides in Haworth, N.J., with his wife, Dara, and his two sons, Zachary and Theo.
What is Broadband Enterprises and who are your competitors?
We're an online video network with 1,800 publisher sites, including Warner Bros., Fox News, Lycos and Comcast, and around 150 advertisers. The video network is our core business, but we also have three other businesses. We syndicate content across our network from partners like CBS, Warner Bros. and Fox and also put ads on top of the content; revenue is shared with content owners and publishers. Additionally, we create original programming, like office makeover show "Cube Fabulous," now in its third season. We launched the six-episode show in May 2006 and ran a second season last autumn. Honda, AOL and Monster sponsored the program.
Our fourth and newest business is ad-serving, with our technology, Vindico.
Advertising.com and Tremor Network are major competitors in the ad network business. When it comes to content syndication, our rivals include Brightcove and Roo. For creating original Web content, we compete with AOL and Yahoo. For ad-serving, major rivals are DoubleClick and Atlas.
What do marketers need to know about running online video ads?
Video ads are the most powerful unit in media. We just need to start creating creative that's more suited to that medium. Right now, we're phoning the creative in. Many advertisers are repurposing TV ads, and that's an easy way in, but not optimal.
Some marketers, though, are making an effort to develop ads specifically for the Web. For "Cube Fabulous," Honda created eight 5-second pre-roll units, which were contextually placed and targeted to 18- to 24-year-olds. The units, which were highly interactive and entertaining, also were created in Flash - a trend we expect to see continue.
What should marketers know about advertising in user-generated content?
I'm seeing more advertisers steer away from it than try to run with it. User-generated content can be a real hornet's nest. It's mainly major brands that use online video ads, but much of the user-generated content out there - like videos showing someone acting as a "human slingshot" - isn't appropriate for those brands. You can only imagine what it would mean if something went wrong.
What are the most vexing issues facing your business right now?
The online video industry is currently lacking standardization by the publishers. Also, tracking and reporting houses are having problems quantifying the data about Web video ads. Another issue - maybe the biggest - is politics. You still have clients who are unsure who should be driving this process for them. Is it their television buyers, their interactive team, their direct agencies?
Different camps want to be driving the process, and it's causing a lot of internal turmoil, if you will, among the clients.
If you were not in your present position, what would you most like to do?
I would be a college professor. I love to coach and inspire people. To aid someone to maximize his or her potential is rewarding to me. At Broadband Enterprises, I seek to do that in my daily work.