5 Questions for Eric Hadley CMO, Heavy
It's quite a leap going from the world's biggest software company to a lad entertainment site. Why'd you take the job?
>That's the first question I get from everyone. When I started at Microsoft I didn't think of myself as a big company guy and after 10 years there and doing great stuff, I said, "Where are things going and where's innovation and change happening quickly?" So I started to look around and probably talked to ten companies. I love the Heavy brand and I love the video space and when the TV dollars start coming online en masse, this is the company that's going to make it happen. Heavy has a great demographic - that young male audience that just continues to grow, and as it gets more and more difficult to reach that audience in traditional media we'll see more ad dollars coming in.
You're coming to Heavy at the same time as new CTO Scott Penberthy and new CFO Todd Sloan. What do these moves signal for Heavy?
>Heavy is getting to another level of maturity because the market is driving us there. To capitalize on past success we've had, we need to bring on a higher level of technology with Scott, and a new CFO running the company in Todd, as we take in more money from the ad operations and look at how we're going to meet the needs of customers. So Heavy's done a great job scaling this business and they've brought in some new people to make sure Heavy continues to be a leader in the video space.
Nielsen//NetRatings and comScore have widely varying estimates for Heavy's audience. Heavy's own logs are probably another number. How does the lack of a standard audience measurement affect online advertising?
>There's a ton of different numbers out there. That's one of the things that's holding back the category. When you're spending significant dollars on TV ads and you have established systems to report the numbers. Then you come into the online space, whether it's banner ads or video ads, and you have all these different accounting methods. If we're going to scale the industry and Heavy is going to be a leader, we need numbers that a TV buyer can compare to a GRP [gross ratings point] number. That's something we need to work on.
The online video ad model continues to evolve. Where do you see it heading?
>You have to look at how the message is embedded into the content - so branded entertainment or the experience surrounding a video isn't intrusive. I think [there are] going to be a lot of different models that work - whether pre-roll or ads over it. We're still learning a lot and that's why I'm excited about [Heavy ad network] Husky, where we're taking a video someone is watching and wrapping an ad around the player.
You came from a Madison Avenue background before joining Microsoft. Are there any agencies taking the right approach to digital media? >I think of the people that swing for the fences and are willing to try something new. One reason Crispin Porter & Bogusky have generated so much buzz in the last three years is because they did whatever they wanted to do and said to the client, "If it works we'll keep doing it, and if it doesn't we'll stop." So it comes down to that type of client-agency relationship.