Already a seasoned media professional, 29-year-old Ezra Cooperstein was recently appointed CEO of Maker Studios - a studio focused primarily on YouTube as a platform, which aggregates Web content providers with eager audiences to form potent online video networks.
Most recently, Cooperstein served as vice president and director of innovations for Initiative, a large advertising agency subsidiary of IPG, where he was responsible for working on some of the agency's largest accounts including Hyundai/KIA, Lionsgate Films, Carl's Jr., and Dr Pepper/Snapple. At Initiative, he was credited with heading up numerous successful activations, including a campaign for Carl's Jr. that won Best in Show: Integrated Online Campaign at the 2009 OMMA Awards.
Prior to Initiative, Cooperstein was an official rising star at Current TV. Before leaving the media company, Cooperstein was responsible for all show development, oversight on active series, and the network's scheduling strategy. He also was the creative force behind "The Rotten Tomatoes Show" - a user-generated movie-review show based on review and information destination rottentomatoes.com. Prior to being tapped to lead programming in the United States, he built and managed the viewer-created content division at Current - a production unit that Cooperstein says served as one of the core differentiators for the network.
Having birthed the group at Current, Cooperstein is widely viewed as one of the pioneers of user-generated video. While leading the viewer-created content (VC2) division, he was responsible for all facets of production of 35 percent of the network's total programming.
Beyond oversight of the U.S. viewer-created content team, he led the expansion of VC2 operations into new international territories, including the UK and Italy.
What's your greatest professional achievement to
I spent the majority of my working life helping to shape the early creative vision of Current TV. So I would say that my greatest achievement is split between doing something that most thought impossible in 2004, making user-generated content into compelling TV, and walking into an empty London office in January of 2007 and launching Current TV UK on March 12, 2007.
What's your favorite pastime/hobby, and how, if at all, does it lend itself to your professional life?
Running. It is the time in the morning that I clear my head and meditate. It is typically in this headspace that great ideas are born.
What recent or imminent industry development most excites you, and why?
Connected TVs. We have been talking about convergence for a long time, and now the hardware is getting us closer to an environment where media consumption in the living room can dramatically change. Passive can become active viewing, and a closed system of hundreds of channels becomes limitless experiences for consumers.
What are your long-term professional goals?
Running a media company that changes the landscape in some way, and eventually taking that knowledge and power to do social good ... or maybe just win a congressional seat.
How could the industry
do a better job nurturing young talent?
As the tide in media turns, young talent is starting to get more attention and nourishment. Age seems to matter less, and good ideas, passion and execution are now at a premium. The old guard needs young minds that came of age in the digital era. I do think that it is important to create mentorship opportunities for young talent. There are many business and life lessons that can and should be passed down.