Commentary

(Non-Obvious) People I Want To Discuss the Video Economy With Over Lunch

One of the great privileges I have at BrightRoll is the opportunity to meet with incredibly interesting, talented people in the online video industry all the time. Of course, working in a common field gives us lots to talk about.

Many of us in this space, however, have long known that our industry possesses important parallels to other, seemingly unrelated fields. Studying and exploring current trends in these non-adjacent areas offers us the opportunity to learn lessons beyond those our own relatively young industry can teach us.

It's with this thought in mind that I respectfully extend an open invitation to the following individuals:

Gerard Arpey, President and CEO, AMR Corp. and American Airlines: For the last six years, Mr. Arpey has run AA and has avoided bankruptcy in a very challenging time for the airline industry.

Airlines optimize toward revenue per available seat much in the same way that publishers work to achieve an optimal eCPM, so Mr. Arpey undoubtedly spends much of his time tackling business challenges that are strikingly similar to those facing online video. These might include the need for constant, renewed differentiation among providers, effectively balancing the art and science of yield management and determining the ideal mix of sales channels.

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Michael Lavery, President and Managing Director, Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC): Since 1995, Mr. Lavery has headed up ABC, which provides "independent, third-party circulation audits of print circulation, readership and Web site activity."

Validation and verification are extremely hot topics in interactive advertising this year, and some great companies have stepped up, offering a variety of verification solutions. ABC has been in a similar business since 1914, and interestingly, is funded by its core constituency: advertisers, advertising agencies and publishers. It was born out of the need to put an end to "false and misleading circulation claims," and we can all agree that accuracy and accountability around ad placements are critical to the continued success of the video space.

Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple: I struggled on whether to include this one because my headline promised "non-obvious" selections, but it just fits too well to pass up -- if Mr. Jobs is willing, I'm definitely buying lunch.

One could look at Apple's ethos this way -- a remarkably clear culture of invention, which is accompanied by a willingness to take risks. Those risks often pay off as wild successes, but Apple's not afraid to stand behind even those products - like Apple TV -- that aren't blockbusters. Great publishers look at their businesses in a similar way -- not all video is going to go viral, and you typically won't know what will go viral until it does. When it comes to content and creative, publishers and advertisers would both be well-advised to take a page from Apple's playbook and just invent.

Looking at our industry from an objective perspective and recognizing the business challenges and opportunities that we have in common with others opens us up to new possibilities that aren't always evident from inside the bubble.

While I wait for Messrs. Arpey, Lavey and Jobs to email me with their availability for lunch, I look forward to continuing this discussion in the comments. Who can you learn from over a meal, and why?
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