Ad Sales Veterans Launch Firm Targeting OTT, Podcasts

Crossover Media Group Sales, a new ad sales firm, is hoping to capitalize on the growth of over-the-top video and digital audio like podcasts.

The company counts former SiriusXM, Westwood One and Comcast Spotlight executives as partners, and a number of notable figures in the media as clients. 

Radio hosts Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Dean Obeidallah, Michael Steele, and Rick Ungar are on board, and the company is representing the upcoming OTT service Political Voices Network as well as Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN), which was launched by sportscaster Brent Musburger and his nephew Brian Musburger. All told, Crossover currently has 15 programs in its network.

The company’s founding members are Ron Hartenbaum, who served in an executive role at Westwood One before becoming CEO of Jones Radio Networks, Sue Fruend, who joins from SiriusXM where she was VP of sales for the western region and Scott Calka, who previously worked for Comcast Spotlight and DirecTV. Freund will be based in Los Angeles, with Calka and Hartenbuam in New York.



Crossover will represent its content partners and connect with them with advertisers, who can gain access to their content across platforms, be it streaming audio or video, podcasts or radio. Hartenbuam mentioned one advertiser that is buying on Miller, Hartman and VSiN shows. The particular advertiser will have an audio ad that can be paired with video depending on the platform it runs on.

“So what is unique about us that we are going out and presenting the personalities and shows -- not only what is running on air, no matter how that content is being distributed -- but we are going to connect [consumers] to every aspect around [a] particular personality,” Freund tells Digital News Daily.

Ultimately, the goal is to introduce advertisers to a new media environment that is increasingly cross-platform, spanning audio and video environments, TV sets and mobile devices in and out of home.

“It is really very much a multiplatform approach to the question of, how do you really reach a consumer in a very fragmented marketing world?” Calka tells Digital News Daily. “I think everyone has their TV on and their phone out, and their tablet and laptop. So how do you reach everyone at the same time? What we are doing with Crossover is really reaching them on all of these levels.”

"We are agnostic [about the platform you watch or listen on],” Hartenbaum added.

Freund says that the challenge is engaging with advertisers that kay not yet be thinking about OTT or podcasts, and proving the value of these platform in much the same way Sirius had to prove itself when it launched.

“When I joined Sirius 10 years ago, it was an emerging media,” Freund says. 

“The subscription model was new to most folks, as was satellite, so I think my expertise is not only relationships I have across the country, but more as these new emerging medias come into play, I know how to build those, and monetize them, like we did at Sirius.”

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