Since launching in 2013, Ozy has solidified its place in the new media landscape with a popular website, podcasts, television shows, newsletters and more. In line with its growth, Ozy Media hired its first Chief Revenue Officer earlier this summer.
Sharon O’Sullivan, who previously worked for Discovery Communications as an advertising executive and has represented brands such as Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, ESPN, and FX, took the post in early July. She spoke with Publishing Insider about how she hopes to shape the future of Ozy Media.
Publishing Insider: What are some of the strengths you see across the media company?
Sharon O'Sullivan: OZY’s tagline is “See Beyond.” We are in the unique place where we attract influencers in film, music, politics, business, tech, and people wanting to see beyond the headlines and discover what’s new and next.
Because OZY’s content delivers ideas and information from a broad range of perspectives, it is a place that unites people in their common desire to connect to a broader world — the perfect place for brands to connect and engage.
Also, in a complex world of distribution, OZY is where dedicated readers come to consume a range of content, including the daily emails The Presidential Daily Brief and Daily Dose; the OZY website and aApp, which together reach 15 million people monthly; podcasts, which have 5 million downloads; TV shows with 10 million viewers to date; social with 20 million monthlies; and at live events, with OZY Fest attracting 25,000 people over two days.
With the strength of brand, content, distribution, and strong visionary leadership, I see a huge opportunity for OZY.
PI: What drew you the company at this point in your career?
SO: I was first attracted to OZY because I could see the white space they are filling in media. They identify trends and rising stars. Also, I knew I would be working closely with the founders Carlos and Samir, who are deeply involved in everything.
With OZY, I’ve been able to experience the brand beyond traditional media channels and into the event space. Seeing OZY Fest in Central Park a few weeks ago, where thousands of people of all ethnicities and ages were united by a desire to hear new ideas, try new foods and connect on a deep level experientially. It evolved my understanding of how we can drive our connection to consumers and brands.
The festival brought together thought leaders like Malcolm Gladwell and Salman Rushdie, political leaders from Hillary Clinton to Karl Rove, innovative chefs like Marcus Samuelsson and Roy Choi and music with Passion Pit, Group Love, and Young The Giant.
OZY fans are not tied together by a common age, gender or race. What unites them is a state of mind. It’s different from any other media brand I’ve ever worked with. It’s not just a Nielsen-defined slice of the population.
I have more creative freedom than ever before without any institutional or legacy handcuffs. We can be as innovative as our partners are ambitious and brave. Most importantly, there is an enormous opportunity to grow the business at a time of complete disruption in the media industry.
PI: How will your work with so many brands at Discovery impact your approach to advertising across Ozy's platforms?
SO: My former role allowed me to create brand partnerships at scale. It was not unusual to develop partnerships at $20M+ with a single advertiser. I bring a lot of ambition into the role from that experience and I understand how to scale a brand partnership to the benefit of both sides.
Much of what we do at OZY is custom, and I want to be connecting with as many of our client’s customers are possible.The good news is that innovative brands are looking to recreate what traditional media deals look like. It is the best time for breaking models and redefining what a true partnership looks like to deliver more on both sides.