Top TV Talent Defecting To Digital Out-Of-Home Start-Ups

What's the next big industry? Follow the talent.

Place-based video is expanding its base. Shortly after the formation of the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau, and the launch of an initiative to create a new measurement currency, some of the nation's biggest place-based video networks are bulking up their ad sales forces.

One key move: hiring senior executives away from TV and big ad agencies.

The most recent hire brings Chris Kager, formerly president of The Media Group, to ProLink Solutions, which delivers advertising to 10.4-inch GPS video screens on golf course carts. At The Media Group, Kager led the development of a sales and marketing strategy for the EchoStar/Dish Network. Previously, he was executive vice president of NBC Universal TV Distribution, with responsibility for media sales.

ProLink's GPS-enabled video screens--which display three full-color ads in sequence while the golf cart drives to each hole--have been installed on more than 35,000 carts around the country. The effort reaches a desirable demographic: men with an average household income of $185,000 and net worth over $1.5 million.

This year, ProLink has signed, among other advertisers, General Motors, Citibank, RE/MAX and Toyota. Past advertisers have included Jaguar, Lexus, British Airways, HBO and Visa.

Kager, however, is just one new hire at place-based video networks.

On the agency side, in March, Captivate Network, a pioneer in place-based video, hired Sheri Taylor Gilchrist as vice president of marketing and programming. Taylor had previously served as senior vice president at Harte-Hanks and before that, was vice president of relationship marketing for Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopoulos. With digital displays installed in the elevators of hundreds of office buildings nationwide, Captivate reaches about 2.3 million business professionals a day.

Then in May, Reactrix Systems--which installs interactive video advertising displays in public places--hired Sue Danaher as president, with responsibilities that include recruiting national advertisers. Reactrix has already carried out ad campaigns for AOL, Clorox, Coca-Cola, DaimlerChrysler, DirecTV, Hilton, Sprint and Visa, and is poised to expand in the U.S. and abroad. Danaher had previously served as executive vice president and general manager of advertising sales at MTV Networks.

Also hiring is Premiere Retail Networks, which operates in-store video displays for big national chains like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Circuit City and Costco. It tapped David Goldstein to head its advertising sales team based in Santa Monica, Calif. Formerly an executive at Walt Disney Pictures and MGM/UA, Goldstein will be responsible for all feature film, television, home video, video game and music advertising. Goldstein joins two other recent hires: Alicia Cachuela, formerly of National Cinemedia, and Stephanie Leitner, formerly of MTV Networks.

PRN's content typically includes a mix of short-form lifestyle and do-it-yourself tips, with promotions by packaged-goods and electronics manufacturers whose products are available in the store. All considered, the network claims to reach about 250 million viewers a month in a total of 6,000 "big box" retail stores.

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