5 Questions for Ryan Magnussen

CEO, Ripe Digital

If you happened to be on YouTube for any duration recently, you might have seen a spotlighted video called "Yoga 4 Dudes 6" on its home page. Its description queried YouTube visitors thusly: "You're a dude, right? You like stuff that's made for dudes like you, right? You're gonna love this all-new episode of Yoga 4 Dudes."

Meet Ryan Magnussen, CEO of Ripe Digital, and the man responsible for providing the viewing public with the sixth installment in the series, which, as far as we can ascertain, involves strippers assuming a position called "the naughty shodhana." Magnussen founded the company in 2004 after a successful entrepreneurial run with interactive agency Zentropy, which he sold to Interpublic in 1999. These days, with Ripe, he's rolled out three lifestyle brands covering all the dude demo bases: Ripe TV (brodudes), Octane TV (gearheads) and Flow TV (playas).

In the spirit of Octane TV, we asked Magnussen what kind of pimped-out rides he drives. "A Lexus hybrid for business and a '66 Corvette for fun," he says. How quickly can he change a tire? "Depends how quickly AAA responds." He might want to start tuning out the "Yoga 4 Dudes" and tune in to Octane TV more often.

How does it feel to be described by Forbes as "an expert purveyor of the short, sharp thrill"?
Ripe was one of the first to create short-form programming - shows that are instant gratification. So it feels appropriate. But the public wants that. We just responded to the public demand earlier than most. People are conditioned these days to have short attention spans by the availability of all their technology: BlackBerries, video games, iPods. We just gave them what they want - and always seek to do it a little better and a little smarter than others.

What's Ripe TV's trick to roping in the 18-34 dude demographic?
We've got that one down pretty well. We go where they are versus trying to get them to come to us. Ripe's channels are all on cable demand, broadband, mobile. That's where 18- to 34-year-old guys go to find video. We also go where they're hanging out. On the Internet you can grab a guy's attention right at the moment when he's watching a video and immediately link him to your video. Sure beats a linear TV spot where there's nothing they can do in that moment. How do you keep their attention? You give them quality content - what they want. That, and keeping it simple. We interact with our audiences as much as possible to keep a reality check on their tastes. Keep it simple, keep it real, keep it relevant.

In regards to on-demand programming, have consumers simply become more particular about how they manage and spend their time?
People have always managed their time carefully. They've just never had as many choices as they do today. Certainly, we're busier than ever and live in a world of many more choices daily. But with that comes more technology to make those choices. On-demand viewing is just today's answer to, "How fast can you change the channels and surf?" The more we use all this new technology, the more comfortable we become, and the more it affects how we consume yet more media.

Is there anything about the nature of online advertising today that would have surprised you a decade ago at Zentropy? Anything that doesn't surprise you?

It surprised me that advertising dollars would migrate to online video so quickly. Advertisers always wanted to measure ROI, but who would've guessed that online video would ultimately give them the best metrics with the most targeted reach possible to date? It's not surprising to me that video has taken hold online. We always knew it would happen, and Zentropy was involved with online entertainment in the early days.

What is Ghostface Killah's most diva-like, behind-the-scenes demand when hosting Flow TV's "VIP Lounge"?
Talent can be pretty picky, but Ghostface is actually a very down-to-earth guy, very mellow. He's a bad example of talent diva-ism. I can't wait until Mariah Carey does something for us. I'll personally deliver whatever exotic mineral tea she's drinking.

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