I have over two decades of experience in identifying business opportunities, raising investment capital and taking companies from early conceptual stage to significant market player. I am currently a Managing Director of DEV (Digital Entertainment Ventures), investing in and helping to develop early stage technology, internet and digital media businesses.
For the previous nine years I was the Chief Executive and a member of the Board of Directors of MediaNet. The Company was formed in 2001 as MusicNet, with three of the major record companies combining as the majority owner, to respond to the sudden explosion in downloading through unauthorized peer-to-peer services such as the original Napster. The labels recognized that they needed to offer a legitimate path for consumers to acquire music online and it was MusicNet's mission to digitally distribute music as a service provider for major brands. In 2006 we changed the name of the company to MediaNet to better represent an expanded offering of digital video, eBooks and other media types.
MediaNet powered music and media delivery in five territories in the US and Europe for many of the best known names in the business including AOL, Yahoo, HMV, Virgin, Samsung, Tesco, MTV and Microsoft's Zune. In 2009 we introduced MN Open to make delivery of streams, downloads, metadata, media search, contextual matching and recommendations easily accessible through APIs and Web Components to a broader array of app developers and retailers. As a result, the company added over a thousand new affiliates.
Prior to running MediaNet I worked at MTV Networks. I joined the company after selling them the interactive music video channel, The Box, a transaction that provided an excellent outcome for investors. I was at MTV for a year and helped transition The Box into MTV2.
In 1995 I joined the Board of Video Jukebox Network (VJN). Shortly after becoming a Board member, I was appointed CEO and ran the company for over five years. Our audience called VJN, "The Box", so we changed the company's name to The Box Music Network. The Box was a cable music video channel but its unique feature was the ability of the audience to influence the programming by selecting, for a fee, the video that would play next. To complement transactional revenue, we added a national advertising sales revenue stream and grew the distribution to more than 40 million homes. We also successfully launched The Box in several territories in Europe and South America.
The Box was the first company to digitize a huge music video library, deploy the digital files to cable systems throughout the country as needed and manage unique programming, real-time in hundreds of television markets simultaneously. We were an innovator in Rap and Hip-Hop music programming and were credited with introducing many major artists in the nineties.
In 1991 I became president of StarNet, a Lenfest Group company. StarNet provided targeted cable marketing using a national satellite delivery system tied to smart devices at cable "headends" to display custom marketing messages and commercials for high-profile programs and pay-per-view events. In addition, we had a portfolio of investments in related enterprises. One that was particularly forward-looking was a joint venture with TV Guide. The magazine still had the largest circulation in the country but subscriptions were declining as costs were rising. The proliferation of new cable channels was making the next-generation TV Guide the size of a small telephone book. Together, StarNet and TV Guide developed the first version of a TV Guide electronic program guide that translated the TV Guide brand, listings and editorial into an on-screen display with cable system specific listings.
In 1986, with an investment by a group of cable multisystem operators, I founded Adlink and became its first president. Adlink's mission was to reach a cable audience efficiently by interconnecting cable operators and offering advertising agencies a means to place their clients' commercials on multiple networks and cable systems simultaneously. To accomplish this, we developed a proprietary distribution system that fed the appropriate commercials to each cable system and managed playback, reporting and billing. In addition, we fielded the top spot cable advertising sales team in the business. As a result, Adlink became the largest cable advertising interconnect in the country.
Throughout my career I have been a presenter and contributor to major news publications. My commentaries have appeared in Billboard, Forbes and Multichannel News, among others, and I have appeared on CNBC, CNN Business and PBS.
For press inquiries please contact Laurie Jakobsen at (646) 484-6764 or Cathy Halgas Nevins at (917) 887-4140.