Fullscreen is one of the top multichannel networks on YouTube today, with more than 3 billion video views per month. But there’s always more it can be doing — pulling in more money, helping creators make more high-quality content.
To take care of that, Fullscreen has made a few key hires. It’s brought on former SpinMedia and Demand Media exec Mike Wann as Chief Revenue Officer, and hired digital media veteran Ashley Kaplan as its head of content.
Wann will be charged with overseeing business development, integrated marketing, and ad operations for Fullscreen, leveraging nearly 20 years of experience with a number of other digital media properties. Most recently he was at SpinMedia, where he helped restructure the business ahead of its recapitalization. Prior to that, he did business development for Demand Media ahead of its $1 billion IPO. He also had held roles at Amazon and MSNBC.com.
In a phone conversation earlier in the week, Wann said he sees a big opportunity for activating revenues as more broadcast ad revenue starts creeping online. He likened it (kind of) to the Demand Media was able to leverage rapidly increasing display ad revenues as spend shifted away from more traditional media outlets.
But what about Demand Media’s over-reliance on Google for the discovery of its content? While it was an early leader in the SEO game, the company virtually collapsed once Google changed its algorithm in a way that didn’t favor Demand Media’s content aggregation.
And hey, isn’t Fullscreen today overly reliant on YouTube as its sole source of distribution, audience, views, and revenue?
Wann said that if there’s one thing he learned in the fallout of Demand Media, it’s that there’s generally a “flight to quality” in the content business. “One thing that was very attractive about Fullscreen is the quality of content being produced,” he told me. On YouTube, he believes, “there’s a bit of a meritocracy in the views and scale that you get.”
I guess it’s a good thing Fullscreen also hired Kaplan as its head of content, where she’ll oversee ongoing production and development of new premium content with “talent and brands.”
Kaplan began her career as a producer at Current TV, and later moved to Viacom, where she helped launch the digital content department for Logo. Most recently, she served as VP of digital content and strategy for the Magical Elves production company, where she worked on content partnerships adjacent to its TV properties.
So what’s next? Well, both those execs will be working on getting more awesome content built and noticed by advertisers on YouTube. But, there’s the big YouTube question. As in, how is Fullscreen going to make money outside of YouTube?
For one answer, look no further than Fullscreen’s acquisition of the mobile development team behind Viddy. The Supernova guys could provide Fullscreen with its own group of mobile apps that feature its content.
Already mobile viewing makes up 45 percent of all Fullscreen viewership, according to CEO George Strompolos. So there’s a huge audience — and revenue opportunity just waiting there for the them.
Fullscreen has raised $30 million from investors that include The Chernin Group, Comcast Ventures, and WPP Digital.