Apple’s iAd Diaspora: Former Senior Mgr Mike Owen Now CRO At AdColony

Another former executive from Apple’s iAd business has made a move to another mobile ad venture: Mike Owen, who had been a senior manager overseeing iAd’s New York office, is joining mobile video ad network AdColony as its chief revenue officer. The news comes amid two other executive appointments for AdColony  — Ty Heath as CTO, and Abe Pralle as VP of technology, both joining from gaming company Plasmaworks.

The most high profile departures at iAd have been ex-head Andy Miller, who left last year to join Highland Capital; and Lars Albright, who helped had helped found Quattro Wireless and then establish iAd after Apple bought Quattro.

In March, Albright launched a startup called SessionM that offers a mobile ad platform that looks to improve engagement in mobile ads by incorporating gamification elements. It raised $20 million in May.

(Apple’s iAd has Apple has also made some key hires as well: it picked up Todd Teresi, formerly of Adobe, to replace Miller at the top. A former Yahoo, Jessica Jensen, has also gone to iAd.)

In his role at Apple, Owen had overseen the company’s New York office — arguably the most important, given many of the main players in the ad industry are so heavily concentrated there. His new job as CRO at AdColony is based in Los Angeles, where he will be responsible for overall company revenue.

Mobile advertising is still a relatively small portions of the overall market for advertising: ZenithOptimedia forecasts this year will see $486 billion in ad revenues in the U.S., but eMarketer forecasts only $2.6 billion for mobile ads. At the same time, though, the rise of smartphone usage has had a knock-on effect in growing these areas, and so those in the space are seeing rapid growth.

AdColony says that its business has grown by ten times over the last two quarters compared to 2010 and 2011 — although it is not sharing revenue figures.

The company’s business is two-fold: it’s built around the idea of serving video into ads running across different sites, and it also has developed some innovative technologies around certain video ad formats, such one it calls HD Mobile Video. Prior to AdColony, its founders were app developers themselves, making some 200 apps for brands like ESPN, Sony Music, 20th Century Fox, Universal Music and CBS Mobile.

This is not too far from the high-impact, rich-media aspect of iAd, so it should be a product that Owen can sell well if the packaging is right for the audience — one issue with iAd, especially in its early days, were the high fees and control that Apple had been wanting to exert on the process of creating and distributing the ads.

“AdColony is delivering rich, fast mobile video experiences to consumers in a mobile video ecosystem that is riddled with speed and quality issues,” Owen said in a statement. “Video is incredibly powerful for consumers and brands and AdColony’s technology is allowing premium publishers to deliver the highest quality video experience to their consumers, which is translating into unprecedented results for advertisers.  The post-PC era has just begun and we have a clear opportunity to change the way consumers think about, and experience advertising on their mobile devices.”

AdColony has recently opened a San Francisco office and is preparing also to expand to New York.