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Barry Diller Doubles Down With Ben Silverman and College Humor

  |  August 4, 2009   |  Comments

IAC teams up with media entrepreneur Ben Silverman on one venture and names Ricky Van Veen to lead another one. Both projects hold promise for online video advertisers.

The dog days of summer are fast approaching. When it comes to online video and online video advertising, these days aren't exactly hives of activity.

Save for the JK Wedding Entrance Dance , which is now up to 15 million views -- and was tweeted, shared on Facebook, and brought the dancers to the "Today" show in New York -- actual video advertising news and developments have been somewhat light. (And well, it's so awesome that it has to be mentioned: also consider William Shatner doing his poetic reading of Sarah Palin's farewell address. Like the wedding dance video, it exploded on the interwebs and showed once again how many views a short-on-the-money video clip can accumulate in a brief time period.)

But two announcements came out of Barry Diller's IAC that are more than worth getting excited about. Although not linked, both announcements speak to the future of online video and the role that advertising can and will play.

First, IAC launched Notional, an online video venture to be run by Ricky Van Veen, the brightest light at CollegeHumor. CollegeHumor has been producing some of the best online-appropriate videos, as far back as 2005, when I was pulling together an abortive attempt at creating a Yahoo comedy channel.

Its lip dubs are a phenomena in and of itself, and Jake and Amir have always been killing it. Now, as Van Veen focuses full time on video with a little more of the IAC cash and perhaps some guidance from media mogul Diller, the sky may indeed be the limit.

Perhaps even more exciting is news that Ben Silverman is leaving the confines of NBC and returning to his entrepreneurial roots with a yet to be named multi-platform production entity. It will be funded in part by IAC. (Disclaimer: I know Silverman personally). The pull quote from IAC's press release is broad:

    "The company, which will be headed by Ben Silverman, will unite producers, creators, advertisers and distributors under one roof and produce all forms of content for distribution across a variety of platforms around the world."

However, the new firm aims to bring advertisers to the table before content creation and during the germinating and concepting phase. By design, advertising will exist in multiple forms of media. Brand advertisers may begin to place larger bets here.

The timing of introducing the advertiser is key. While I was at denuo (the Publicis Groupe think tank), it was drilled into me: the earlier the advertiser is introduced into the equation, the more likely the advertiser will pony up the big dollars and the more successful the integration will be across media platforms. If there's one thing Silverman does well, it's making clear to advertisers the opportunity before them.

So if you couple the Notional announcement, which is a win for the New Media geeks out there, with the Silverman announcement, which is a win for the Old Media geeks -- well you've got what they call the proverbial win-win.

Join us for Search Engine Strategies San Jose, August 10-14, 2009, at the McEnery Convention Center. Spend Day 1 learning about social media and video strategies with ClickZ.


Todd Krieger

Todd Krieger is a creative thinker, a connector, and a believer in the power of a good idea. He likes playing among the diverse, and sometimes converging, worlds of publishing, entertainment, technology, and advertising and figuring out how best to leverage each for the benefit of the other.

His bona fides include stints at Microsoft, Yahoo, and Denuo (a boutique consultancy within Publicis). In that time he's produced hundreds of hours of award-winning interactive TV content, including NCAA Final Four Interactive and CSI Interactive. He also relaunched the broadway.yahoo.com vertical in tandem with American Express and helped bring to market the Internet's number one gossip site, omg.yahoo.com. While at Denuo, he worked with "The New York Times," Fox.com, and Condé Nast on how to transition their core print and broadcast assets into the digital world.

Todd has spoken around the world on issues of copyright, technology, and interactivity and has been published in "The New York Times," "Wired," "Premiere," "SPIN," and elsewhere. His book, "The Portable Pundit : A Crash Course in Cocktail Party Conversation" can still be found on Amazon. He lives in Venice, California.

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