Current Taps Yahoo and AdBrite Veteran to Lead New Media

Current Media, the Al Gore-founded cable TV and Internet crossover company, named Paul Levine to lead its interactive content and advertising strategy as president of new media.

Levine, previously with performance-based ad network AdBrite, is charged with driving engagement and traffic in Current’s online and mobile channels, while increasing awareness of its television offerings. Current TV is available in 58 million homes worldwide, and its Web site has approximately 7 million monthly uniques, the firm said.

Current offers cross-media sponsorships and standard ad units, including a user-created video ad option called Viewer Created Ad Messages (VCAM). Under that program, which has been tried by Sony, L’Or&eacuteal, and Toyota, users create video ads for sponsors, who then choose the ones they want to run.

“From the beginning the company’s been out on the vanguard to figure out the best way to marry TV with interactive,” Levine said, adding Current would continue to pursue “a combination of big sponsorship-type advertising that spans TV and the Web, and a lot of online innovation.”

During the presidential race Current created several quirky experiments to help its users riff on the political process. In a feature called “Hack the Debate,” it partnered with Twitter to superimpose debate-related Twitter messages over its live broadcast of the presidential debates. Last month it tried the same thing with the inauguration.

Levine’s position was previously held by Joanna Drake Earl, who has been with Current since its inception. She was recently named chief operating officer of Current as part of a reorganization.

Levine was previously VP of Marketing at pay-per-click ad network AdBrite, a position he left in October when AdBrite laid off 40 percent of its workforce at all levels. Prior to that he was VP/GM of Local Services at Yahoo, presiding over the company’s yellow pages, maps, real estate, and classifieds businesses.

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