Interpublic Media CEO Runs to Spot Runner

The wave of acquisitions at Web-TV crossover ad firm Spot Runner is nearly matched by the company’s hungry appetite for — and ability to snag — executives from much larger enterprises.

The latest score for the feisty, two-year-old company is former Interpublic Media Chairman and CEO Mark Rosenthal, who was hired to preside over a new Media Platforms division at Spot Runner. Rosenthal’s resume also includes nearly a decade as president and chief operating officer of MTV Networks.

Spot Runner, which offers digital services as well as TV and Web production and placement services for small to mid-sized businesses, said the new division will leverage its technology to create programs custom-tailored to fit “the needs of advertising agencies and media companies.” Rosenthal said he couldn’t be much more specific but suggested there will be some big announcements in the near future.

“We’re developing new products and new platforms that I think will be valuable products for media owners and advertising agencies,” said Rosenthal. “We’ve just begun to develop a number of them. Suffice to say that we think they will help to re-invent some of the traditional features of buying and selling and planning advertising.”

Rosenthal, a New York resident who will remain living and working in the city, said the new division “will take advantage of technology that Spot Runner has already built and technology we will continue to build.” He said the technology will “help define and re-define the relationships between buyers and sellers of advertising.”

About a month ago, Spot Runner scored another big-time executive when it hired the chief media officer of MSN’s Media Network, Joanne Bradford. Bradford left Microsoft to become EVP of national marketing services for Spot Runner.

The Los Angeles-based company, headed by CEO and Chairman Nick Grouf, has also recently been involved in a number of acquisitions, including that of Weblistic and GlobeShooter.

Rosenthal oversaw all of Interpublic Group’s worldwide media operations, including Universal McCann, Initiative, MAGNA Global and other specialist media agencies. He said he decided to join Spot Runner because he liked the people and energy he witnessed.

“I got to know Spot Runner pretty much about year and half ago when I was at Interpublic, right before Interpublic invested some money into Spot Runner,” he said. “I was then, and continue to be, really really impressed with not only the business model at Spot Runner but with all the people I was fortunate enough to meet and work with… an exceptionally intelligent and knowledgeable group of folks.”

He said the atmosphere at Spot Runner reminds him of life two decades ago. “In a funny kind of way, there is the same energy and mission I experienced a long time ago during the early years of MTV and it was something I thought would be real fun to be a part of,” said Rosenthal.

He plans to expand the “historically small” New York office that now has about a dozen employees. “We will be hiring in the New York office,” he said. “New York is important. It really is the center of the media world as well as the advertising world.”

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