MarTechSeries: Interview with David Mason, CEO and Founder, StudioNow

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Tell us about your role and journey into technology. What made you start StudioNow?

I have been an entrepreneur for the past 25 years. Along the way, I have dabbled with having a normal job here or there, but always found that my passion was to create ideas and companies from scratch. My key ingredients have always been to identify a large-scale trend (internet retail, WiFi communications, digital video, etc.) and then create a new business model for that industry that utilized technology to disrupt the status quo. I started one of the first internet bookstores in 1994, which later became Buy.com, which was then sold to Rakuten. I started StudioNow in 2007 because I was taking a ton of birthday and vacation pictures of my five- and two-year-olds at the time and never got around to doing anything cool with that content. While thousands of these pictures and videos were clogging up my hard drive other and more experienced individuals with film school backgrounds and editing software were uploading funny and entertaining videos to YouTube and generating millions of views. My original idea was to create a marketplace where less experienced individuals (people like me) could be matched with video experts to turn their pictures and videos into something that was worth watching. StudioNow 1.0 was born and on the first day, we had about 80 video professionals sign up to be part of the StudioNow Creative Network. Fast forward to today, and we now have over 10,000 creative vendors from mom and pop creative shops to some of the largest, high-end production companies in the world. We stopped making video content for individuals in 2008 and our software platform now manages the video creation process (vendor sourcing, bidding, project management, contracting, payment, etc.) for some of the largest companies in the world, including Coca-Cola, P&G, HP, Bridgestone, etc.

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Winter is Here

AdAge published a brilliant article canvasing the tech/media/agency/consulting/brand ecosystem. It was written by Alexandra Bruell, and titled "The Agency of the Future is Coming. Are You Ready?" The first line grabs you by the collar, "WINTER IS COMING."  

For those unfamiliar with Game of Thrones speak, this means ALL HELL IS ABOUT TO BREAK LOOSE.  Companies are spending $275 Billion a year in creating content, buying $65 Billion in US Digital Advertising and $200 Billion in total US Ad spend. Brands are now changing and re-thinking who they use to create and distribute their content.  

CMOs of giant brands like P&G, Pepsi and Coca-Cola are "looking for a higher degree of consolidation to make integration and interdependence more effective" (Marc Pritchard, CMO of Proctor & Gamble).  Brad Jakeman, President of PepsiCo explains the main driver for this massive shift:

"For a brand like Pepsi, it was once sufficient for us to produce four pieces of content a year -- mainly TV -- and we could spend about six to eight months developing that one piece of content and spend $1 million on each piece of film. Now, that four pieces has turned into 4,000; eight months has changed to eight days and eight hours; and budgets have not gone up. Maybe [we have to publish] so quickly and efficiently that it needs to be more of a content-publishing group that sits inside the company and augments the work done through [agencies]."

At the end of the day, all of the big brands are looking for Bigger, Better, Faster and Cheaper ways to create and distribute content.  Wendy Clark, CEO of Omnicomm's DDB said, "the new model, in the next few years, will be to create great work at the speed of the market at an efficient cost."  

For StudioNow, our network of creatives and our great customers like McDonald's, Bridgestone, P&G, Coca-Cola and many more, WINTER IS HERE!!  The disruption is already underway.  The Uber and Airbnb models work just as well in the agency/brand space as they do in the massive markets of transportation and travel.  For P&G, StudioNow sourced some of the world's best creative talent in multiple geographic regions to create high performing digital and TV spots that cost 50% less than traditional agency costs and reduced the production time cycle by 40%.  

Here are some of the spots:

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 3.03.33 PM.png

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of buzz and several large deals in the Ad Tech Stack space (Q1 of 2016 was the record so far with $2.4 Billion in M&A transactions as cited by M&A advisor Results International).  However, the Content Stack space is starting to heat up as well with large deals like LinkedIn's acquisition of Lynda.com for $1.5 Billion (BTW, nice 10X revenue multiple!!).  As companies like Verizon expand into the media space with AOL and now Yahoo, consulting companies become leading digital agencies (Accenture's rise to #1 Digital Agency) and the leading tech companies like Google and Facebook continue to dominate market share in the digital ad space, large brands will have significantly more options to select partners to help them plan, create and distribute their content.  Which kingdom will conquer all the rest and sit on the Iron Throne, and how prepared are you for the coming Winter Storm? Would love to get your thoughts.  Please send them to dmason@studionow.com.

David Mason
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | David Mason

 

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