Mar 09 2023
Media Coverage

VideoAmp Hires Its First CMO as Ad-Measurement Race Heats Up

The tech company plans to pitch its services to marketers more directly, beginning with this year’s upfronts

VideoAmp Inc. hired media executive Jenny Wall to be its first chief marketing officer as it looks to further establish its position in the contentious media measurement space. 

Ms. Wall had been CMO of Paramount Global’s Nickelodeon and previously held marketing roles at Hulu, Netflix Inc. and Gimlet Media, a podcasting company owned by Spotify Technology S. A.

At VideoAmp, Ms. Wall will lead a new effort to pitch its measurement services to marketers more directly, said Ross McCray, co-founder and chief executive at the company. VideoAmp has signed deals with individual brands but has to pursue such business more aggressively to grow beyond its existing partnerships, Mr. McCray said.

The company has deals in place with media conglomerates such as Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., social-media companies like Meta Platforms Inc. and ad agency networks including Omnicom Group Inc. and WPP PLC’s GroupM, he said.

The hire comes as the rise of streaming television viewing facilitates increased competition between measurement providers including VideoAmp, and Samba TV that position their products as a complement or alternative to those offered by Nielsen Holdings PLC, the longtime standard-bearer for traditional TV measurement.

Less than 50% of U.S. households now subscribe to linear or cable TV services, according to research firm Insider Intelligence, and media executives have called for more services that measure viewership drawn directly from streaming platforms and connected TV rather than panel-based approaches that rely on measurement tools installed in participating households. 

The announcement also precedes this year’s upfronts, the annual process in which TV networks and streaming platforms showcase their programming lineups and ad products for buyers. Ad measurement has become a key subject for programmers and ad buyers as they consider deals.

VideoAmp hired a CMO primarily to market its products to other CMOs, who, for the first time in decades, have clear choices regarding measurement providers and currencies, or measurement metrics, said Mr. McCray. 

Ms. Wall said that, as a longtime marketing executive, she understands marketers’ frustrations with overly complex measurement products. “I think there’s an apathy, meaning ‘I don’t understand it so I’m not going to do it,’” she said.

Ms. Wall will also work to increase the visibility of VideoAmp executives and produce case studies demonstrating the uses of its product, she said. 

VideoAmp began as a so-called demand-side-platform where advertisers could buy inventory from publishers, but now focuses on a subscription-based platform that helps advertisers and agencies plan campaigns, allocate budgets and measure the results of their ad buys. 

No single provider will replace Nielsen as the dominant force in media measurement, some industry executives said.

“We need to be prepared as an organization and holding company to support all of the currencies [and] all the measurement companies. It’s not going to be one-size-fits-all,” said Geoffrey Calabrese, chief investment officer for North America at Omnicom Media Group. 

Nielsen in January released Nielsen ONE Ads, an updated product suite that relies more heavily on audience data collected directly from various digital platforms and relies less on panel-based measurement. The firm also signed a multiyear deal to measure streaming viewership for Netflix as that company promotes its ad-supported tier.

VideoAmp raised $275 million in Series F funding in late 2021 at a $1.4 billion valuation after hiring Paul Ross, former chief financial officer at Trade Desk Inc., to lead its finances.