Owning The Moment at the 2016 U.S. FreeWheel Client Summit
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On Wednesday, July 20, we were proud to host our annual U.S. Client Summit: Owning the Moment: Thriving in Today’s ‘New TV’ Ecosystem in New York City. Our collective goal for the Summit was to inspire, inform and empower senior executives among premium video Programmers, MVPDs and Digital Pure-Plays.  The agenda included dynamic content, conversation and networking opportunities that demonstrate FreeWheel’s commitment to ensuring we all thrive in the ‘New TV’ ecosystem. Here are a few of my favorite highlights from the day.


The ‘New TV’ Ecosystem is Here

Premium video content owners and distributors are transforming the advertising landscape by leveraging the power of their audiences, data and automation. Brands are increasingly leveraging the value proposition of premium video: engaged, premium audiences coupled with compelling not-to-miss content. Without question, premium Publishers and distributors have an opportunity to own the moment we are in, and FreeWheel has never been more privileged and focused to be at the center of this ecosystem.

Keynote Panel: Defining the ‘New TV’ Ecosystem

Our keynote panel of industry luminaries lit up the room by celebrating the power of TV. In an intimate conversation, Neil Smit, CEO Comcast Cable; David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications; Josh Sapan, CEO, AMC Networks; and moderator Michael Kassan, Chairman and CEO, MediaLink; each shared their thoughts on the power of premium content, the definition of ‘TV,’ and how Publishers and distributors can win in a rapidly evolving industry powered by technology.

What truly resonated with me was the panel’s acknowledgment of the importance of generating a positive user experience for viewers. To be successful in this rapidly evolving industry, Programmers must couple captivating content with a superior user interface. Each of the esteemed panelists touched on how their companies are innovating to improve user experience across all platforms. This is an area upon which FreeWheel is very engaged, and you’ll see more on user experience in our upcoming Q2 Video Monetization Report and as well in outputs from the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video.

Left to Right: Michael Kassan, David Zaslav, Josh Sapan and Neil Smit

The FreeWheel Perspective

James Rooke, CRO, accompanied by senior FreeWheel leaders, shared our view of the industry and the critical updates FreeWheel is making to our core solutions to ensure our clients are in the best position to capitalize on the intersection of premium content, technology, data and automation:

  • Our industry leading technology initiatives: Paige Bilins, VP, Product Management, walked through upcoming plans for our technology and how we’re working to serve our clients across all screens, data sets, and monetization channels, with the full safety, compliance, and control that premium video content demands.
  • The recent acquisition of StickyADS.tv: Gilles Chetelat, Co-Founder + COO, StickyADS.tv, shared how the addition of StickyADS.tv’s SSP capabilities completes our industry leading technology stack and deepens our ability to meet all transaction types, ranging from high touch direct-sold, to private marketplaces, to the liquidity benefits of open exchange.
  • Why service and guidance matter now more than ever: Mike Lawlor, SVP, Client Services, spoke of FreeWheel’s investment to stay ahead of the curve from a services perspective, by focusing on providing “white glove” service as an organizing principle, and continuing to advance diagnostic and resolution capabilities.
  • The FreeWheel Council for Premium Video: It’s been one year since we launched the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video, and I was proud to share the enormous success the Council has already achieved, including the publication of two thought leadership pieces: The Unrivaled Value of Premium Video and Reconstructing Programmatic for Premium Video.

Left to Right: James Rooke, Mike Lawlor, Paige Bilins, Gilles Chetelat, and Jack Rotherham

Breakout Sessions

Taking it one step further, three afternoon breakout sessions featured: an in-depth look at how StickyADS.tv’s SSP functionality completes FreeWheel’s ad management platform; an informative session on how our clients can better manage the complexities of ad experience; and an exclusive first look at the Q2 Video Monetization Report and the industry trends it holds within.

FreeWheel U.S. Client Summit 2016 Breakout Sessions

Left to Right: Brian Dutt, Ying Wang, Geoff Wolinetz, and Jonathan Bohm

Closing Panel: Owning It Together

Rounding out the day, Doug Knopper moderated our Closing Panel of industry peers– ABC, A+E, and AT&T, for a spirited conversation on where the industry is headed, what we really think about ‘programmatic’ and  how we can collectively align on what needs to get done to truly own the moment and thrive. Pooja Midha, SVP Digital Ad Sales and Operations, ABC; Matt Van Houten, Regional Vice President, Product and Business Development, AT&T; and Jason De Marco, VP, Programmatic and Audience Solutions, A+E Television Networks, discussed how to overcome the complexities that have grown exponentially over the past few years, particularly measurement challenges, the importance of scale and the evolution of market dynamics.

FreeWheel U.S. Client Summit 2016 Closing Panel

Left to Right: Pooja Midha, Matt Van Houten, and Jason De Marco

It’s through the power of conversations like the ones that transpired throughout the U.S. Client Summit that propel the industry forward.  As champions of this industry, it was a privilege to highlight our partnership with our clients to ensure they can truly own the moment and thrive through all of the challenges and complexities present in the ‘New TV’ ecosystem.

It was a pleasure to once again host this inspiring group of people, and we look forward to connecting with our European Clients this fall.

Update: August 24, 2016:

 To capture the essence of the day, we curated the ‘best of’ each agenda segment, including key testimonials from clients and FreeWheel executives. Please take a moment and enjoy our Event Sizzle Reel:



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