The Opportunities Ahead For New Millennial Media CEO Barrett - Industry Reaction

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barrett-ceoYesterday, mobile ad network Millennial Media announced the hire of industry – and programmatic-media – veteran Michael Barrett as its new CEO.

As Barrett told AdExchanger's Judith Aquino yesterday, "Buying programmatically is certainly a big interest with a lot of our advertisers, publishers and developing partners, and we’ll continue going down that path. [But] Millennial is also a leader in the direct-sales channel and we will continue developing our strength in that space as well."

AdExchanger.com reached out to a selection of industry execs and asked the following question:

    "What's your take on the opportunities ahead for new Millennial Media CEO Michael Barrett?"

Click below or scroll down for more:

Sean Corcoran, VP, Mediahub/Mullen

No matter what, the good news is a rising mobile ad spend is going to lift all boats. Beyond that, the scale of Millennial, the cross-screen technology they acquired through JumpTap and the rapid growth of programmatic media all create great opportunities. However challenges will come from everywhere as we find there's literally dozens of mobile players offering a variety of new products and technologies every day. Then you have the fact that mobile is becoming less of a stand-alone. Devices are blurring between mobile and traditional digital and therefore so is the media. That opens up a whole new set of players as large publishers, all major DSPs and even social platforms are moving into the mobile space. So ultimately it will be a race for Michael Barrett and team to establish Millennial as major player in the broader digital media space and not just a leading mobile specialist.

Steve Katelman, EVP of global strategic partnerships, Omnicom Media Group

Michael should be a great addition to Millennial, assuming they keep him interested enough to hang around for the long term. He is joining the company at just the right time. With the launch of their new ad exchange, and the acquisition of Jumptap, Millennial has some good pieces to build a platform that agencies could find fruitful. Barrett's media and programmatic experience will no doubt make a serious impact on both the demand and supply side of their business. Coming from an online company, Michael should remember the importance and process of standardization, which will come in handy as advertisers and brands look for solid footing in the mobile realm. He’ll also be the first to tell you that mobile is tough, and brands with mobile roots have the best chance of prospering. As media agencies are currently pondering and debating how ad networks fit into their future, having a trusted industry veteran like Barrett involved is a great addition, as he already subscribes to the Katelman theory of “partnering builds a better mousetrap.” Buckle up.

Michael Katz, CEO, mParticle

Having worked both for Michael and partnered with him, I've seen the type of leader that he is. I think people will probably point to the number of successes he has had throughout his career and what everyone should know is that he doesn't just get lucky. Mike creates a ton of value by planning meticulously and being a leader that people want to work for and associate with. I think Paul has done a great job at Millennial to get the company to the state it's at now and all of their employees, clients and shareholders should feel great having someone like Mike to take it through its next chapter.

Eric Picard, CEO, Rare Crowds

Michael Barrett understands the fundamental economic levers that drive the ecosystem, and he’s clearly great at executing on businesses that can pull those levers.  I’m excited to see how he uses this knowledge to transform Millennial Media, which has done a good job of growing on business fundamentals, but hasn’t seemed to find a transformational approach. He also has shown the ability to scale businesses up – bringing on large numbers of customers quickly. These abilities should invigorate Millennial Media in ways that aren’t apparent right away.

When he joined AdMeld, the company was operating in a very basic way – it wasn’t experiencing the kind of transformational growth we saw later under Barrett. He found the right levers to pull, and mixed that with mature high-growth sales approaches. I was impressed with Barrett’s vision for how to transform Yahoo – and disappointed that we didn’t get to see that play out.  To have him going to a business like Millennial that is growing quickly and has achieved scale – but needs that next significant evolutionary step – is very interesting. I’ll watch them carefully. Maybe we’ll get to see what a Mayer/Barrett Yahoo would look like after all.

Bill Wise, CEO, Mediaocean

I’ve long said success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. … However, with Michael Barrett, it's 100% TIMING. His timing has been impeccable in the past – think GeoCities acquired by Yahoo, AdMeld acquired by Google, CRO Barrett acquired by Yahoo for a few months. However, he has his work cut out for him with this new challenge. Unlike VIDEO, which can stand on its own as a media type, MOBILE has proven to be an extension of the DISPLAY market (along with SOCIAL). Thus, Barrett needs to make a significant move into display and social for Millennial to become a truly relevant and industry-leading company. Not an easy move since all the display ad-tech companies are in a good position to handle more and more mobile inventory and mobile ad types. If I am a betting man (and I AM a betting man), look for an acquisition in the first two quarters.  My pure speculation would be on a smaller deal, such as Sociamantic Labs, reuniting with Jason Kelly, or iSocket, an SSP that has had a hard time competing with the scale of Pubmatic and Rubicon, or dare I say it ... BOTH!

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