David Payne: The Man Who Would Save Digital Media with Video Ads

By on 12/16/2009 7:28 AM @beet_tv

David Payne, former chief of CNN.com, has been working his start-up called ShortTail Media, which aims to help publishers increase revenue by integrating television advertising the online experience.

In beta since this summer, the company is funded by powerhouse Boston venture fund General Catalyst Partners.

Payne says that traditional display advertising is not working – as consumer engagement and rates continue to drop.

The company, an ad network of sorts,  allows publishers to insert television spots or "pre-roll" video advertising into users experience as they call up text pages to read.  Publishers can set options to close the ad at different lengths.

Now, out of beta, publishers who are currently using the platform include EW.com, iVillage.com, HuffingtonPost.com, BusinessInsider.com, and MensHealth.com, as well as blogging platforms like Six Apart (Movable Type/Typepad). 

ShortTail is currently supporting campaigns for brand advertisers including Best Buy, Ubisoft, AstraZeneca, and Siemens. 

There is an opportunity for ShortTail as television advertising continues to migrate online, and the existing inventory for pre-roll advertising extremely limited. But whether the business will provide a successful solution, or will turn off users who don't want to see ads, it's a little early to say.

Payne told me in our interview he sees this solution as the "Holy Grail" of digital media.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

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