A One-on-One with Nick Rau of Nielsen, IRIS.TV Advisory Board Member

by | Sep 29, 2014 | News, Press, Video Programming Insights

With an average of 50% increase in views, IRIS.TV has proven to engage audiences and increase viewership on online publishers’ sites and apps. But even with its success, the online video ecosystem is still a challenging one to navigate alone. Luckily, IRIS.TV has constructed an impressive advisory board to provide strategic guidance as they contribute to grow and evolve in the field. The board is comprised of leading executives in the entertainment, technology, data science and finance industries. One of those lead executives is Nick Rau, SVP Engineering at Nielsen.

Nick took some time out of his busy schedule to shine light on why he decided to join the IRIS.TV advisory board and where he sees the company and industry heading in the future…

What drew you to join the IRIS.TV Advisory Board?

The world is increasingly moving to programmatic delivery in media—both advertising and content. Anyone focusing on solutions to enable that vision is in a very good place and is someone that I’m interested in.

Viewing videos on the Web today is such a discreet, disjointed experience. You watch one piece of content and then the experience is largely over. On broadcast television there is a constant stream of media, item after item, both content and advertising. Eventually online video is going to move towards that same vision. Providing viewers with a stream of content that they may be interested in is a no brainer enhancement for online video players today, because at least 20-30 percent of people will watch the next video. Those additional videos are also additional ad slots, and free extra inventory for publishers.

IRIS.TV is the only company I have seen that is focused on this problem and on technology to solve it.

How critical is IRIS.TV’s technology to today’s online video landscape?

Online video is in a similar situation to Apple’s iTunes App Store today. The App Store is almost dysfunctional from an app discovery standpoint. The top apps always come from the biggest players, and then you have millions of other apps that are impossible to truly sort by your own interests. How do you even look through them? How do you know what is valuable? The App Store is in serious need of curation to help people find what resonates with them in a much simpler way.

I see the same situation in the world of online video. The amount of content is very large already and growing quickly. Any type of technologies or tools that help to curate this content and deliver programming truly of interest to viewers will be huge wins for the system. There are a number of effective ways to monetize this. Whoever can build technology like that is going to win in a big way.

What do you think differentiates IRIS.TV from the pack?

They have a vision for how to enable the world of online video. And their first product provides a clear value proposition for publishers; I got it with minutes on our first time getting together.

And just as important as the product is the team. There are a lot of great ideas, but great ideas are worthless without a motivated team that can execute. The single biggest determinant of a startup’s success is the grit and determination of the first employees. I see that in the IRIS.TV team.

What do you see for the future of television and IRIS.TV?

In the near future, with the increased proliferation of mobile devices, short form content is going to be bigger than ever. The tools to produce it are cheaper and more prevalent, and people’s attention spans are getting shorter at the same time. All behavior trends are favoring short-form content to grow strongly. That’s going to be a big boon for IRIS.TV’s vision and product..

In the long term imagine a future when perhaps cable content is unbundled, and everything is available as VOD. In your living room you can watch a Modern Family episode as easily as a bunch of YouTube clips, or Hulu. How will you possibly know what to watch with all these choices? There have to be tools that help curate the mass of content available, and algorithmic editors will play a large role. Video discovery is a largely unexplored area and one that will be a huge need in the future.


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