"We've looked at building businesses online, not just self-indulgent promotional sites."
Advertising age, 06/01/98
adage.com qwikfind aaa28Q
Several years ago, it would have seemed highly unlikely for Jim Moloshok to be associated with anything but the biggest of Internet brands.
The longtime Warner Bros. executive reached new media notoriety for stirring up the pot, both within and without the entertainment giant that is now part of the even bigger AOL Time Warner.
In the late 1990s, Mr. Moloshok, 51, launched an ambitious program called City Web, designed to form a nationwide network of sites of local TV stations. The idea never quite got off the ground, in part because networks, scared of affiliates joining Mr. Moloshok's online bandwagon, came up with local Web plans of their own. Then he shepherded Entertaindom, which aimed to coordinate the morass of Warner Bros. Online properties.
Just after Time Warner was swallowed by America Online in early 2000, Mr. Moloshok set out on his own. He's been spending much of his time since then investing in smaller properties as a founder and managing director of Windsor Digital, a new-media venture capital firm he set up with, among others, Terry Semel, who has since left the firm to lead another mega media brand, Yahoo!, out of its troubles. (There's been plenty of speculation that Mr. Moloshok will soon join forces with Mr. Semel again as a consultant to Yahoo!.)
But, Mr. Moloshok says of his current perch: "It really gives you a totally different perspective." At Windsor, he's invested in companies such as educational toy site Leapfrog.com.
However, he clearly is still a believer in the power of big media brands. About funding an independent company today, he says, "I would only do it if I had the ability to latch onto an established company." So it's no surprise that Mr. Moloshok, who wouldn't comment about a potential Yahoo! affiliation, may be looking to work with a major media brand again.
While Mr. Moloshok loves being on the leading edge, he is an old-time media guy at heart. He espouses the philosophy of companies such as the old Time Inc., recalling how a Detroit ad sales executive he knew there made it his job to know everything about the car industry. Of sites looking for ad revenue, he says, "You have to hire ambassadors instead of advertising sales people."
While optimistic about 2002, Mr. Moloshok says work needs to be done before online is a grown-up business. "It's going to change," he says, "when the online companies wake up and realize that they need experienced people."