YouTube Hires First Chief Marketer

Former CNET Exec's Task: Turn Video Site's 34 Million Unique Users Into Ad Dollars

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They grow up so fast. The year-and-half-old YouTube achieved a major milestone, appointing Suzie Reider as its first chief marketing officer. The news comes as pressure mounts from private investors, who are now counting on Ms. Reider to turn YouTube's enormous user base into ad dollars.

Ms. Reider, who last served as CNET's senior VP-general manager of entertainment, quietly joined the fledgling media company two weeks back, and is reporting directly to Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder and CEO.

Building its management infrastructure on the fly, YouTube appointed its first chief financial officer, Gideon Yu, earlier this month. Mr. Yu came from Yahoo, where he had been senior VP-finance.

YouTube's small marketing team, including Senior Director Julie Supan and VP-Sales Tony Nethercutt, now reports directly to Ms. Reider. The company has about 60 employees.

During the last several months, the startup has placed greater emphasis on sustainable ad models -- as in those that don't scare away users-and licensing deals meant to fend off persistent legal issues.

Two programs YouTube recently introduced point to the types of marketing the video-sharing site is experimenting with. Cingular Wireless agreed last week to back a search for YouTube's most talented unsigned bands-a promotion that struck at the core of rival MySpace, which was founded on the premise of exposing unsigned artists to large audiences online. Walt Disney Co.'s ABC will feature the finalists on "Good Morning America" in November.

YouTube also struck a revenue-sharing deal with Warner Music Group, which will distribute and license its copyrighted content through the hugely popular site.

While specifics are a closely held secret, the majority of YouTube's videos are streamed on its site, not on sites that host its video player, according to Ms. Supan. For that reason and to keep from offending anyone, there are no plans to include ads on hosted players, Ms. Supan said. "It's mainly a marketing tool."

ad strategy

In late August, YouTube unveiled an ad strategy called participatory video ads, which allows members of the community to rate the ads, comment on them and list them as their favorites. The videos can also be shared and embedded into users' own video creations. Warner Bros. Records, Weinstein Co. and Fox Broadcasting Co. were the first sponsors to sign on.

YouTube drew 34 million unique visitors in August, up from 3.5 million at the start of the year, according to ComScore Media Metrix.

Ms. Reider took her position at CNET only recently, when Vince Broady vacated the post for a similar position at Yahoo.
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