Media Mavens 2010

Media Mavens: Greg Kahn, Optimedia U.S.

Entertainment-Marketing Expert Introduced a New Way to Measure Media, Transforming Planning and Buying

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LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- Greg Kahn wants to change the way you buy and measure media.

Since joining Publicis Groupe's Optimedia in 2007 to run its strategic insights practice, Mr. Kahn, 37, has introduced a first-of-its-kind metrics tool, Content Power Ratings , to the media community's vernacular. The tool was the first media currency to measure and aggregate total views and engagement for TV shows across on-air, online and mobile platforms, giving extra weight to shows such as "Gossip Girl" and "Mad Men" that might not have blockbuster linear ratings but receive tons of online buzz, streams and iTunes downloads.

Greg Kahn
Greg Kahn
The Content Power Ratings tool has affected not only Optimedia's upfront negotiations with broadcasters but also the way networks such as the CW measure and sell their programming. And it is also viewed as a model for Nielsen's forthcoming single-source online and TV ratings , tentatively scheduled to roll out to clients later this fall.

"In a world that's very innovative and changing rapidly, it's important that we stay on top of where consumption and behaviors are going," Mr. Kahn said.

That innovative approach to media measurement has also affected the way Optimedia approaches its planning and buying practices, focusing on analytics-driven and results-based strategies for clients. The renewed focus has gained new business in recent months -- in the past year alone, Optimedia picked up clients such as BBC Worldwide ($50 million in worldwide billings), Orbitz's traditional media ($36 million in U.S. billings) and homeopathic medicine company Boiron ($15 million in U.S. billings), all under the guidance of Mr. Kahn.

That led to Mr. Kahn's promotion to exec VP-business development and director of Optimedia's fledgling Los Angeles office in spring 2010. Now, the New York-based Mr. Kahn is making almost weekly trips to the West Coast to manage and build Optimedia's relationships in Hollywood and beyond, with the occasional aid of Publicis siblings such as Zenith, Moxie Interactive and VivaKi.

But sustaining that growth will be challenging and very strategic. "We've taken a very conservative approach to expanding in Los Angeles. We wanted to make sure we had the client base to expand with us as we grow," Mr. Kahn said.

And with a resume that includes stints at filmmaking research consultancy FilmBuzz, Showtime Networks, YouthStream Media and PriceWaterHouseCoopers' Kwasha Lipton Group, Mr. Kahn is hoping to build his entertainment-marketing expertise even further in his new bicoastal role. "We're actively looking to expand our film and music clients," he said.

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