Microsoft’s (MSFT) MSN gets plenty of grief (much of it from the likes of us), but it’s still one of the most powerful properties on the Web. So why would chief media officer Joanne Bradford want to bail out for a startup?
Joanne is will head marketing at Spotrunner a digital agency that creates cheap TV ads for local advertisers (and which is oft rumoured to be on the block). Her job: Trying to add national advertisers to the mix. She talked to us about her reasons for leaving — but not about anything to do with Microsoft’s Yahoo.
Silicon Alley Insider: You’re leaving one of the world’s biggest online advertisers for a startup. Why?
Joanne Bradford: I believe in the strategy and in the model. I believe there is an opportunity to reinvent the advertising buying and creating process. They’ve got great backers from IPG to WPP to CBS and Lachlan Murdoch. The industry wants them to succeed.
SAI: You must believe, then, that there is a large, untapped market of would-be local TV advertisers that are potential Spotrunner clients?
Bradford: Having entrepreneurs and small business-owners in my family, I’ve seen how they struggle to market their businesses on any scale. Nobody has figured out [local advertising] on any scale but Google. I think if you’re an advertiser, no one would say they’re happy with the opportunities out there to spend their money.
SAI: Is this a case of leaving the portal business at the right time?
Bradford: MSN’s business is strong right now and portals are underrated. Portal growth is not as fast as smaller sites, but the revenue and user base is so huge I think its underestimated. Everyone’s focused on the search battle, but there is real money and consumer statisfaction in the portal space.
SAI: What is MSN’s advertising strategy?
Bradford: We’re distributing a [branded] series “In The Motherhood” and we do a lot of series with people like [production company] Reveille that are way more successful than anything on FunnyOrDie.com. Advertisers are fired up for it and we have six more shows coming. We are one of the largest creators of original content on the Web, and its very profitable. It’s the quiet secret of MSN.
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