Advanced advertising pioneer Michael Bologna has joined Brightline as chief accelerator.
Bologna will be helping Brightline introduce its new product OTT Accelerator, which enables TV networks and distributors to create targeted, personalized interactive and shoppable experiences during commercials on connected TV.
“Going to work for what used to be my biggest competitor sounded like the craziest thing in the world when I first thought about it,” Bologna told Broadcasting+Cable.
While he was heading advanced advertising for GroupM, Brightline would pitch Bologna’s clients its own advanced advertising products. “That’s how I got to know Jacqui [Brightline co-founder Jacqueline Corbelli]. But this is my passion: data, technology, television, interactive. That’s what I love to do and I couldn't turn it down.”
Bologna said that Brightline pivoted to CTV, working with networks as clients, rather than advertisers. Those clients now include media companies like Disney, NBCUniversal, Discovery, Fox, A+E Networks, AMC Networks and platforms like Roku, Samsung, Apple and Amazon.
With the growth of CTV, Brightline's business has taken off as well.
“As a TV-first company, we tackled the CTV ecosystem early, and that’s why we have this colossal footprint in place now,” said Rob Aksman, Brightline co-founder. “The world has entered our wheelhouse at just the right time. There is only one way you can run interactive, personalized shoppable ads across every one of the major streamers, and that’s through BrightLine’s technology.”
The new OTT Accelerator is intended to make Brightline grow even faster.
“Our technology gets installed into [clients] apps,” Bologna said. ”Think of Accelerator more as an ad experience, not an interactive ad. You don’t click through to something else on television. It’s a new experience that happens during the 30 second ad.”
Most recently Bologna was president and chief revenue officer of start-up measurement company HyphaMetrics. He continues as an investor and chairman of its advisory board.
Before that he was president of One2One Media, which became part of Cadent.
That’s 24 years in the business, most of them involved with advanced advertising.
“So much has changed. Everything that we’ve always been talking about is now happening,” he said.
“The way people watch television has changed and the technology being the way people watch ads has caught up with it, with targeting and interactivity,” he said. “These ads are personalized, interactive, they’re shoppable and they are accountable.”
Bologna said new people coming into the industry find it hard to understand how TV used to work in the olden days, particularly the economics of advertising.
“The terminology has changed and perspectives have changed, but the people that have always been passionate about this stuff, they’re still around, at least most of them,” he said. “It’s a good time to be in the business. If I were a young kid coming out of college right now, all of the new mechanisms of advertising would excite me about being in the media business.” ■
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.