Jacob Takes Over at Verizon Digital Media Services

Longtime Verizon company vet Bob Toohey has stepped down as a president of the digital media arm of the company, Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS), with VDMS’ chief revenue officer Ralf Jacob taking over the position, B&C has learned.

Toohey has been named executive VP for AOL, which Verizon acquired for $4.4 billion last year. He had been with Verizon since May of 2001, first as a VP of executive compensation and benefits, and worked his way up the ranks to president of VDMS in mid-2012.

Jacob, who joined Verizon in late 2013, after the company acquired cloud-based streaming media company upLynk, had been chief revenue officer since he came on board. Jacob previously spent time as a VP of digital media for Deluxe Digital Studios.

“Merging three companies in the time period of two years was almost unfathomable, considering that 75% of all proposed mergers fail,” Jacob said. “We’ve managed during that period to increase revenue 40% year over year.

“Verizon corporate has looked at the trends and successes of VDMS, grabbing more and more market share, and said that with the acquisitions of Yahoo and AOL, it was time for Bob to take the helm of something else, and Bob said we needed someone who knows the industry and has the technical background and knowhow to step in and continue his legacy. That’s why I’m entering in.”

Verizon acquired Yahoo for $4.8 billion in July.

The change in leadership was announced internally at VDMS earlier this month, and since then, Jacob has been visiting town halls at various VDMS offices around the world, answering questions from the company’s employees.

“Everybody wanted to find out what I’m going to do differently,” Jacob said. He said increasing VDMS’ annual revenue growth, reinforcing VDMS’ end-to-end media supply chain image vs. the competition, and growing the company’s international foothold would be his top priorities.

“Particularly in Latin America, we’re going to see an incredible uptick in regards to OTT requirements,” he said. “Because these rural areas don’t have a lot of fiber in the ground, everything has to be done by cell connections. I did a market analysis for Latin America, looked at how much content is being consumed, some 53% of TV is consumed on mobile devices.

“People may not have a TV in their home, but they certainly have a phone that they watch. It’s surprising how that market ticked up over there.”