Video: Industry Vet Harry Keeshan on Tech, Innovation, Trust and More

By Jack Myers Legends & Leaders Archives

Harry Keeshan is among the best-known media investment executives in the industry, with more than three decades of industry leadership. Now President of Video Investment for PHD U.S., part of Omnicom Media Group, Harry started as a page at NBC in 1980, moved into formatting daytime TV shows, sales service, affiliate relations and research before moving to legendary agency Wells Rich & Greene to work on the P&G and MCI accounts. Seventeen years ago, he joined Creative Media, the predecessor of PHD and has been entrenched there since. I spoke to Harry as part of our Legends & Leaders Video Interview Series.  Click above to watch Harry's full interview and read below for highlights.

KEESHAN: It really is less about how much we have on broadcast, how much we have on cable and syndication. It's more about an audience that we're really after. And I think that that's indicative of the times we're in as we advance to more of a video-centric offering.

KEESHAN: You look at the next three to five years and then you start to look at a significantly different landscape. Technology has certainly turned the audience into their own curator of content when they want to watch it. So, while we talk about ratings erosion a lot, our clients are really looking at a couple of things: Where is their audience, where is their audience going and where can I find the best value for that audience?

KEESHAN: Our clients are focused on new technology. They're focused on innovation. That's one of the things that we pride ourselves in -- pushing innovation.  What we challenge the media suppliers for is innovative ideas. That really is where their focus is going to be for the next 12 to 24 months. When you get into a real partnership, you get into a partnership that will stretch the traditional boundaries of what they think an innovative idea is. Watch Harry's full interview here.

KEESHAN: There's always a price negotiation. But it goes back to how are we going to get to the right price and get that balance of price and the innovative ideas. Anybody can go out there and buy the impressions, but how is that consumer going to react to the message that we're really negotiating for?

KEESHAN: We're doing a lot of research on where the audience is moving to. Because live television program viewership is not necessarily the complete metric that we are looking at now, and whether it's C3, C7 or whether it's across multiple platforms, that content is getting watched someplace and we need to be able to monetize that.

KEESHAN: Most underappreciated assets in video?  It could be syndication. It could be local cable. I think that there is certainly some undervalue and opportunities. Watch Harry's full interview here.

KEESHAN: There are still advancements to be made in optimization. There's a ton of data and we're getting data collectively with our clients to really hone down on what their target audience is, not a broad target. How does [audience-based buying] fit into more traditional media channels instead of daypart based?

KEESHAN: I'm not sure where the erosion of trust comes from. We have a lot of clients who have been with us for a long time that I believe trust us because that builds the relationship. When there's a lack of trust, that starts to really chip away at the foundation of what this business is all about.

View our full interview with Harry Keeshan here and watch all of our Legends & Leaders interviews here.

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