5Qs with… BroadbandTV CEO Shahrzad Rafati

/ Oct 14, 2013


There seem to be an endless amount of international MCNs out there. Remembering all of them could be tough. One you should definitely know is the Vancouver-based BroadbandTV — not the least of which because the company received a $36 million investment from European media conglomerate RTL Group earlier this summer. That’s a pretty serious investment from a pretty serious media company, instantly putting BroadbandTV into a select group of major digital video companies you should keep an eye on going forward.

With all of that in mind, we asked BroadbandTV’s CEO Shahrzad Rafati to shed more light on her company as well as share her thoughts on the growing YouTube ecosystem.

BroadbandTV specializes in protecting and monetizing content from major companies, but also has two smaller YouTube creator branches. Why split up focus like this?

We have one vision — to help content creators of all sizes become more successful. We work with major content owners such as the NBA, Discovery, and A&E to help them manage and monetize their fan uploaded content and on the opposite end of the spectrum we work with thousands of individual content creators to help them increase their views and create more compelling content. It’s all part of the same puzzle.

BroadbandTV has VISO and TGN. Was there a specific reason for keeping game-related content separate from VISO?

We have many different genres in our VISO channel including general entertainment, music, trailers, and gaming, to name a few, it’s constantly evolving with great content. TGN is purely a gaming community.

What problems do you believe modern MCNs face, from YouTube, outside sources, or one another?

New entrants to the MCN market now face the challenge of competing against very established players. However, I do believe that there is still significant opportunity in the space. The MCN market is growing rapidly, more content is being created than ever before, and significant funding has come in, which will only help to develop the market further. It’s an exciting time to be an MCN if you have a solid model.

There are basically two routes that MCNs can take: a content-driven model, or technology-intensive model that focuses on providing cutting edge tools that drive meaningful results, we focus on the latter. The models are obviously different and I think that a number of players are still looking to find the model that really works for them.

Google recently announced it would be changing its SEO strategy. How will this change how BroadbandTV helps its partners monetize and use best SEO practices?

We place a huge focus on making our content creators as successful as possible and we recently announced our VISO Catalyst platform to help them increase viewership of their content. Content discovery plays a significant role in a channel partner’s success and we completely get that, our platform constantly evolves to ensure that our partners remain at the forefront of innovation — it will be interesting to see how others react to the Google changes when they roll out.

What does BroadbandTV — the 4th most-viewed MCN in the world — offer creators that other MCNs may not?

Leading edge technology, innovation, deep understanding of the market, and we’re a solid business — we’re here to stay. It’s going to be a very exciting year ahead for BroadbandTV and we’re looking forward to making our partners as successful as possible.

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