Six Questions: Darcy Antonellis — CEO of Vubiquity6 Apr, 2015 By: Stephanie Prange
Darcy Antonellis, who has been CEO of Vubiquity since January 2014, has leveraged her long career in home entertainment to work on the cutting edge of digital delivery. She previously spent 15 years at Warner Bros. Entertainment, most recently as president of technical operations and chief technical officer.
Vubiquity is a global provider of premium content managed services and technical solutions, serving clients in 37 countries and reaching more than 100 million households in numerous languages. The company works closely with both content owners and service providers to facilitate digital delivery, allowing anytime, anywhere access. Basically, Vubiquity helps digital content get to the consumer by working with key players in the process, helping customers connect to and monetize opportunities in VOD, subscription services, electronic sellthrough, linear delivery, TV Everywhere, advanced advertising and data services.
Home Media Magazine discussed the state and future of digital delivery with Antonellis.
■ How does your professional background and experience inform your approach to your current position?
Antonellis: From a commercial and technology perspective, having worked within the production and distribution sides of the industry has been immensely valuable and allowed me to work with very talented individuals along the way. There were great opportunities to work on initiatives that supported new production techniques as well as within areas of investment that focused on optimizing distribution, content management and access. Many of these experiences link to the same core strengths upon which Vubiquity has built its business. Having an empathy for, and understanding of, the needs of each segment of the creative community — from filmmaker, to TV director to studio head — is very important to us as we make investments in new forms of distribution and monetization.
■ What are the key challenges content owners face with digital distribution?
Antonellis: The complexity of digital distribution has grown exponentially for a number of reasons, most notably due to continued evolving rights schemes. There is essentially a non-standard digital ecosystem comprised of numerous platforms for distribution to a multitude of devices and in many cases with localized customizations for a particular audience. All have contributed in varying degrees to the complexity.
■ How does Vubiquity help them navigate this new landscape?
Antonellis: Vubiquity focuses significantly on all forms of distribution and content monetization and has made material investments to create systems that manage distribution at scale, to secure proper rights and data management and to suit accelerated availability.
■ How do independent content suppliers compete in the digital realm? How do they get their content noticed?
Antonellis: On-Demand and OTT platforms have been terrific for independent content providers. In the case of short form, distributors are able to get their content distributed by MVPDs without linear channel deals by creating VOD-only channels. For movies, VOD has provided an alternative to traditional distribution and access to larger audiences that could never have been achieved through arthouse or niche distribution alone. Vubiquity works with our independent providers to promote their titles through a variety of paths — merchandising programs, VOD-menu mapping, and platform-specific and social promotions.
■ What have been the most significant digital delivery developments in the past year?
Antonellis: There are many, so narrowing it down is a challenge. Off the top, I’d have to say a key development has been the introduction of new OTT service options as an adjunct to a core service offering and/or comprised of a new bundled set of programming brands that have targeted audiences in mind. I’d also say the support of and push for UHD (4K ultra-high-definition) and VR (virtual reality) production/distribution. There have also been some notable improvements in data/analytics used for personalized, targeted advertising. EST, Live2VOD, Catch-Up, Quick Turn, all things TV Everywhere and mobile-centric, with great apps and other services intended to give consumers additional paths to access and consumption, are all growing rapidly. All of these we’re supporting today, and we are building a number of additional products to support content and service-provider trends in distribution.
■ It appears there is a lot of focus on women and recruiting in the technology industry. What suggestions or recommendations do you have for those out there looking to break in?
Antonellis: The best organizations recruit and develop top talent and do so from a broad spectrum of people — the results often provide for a stronger company, with provocative thinking and innovation and often not at the expense of collaboration. I think everyone, regardless of level, has a responsibility to provide opportunities for those coming up through the ranks — kind of the pay-it-forward attitude. Whether its tech or another industry, every professional needs to step up to develop whomever it is, man or woman, to achieve to their potential as long as that individual is equally committed. Finding good mentors along the way is critical for someone starting out or developing a new area of expertise.