Changes afoot at thePlatform as CEO Blaine steps down

Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) white-label online video management service thePlatform is going through a transition as co-founder and CEO Ian Blaine announced he will step down on June 20. Marty Roberts, head of sales and marketing, and Jamie Miller, COO and CFO, will move into the role of co-leads.

Ian Blaine, thePlatform


Blaine, who led thePlatform for 14 years, will continue as a strategic adviser to the company, Variety reported.

The reason for Blaine's departure, according to a blog post he published on the company's website, is that he simply wants to "do new things, and for that I need more time."

"I'm leaving because I can do so on a high note," Blaine continued. "We just had our strongest quarter ever and along the way, got to work on the Super Bowl and the Sochi Olympics."

A spokesperson for thePlatform told FierceOnlineVideo that the change was part of a long-established succession plan.

"(B)oth Marty and Jamie have spent many, many years working alongside of Ian on the senior team at thePlatform," the spokesperson said in an email. "... So the transition should be very smooth, as both Marty and Jamie are well known and respected internally and externally."

thePlatform, acquired by Comcast in 2006, played a key role in NBCUniversal's online streaming of the 2014 Winter Olympics. That event was a primary driver in the unit's 28.8 percent growth in revenue during the first quarter, to $6.88 billion. The Olympics raked in $1.1 billion in ad revenues, with around $50 million of that for digital ads.

NBCUniversal has since inked an extension of its exclusive U.S. broadcast of the Olympics with the International Olympic Committee, getting the right to broadcast and stream its event until 2032 for a relative bargain--just $7.65 billion. That sounds like quite a lot, but consider that NBCU paid $4.38 billion for 10 years of broadcast rights, and while it hasn't quite made all its money back yet--it suffered a slip in profits during the Vancouver Games--the broadcaster is clearly banking on increased national ad sales and, quite possibly, a largely untapped online video ad market over the next 18 years.

thePlatform also manages cross-platform video for customers like A&E Networks, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), Fox Sports and others.

For more:
- Variety has this story
- see Blaine's blog post

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Updated May 12 to clarify thePlatform's transition plans.