Mika Salmi, MTV Network’s president of global digital media, has announced he is leaving the company to pursue other endeavors.
His position, which was created back in November of 2006, will not be filled as MTVN’s digital leadership duties will be absorbed by Greg Clayman, executive vp of digital distribution and business development and Nada Stirratt, executive vp, digital ad sales, said officials.
Salmi is the founder and former CEO of Atom Entertainment, which MTVN acquired in August of 2006. In a memo issued to MTVN staffers on Thursday (Mar. 5), MTVN chairman and CEO Judy McGrath indicated his next move would be similarly entrepreneurial in nature.
“Mika Salmi, our indomitable president of global digital media and champion of all things open, flat and connected, has decided to leave MTV Networks to write the next chapter in his eclectic career,” she wrote. “The entrepreneurial spirit that served him so well here and as the founder of Atom is calling him to pursue the next wave of opportunities. We thank him and wish him the very best of luck, wherever his travels take him.”
Salmi’s tenure was marked by solid growth, but lacked any breakout successes. Under his leadership MTVN dropped its strategy of launching stand-alone video channels on many of its sites, such as MTV Overdrive, and moved toward launching multiple narrow properties , such as show-specific Web sites for Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report and Nickelodeon’s iCarly.
Officials claim that MTVN’s 400-plus sites now reach 90 million monthly unique users globally. The company also expanded its online sales strategy under Salmi with the establishment of Tribes, a series of vertical ad networks, and also made a major investment in online gaming.
However, MTVN has continued to wrestle with how best to approach a rapidly changing digital media landscape. It has largely missed out on the increasingly popular—though still hardly lucrative--social networking phenomenon. And parent company Viacom remains embroiled in a lawsuit with Google’s YouTube, Web video’s reigning audience powerhouse. MTVN has instead focused on distributing its content on professional-content hubs like Joost and Hulu, along with its own sites.
Officials report that MTVN’s collection of sites now stream nearly 400 million videos on a monthly basis, an increase of 300 percent versus two years ago. But several pre-Mika acquisitions in Web video have not panned out as planned, such as iFilm, which eventually morphed into Spike TV’s Web outlet, and even Mika’s own creation Atom.com, is now one of many similar comedy destinations online.