Why a TV Veteran Says the Future of Advertising Is in Digital Media

5 questions with Fullscreen's first CMO

As it approaches its fifth birthday, multichannel network Fullscreen has hired its first CMO. Jason Klarman will hit the ground running as the company prepares to launch its own subscription-video-on-demand service next year.

Klarman most recently was president of Hashtag Media Ideas and is the former president of Oxygen Media, with stops at Bravo and Fox News Channel along the way. Adweek spoke with Klarman about how the Culver City, Calif., network stands out in a crowded field and how it plans to compete with YouTube.

Adweek: Describe your plans as CMO. What's the first thing you're focused on?
Jason Klarman: Fullscreen is making a big pivot into the consumer space, launching a subscription-video-on-demand service and a variety of different consumer-facing media initiatives. That's a huge opportunity for Fullscreen and one that I'm very focused on in particular. Another big part of Fullscreen's business is advertising. This convergence between content, social and advertising that's coming together—they're really at the forefront of it. Helping and taking that to market in a meaningful way this year is a big goal of mine.

How much will you be focused on Fullscreen's upcoming SVOD service?
I'm going to be super focused on it. I'm two weeks in, so I'm beginning to get into a lot of the research.

YouTube has just launched its subscription option, YouTube Red. Does this make you competitors now?
I think YouTube is enormous. They're certainly a competitor to both Fullscreen as well as every other traditional media company. Are they a competitor in the SVOD space? I think we're going to be offering something very unique and very specific with a lot of original content that we'll be rolling out and announcing in the months and weeks ahead. They're certainly on our radar.

Content is everywhere these days, and the rise of digital platforms has only created more opportunities for creators and brands. But with so much clutter, how do you stand out?
[We do that with] distinct quality content that Fullscreen produces across a number of its properties through the creators that it's aligned with and its own original productions. Content may be everywhere, but it's not as engaging or has the same quality that Fullscreen content has.

You have a background in cable TV. Now that you're on the digital side, do you see similarities between the climate now and 10 to 15 years ago when cable television was disrupting the broadcast industry?
I think the analogy is very clear. There are a lot of similarities between early cable and early digital. What you're seeing, that very fresh voice that's being expressed that you can't see in traditional media, is something that's driving all of these eyeballs to all of the nonlinear services.

Whether it's the Fine Bros., Nash Grier or Grace Helbig, these are huge stars when it comes to media, and they're just not available in the traditional marketplace. But they're really resonating with a young, incredibly valuable audience for advertisers. Figuring out that bridge is a really important part of what I'm going to be doing.