Machinima Taps Former Microsoft Exec

Gamer-centric video hub pushing into branded entertainment

Machinima’s hiring spree continues.

The gaming-centric Web video juggernaut has named Seth Bardelas as senior director of global brand strategy. Bardelas was most recently at Microsoft, where he served as director of sales for Atlas.

At Machinima, Bardelas will focus on branded entertainment opportunities and big strategic opportunities that fall outside of traditional pre-roll ads. At Microsoft, he focused on global work for top clients such as Coke and Proctor & Gamble.

“This is a critical hire for us,” said Jay Sampson, Machinima’s evp of global sales, marketing and advertising operations (and also a former Microsoft ad exec). “Bardelas is very well connected with brands, and we see an opening in the market. There are brands that are content creators and brands that are becoming content creators. Why? Because everything is social now.”

To date, Machinima has focused on monetizing its huge YouTube audience by selling traditional video ads—or by leaning on Google’s automated ads sales tools. But the company has been exploring more branded entertainment executions, including a recent Motorola integration into the sci-fi original series RCVR, as well as working with AT&T on the second season of the Web series Daybreak.

The plan is to do more—artfully of course. “With this audience, you need to be either very explicit or offer users value,” said Sampson, who is currently shopping Season 2 of RCVR.

Machinima claims that its mix of gamer-oriented entertainment, reviews, talk shows and other guy-appealing fare now reaches over 190 million unique users on the Web globally. Since Sampson joined the company last year, his sales team has ballooned from eight to over 40. Back in June, Machinima brought on Peter Pouliopoulos from Univision to head up media and entertainment ad sales.