Brent Powers on WEHCO’s play at OTT, video verticals and more

Name: Brent A. Powers

Title: Director of Advertising, Marketing and Digital Services, WEHCO

Tell us a little about your background? I love helping our community partners grow their business. It’s the same reason I studied Advertising at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Whether working for Gannett, Freedom Communications, CNHI or WEHCO, my desire has always been to do so.

What are your current responsibilities? I manage a world class sales organization in Northwest Arkansas. My parent company is WEHCO which is based in Little Rock, AR. Our local media company in Northwest Arkansas owns a daily newspaper, 8 weekly newspapers, several niche publications, a full service digital marketing agency, stand-alone websites and apps for mobile and Connected TV.

We understand you’re working in the OTT space right now. Tell us what you all are doing and the opportunity you think is there? Connected TV is growing every day.  People want what they want, when they want it and how they want it. No more watching or reading content as it becomes available. As more and more people “take back” their time, it will continue to grow.   The audience just goes and searches for the content they want from whatever source Google displays. It’s very much an “instant gratification” approach. People are hungry for data like never before.

How quickly do you think audience will move to OTT distribution? Audience has already moved.  There is research out there that the adoption rate is at least 30% in most metros. If you live in a city 400,000 or larger, it has already moved.

How are you thinking about verticals and which ones have the greatest opportunity for you? Media companies do need to embrace video for all verticals.  I’m sure most members have been reading up on the trends and video is at the top of most of those lists. We believe that recruitment, automotive and real estate still offer huge opportunities. We just have to be willing to listen to our community partners and change as needed.  They want what is best for them. A good media mix of traditional and digital will produce the best ROI in my experience.

What’s the biggest revenue opportunity that you are most excited about right now? The biggest revenue opportunity is evolution. Just evolve. Media companies that embrace change and reinvent themselves the fastest will be the ones that continue to do what is needed and necessary in their communities.

What’s the greatest challenge facing media companies and revenue teams today?  There are lots of ways to answer this one.  I’d say that anyone that wants to “figure it out later” is doomed.  Now is the time to embrace new technology while protecting and growing traditional media.

Anything you’re really proud of you’d like to share that’s happening at your media company? We have taken a stand on community journalism.  We continue to be the watchdog for the community and we crank out fantastic feature stories. We distribute our work over multiple platforms. Our audiences have never been more connected to what we offer on a hyper local level. We are proud of where we are but more importantly of where we are going.