If Duccio Donati doesn’t have two desks for himself at the Comcast International Media Group offices in Los Angeles, he should. As CIMG’s newly appointed SVP, Donati splits his time between the supply and distribution sides of the business, which launched last year as a division of Comcast Corporation to sell and distribute Comcast’s programming assets outside of the US.
Most recently VP of international sales at E! Networks, Donati says a major focus in his new role is overseeing the newer businesses in CIMG, such as the international websites for E! Online and the new media sales component. ‘Half of my day is spent trying to figure out how to place content in front of people who are doing my other job,’ says Donati.
The priorities with running the websites, he says, are to drive traffic which is attracting advertisers, and to push users back to the E! channel. On the digital media side, Donati’s goal is to place CIMG’s content onto other websites. For example, he says, video content from Comcast’s G4 channel (which targets young males) can be placed on major portals by either doing a licensing deal, or a deal that has a minimum guarantee plus an ad revenue share.
The breadth of Donati’s job responsibilities ensure he’s up-to-date with what’s working with users online. ‘I’m on Google Analytics every day looking at how our traffic is trending and where people tend to visit, and what content they tend to use,’ he says, ‘so it’s a unique vantage point to then go back to the sales team and say ‘This is how people use video; this is what we should be doing.”
Hypothesizing how things will be done in 10 years, Donati predicts producers won’t be tethered to a specific medium. ‘Our minds aren’t quite catching up to what’s happening yet,’ he says. ‘We’re looking at things in a compartmentalized way, so you have mobile, broadband, television, and truly the big distinction will fall between linear and on-demand. That will be the big divide: ‘Is this a linear service, or is this an on-demand service?’ So are you getting to pick what you watch, or are you watching something we’re serving you?’
In the meantime, how is Donati adjusting his business plans to keep up with the rapidly changing digital media industry? He’s trying to do shorter deals. ‘Look at Google: they came up with a better way of doing something people wanted to do and in two years revolutionized the search area. That could happen in any one of these mediums, so what you have to do is look at the short-term and how audiences are consuming the content… You have to be nimble and not shackle yourself down to any one business model.’ Or, in Donati’s case, any one set of job responsibilities.