Originally Published on AdExchanger.com – Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Pandora is increasing its bet on ad tech.
The streaming music platform will bring on Eric Picard as VP of ad product management to continue building out display and video products and lead its dive into programmatic audio.
Picard is a longtime ad tech executive. In 1997, he launched Bluestreak, one of the first companies to create the rich media formats that are standard in digital today. Since then, he’s launched numerous ad tech startups, led ad product strategy for Microsoft and, most recently, was VP of omnichannel media for MediaMath. Picard joined MediaMath via its acquisition of Rare Crowds, a programmatic platform he founded in 2012.
“I’ve been in ad tech my entire career,” he said. “I have played roles in teams across pretty much every aspect of the space.”
In audio, and at Pandora specifically, Picard sees an opportunity to “participate in such a large marketplace for an ad media type that hasn’t been fully explored yet.”
“There aren’t too many places in the market to go that are nearly as exciting as the marketplace that Pandora has built for audio, display and video ads,” he said.
In his role, Picard will lead a team of 15 to 20 product managers focused on building and optimizing ad products. He plans to grow that team during his tenure.
Pandora has been bullish on programmatic display but hasn’t yet begun selling its in-stream audio ads programmatically. Picard will likely have a big part in pioneering that in 2017.
“I’ve been deeply involved in the next generation of platforms and methodologies, what we loosely call programmatic,” he said. “You can imagine that we’re thinking a lot about a lot of those things.”
Pandora offers an opportunity to innovate in an area of ad tech that’s still nascent.
“Figuring out the future of audio is obviously the enticement,” he said.