Interview with CEO, Giant Media – John Cobb


“Today, CMOs are making more technology decisions than most C-level technological decision-makers.”

Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here.

I am CEO of Giant Media. We’re based in Los Angeles and recently launched VuePlanner, a transparent pre-buy planning tool for brands and agencies advertising on YouTube.

My background involves leading and running large media companies. I joined Giant Media a couple of years ago from Fexy Media, a private equity backed new media company where I served as president and COO. Previously, I was the CEO of Publishing Group of America (PGOA), a Bain Capital Ventures and Shamrock Capital backed multi-media publisher of newspaper inserted magazines and branded digital properties reaching nearly 35 million households in nearly 1,700 local markets in the U.S. I led the sale of PGOA to Fexy Media.

Throughout my career, I’ve been focused on content that entertains and interacts with audiences, while creating opportunities for advertisers to transact.

Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
We believe the future of technology and marketing begins with solutions focused on the consumer of media. Technologies for marketers that focus there will, ultimately, be the most successful.

We’re doing it through contextual relevancy. In digital video there’s an untapped environment to reach audiences in a much deeper, targeted way. Notably, leveraging a variety of data points and artificial intelligence to deliver advertising experiences that put the consumer first in the equation. To date, they haven’t had a say.

It is exactly why we developed VuePlanner for brand and agencies to transparently plan down to the video level, selecting each individual YouTube video URL before the campaign is bought. The more you can provide advertising that is complementary, rather than disruptive, the better marketing technology will be.

What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
We’re at an exciting point-in-time as it relates to digital experiences. I’m excited about the cross-section of AI and new realities, such as Virtual and Augmented. These new technologies are creating innovative ways to better entertain and interact with audiences.

What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
I believe today’s CMOs will be the CEOs of the future. All the challenges they face in today’s digital world are preparing them to be at the forefront of leading businesses forward.

Today, CMOs are making more technology decisions than most C-level technological decision-makers. They are tackling extensive data management, while at the same time, providing value to internal and external stakeholders. CMOs are charged with aligning sales and product through data – no easy task, but one that done right, is making them standout.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
The last action item before I leave the office everyday is planning out my tomorrow. I’ve been doing this for the past five years. I schedule equal amount of time on my calendar to focus on major business initiatives and managing external and internal responsibilities. I call it, “Plan your work, and work your plan.”

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
First and foremost, you must view AI through the lens of the recipient. That is the opportunity. Right now, AI is mostly being used to figure out marketers needs. That is great, but it is the short-term win for AI. The long-term win is understanding customers and delivering unlocked value that AI will deliver. With AI, I think it is important to note that today’s solutions are like the early days of the Internet. We have a long way to go.

What is the core marketing technology capability of your firm that you bring to a marketer? Where does your product fit in vis-a-vis the customer life cycle?
Our focus is on VuePlanner. YouTube offers an incredible opportunity to reach video consumers at the moment they are most engaged with the content they care about and through VuePlanner we’re enabling buyers to view YouTube inventory pre-bid, providing better video-level targeting by curating the most contextually relevant video content environments that are suitable for brand advertising.

Through VuePlanner, brands and agencies gain access to a suite of tools that enable them to transparently plan down to the video level, selecting each individual YouTube video URL before the campaign is bought. VuePlanner allows buyers to hand-curate and build contextually relevant YouTube segments by using proprietary data that includes engagement, scale, sentiment and relevancy rankings.

VuePlanner calculates a VueScore placement quality metric for each campaign by processing and segmenting data from hundreds of millions of videos on YouTube; scanning and filtering videos by concept and page sentiment through a partnership with IBM Watson; and a proprietary algorithm that determines content relevancy, user engagement and traffic trends over time.

Are there any new features or upcoming upgrades that you’re excited about and would like to give us a sneak peek into?
Analyzing video at a much deeper level using AI. We can do this on a frame-by-frame basis, which takes contextual to a whole new level – beyond meta data and transcription, but to visual cues of a video. We’re demanding the next layer of data from our team and technology because our customers – brands and agencies – will soon do so as well.

In addition, I’d like to mention that any marketer can learn more about their current YouTube campaigns for free by inputting YouTube video IDs or URLs into VuePlanner’s Placement Scan at: With insights from more than 300 million monetizable YouTube videos, the tool provides an analysis of the brand suitability and contextual relevance of a sample of the videos they’ve been running TrueView ads against.

What is your take on the massive explosion of MarTech across so many categories? Do you see competition, opportunities to partner and/or integrate?
We are at an exciting inflection point. I see tremendous opportunities ahead to deliver better consumer experiences, thus better advertising. That is where we are operating and believe we’re taking a leadership position. Thinking about the consumer first is delivering better products for CMOs and agencies alike.

Could you share for our readers, an infographic or description depicting your marketing stack (various marketing software products or platforms your team uses or subscribes to)?

Can you share a screenshot of the homepage of your smartphone (iOS/Android/other)? It would be interesting to see some of the apps you personally use on a daily basis to get things done and stay on top of your day.


John W. Cobb III is the Chief Executive Officer of Giant Media.
Previously, John was the President and COO of FEXY Brands Los Angeles, the CEO of PGOA (Publishing Group of American) Media, the Senior Vice President, Digital for Source Interlink Media, and the Senior Vice President, Group Publisher of the Consumer Automotive and Motorcycle Groups.
An Ithaca College graduate, John now calls Manhattan Beach, CA his home. He’s an avid pilot and an active snow and water skier. He also enjoys golf, travel and technology.

Giant Media is a media and technology company that provides advertisers and their agencies the confidence to plan and buy contextually relevant video campaigns while identifying the environments most suitable for brand advertising.
The company supports clients through a managed services approach to media buying led by VuePlanner, a transparent, insight-driven planning tool for buying advertising on YouTube. Giant Media combines proprietary technology and IBM Watson to read, understand and interpret the content and context of hundreds of millions videos, which helps buyers to get closer to the audiences they want to reach.
For more information please visit our Website

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