Digital minds: 60 seconds with InSkin Media’s Hugo Drayton

Digital Thought Leaders

hugo%20drayton.jpgAfter a decade of anticipation, convergence has brought online video into the mainstream of consumer behaviour. And it’s changed the nature of TV ads by combining the power of video story-telling with the best of targeting and the mass reach of today’s web. Yet many brands have missed web video altogether, and many publishers are so focussed on pay wall revenues of tomorrow, they’ve overlooked video ad revenues of today. As managing director of InSkin Media, Hugo Drayton is at the heart of where video meets the web. Here he talks with Danny Meadows-Klue about innovation, advertisers conservatism, and the false hype of 3D TV.

How does your business help people or markets be more efficient or more effective vs traditional approaches?
InSkin Media invents and distributes the most effective advertising formats – especially around online video. Our patented technology enables publishers and broadcasters to dynamically serve a frame around their primary media – rebranding the video player with the advertiser brand. Consumer-controlled, highly effective, high CTRs (4%+) and high dwell-time: delivering results to advertisers and publishers.

What's most impressed you recently and why?
The adoption of iPlayer and other VoD formats – and in contrast, the relatively low projected % of non-linear TV viewing over the next few years (Deloitte etc).

What frustrates you most at the moment in digital?
1) Ignorance about cookies and the benefits of targeting. 2) Slow time to market of digital innovation, despite the urgent need for all participants to drive revenues.

What’s over hyped and under hyped right now?- and why?
Over-hyped: 3D – I’m sure it will lead to chronic and mass migraine.
Under-hyped: The opportunities for and effectiveness of digital advertising – seemingly dismissed by many publishers who are nonetheless struggling to establish sustainable business models.

What was the 'ah!' moment for you - the moment where you suddenly realised the scale the web or digital marketing would play in your business?
A long time ago, soon after we launched Electronic Telegraph in 1994 – it was clear that the benefits for business (and society, and democracy) of digital, once we achieved ubiquitous, always-on broadband, were huge: everything would change – the way we communicate, work, live, socialise – everything.

Many senior directors still just don't get the scale of what’s happening. How do you convince them?
Persistence...trial... Persistence... Coercion... Competitor successes... Good lunches...

What's different in the formula for creating successful teams / companies / products in the digital space?
No different – you still need appropriate skills, bright people, hard work, tangible rewards and consistent, positive communication, internally and externally.

What’s the most common mistake people make in digital media or marketing?
Not looking at the data; or relying on preconceptions, or past experience.

If you could go back in time to a key 'digital moment', where and when would it be – and why?
Dotcom bubble – fascinating but nonsensical: with the benefit of hindsight, I could have become very wealthy

Where do you spend your time most online, and why?
News and Media sites; email above all. I use Linked-In, and check the Spurs sites...

What are the big changes yet to come, in marketing, media and beyond?
Significant advertising budgets from FMCG giants

Social media that creates value: If applicable, what’s the role for consumers in creating content and value in your sector?
In our space social media can be about validating relevance and popularity, and contributing to peer ranking

Who should own digital strategies in an organisation (brand/marketing director, agency, technology team, CEO, operations director) and why?
The CEO – to change the game, but everyone has to be involved

What’s will be mainstreaming by this time next year?
Online video – of course

And any final words of advice to people developing their own digital careers
Play online games, participate in social media, understand Ad Operations and Ad Serving, contribute to forums and/or blog.

My Digital Journey

Job title:

CEO, InSkin Media


- Planned and launched Electronic Telegraph in 1994; continued to drive Digital agenda as Marketing Director and Managing Director of Telegraph Group, until 2004.
- Managing Director, Europe of – the largest online ad network, part of AOL/Time Warner (2005-6).
- CEO of Phorm (formerly 121 Media) - behavioural targeting specialist (2007-8).
- CEO of InSkin Media (2009).

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