January 11, 2019 by Jennifer
Shereta Williams, President, Videa
Shereta brings two decades of professional and industry experience to Videa. As President, Shereta leads the organization’s overall strategic and product direction. Shereta has over ten years of experience with Cox in various investment, strategy and development roles focused on digital media and broadcast television.
Prior to Videa, she served as Managing Director at a financial start-up focused on algorithmic trading, and she began her career in Mergers and Acquisitions at Lazard. Shereta is passionate about developing products and services that solve large scale problems. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she served as president of the National Society of Black Engineers. Shereta serves on the board of the IRTS Foundation, a charitable organization focused on training and educating the next generation of media and communications professionals, and is a mentor for the Female Founders in Tech competition and member of the Forbes Technology Council.
When she is not leading the team at Videa, Shereta is most likely on a hiking trail or boating in north Florida.
Videa is the leading automated TV marketplace that is pioneering the way full schedule, local television advertising spots are bought and sold. Through its platform, Videa provides buyers with direct access to broadcast station advertising inventory, enabling advertisers, agencies and marketers to purchase media buys – within seconds and up to a year in advance. Videa can work with any traffic system or demand side buying platform, aligning with the unique needs of each TV station’s sales strategy. Owned by Cox Media Group, Videa was founded in January 2014. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. For more information about Videa, visit videa.tv.
Jennifer Carl: Tell me about Videa’s mission.
Shereta Williams: Videa is a software platform that is revolutionizing the way television advertising is bought and sold. We automate the buying and selling of TV inventory, simplify workflows and increase revenue for local TV ad sellers. As we like to say, Videa’s platform was developed by “broadcasters for broadcasters.” The platform enables media buyers to leverage automation and data to better reach target audiences with more speed, accuracy and transparency. By providing buyers with real-time inventory and analytics after campaigns run, Videa helps agencies make smarter, more targeted television buys and more effectively manage results for their clients.
Jennifer Carl: What were you doing before you became President at Videa?
Shereta Williams: I started my career in the financial industry and that taught me how to value companies and investments in any industry. I then joined a strategic investments group at Cox during the first Internet run up. It was here that I was provided direct exposure to all divisions of the company as I helped the executive team understand how the internet would impact traditional media.
From there, I joined Cox’s broadcast TV division to help TV stations build out their digital and mobile operations. The amount of rigor and research that local broadcasters use to provide quality local content and serve their communities is truly impressive and I earned a huge respect for broadcasting during my time in local TV. My last role with Cox prior to starting Videa was in strategy and corporate development. While evaluating threats and opportunities for one of our existing businesses, the strategy for Videa began to take shape. Cox has been in the television rep business for decades, but we saw an opportunity to evolve that very hand-crafted business into one that leverages both automation and data to better serve both existing and new customer segments.
Videa presented something never identified in the world of TV: the need to evolve a high-friction, disaggregated business into one that leverages automation and data to advance the advertising possibilities of local TV. Now I have the opportunity to apply almost two decades of experience to bring some of the attributes of digital – better measurement and frictionless buying – to TV.
Jennifer Carl: How did you get your start in the technology industry?
Shereta Williams: Earlier in my career, I served as Managing Director at a financial start-up focused on algorithmic trading and worked in Mergers and Acquisitions at Lazard. I’m passionate about developing products and services that solve large scale problems and I believe my degree in Electrical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has certainly had a technology impact.
Jennifer Carl: What are your goals for the next 5 years? Where do you see yourself and Videa?
Shereta Williams: At Videa, we have been fortunate to experience significant adoption of our platform, growing year-over-year revenue by 865% with an average reach of approximately 90 percent of consumers, across 82 million households and 1.2 trillion annual impressions.
With that exciting level of growth, comes awareness of the efficiencies and ROI that automated platforms offer – faster transactions times; data-driven sales decisions, reporting insights, and better campaign performance due to higher transparency, just to name a few.
For me, I am looking forward to leading our team through the changes ahead for our company and industry as new technologies like ATSC 3.0 fundamentally change broadcasting and begin to truly enable more relevant advertising for consumers.
Jennifer Carl: Give us your TechTip of the month.
Shereta Williams: Whenever a significant amount of change is introduced into any industry, there is skepticism and reluctance. The television industry is no different and it’s especially true because there hasn’t been a technology evolution like this in over five decades.
As someone starting out in the media buying or selling space, you have an opportunity to be an advocate for change, bring a fresh perspective to the organization you join and get into a highly dynamic field that will almost certainly not look the same in a few years. The key advice I offer is be sure you are clear on both what problem you’re solving and how it serves your customer. Being able to clearly answer those two questions and maintain focus on them is the difference between success and a lot of wasted effort.
Jennifer Carl is the Director of Software & Services Division Programs. Follow the Software team on Twitter at @SIIASoftware @SIIAJennifer