|SAN FRANCISCO — Ecast Inc. on Feb. 14 announced that its board of directors has approved the change in John Taylor’s title from acting to permanent chief executive officer.
Taylor joined Ecast in 2003 as senior vice-president of sales and business development, and has served as the company’s interim chief executive since April 2005.
According to Ecast officials, the confirmation of Taylor as the company’s top executive is a strong endorsement by the board and the music provider’s investors of the current management team’s "strategic vision for the future."
That strategic vision includes the continued deployment of new Ecast-powered jukeboxes, enhancing technology and shortening release time of new products and services, and a focus on the company’s core music business and development of new revenue layers on top. Advertising programming and WiFi services are two adjunct services that generate revenue for equipment owners on the Ecast network.
The management team led by Taylor includes Howie Spielman, senior vice-president of development and engineering; Marlin Gilbert, senior vice-president of marketing; Steve Kellam, director of sales; Bob Cooney, vice-president of manufacturing business development; Lisa Tiver, business affairs vice-president; and Chris Scott, who heads advertising business development.
Ecast’s leading investors, who collectively manage capital in excess of $4 billion, include Mobius Venture Capital, Crosslink Capital, Doll Capital Management, El Dorado Ventures and Escalate Capital Partners.
Heidi Roizen, Ecast board member and Mobius managing director, affirmed that the board "fully supports" Taylor’s strategy and management team..
According to Taylor, Ecast’s board and investors wanted to see how his management team "gelled" and how it channeled the company’s many resources. "They were pleased," he told VT.
At the end of January 2006, Taylor reported, there were 5,500 jukeboxes connected to Ecast’s location-based network.
"We’re driving demand for new jukeboxes in the marketplace," he said, adding that Ecast is not vertically integrated like its two main competitors, TouchTunes and AMI Entertainment (a division of Rowe), both of which also manufacture jukebox hardware. "We are a software company, and there are presently about 15 different form factors supporting our technology," the new CEO explained.
Taylor says Ecast approaches location-based music from the vantage-point of Silicon Valley. "We’re a company that identifies opportunities," he observed.
"We had a record 2005 in terms of unit placement and revenue," he reported, adding that its strongest market is in the Northeast, where the company lost a major equipment distributor.
"One of the things that endears us to operators is that we align with them," he said. "Our businesses rise together."
The chief executive admits that there are advantages to having distribution support, but he says Ecast is versatile enough to adapt to almost any change in the market; "We’ve succeeded, and expect to continue to succeed, in a channel that adheres to a tradition of exclusive relationships."
Taylor brings over 18 years of management experience to Ecast, having held posts not only with Fortune "500" companies but also with emerging new media firms. He has a proven track in developing new markets and generating revenue growth for leading companies like Macromedia, Sun Microsystems and NCR.
Most recently, Taylor was senior director of new business at Macromedia, where he led the company’s effort to enter the enterprise communications market. Prior to joining Macromedia, he had been vice-president of broadband at Quokka Sports, responsible for broadband product development and business development efforts. Previously, he had served as vice-president of sales and business development for Dimension X, a Java tools multimedia company acquired by Microsoft in 1997. Before Dimension X, Taylor held leading business development and management positions for Illustra Information Technology (acquired by Informix), Sun Microsystems and NCR. He holds a B.S. degree from Cornell University.