Apex Power Sessions Spotlight: Viacom’s Yousef Hammoudah

Apex Power Sessions
Apex Power Sessions

With 15 years of media experience in the bag and as current director at Viacom International Media Networks for central and northern Europe, Yousef Hammoudah’s become a leading figure in Europe’s communications industry.

With the likes of Hammoudah to speak at the joint VentureVillage and Apex Power Session on 12 December, we spoke to him about career highlights, tech scene thoughts, and the importance for startups of “going global”.

Yousef Hammoudah

Who are you and what do you do?

I’ve been working in the media and entertainment industry since the mid-90s and, until the end of this year, I’m heading the interactive department of Viacom International Media Services. In this position, I am in charge of all interactive products, platforms and services, such as websites, mobile apps, gaming partnerships and social media, as well as strategy and business development across Central and Northern Europe for all of the Viacom channel brands like MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon or VIVA.

In 2013, I will start a new “secret venture” under the title “Wired Semantics”. It will be about the art of communication in a post-advertising era – smart consumers, no geographical borders, content-driven strategies. More details about this will be shared over the course of the next weeks.

Describe your typical day…

I’m in correspondence with international headquarters, the regional brand teams, local sales and marketing teams, business partners, third party service providers, internal and external developers, my interactive team and consumers, to identify specific requirements in terms of product development, product management and/or business development.

Based on the international strategic framework, my team and I work out local strategies to develop the best websites, apps, social TV services or games, together with our partners to make these more usable, enjoyable and effective every day.

You work in the interactive media market. What exactly is it, and how much has it changed over the years?

There is this big space – the internet – with all its platforms, services and connected devices, with all its content contributors, like bloggers, social protagonists, brands, service-providers, political initiatives, governments, and not to name all the editorial content providers formerly know as media. They have jointly redefined the term “media” in the last 15 years and as such it is – as we all know – much harder for traditional media to retain their position as gatekeepers of information, content or entertainment.

That led to an increasingly fast innovation pace in this segment, with hardware and software, content and creative to merge into an amazing new digitally connected world, that is by far not limited to digital platforms as we experience them today. The traditional media (like TV, radio, printed press) is exploring ways to survive this paradigm shift in media consumption, where external players like Facebook, Google or Apple start to take over their distribution power and content USPs.

As long as the production of quality content can be safeguarded by this evolution, consumers will always benefit when it comes to choice and quality of service.

The sessions you’re involved with are all about internationalising. What excites you about working internationally?

Today, global aspects in communication, culture and business become more and more dominant. It is exciting to see what other people from other countries and other cultural backgrounds do to solve the similar issues you experience in your country or city.

Being able to share knowledge, best practices, ideas, content and  resources with colleagues from all over the globe is a true benefit and an competitive advantage.

What are the most exciting emerging industries at the moment?

It’s definitely the segment of “life enhancement”, including healthcare, personal coaching and life management.

What sources of information do you use to keep up with current developments in the interactive media scene?

The most relevant five to 10 international blogs from tech, music, entertainment, etc plus Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook.

What is the best thing about Berlin for someone dealing with international business development?

Given the huge number of innovators, developers, media protagonists (in short: nerds), you can experiment both on the development and the consumer side. Berlin already has an impact in the international tech scene, and destined to grow for another few years.

Why did you decide to do the Apex Power Sessions and is there anything that excites you about them?

VentureVillage is a good resource. And I really like meeting new people, fresh ideas and thriving companies – and this session seems to be a good opportunity for me to meet them by sharing some of my experiences with them.

To hear more about how to make the most of internationalising your company, hear from Yousef Hammoudah and other top experts in the flesh at our upcoming Power Session on 12 December. Click here for more details and to purchase a ticket – while they last.

Our First Power Session, is proudly sponsored by the Berlin School of Creative Leadership
Berlin SchoolThe mission of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership is to become the world’s leading institute for quality executive education and research into creative leadership. It fuels open dialog within the creative community and tackles key issues in media, entertainment, advertising, design, journalism, and marketing. 

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