Mic, the youth-skewing digital news and lifestyle media startup, has hired Jonathan Carson — former chief revenue officer of Vevo and CEO of Nielsen Digital — as its first president.
Carson is officially joining Mic in a management capacity on April 17 after serving as an adviser for the last nine months. His appointment comes after New York-based Mic last week announced $21 million in new funding from investors including Time Warner. The 165-employee company also recently outlined plans for nine new vertical channels aimed at different audience segments, a strategy Carson had a hand in crafting.
Carson reports to Chris Altchek, CEO and co-founder. In the newly created role, Carson will oversee sales, business development, content licensing, finance and other operations, while leading efforts to expand native-advertising partnerships, boost video production and cut deals with video distributors for premium content.
Over the past year Mic has steadily grown its video business, with video today accounting for more than 75% of daily views. Now it’s exploring launching a TV channel that may be distributed on streaming-video platforms as well as developing long-form, premium programming for TV and online distributors, according to Altchek. And that’s going to be a big area of focus for Carson.
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“We have a lot of confidence that Mic can be the most important news brand for the next generation, and we wanted to bring in someone with [Carson’s] experience to take it to the next level,” Altchek said. “He understands how the television business works and was chief revenue officer at Vevo, one of the bigger digital media companies.”
Carson joins Mic’s executive team alongside publisher Cory Haik, a former Washington Post exec who joined the company last year and leads editorial, audience and platform teams.
“Jonathan, Cory and I have very complementary skill sets,” said Altcheck. “When we started working together we didn’t know he would end up joining the company… He brings a lot to the table that we’re excited about. He saw the potential Mic has.”
Mic’s approach has been compared to bigger outfits on NYC’s digital scene like Vice Media and BuzzFeed, which have similarly targeted millennials with hip, newsy fare. According to Carson, what Mic brings to the table — for both its audience and advertising partners — is a distinctive voice geared around journalism “through a personal lens.”
“While other digital media players do some news, we think both our level of focus on news, and the way we approach news, are unique,” said Carson, who will be based at Mic’s New York headquarters at 1 World Trade Center.
Prior to working with Mic, Carson was chief revenue officer of music-video distributor Vevo. He left at the end of 2015, a few months after Erik Huggers joined as Vevo’s CEO.
Before Vevo, Carson spent six years with Nielsen where he led the company’s efforts to expand digital measurement. He joined Nielsen in 2007 with its acquisition of BuzzMetrics, a pioneering social-media analytics firm where he was co-founder and CEO.