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|Headquarters||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Daphne Kwon, CEO
Bill Hildebolt, President
Fred Jambukeswaran, Vice President, Technology
Jessica Thorpe, Vice President, Marketing & Community
Number of employees
EXPO or ExpoTV is a consumer-oriented video platform run by EXPO Communications, Inc., a New York–based company. The company's main website features video product reviews submitted by community members called “Videopinions” as well as 'how-to' video content and market research videos. As of March, 2010, over 300,000 videos were available on the site. EXPO distributes these videos to various consumer destinations including manufacturer sites, retail websites, and social network platforms. EXPO's business model includes the licensing its content and technology, primarily to manufacturers but also to retailers and comparison shopping engines.
Founding and early history
The company was founded in 2004 in New York city by Bill Hildebolt, formerly a venture capitalist at General Atlantic Partners and his wife, Daphne Kwon, formerly the CFO of Oxygen Media. Thi Luu, SVP of Product & Technology, joined at founding from Amazon.com. The initial concept focused on cable television's video-on-demand platform, which was to feature product demonstrations with the content created by manufacturers. The company secured carriage reaching 90% of the video-on-demand universe.
Launch of videopinions
In the summer of 2005, the company opened the video platform to allow consumers to participate in creating its library of video content launching a program under the brand Videopinions. The company believes that it was the first website to productize unbiased consumer generated video product reviews. The company currently houses over 300,000 videos generated by the community.
The company has stated in various press releases that it has the largest collection of video product reviews.
Unbiased community participation
Only members of EXPO can submit Videopinions or other videos and they must agree to a set of Terms and Conditions that state (among other terms) that they are owners of the product, that they are not biased by conflicts of interest and that the review is their true opinion. Several thousand people have contributed content and many members contribute content every month.
Expo TV has provided various incentives for participation since the founding of the program. A new points-based incentive structure was unveiled in September, 2009 similar to other well-known loyalty programs.
As a platform for unbiased consumer expression, EXPO only rewards points upon successful evaluation of the video for adequate information, production quality and relevance. EXPO does not reject reviews for expressing negative views on a product, and does not offer incentives to submit positive reviews.
EXPO offers the following services to brands and retailers:
- Licensing its video content including targeted video generation, optimization, insights and editing
- Licensing its technology including video management, player, and community upload tools
- Distribution of video into relevant digital destinations (see "Online Syndication")
The company licenses or syndicates content to various websites under four programs:
- Social Media: Facebook Pages, YouTube
- Earned Media: Retailers (Amazon, Drugstore.com, Sears)
- Paid Media: digital media campaigns, pre-roll broadband video, newsletters
- Owned Media: Manufacturer websites and mobile sites
In conjunction with comScore ARS, the company released research in October 2010 that addressed the value of user-generated reviews in the purchasing process. The results indicated that the user-generated product reviews contained many of the sales effective elements seen in professionally produced television commercials. Furthermore, the rates of presence of many of these elements were greater than those typically seen in the rival digital format of banner and rectangle display ads. Videos were scored using comScore ARS’s content assessment methodology, ARS Zipline, which is used in the marketing industry as a means of quantifying the potential of advertising creative to be recalled and to persuade consumers.
The company continues to be managed by Hildebolt and Kwon. Other key employees include Fred Jambukeswaran, the Vice President of Technology who joined in October, 2011, previously he was the CTO at Pronto (an IAC company), Charlie Guevara, who joined the company in February, 2012 from CafeMom to head sales and Jessica Thorpe, who joined the company in marketing in January, 2006 from CourtTV.
Early on the company was funded by “angel” investors, mostly former media executives in the New York city area. In December, 2006 the company received a round of venture capital funding announced at $6 mil from Masthead Venture Partners and Prism Ventureworks, two Boston-based firms. Later, the company announced that DFJ Gotham, a New York City fund related to the West Coast fund Draper Fisher Jurvetson, had joined the financing. The company has not announced additional funding since 2007.
In 2010, the EXPO board was expanded to include Pete Blackshaw of Nielsen Online Digital Strategic Services, who is a leading thinker on social media for over a decade as founder of PlanetFeedback, Inc., and author of “Satisfied Customers Tell Three Friends, Angry Customers Tell 3,000.” Also joining the board at that time was Robert “Kam” Kamerschen, presiding director of MDC Partners, a leading advertising agency.
Awards and recognition
In the 4th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, EXPO was the winner for the Most Innovative Company of the Year and a finalist for the Web site of the Year award. EXPO's CEO, Daphne Kwon, was named as one of the Silicon Alley 100, an annual list of the most influential people in New York digital business, in 2007. The company was discussed in Groundswell, a book by Forrester analysts Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. Finally, in November 2009, BusinessWeek named the company one of "America's Most Promising Start-ups."
- "Expo: authentic video reviews, opinions and insights about products and brands". Expotv.com. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "About Us". ExpoTV.
- "Expo TV Unveils Videopinions" (Press release). ExpoTV. September 20, 2005.
- "ExpoTV Celebrates a Year of Exceptional Growth, Industry Accolades and Award-Winning Leadership" (Press release). ExpoTV. December 18, 2007.
- "Expo TV Terms Conditions". ExpoTV.
- "Make product reviews in video". ExpoTV.
- "EXPO TV Corporate". Corp.expotv.com. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "comScore ARS Study Finds User-Generated Video Reviews Exhibit Elements of Sales Effectiveness Usually Found in Professionally Produced TV Ads" (Press release). comScore. October 13, 2010.
- "ExpoTV Announces $6 Million Series A Financing" (Press release). ExpoTV. December 19, 2006.
- "ExpoTV Announces the Addition of Investor DFJ Gotham; Hits Major Milestone of 100,000 Videopinions Reviews" (Press release). ExpoTV. July 31, 2007.
- "EXPO TV Corporate". Corp.expotv.com. 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "2007 Stevie Winners & Finalists - Part 2". Stevie Awards. November 2007.
- "Silicon Alley 100: 91. Daphne Kwon". Business Insider. November 13, 2007.
- "Groundswell: Footnotes". Forrester Research.
- Arndt, Michael (2009-11-06). "America's Most Promising Startups". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "The Blog: EXPO News, Updates, Announcements & Opinions".
- "GirlFounder". GirlFounder. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Thinking Media". thinking-media.com. 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2012-08-20.