Digital Dealmakers: Michael Raneri

Apr 30, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The player: Michael Raneri, CEO of MeeVee

The play: MeeVee.com is an online TV guide that lets users search both traditional TV listings and online video. The service also lets users personalize the guide according to subjects, shows or actors. MeeVee then highlights related TV programs and online videos on an ongoing basis. “Based on users’ profiles we aggregate content from what’s on TV, what’s in the networks’ Web sites and video libraries and what’s on community-generated sites,” Mr. Raneri said.

The pitch: MeeVee competes with online video listings services such as Zap2it, Yahoo TV listings, TV Guide and others, but seeks to distinguish itself as a one-stop source for all video, from the TV to the Internet. “People are watching concentric content, content about the content. What we are is guidance across TV and the Web according to your interests,” he said.

In the mix: MeeVee makes money with ads and promotional messages. Mr. Raneri describes MeeVee as a “targeted advertising platform” because the site can tailor ads according to a user’s interest, gender or geography, for instance. Audiences are more receptive to such ads because they’re delivered as users are searching for content and not during the programming, Mr. Raneri said.

MeeVee has worked with networks such as Showtime and CBS to promote their shows on its site. He expects to ink deals with more networks because the Internet is becoming more vital as a venue for tune-in messages as viewers skip ads on TV with digital video recorders. MeeVee also worked with Radio Shack to run an acquisition campaign for DirecTV and Dish targeting cable subscribers.

Numbers: MeeVee counts about 10 million registered members, triple the number of a year ago. The site attracts about 3 million unique visitors each month, according to comScore data provided by MeeVee.

Backstory: MeeVee launched in 2004 and venture partner Walden Venture Capital recruited Mr. Raneri to join as CEO in 2005.

The money guys: MeeVee has raised about $12.5 million in three rounds, with lead investors being JP Morgan, Walden Venture Capital and Labrador Ventures.

Pros: MeeVee has garnered a robust user base in a few short years.

Cons: Competition is fierce to search and sort online video and TV shows.

Background: Mr. Raneri was born and raised in Fairfield County, Conn. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and sociology from Fairfield University. He previously worked as an executive at Charles Schwab & Co. and at brokerage Quick & Reilly. The 41-year-old married father of two now lives in Burlingame, Calif.

Who knew? Mr. Raneri is a passionate heli-skier and likes jumping off helicopters to ski in Valdez, Alaska.