VideoAmp lays off 20% of workforce, CEO steps down

Founder and long-time chief executive of VideoAmp Ross McCray stepped down this week as the measurement and currency vendor shook up leadership and disclosed plans to cut around 20% of its workforce.

McCray, who founded VideoAmp in 2014, is transitioning from CEO to active founder, board member and shareholder, with media and entertainment veteran Peter Liguori taking the helm as executive chairman. Liguori is focused and currently working on "rounding out and cultivating the continued success and momentum of VideoAmp's best-in-class leadership team," a spokesperson told StreamTV Insider. As for whether there's an active search underway or plans in place to appoint a new CEO, VideoAmp said it didn't have an update at this time.

“This was an extremely hard and emotional decision for me. I always knew after starting VideoAmp – if we were successful – this day would come.  I have wished and dreaded for this day to come for 10 years. I love this service. I love our mission, employees, clients and partners,” McCray said in a statement. “But it is time for me to pass the baton and return back to my original love and roots of earlier stage company building. I continue to be deeply committed to VideoAmp for the long term.”

Liguori, meanwhile, brings extensive media and entertainment expertise as a long-time VideoAmp board member and former CEO of Tribune Media, COO of Discovery Communications, Chairman of Fox Entertainment and CEO of FX.

In addition, VideoAmp named former Nieslen executive Peter Bradbury to the new role of chief commercial and growth officer. Spending well over a decade at the ratings giant, Bradbury most recently served as Nielsen’s U.S. chief commercial officer.

“Pete Bradbury’s addition to our team represents not only VideoAmp’s commitment to solidify our hold as the new currency standard, but it also showcases the transformation of our strategy to focus and serve the industry’s client base with a well respected and trusted industry leader,” said Ligouri in a statement. “Pete’s decades of advertising, measurement and deep connections across the industry will fast-track us to serve and provide winning solutions for the industry’s measurement needs.”

At VideoAmp, Bradbury’s tasked with spearheading growth and leading all client, business development and commercial transformation initiatives as the vendor seeks to solidify a position as a new TV measurement currency standard.

“I have had the privilege of leading clients through multiple changes to the currency that buyers and sellers use, and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that during this critically important time, our industry’s publishers, agencies and advertisers are 100% aligned on the need for more holistic and accurate data on which to plan, buy and evaluate their significant advertising investments,” said Bradbury in a statement. “I am excited to join the VideoAmp Team, who has created the new currency standard and I look forward to leading our efforts to rapidly expand our footprint across the industry.”

Coinciding with the CEO change, VideoAmp disclosed it’s cutting just under 20% of its workforce. VideoAmp had around 400 employees as of September and the latest cuts, which are now completed, bring its employee headcount to about 320, the spokesperson confirmed. VideoAmp didn’t give much by way of reason for the layoffs other than to say, “in an effort to focus on the business’ growth priorities and key client needs and services” it made a strategic decision to restructure the organization by reducing headcount “to align around these refocused priorities.” Growth priorities and client needs include driving increased sales, reducing waste and generating higher yields for publishers' ad inventory.

Other media reports have said VideoAmp is looking to cut costs amid economic challenges. VideoAmp in September quietly laid off about 10% of its employees, affecting more than 40 people, Axios reported. At the time, the outlet said job cuts suggested the measurement firm needed to trim expenses while working to pay down debt after raising $150 million in Series G funding earlier that month.

Despite layoffs, VideoAmp has seen traction in the measurement space, an area which is undergoing major changes as the TV and advertising landscape evolves and where the vendor competes alongside the likes of iSpot, Comscore, legacy provider Nielsen and others. Thirteen major linear and streaming publishers use VideoAmp’s currency model, along with all major media holding companies and several independent agencies.  It’s marked partnerships with major media companies including Amazon, Disney, YouTube, Warner Bros. Discovery, Meta, NBCUniversal, Paramount, The Weather Channel, TelevisaUnivision, and Hallmark.

Last year it was one of three measurement vendors to pass the initial phase of the U.S. Joint Industry Committee’s process to be certified as currency for TV ad buying and selling transactions. The company said it experienced over 1,400% year over year growth of VideoAmp media currency transactions, with “over a billion dollars planned to be measured and guaranteed on its currency in 2024 from over 1,000 advertisers.”

Alongside Bradbury’s appointment, VideoAmp promoted leaders within the company including elevating CTO Tony Fagan to president of Technology and Strategy, and current EVP of Product Josh Hudgins to the role of chief product officer.

Fagan and Hudgins each previously spent over a decade at Google, including areas of advanced measurement.

“We are innovating with big data and advanced methodologies to improve the way content and ads are planned and measured,” Fagan said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing this innovation to our customers and partners through secure computer technologies and APIs.”

Article updated with additional information on Liguori's role, the number of employees at VideoAmp as a result of job cuts, as well as business growth priorities going forward.