Q&A: Alan McGlade on His New Digital Media Fund

Former MTV executive Alan McGlade and venture capitalist Michael Yang launched Digital Entertainment Ventures (DEV) in New York recently to make early-stage investments in digital media companies. DEV’s total value has not been disclosed, but the fund has already backed Stagit, a Web-based live music platform, and Mad Humans, a mobile gaming company.

McGlade, managing director of DEV, was most recently CEO of MediaNet in New York, a digital content company that began as a music download service formed by major record companies. Prior to MediaNet, he was CEO of The Box cable music television channel, which he sold to MTV in 2001.

McGlade spoke to Xconomy about DEV’s plans to fund and provide guidance to startups that leverage tablets, smartphones, and Internet-enabled television for content such as movies, music, and games.

Xconomy: What did you see happening in the media world that spurred the formation of Digital Entertainment Ventures?

McGlade: I had a unique vantage point. MediaNet is a business-to-business company that aggregates digital content to enable websites to distribute premium content. I worked with large companies, such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google, and many of the startups that emerged over the last decade. I saw firsthand the struggles big media companies were going through trying to transition from an analog audience to a digital audience. I saw what was and wasn’t working in the marketplace. There were issues around licensing and distributing content, and building an audience. Working with these companies I got very interested in helping to build the next generation of services. There was a confluence of events that helped propel us forward.

The introduction of mobile computing in a significant way, with smartphones and tablets was an important milestone. That really accelerated the evolution. General computing power, the availability of much higher bandwidth and storage—all of these things support the ability to consume and distribute digital media. Audiences were beginning to shift. Music is almost always consumed now in digital form. CD sales have fallen off considerably over the last decade. In the TV business they … Next Page »

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