ESPN announces that Vikram Somaya will serve in the newly created role of SVP, Global Data Officer at ESPN. Somaya will be responsible for leading ESPN’s data strategy as well as working closely with the Disney Media Networks to identify new revenue models and drive key sales strategies. Based in New York, he will report to Ed Erhardt, president, Global Sales & Marketing.
ESPN has long been at the forefront of research and analytics as it relates to sports fans and media behaviors. The addition of Somaya will complement those efforts and signals a strategic decision to resource an ever-increasing first-party data set to enhance cross-platform efforts in the ad space.
“Vikram is a forward-thinking executive who has terrific vision to enhance and unlock the power of what our fans share with us,” said Erhardt. “He will help drive data in new ways as we challenge traditional thinking to expand the role it can play in growing content usage and increasing marketing effectiveness. Vikram’s insight and expertise in the fast-changing ad-tech arena, married to our data strategy, will provide value and return on investment for our advertising partners.”
Somaya joins ESPN from The Weather Company, where as general manager of AdFX and analytics, he oversaw a global team focused on sales efforts geared towards predictive marketing and ad product monetization. During his tenure, Somaya also developed the WeatherFX data management ad platform, which utilizes real-time localized data from users to create personalized ad targeting solutions.
Prior to that, Somaya was vice president of global operations and audience at Thomson Reuters, administrating the company’s global operations and analytics as well as audience-derived revenue across various products lines. Additionally, he was responsible for building a successful private programmatic exchange.
Somaya’s previous leadership roles include managing director of business development and channel sales at Bluekai, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Milabra, vice president of strategic alliances at Phorm and vice present of strategy management at Operative Media.
An art history graduate of Yale University, Somaya is a sought-after expert at conferences and media industry events to share his insights around the audience ecosystem and the use of data.