Fifth Estater

BIM Boss in Local Web Scrum

Yarnall has big plans for station sites 10/04/2010 06:10:00 AM Eastern

Timur Yarnall

Title:
Co-Founder and CEO, Broadcast Interactive Media

Education:
B.S., Stanford University, 1995 M.S., Stanford, 1996

Employment:

Hughes Space and Electronics, system engineer, 1996-1997
Network Software Associates, sales engineer, 1997-1999
Clickability, cofounder and VP sales/business development, 1999-2002
Current position since 2002

Personal:
b. May 2, 1973; lives in Madison, Wis., with wife Kimberly Megna Yarnall

The fight among the handful of firms that provide
Web solutions to TV stations is a particularly
bloody one. It’s something of a zero-sum game: Inking a deal to handle a station’s contentmanagement
system, sales or video almost
always means taking the business
away from another firm.

But this sharp-elbows world is a familiar
one for Broadcast Interactive Media
(BIM) co-founder/CEO Timur Yarnall,
who gave as good as he got as an All-
American rugby player at Stanford. BIM
scored big strategy points when it acquired
TitanTV in February; besides getting
Titan’s ubiquitous online programming
guides, the deal opened the doors
to Titan’s hundreds of station clients.

“It’s given us a ton more relationships
to sell into, so all of a sudden we went
from 150 clients to over 900 stations,”
Yarnall says. “It’s been a great entree.”

BIM’s online clients include the Belo,
Granite, Fisher and NBC Local Media
groups, along with various newspaper
and radio sites. Yarnall launched BIM in
2002 after getting a look at the burgeoning
local online space while at the Web
outfi t Clickability. Yarnall co-founded
Clickability in 1999 with some old Stanford
rugby mates, and saw how big the
local side of the business could be. (Local
advertising is expected to reach $133.3
billion this year, according to BIA/Kelsey.)

“I saw there was incredible opportunity
in local, particularly with television,”
he says. “There were very few providers
who seemed to be helping stations produce
text and video content. It seemed
there was an incredible opportunity to
win in this space.”

Winning won’t be easy, as the likes of
WorldNow, Internet Broadcasting (IB)
and Inergize Digital enjoy the backing
of major station groups and offer their
own batch of innovative online services.
Yarnall aims to set BIM apart with not
only clean, fast-loading sites and smooth
video delivery, but a wide portfolio
of unique products such as the usergenerated
content platform YouNews
and the BIMLocal Ad Network, which
amasses content from myriad Websites
and matches it with national advertisers.

Station clients say BIM’s contentmanagement
system (CMS) allows everyone
in the newsroom to publish content
quickly and easily, instead of just a
couple of “Web guys.” Furthermore, the
CMS isn’t one-size-fits-all, meaning it’s
easily customizable for stations in markets
of all sizes within the same group.

Belo switched to the BIM platform last
year after years of managing its sites internally.
Traffic and revenue are up in the
double digits compared to Belo’s recent internal efforts. “The technology Timur
provides is far and away better than the
competition’s,” says Belo Senior VP of
Media Operations Kathy Clements. “He’s
done everything he said he’d do—he’s
been there every step of the way.”

NBC Local Media partnered with
BIM on its splashy online relaunch
late in 2008, which saw its 10 station
sites recast as urban hipster destinations
under the “Locals Only” banner.
The BIM team came to Chicago to train
the WMAQ staff for the NBCChicago.
com launch—Chicago was first in the
group—and has been working closely
with the NBC O&Os ever since. “They
know local television and the digital
space, and they know how to marry
the two and build products that work,”
says NBC Local Media VP of Digital
Media Operations Lora Le Sage. “Timur
was passionate about local before it became
trendy.”

Yarnall splits time between BIM’s
Madison, Wis., base and its New York
office. He married playwright Kimberly
Megna last year; a Notre Dame grad, she
and Timur attended the Stanford-Notre
Dame football game in South Bend Sept.
25. After his college rugby exploits, Yarnall
went on to win a national championship
with the Belmont Shore (Calif.)
club in the U.S.’s elite “Super League”
competition in 1998, but put rugby
on hold when Clickability—and then
BIM—took off.

Eluding the big bruisers with speed
and agility, Yarnall knocks heads with
a Madison rugby team now and then,
but is more focused on wrapping his
brain around growing BIM’s role in the
ever-changing local digital space. “Continued
evolution,” Yarnall says, “is the
name of the game.”

E-mail comments to mmalone@nbmedia.com and follow him
on Twitter: @StationBiz

Timur Yarnall

Title:
Co-Founder and CEO, Broadcast Interactive Media

Education:
B.S., Stanford University, 1995 M.S., Stanford, 1996

Employment:

Hughes Space and Electronics, system engineer, 1996-1997
Network Software Associates, sales engineer, 1997-1999
Clickability, cofounder and VP sales/business development, 1999-2002
Current position since 2002

Personal:
b. May 2, 1973; lives in Madison, Wis., with wife Kimberly Megna Yarnall

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