My Media Week: Mark Popkiewicz

This week, Mark Popkiewicz, CEO at digital brand integration specialists MirriAd, balances his business across continents, tries to keep up in LA with the help of Madonna's agent, and shows loyalty to the full English breakfast.

Mark Popkiewicz: CEO at MirriAd
Mark Popkiewicz: CEO at MirriAd

Monday

Catching a flight from Heathrow on my way to LA, for the third time this month. We have been getting a lot of interest from the US and I am trying to develop the big content studio relationships there, as well as our all important digital distribution partners. Going to be away for the whole week, so sorting things before I go, including my meeting agendas. Looking forward to some warm sun.

I have a big deal to close on Wednesday, one which I've been working on for a year, and now the lawyers are done with contracts, it's time for the meeting of management teams and getting going.

I feel my head is going to LA, but the rest of me is heading to Asia and managing the media interest following our deal with Zee TV – a £3m investment into the business. The deal was led by Indian media entrepreneur Subhash Chandra and brokered by David Glick, chief executive of entertainment and media business fund manager Edge, and one of our existing shareholders.

But I'm here, it's LA and the sun is shining. I remember to get the new trucks for my son's skateboard at a brilliant shop in Santa Monica. It's GCSE time for my oldest son, so he needs a bit of inspiration. While I'm on that subject, it's time to get a new iPod – a classic I think.

Tuesday

I’m staying at one of my favourite hotels in LA, The Viceroy. My day is planned and after breakfast, I head off for a studio meeting in Century City, after sorting out a good restaurant for lunch.

I'm forming a strong working relationship with Ted, our new COO. He's based in LA, is ex-digital music industry and dresses the part. God, I don't feel cool enough. Time to get a new wardrobe, but constantly drawn back to reality as work is taking up every spare moment. 

Have a deadline to get the planning done for this year's budget before the end of the month and get approval from the board, when I'm back in London.

Great meetings today and we have agreement over several globally distributed series. Treating myself to a drink by the ocean, it strikes me as amazing how many Brits there are in LA. So rather than cocktails, we head off for a beer to salute the best of British traditions.

Wednesday

Big session today in Santa Monica with a very important customer and a very big project that spans music video and online. My priority is to make sure that all is in place and the team is ready to engage.

Start off with a working breakfast – the norm over here. Breakfast is outside and attitudes are positive and constructive. But I just can't get excited by muesli and juice. I go for a full English breakfast much to the amusement of our local LA team, who have a grape and a small glass of water each.

The conversation turns to how my head of US sales, Matt, got into a session with Tony Robbins, a local life-changing guru who pulls in audiences in the thousands. Matt was impressed and actually did walk across hot coals in bare feet at the end of the session.

I feel that walking over hot coals was good training for a heavy duty negotiation with a big player in the music industry and with minds refocused, it's on to the afternoon session.

Meeting goes exceptionally well and we end up celebrating the new deal over drinks. Cocktails this time and a few fruit juices. The boss at my customer is a true action man. "Would you like to come wakeboarding?" he asks. Oh s***. Watching the sun set over the ocean, I check the weather back home. It’s improving.

Thursday

Another studio meeting. Again, it's for several series globally. We've been talking for a while and there is a real intent to get this moving from all sides. I keep on reminding myself how long it takes to get deals closed in the content industry. I sense a development in the market. All the meetings I'm having are incredibly positive and I feel on a high.

I call Madonna's manager for a quick catch-up. I met with him a few weeks ago and he had some great advice, so it's useful to pick his brains some more.

I also meet with a new lawyer. Yes, LA is full of lawyers. They all come with impressive stories and we seem spoilt for choice. As the adage says, you need a good doctor, accountant and lawyer, and it’s all true in spades in LA. As we are opening our LA office shortly, we need all three.

Friday

Oh yes, another US studio meeting today in Culver City and a couple of meetings with some big video distributors. This time it's with a studio that we are currently working with around the world. I like the people and, as is often the case, the CEO of the group is championing. It's a big complex global affair and needs an operator to make happen.

Skype the office in London to get an update from our new CFO Nick Charlton before boarding the late-night flight back to London. I'm looking forward to getting together with the family… or should I get them to come over here? Hmm.

Personal CV

Age: 50s
Favourite media: Blue-ray movies with huge HD picture and surround sound, big luscious computer games, almost all music
Biggest inspiration: Peter Bazalgette, brilliant mix of vision, execution and politician
Dream job: Making money from innovation
One thing not a lot of people know...I had my own radio show on LBC as a student, but that career failed when I missed the first phone-in I was meant to host

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