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June Special Edition 2022

ICARO Media Group AI-Powered Media Technology Empowering Global Telecoms and Media Broadcast Companies

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“We are focused on our linear channel/FAST TV growth and always reviewing how to expand with our current partnerships.”

ICARO Media Group is a globally-established leader in the AI-driven digital content ecosystem. It provides a better experience to hundreds of millions of subscribers worldwide with hyper-personalized access to local and global news, sports, audio, entertainment, finance, healthcare, commerce, and emergency first-responder services. 

ICARO fills a global void by powering telecoms’ backend technologies, which lowers their G&A while providing a better-personalized user experience to their most valuable asset—subscribers.

The Silicon Review contacted Paul Feller, Chairman and CEO of ICARO Media Group, who highlighted how the company is making a difference in this segment and plans to stay at the forefront. Below is an excerpt.

Head to Head with Paul Feller, Chairman & CEO of ICARO Media Group

Q. What’s ICARO’s point of differentiation?

ICARO empowers global telecoms, media companies, and broadcast television networks by creating personalized digital experiences for their customers, with over 220 million subscribers under contract (and growing) in over 25 countries in LATAM, North America, and Europe. Through both its SaaS platform and AI-powered direct-to-consumer products, ICARO gives media companies and global telecoms the ability to grow revenues, build audiences, and access turnkey solutions to stay competitive in an evolving media and technology marketplace while reducing their G&A. The ICARO platform powers access to premium content libraries in several languages, international content distribution solutions, advanced geofencing controls, e-commerce integrations, advertising integrations, multimedia management, and curation tools, metadata enhancement, channels and playlists, and video management and hosting. ICARO’s platforms support multi-language digital content to a growing list of publishers, telco partners, and media groups.

Q. How responsive is ICARO to the changing needs of its clients?

We pride ourselves on being very responsive to our clients and their subscribers' needs. Our technology was designed to customize our clients’ technology media requirements while protecting their subscribers’ personal information and data. We receive live feedback and data utilizing AI, providing the competitive advantage to adjust to the needs of our partners and their end-users in real-time.

Q. What can you tell us about ICARO’s direct-to-consumer product suite and ‘Super App’?

The ‘Super App’ is an online environment white-labeled in a telecom and media broadcast partner’s name, branding, and image where we have eliminated the need for multiple applications on your device. Our ‘Super App’ was developed to be as good as or better than any other media technology application in the market as the single access point to the telecom subscriber.

Our environment can provide our end users with TV shows, news articles, search engines, emergency warning systems, sporting event trackers, online gaming, and e-commerce powered by advanced artificial intelligence to make all of the above personalized to each end-user.

Q. That’s not all ICARO does. What are its other focus areas?

We are currently expanding in the technology areas of fiber networks, subscription-based media, linear TV technology sectors, and live entertainment. In addition, I am leading the company into the world of in-house digital advertising sales in which we have just launched our new division ICARO Ads. ICARO Ads will have a primary focus on AI-powered direct ad sales and affiliate marketing at premium prices based on hyper-targeted user analytics. We have already expanded our team in São Paulo, Brazil, and additional expansions are underway in Mexico City, Bogota, Miami, New York, and Milan. In addition, we have recently acquired an existing ad tech company with a highly skilled digital sales team and technology that integrates with all programmatic advertisers globally.

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Q. In what industries are your clients? Can you provide us with one or two success stories describing the challenges your clients faced and how your solutions helped them overcome those challenges?

Our largest industries that provide access to over 220m subscribers are telecom companies and media broadcast companies. A recent challenge we faced as we prepared to launch in Brazil was understanding the large attrition for media technology companies within the Brazilian market. At first glance, it appeared that the end-user turnover rate was due to a lack of interest in the marketplace. After further review with our customers and ICARO’s local management team, we soon realized that there is a deficiency in the phone hardware and storage capacity, and thus end-users would delete apps quickly to free up space for the new shiny penny. In addition, unlike in the USA, data is not free, and thus, subscribers prefer not to burn through their data by watching media. Our tech team, our business strategy team, and our telecom partners’ tech team immediately went to work and ICARO designed an in-house technology solution to provide media without consuming this data. I am very proud of our team and how quickly we were able to work with our client and build an in-house technology solution.

Q. No doubt ICARO is charting new territories in this segment. Given how frequently circumstances change, what plans for transformation are you pursuing to remain relevant now and in the future?

This is a great question. As I noted above, ICARO is expanding into multiple countries worldwide within LATAM, North America, and the EMEA market territories.

Currently, we are focused on expanding our linear channels, FAST TV/OTT, and fiber network businesses. In addition, our AI is being utilized for other business verticals. Not only do we have the fastest-breaking news from verifiable sources in the world, but we have also recently entered into agreements to power our AI Cens technology to professional sports leagues that include NHL, MLS, and NBA teams.

Q. What new endeavors is ICARO currently undertaking?

We are preparing to launch our first subscription-based product offering in the USA, which is partnered with LATV, a subsidiary of RCN TV. Plans are underway to partner with a telecom company in North America and three in Europe. We are focused on our linear channel/FAST TV growth and always reviewing how to expand with our current partnerships.

Q. How do you plan to counter challenges that you think ICARO might face in the next five years?

By listening to the needs of our clients and empowering our local teams in each country. Every market is unique, as are the interests of the end-users. During a recent trip to ICARO’s Brazil office, I was reminded of how important the local knowledge base of our partners, users, and our team is, and how important our think tank sessions are with each client in each geographic footprint that we do business in. 

Technology is always expanding and changing at a rapid pace. However, as important as it is to provide the best solutions, localized strategies must remain a top priority. We are not in a business in which one size fits all. To be a leader and make a positive change that empowers our telecom partners and provides the best experience for their subscribers, we must never stop evolving and that starts with listening.

Q. Is there anything else you want us to highlight that we might have missed?

I was recently asked by a fellow C-level executive peer of mine from a leading media technology company — “How has ICARO managed to stay below the radar despite its global expansion?” I responded with three reasons: a) We acquired and merged some of the largest technology platforms in AI, digital content, ad tech, and streaming media into one company. b) As we were going through integration and quality review, we did not want to be seen by the Googles of the world. c) We are in the business of making our partners’ brands and images a huge success and expanding their relationship with their subscribers.

Paul Feller | Chairman & CEO

Paul Feller has held C-Level or board positions at leading public companies that include Bean Solar Energy, Stratus Media Group, Pro Elite MMA (Acquired by UFC), and SFX Entertainment (acquired by Clear Channel Communications). Mr. Feller has held advisory roles at the IOC and Disney Sports Association was knighted in Sweden to the Order of the Amaranth for his global children’s charitable work, and was most recently an appointee of the Forbes Technology Council.

“We are currently expanding in the technology areas of fiber networks, subscription-based media, linear TV technology sectors, and live entertainment. In addition, I am leading the company into the world of in-house digital advertising sales in which we have just launched our new division ICARO Ads.”

“Not only do we have the fastest-breaking news from verifiable sources in the world, but we have also recently entered into agreements to power our AI Cens technology to professional sports leagues that include NHL, MLS, and NBA teams.”

“Our technology was designed to customize our clients’ technology media requirements while protecting their subscribers’ personal information and data.”