Thomas Frank: Online videos on demand

It’s not surprising Thomas Frank ended up as president and CEO of a major company. As a senior at the University of Cincinnati, Frank would read the promotions sections in trade magazines — and make it a point to then call and congratulate the business higher-ups on their new positions. He would usually also ask for a job and it would usually work out.

Frank, 43, was named president and CEO of Akimbo Systems, an Internet video-on-demand company, at the end of March. Frank describes his job as president and CEO as “being able to be multilingual” and “hav[ing] the opportunity to speak and understand the different languages” of advertisers, distributors, content owners, and engineers.

Akimbo currently has more than 14,500 shows available from 165 different providers. Shows range from television channels and programs to movies, music videos, video blogs and user-generated content from Yahoo. About 40 percent of the content is free; the rest is distributed by subscription or individual transactions, with fees beginning at $0.49.

During his tenure as president and CEO, Frank would like to more fully enact what he calls the value proposition: providing a high-quality experience and providing plenty of choice — “what they want, when they want it,” he said.

Just as the Internet allows companies to exercise greater creativity in delivery style, content and marketing, customers can use the same powerful tool to compare quality, price and delivery options between companies. Consumers have more power today than they have in the past, Frank said.

But this doesn’t mean Frank is concerned about the market or competition. “Just about everybody claims to be in this space; Akimbo’s actually doing it,” he said. Frank hopes to further capitalize on the first-mover advantage by making Akimbo services available on as many different platforms as possible. Akimbo is currently available on your TV via the RCA Akimbo player or AT&T Homezone, and on Media Center PCs. Akimbo should be available for Windows PCs by the end of the month. There are currently no plans to make Akimbo available for Macintosh computers.

Frank graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in English literature focused in latter 20th Century feminist poetry. Before coming to Akimbo Systems, Frank worked for Real Networks, Dick Clark Productions, Leo Burnett Co., Carolco Television, and White Dog Media.

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