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Randi Zuckerberg on Her Next Act

The ex-Facebook executive and TV producer explains her plan to shake up the content business--and make her own mark on the Web.
Randi Zuckerberg, former marketing director of Facebook and founder of RtoZ Media, speaks at the Executive Marketing Summit in New York.
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The name Randi Zuckerberg might conjure visions of nepotism, but the Facebook founder's sister is doing her best to carve out her own space on the Web--and elsewhere.

Speaking with The Financial Times' Emily Steel Wednesday during the Internet Week conference, Zuckerberg spoke about everything from from curated content and distribution to what she playfully dubbed "tech-life balance." 

When asked what compelled her to launch Zuckerberg Media, her latest foray into the online video space, Zuckerberg replied, "When I looked around at the landscape, I saw you have all these companies investing more in original content, but there were very few places for makers, for content creators."

The company, which she called her second start-up after newborn son Asher, is meant to function as a Hollywood studio for Web-produced films. 

"The Bay Area has a great content history--Pixar, Lucas Film," she noted, but "getting data and insights is becoming more important to creating great content, and you have to know your audience."

It's a perspective that Zuckerberg surely picked up at Facebook, where she created and ran the social network's marketing campaigns. Specifically, she says, she got a good idea of "what a TV network built on social media might look like" when she "commandeered a broom closet" and started interviewing engineers right on the spot. 

The Web series took off, and "the next day, Katy Perry called asking if she could announce her tour on Facebook Live," said Zuckerberg. Soon she was getting calls from other celebs--including President Barack Obama, who asked to host a town hall on Facebook. "That was the moment I thought, 'Someone else is going to do this. Why shouldn't it be me?'"

Flash forward three years, and Zuckerberg is busy trying to make her mark on the content business. She's been nominated for an Emmy for her 2010 coverage of the mid-term elections on Facebook Live. She produced a Bravo show called "Start-Ups: Silicon Valley," though it was panned by critics and cancelled after one season due to low viewership. Now, she says, she's on a mission to serve up quality, curated content that people will actually want to watch online. 

"There is so much noise, there's so much content," she said. "You need to give someone that curator's stamp of approval," especially when it comes to TV. That medium "is still the main cultural driver of influence in this country and that stamp is important." 

Recalling her experience producing "Start-Ups" she added, "You can't really just walk into a room in Hollywood and say, 'I make videos for the Web, pay attention to me!' Hollywood wants to see credibility." 

Last updated: May 22, 2013

JILL KRASNY | Staff Writer

Jill Krasny is a staff writer for Inc. magazine, where she covers the intersection of entertainment and startups. Prior to Inc., she was a writer for MTV and Esquire and an editor at TheStreet. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a degree in communication. She lives in New York City.




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