Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Richard Hicks, Co-Founder of C-Screens

Richard Hicks is Co-Founder of C-Screens, the UK’s largest TVOOH broadcaster. With over 18+ years in digital and video, at E-Type, Video Egg, Tremor UK and ITV, Hicks has considerable experience in launching new digital ad-funded products. 

We asked Hicks to name his own industry hero… 

Who is your digital hero?

Jonathan Mew, CEO of IAB.

What have they done to win hero status in your eyes?

Jon was at ITV earlier than I worked there, but where I truly got to know Jon was when he worked at Orange, then at the IAB to accelerate their mobile side of the business. He always made time for everyone, combining professional knowledge with a little humour thrown in. Jon has an incredible scope of knowledge and connections with every digital sector spanning creative, advertising, search, telco etc he helped me propel ITV’s mobile and tablet web and app strategy and productivity when I was brand new to the platform. I joined with digital experience, but not mobile (sorry boss but it’s only another platform). Jon was my rock when I weathered the cry of “oh, the year of the mobile is it? You’ve been saying that for years Rich!” Think it’s moved on now to the year of CTV.

How has their heroism helped drive digital?

Jon has excelled at the IAB moving swiftly up the ranks to CEO. The IAB is instrumental to all things digital for the UK and internationally. It speaks for itself the number of council and membership groups ranging from sectors such as DOOH, CTV, Search, Audio, Gaming, Social, and sustainability, to name but a few! All their marketing, training and events offer value that quite frankly, other bodies can’t compete with in such an agnostic way to all levels in media. Not easy to have competitors all working together and when they do, it’s a lot more beneficial to the clients and consumers/customers. Jon is the IAB’s #DIGIGOAT.

What the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

Quite a few like frequency capping, transparency, and now I have family and friends with children, that the bigger social media powerhouses take more responsibility on what content and advertising is being consumed and shared. Why is it ITV, Sky and the BBC, pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to be rigorously regulated, not to mention all the other broadcasting fees. But these addictive, influential, giant social platforms are not subject to the same restrictions. This is bad both for advertisers and consumers (especially children and teens), but I fear this will only get worse as technology and AI evolve.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

I’d say where I grew the most, both personally and professionally was through my time at ITV. Whilst there I was fortunate enough to work in a team that endeavoured to change ITV’s mobile landscape. In a short space of time we went from no apps and WAP sites, to dynamic, on-the-fly broadcasting services, with various ad-formats. It felt like an incredible achievement to launch ITV’s mobile web, ITV’s first native apps for XFactor, BGT, Various World Cup, News, Sport and the ITV Player across all connected devices, also landing the UK’s first live second-screen format – “Ad-Sync”.