5. Paul Bannister – gamer turned prophet for the publisher

Paul Bannister started life as an intrepid video gamer who turned his passion for Nintendo into an online publication that — in the early pre-history of 1995 — was one of the first to sell an ad on the internet. It cost $400 for an arbitrary-sized (but small) highly pixelated ad unit with a lot of text. His career as a publisher was launched. Years later, he joined Andrew Shue (Melrose Place, soccer star) and others in co-founding CafeMom, an early and successful example of a social network-content site. CafeMom was ad-supported from the beginning, and from his perch at the ever-growing network Bannister saw the development of ad servers, ad networks, SSPs, DSPs and header bidding. Today he is Chief Strategy Officer for CafeMedia, a company based largely on the acquisition of AdThrive in 2018. CafeMedia basically outsources publishers’ back offices and revenue ops so they can focus on creating content and is particularly strong in travel, hospitality and leisure. In this wide-ranging episode, Bannister trains his widely-admired prophetic abilities on the history of publishing tech, the future of the cookie, and why there may be some reasons for optimism looking toward 2022.

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