The Limelight series focuses on employee culture across the iSpot organization. Follow along as we take a closer look at the real people behind one of the most comprehensive TV ad catalogs out there.
This month we interview Flannery Carlos, Director of Content Operations, and explore her career at iSpot and how she’s grown with the company.
What is your current role at iSpot.tv?
I’m Director of Content Operations at iSpot and I love it. Our team grows and maintains the ad catalog, which means we bring thousands of new content pieces like commercials, movie trailers and show promos in from hundreds of channels every week. Members of Content Ops trim videos, categorize them, and tag them with loads of metadata points to help our clients connect the dots when it comes to their own campaigns, products, and creatives, as well as those of their competitors. In my opinion (though obviously I am biased), it’s a pretty fun department in which to work because everyone has a great sense of humor and we get to see and discuss everything in real-time as it is released. We know all the shows and movies coming out soon, we know what’s on sale and where, and we are familiar with all the hilarious low budget local commercials from DMAs across the US. If you want to talk about any part of pop culture, there is someone on Content Ops who wants to talk about it. (probably with some strong opinions and maybe a gif or two)
How did your background lead you to iSpot?
I studied history and political science in college and then went to law school. I know, right? Nothing at all to do with advertising tech. While I worked in a bookstore and studied for the bar exam (I thought I’d better just pass it, even if I didn’t want to practice), I made a great friend there who later left to work in marketing at iSpot. She referred me because she knows I am trivia and memorization-obsessed and I thrive on workflow improvement. The first part is relevant because Content Operations work involves recognizing and categorizing so much stuff–knowing television, movies, songs, celebrities, etc. really makes the job that much easier. The latter part became relevant after I was hired because iSpot is a startup. Working here for years has really given me an opportunity to work with my team and other teams to improve tools and change our workflow with the goal of continually increasing our efficiency. Seeing ideas come to fruition and have the expected results is truly thrilling to me.
What are the typical challenges you face in your role?
Television never stops airing. While that’s exciting for people on their couches, it also means that new content is constantly debuting on one channel or another and thus my department’s work never stops. A challenge I welcome is to constantly be trying to figure out innovative ways for us to increase output and our capabilities as the company scales. One example of this is our daily work sprints. From 10-11 every morning, our entire team works towards a common goal of processing as much content as we can while maintaining accuracy. As added motivation and entertainment, members of the team make anonymous Spotify playlists (I’m the only one in the know) and whoever made or correctly guesses the maker goes out for coffee every Thursday.
What is the most exciting part about your role?
I absolutely love learning and problem solving. My job gives me the opportunity to think about problems other iSpot teams, our clients or my team are having and to investigate why anomalies might be happening. I also spend a lot of time (some devs would probably argue a little too much time) making JIRA tickets for future improvements. I think my favorite part of the job is digging into the history of our data and solving a mystery or answering a question for a coworker.
February means Super Bowl, which means the busiest time for the Content Ops team! How do you prepare for the Big Game?
Our team truly kills it starting in late fall when it comes to the Super Bowl. Editors scour the net to find announced and potential advertisers and ads to keep our Super Bowl Ad Center as robust and complete as possible leading up to the game. It’s all hands on deck to update copy for the website and make sure every piece of metadata is there and correct for every spot and then to bring in any unannounced content in real-time during the game and tag it up as fast as possible. I think the whole team breathes a collective sigh of relief that Sunday evening when our lives can go back to business as usual…that is, until March Madness.
During your time at iSpot, the company and the TV ecosystem as a whole has changed quite a bit. How has that impacted your role at this high growth tech start-up?
The interesting thing about advertising is that companies, networks and movie studios are always innovating so we need to adapt in tandem out of necessity. For Content Operations, this means we are always having discussions about new types of advertising like interesting product integrations during shows, live commercials, network-specific promotions for theatrical movies and multi-brand commercials and how we should deal with anything deviating from the typical in terms of categorization. We need to make choices that make relational sense in our databases and that allow our reporting teams to have data sets that work for them and for our clients. Our platform truly has so much potential and it seems like there are just a ton of untapped or early stage use cases.
What is the most rewarding part/ best perk of working at iSpot?
I know it is cliché to say it, but the people. I’ve made some fantastic friends here and the amount of kindness that so many iSpot employees have makes me look forward to work almost every day. The members of my team are especially great. Every one of them is a powerhouse individual contributor, sure, but they are also eager, a quick study and smart. The fact that they appease me by working out riddles on our whiteboard and collaboratively solving crossword puzzles doesn’t hurt my glowing opinion of them either. And since these answers are going to live on forever on the internet, I will just say a gigantic endless thank you to the platform and web dev team members who have coded up all of my team’s asks into reality.
About the Author
Kelsea Longanacre is a Marketing Manager at iSpot.tv. She covers most topics involving industry events and marketplace trends. For questions and inquiries, please contact email@example.com.