Switching Channels: IQ Interactive Brings TV to Life Online

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Talk to almost any established online media executive about their background nowadays, and they’re bound to tell you that they got their start in the print world. But not Tony Quin (left). The London-born, Atlanta-based advertising vet earned his stripes in television, producing pilots for the likes of NBC and ABC, as well as writing and directing hundreds of TV/radio commercials.

But after spending seven years doing such work for LA production company Film House, Quin knew he needed a career change. So in 1995, he packed up his belongings, moved out East and built IQ Television—a production company for TV and radio commercials—from the ground up.

But even as the boob tube business continued to thrive in those years, Quin was already sensing a seismic shift in the media mix around the turn of the century. “About 5 ½ years ago,” he recalls via phone from IQ’s Atlanta headquarters, “I was basically looking at how to grow the company and recognize the opportunity. Essentially, everyone was talking about how media was all going to converge, but they didn’t know when. But I felt [the Internet] was going to become a television medium, and we were going to move from a print analogy to a television analogy.”

Realizing his business model needed retouching, Quin quickly got to work by adding a more technical face to IQ, where rich media would have just as much relevance as a standard TV spot. “Our sensibilities now are very much rich media,” he says. “You have to be very good technically, not even just to do the basic things, but certainly if you want to push the envelope.”

Today, clients like IBM, Royal Caribbean, Deutsche Bank and Audi count on IQ to push that envelope. Now officially called IQTV, the company is comprised of several divisions, including IQ Production Services, IQ Radio Marketing, and of course, IQ Interactive.

Not surprisingly, it’s the interactive division that commands most of Quin’s attention today. Unlike most companies of its ilk, IQ Interactive’s approach—and challenge—is to translate the television experience to the online community. “If you think about why television [advertising’s] been so successful,” Quin says, “it’s [because] you would have a program, you’d interrupt the program and have a pot of commercials. If you wanted to see the rest of that program, you’d have to sit there and watch the commercials. So they had a captive audience. But when you go on a webpage where there are ads, people are already trained to read the story and not even look at the ads—even though they might be flashing all kinds of things at you.”

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