Axial's Growth 100 : Dan Zifkin

Dan Zifkin

President/CEO, Zephyr Media Group, Vibrant TV Network

A Media Maven

Dan Zephyr may have decades of media experience. But that doesn’t mean he’s stuck in his ways.

Dan founded television media company Zephyr Media in 1990; the company has gone on to be a leading agency in the planning, placement, and optimization of performance media. Several years ago, on a trip to South Korea — “probably the most technologically advanced place in the world,” says Dan — he took note of the country’s pioneering use of IPTV and saw an opportunity to bring the technology to the United States. He decided to start a new venture, a TV network he called Vibrant TV.

Vibrant TV was founded in 2011 and today features previously unseen international programming in English, geared toward the general American public. The network can be accessed over the internet and is currently featured on Amazon Fire, Roku, Panasonic, and other places.

Like any innovation, starting a new TV network comes with “enormous challenges,” says Dan — everything “from coming up with the concept and name, to figuring out how to make it into a viable and sustainable entity, acquiring the product, figuring out how to deliver it, making it so that people want to watch it, and finding the platforms that will carry you.” Two of the biggest successes so far have been acquiring programming as a new network and managing to appeal to a wide cross-section of viewers and advertisers.

Thanks to continuous technological innovations, it’s the “Wild Wild West” in media today, says Dan. Everyone is learning alongside one another. He understands that his companies must be poised to change strategies on a dime. “If things go a certain way, we’ll go that way too.”

An eye to the future is important — but so is having a firm grasp on business fundamentals. A few of Dan’s quicks tips for new entrepreneurs include paying attention to cash and receivables, making good decisions quickly, hiring carefully, and being detailed oriented. As CEO, it’s your responsibility to resolve issues in a positive and constructive way, be transparent and honest, and deliver on your promises. “Zephyr Media has never lost business because we haven’t been able to perform,” says Dan.