In the hot seat with Martin Healy, Commercial Director, ESPN.

26th February 2018

I’m a specialist media and digital recruiter with three years experience working across the Middle East. I was fortunate enough to sit down and interview Martin Healy, Commercial Director at ESPN regarding his career, market trends, advice for candidates and how the media market is set to look in 2018 and beyond.

How did you get into Digital Media?  

The day after I completed an Advertising & Media degree I jumped on the train into London, walked up Great Portland Street, and visited a media recruitment business called The Media Exchange. They shared a handful of opportunities with me at various media houses across the city, and spent a couple of hours briefing me on the interview process. I selected the roles I was interested in, interviewed the next day, and started the following week.

What is the hardest part of your job and how do you overcome difficulties?

You have probably heard this a million times, but ‘working in a constantly changing media environment’ really is the biggest challenge. The demands from brands investing into digital moves so fast, from display, to programmatic, to partnerships and branded content. You have to understand your strengths, and be able to flex your offering based on the latest trends.

Tell us about the industry you work in?

I operate in the sports industry, leading ESPN’s ad sales business across MENA. We are in an under-developed sports market compared to the UK or US, so it’s exciting when you find a brand that understands the value of sports, and wants to engage fans in a new way. Sports is a fantastic industry; our content is always exciting. Who wouldn’t want to spend their day talking about the SuperBowl, NBA Finals, or the World Cup.

What career advice would you offer someone looking to get into Digital Media? 

Digital media is so broad, you have the luxury of finding an area of the industry that aligns with your natural interests. If you love sports, work for a sports publisher. If you enjoy watching amazing content, work in a content production business. If you’re really analytical, look into the performance side of the industry. Stick to what you find naturally interesting and you will enjoy going to work every day.

How would a candidate impress you in an interview? The first few minutes are the most important.

Turn up on time, look smart, and start a conversation as soon as possible. Do your homework and make sure you have questions to ask. For a sales role, always close the interview asking for clarity on the next steps. 

What do you look for in recruitment agencies when starting a recruitment partnership?

Knowledge, honesty, and a long-term approach. It’s vital that the agency truly understands your business and what you are looking for. It is usually very obvious very quickly. Honesty, to never unfairly influence the hiring manager or the candidate. And a long-term approach to build a partnership for the future, which goes way beyond just the next hire.

What qualities do you look for in an individual when hiring for your team? 

Relevant experience is always a benefit, but mostly I am looking at their personality. I need to work with this person for 40 hours a week. There has to be a personal connection there. I look for someone with confidence to hold a conversation, and to show me that they are a driven individual. Obviously, they also have to like sports!

How do you see the media industry changing in 2018 and beyond? 

The migration towards digital will continue. Internet connectivity and smartphone penetration is so high in this region that brands need to be seen where consumers spend their time. I see more partnerships with major platforms, more branded content being produced, and stronger relationships between publishers and their audiences. I see the reach of TV advertising declining, as audiences move to other platforms where they can consume content on-demand. Outside of digital, it’s exciting to see more innovative out of home solutions coming into the market. I expect to see mobile and outdoor combining for more personalized advertising experiences.


With special thanks to Martin for his time. I hope the readers enjoy this insightful piece. If you have any questions; please do reach out.

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