How BroadbandTV CEO's childhood in Iran turned into a lifelong media passion

Abigail Stevenson
Clodagh Kilcoyne | Getty Images. Jim Cramer spoke with BroadbandTV's founder Shahrzad Rafati on how her background created a passion for storytelling that dominated the media world.

Born in Tehran, Shahrzad Rafati spent the first several years of her life with the Iran-Iraq war just outside her window.

She is now the founder and CEO of privately-held BroadbandTV Corp, the third largest video property in the world after Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB).

"I grew up in Iran and at a time where content was rationed … it was three TV channels," Rafati told " Mad Money " host Jim Cramer. "Because of that, as I was growing up I really wanted to make sure that I play a part in democratizing video content and really empowering storytelling. We live in a day and age where individuals can actually directly impact an audience."

Rafati's mission led her to create a company that redefined how companies think about piracy and video content. She founded the company in 2005, right in the beginning of the YouTube revolution.





At a time when many companies were trying to figure out how to monetize content online, BroadbandTV created a platform that helps video creators connect with audiences and also help advertisers get the most out of its online media presence.

In 2007, the company scored the NBA as a key client, which started in a trial with BroadbandTV, and stemmed into an agreement. The multi-platform network has 79,000 partners and gets more than 18 billion page views per month.

Rafati said that by 2019 she expects there to be more than 1 million minutes of content portrayed across all IP networks. That translates into an average user spending 5 million years to watch the video content that is deployed every month. That content is not created solely by large media companies, but by the next generation of content creators.

"My passion in life is to be able to help this new generation of content creators, empower them with the right solutions, tools, technologies to be able to succeed," Rafati said.

Moving forward, Rafati sees a future of new content creators who are not just cord cutters, but what she calls "cord-nevers." These are people that have never had a cable subscription and have grown up with Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), YouTube and Snapchat in their lives.

The amount of M&A activity in the media space from companies like Disney (NYSE: DIS) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) tell her that they are attempting to be a part of the digital revolution of new content creators.


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