Current Hires New Media Pres

paullevineCurrent Media has chosen Paul Levine as its new president of new media. We don’t usually post about new hires, but this one seems notable because Current has long lagged in taking advantage of the opportunity it has to meld the web and television. Levine seems like sort of an odd choice for such a content-focused job, given his most recent job experience was running product, marketing, and customer operations for online ad company AdBrite, and before that he was at Yahoo Local (s YHOO) and E-Trade (s ETFC) — but perhaps a web guy is just what Current needs.

For Current’s first two years, its web site was used purely to intake independent producers’ segments for its cable channel. Recently the San Francisco-based company has made better efforts to include services like Twitter and 12seconds.tv in its live news coverage. In November, Current got rid of 60 positions and said it would tighten the bonds between its web and TV efforts by nailing down key content verticals like news, comedy, music and technology.

Joanna Drake Earl had previously occupied Levine’s position, but she was promoted to COO in December. In a phone interview, Levine said he wants to continue Current’s revamped strategy of promoting communities around topics and news events.

Levine pointed to his content experience from his previous gig at Yahoo Local (though he said local coverage was not necessarily part of Current’s plan). Levine added that Current would beef up its aggregation technology so it would not have to rely completely on its Digg-like system for news submissions.

Online Ads Still the New Black as AdBrite Raises $23M

Update: The buzz on Sand Hill Road these days is all about online advertising plays. Never mind the fact that most of the “online ad” business is living on scraps compared with the Godzilla-like Google (GOOG). The latest testimony to this craze: $23 million in new funding for AdBrite, a company started by Phil “Pud” Kaplan, well-known for his escapades and his iconic site, F–kedCompany.
PE Hub reports that the three-year-old AdBrite got cash from Sequoia Capital and their quasi-affiliate hedge fund, Artis Management. With this new infusion, the company has raised a total of $35 million. We suspect there may be more cash coming their way, as this round might not be closed just yet.
Adbrite issued a press release that lists DAG Ventures and Mitsui Ventures as new investors. BritePic, Full Page Ad, and  Facebook App Channel – have fueled AdBrite’s rapid growth, Ignacio Fanlo, CEO of AdBrite said and claimed that company was the third largest ad-network behind Google and Advertising.com. The round the company says is closed at $23 million.