Our Story

During his tenure at Murdoch University in Australia, Dr. Duane Varan founded Audience Labs (formerly the Interactive Television Research Institute) in 2001. Four years later, Dr. Varan launched the Beyond :30 Project, one of the world’s largest and longest-running consortium exploring the changing media and advertising landscape. The consortium brought together global leaders from the media, advertising and agency worlds to help answer the most pressing questions of tomorrow.

After seeing the insightful, innovative and scientifically rigorous research executed for Beyond :30, Disney Media Networks approached Dr. Varan with an intriguing proposal: they sought a dedicated custom research lab to perform the same type of research done for Beyond :30, but on a broader scale. And so in 2008, MediaScience® was born. We operated under an exclusive partnership with Disney Media Networks, including ESPN, ABC, ABC Family and the Disney Channel over the next five years.

In late 2013, we came out of our exclusivity window with the Disney Media Network and the company began to grow. In 2016, a new media lab launched in Chicago, reinforcing our commitment to bring the latest advances and thinking to the advertising and media communities. In 2019, we plan to launch a third facility (in New York) as well as a line of new tech products.

MediaScience is a team of highly skilled PhDs, researchers, sales and brand strategists with expertise in neuroscience, psychology, media research, brand marketing and computer science. With our university and industry partners, we continually strive to identify the best research tools and methods for clients.

Leadership Team

Duane Varan, PhD - Founder & CEO

As a global authority on new audience measurement methods, Duane has been invited to speak at industry conferences and deliver keynotes at over 50 events across five continents. During his tenure at Murdoch University in Australia, he founded Audience Labs. Duane has led the Advertising Research Foundation’s landmark NeuroStandards 1.0 initiative and founded Beyond :30, one of the world’s largest and longest-running consortium exploring the changing media and advertising landscape. Duane has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Australian Prime Minister’s University Teacher of the Year award.

In his spare time, Duane likes to read about architectural history and working on his Broadway musical about Al Capone.

Amy Rask, PhD - EVP, Operations

Amy’s background in marketing, advertising, public relations and psychology fuels her passion for research with MediaScience. She received her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Alabama with a cognate in Cognitive Psychology. She also has a Masters degree in Advertising & Public Relations, and a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing. She has presented and published research in a variety of areas including advertising effectiveness, cognitive processes during multitasking, media effects (violence, body image, etc.) and advergaming. Amy won many awards in her academic career and worked as a research fellow at the Interactive Television Research Institute at Murdoch University (Australia). Amy is based in Austin and has been with MediaScience since its inception in 2008.

When Amy is not in the lab, she enjoys spending time at home with her husband, two children, and french bulldogs. While at home, the Rask family raises chickens and honey bees and spends lots of time in the Texas outdoors.

Artie Bulgrin - EVP, Strategy & Insights

A senior media research executive and industry leader with 37 years of experience. Artie recently retired from ESPN where he built a highly respected global research and analytics team and was responsible for all research and analytics related to media audiences, ad sales, distribution, marketing & advertising performance, consumer insights, and brand strategy. He also developed a reputation as an innovator in cross-platform media measurement and lab-based advertising research. As an industry thought leader, Artie has been a frequent public speaker on stages around the world and has been active in key organizations such as the Advertising Research Foundation, the Media Ratings Council, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement and the Council for Research Excellence.

Shruthi Arismendez - Operations Director

Shruthi’s professional skill set and personal passions revolve around two common themes: development and empowerment. Shruthi first joined MediaScience as a project manager because of the company’s innovative consumer neuroscience research and quickly found an energetic team that she could lead and develop into the best in the industry. She builds, maintains, and manages teams that meet the needs of our projects, technologies and clients working across Austin, Chicago, and New York. She also contributes to the strategic direction and project delivery capabilities of MediaScience’s many teams. Prior to joining MediaScience, Shruthi held leadership roles within academia where she was challenged with building and scaling programs, policies, and innovative initiatives from the ground up while building strong leadership focused on delivering exceptional bottom line performance.

Shruthi grew up in the great state of Texas and attended Baylor University as an undergraduate, and University of Texas as a postgraduate. Outside the office, Shruthi loves to spend time with family, particularly her husband, son, and dog. When not on mommy duty, Shruthi enjoys trying new foods and wine, playing sports, and hosting game nights.

Daniel Bulgrin - Lab Director, New York

Daniel manages the newest MediaScience lab, based in New York and also plays a key role in servicing clients, marketing efforts, and new products. Daniel travels often from lab to lab, meeting with clients and helping lead projects. Prior to joining MediaScience in early 2018, Daniel spent five years at the Advertising Research Foundation – where he worked with members who were engaged in event sponsorships and ARF’s research initiatives.

Daniel grew up 20 miles outside of New York City in Long Island. He enjoys golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter. Like his father, Daniel also suffers from being a Mets fan.