Archive for December, 2010

Julian Assange talks secrets, leaks and why he won’t go to Sweden

December 24th, 2010

Julian Assange, Founder of WikiLeaks, in an interview with David Frost
Julian Assange, founder of whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, recently sat down with David Frost in an episode of “Frost over the World.” In the 24 minute-long interview, Assange talks in-depth about the role of WikiLeaks and why he won’t go to Sweden.

Assange has seen an enormous amount of publicity recently, as WikiLeaks is in the process of releasing more than 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables. He is also fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted on sexual assault charges.

Named “Man of the Year” by Le Monde, Julian Assange has been called everything from the leader of transparency in government to a “high-tech terrorist.”

In this special episode of Frost over the World, Assange speaks at great length about a number of issues ranging from the role of WikiLeaks as a leader of transparency to its goal of unveiling government secrets when it’s important for the public. The interview aired Dec. 21, Dec. 22 and Dec. 23 on Al Jazeera.

In the interview, Assange implies a fair trial in Sweden is not likely and his lawyers are concerned he will end up in an American jail. Some critics seem to agree, saying “Sweden’s reputation as a socially advanced nation is looking shakier by the minute.”

Assange says he does not blame his two accusers for allegations against him. Instead, he suggests they may be mixed up in a bigger political scheme.

In this sit-down interview with Frost, a number of questions are brought forward, including: “Why was the most senior prosecutor in Sweden removed (and replaced) after he said there was ‘no evidence or even suspicion’ of rape?” And, “Why do Swedish authorities refuse to provide British officials with any evidence of crimes Assange allegedly committed ? including withholding the statements of the victims?”

The interview is below:

[Cross-posted to Digital Journal and Future of Media]

More than 700 billion YouTube videos viewed in last 12 months

December 23rd, 2010

YouTube screen grab

According to a post on YouTube’s corporate blog, more than 13 million hours of video have been uploaded to YouTube servers in the last 12 months, resulting in more than 700 billion views.

“We’re privileged to work with the most passionate and talented partners in the world, who produce and upload videos that inspire us, make us laugh and move us — and, most importantly, change the way we look at the world,” writes Tom Pickett, Director of Content Operations & Online Creators for YouTube.

When you break it down, more than 1.9 billion videos were watched each day and YouTube members uploaded more than 35,000 hours of video per day.

In addition to the growth in uploads and time spent watching videos, YouTube announced it now has 15,000 participants in its partner program that allows content creators to share in revenue generated from ads within videos.

To celebrate its growth over the last year, YouTube is giving 500 of its most successful partners $1,000 in credits to B&H Photo to buy new video production equipment. YouTube says the group of 500 partners collectively generated billions of video views this year.

If you’re curious about the Top 10 YouTube videos of all time, I’ve posted the on Digital Journal here.

Newspapers surpass broadcasters in total minutes of videos streamed

December 22nd, 2010

According to a report from video-hosting platform Brightcove, newspapers have pulled ahead of broadcasters in total minutes of videos streamed for the first time in Q3 this year.

“This is an interesting development, and suggests that newspapers are rapidly adopting and producing video content for what was once a print business,” the report (PDF) says. “This data also bears out the distinct differences in the content between the two verticals: broadcasters have fewer but longer titles, while newspapers are producing many more, but shorter titles on a more regular basis.”

Courtesy Brightcove

Brightcove says newspapers streamed 313 million minutes compared to 290 million for broadcasters. Newspapers also saw more titles uploaded and spikes in video production coincided with major events such as U.S. mid-term elections and the World Cup. The report says newspaper uploaded 482,000 titles in the Q3, an increase of 51 percent compared to the previous quarter and 100 percent growth compared to the same quarter last year.

Courtesy Brightcove

Video uploads from the online media category passed broadcast uploads for the first time in Q3, a growth of 188 percent compared to this time last year for online media.

When it comes to time spent watching video, the report says audience engagement stayed relatively the same over Q1, Q2 and Q3. Some verticals, however, saw a decrease in minutes watched. As the study notes: “Completion rates went up in some of the same verticals, suggesting that while the content may be shorter, engagement via completion rates may be higher.”

Newspapers and brand marketers were the only two verticals who did not see a slight drop in average minutes viewed per stream. Broadcasters were much higher than other verticals for average minutes watched per stream, a fact Brightcove attributes to long-form content.

Courtesy Brightcove

When it comes to watching a video from start to finish, the report says completion rates were relatively constant but spikes were seen from online media properties, broadcasters and brand marketers.

Video discovery and referrals

Facebook overtook Yahoo for video referral traffic in Q3 and the company is now second only to Google. Facebook accounts for 9.6 percent of all referred video to media companies.

Futhermore, visitors who come through Twitter spend more time watching video. Brands saw Twitter users watch 1:47 minutes of video, broadcasters saw 1:57 minutes of video plays from Twitter users, and online media properties saw Twitter users watch 1:40 minutes of video content.

“Google accounted for significantly higher engagement for newspapers at 1:57 minutes, compared to the category average of 1:27 minutes,” the report notes. “This suggests that viewers look to the search engine as a source for the most relevan breaking and timely content.”

Courtesy Brightcove

The report also says, “Facebook was the most engaging referral source for entertainment categories, including broadcasters (1:57 minutes) and magazines (1:34 minutes). This can be explained that entertainment is a more commonly shared and more engaging content type among friends connecting on the social network.”

Courtesy Brightcove

Video consumption breakdown by device

In Q3, Brightcove looked at minutes of video watched and how it changed across various devices. The company says game consoles (such as Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation) came out on top with an average of 2:45 minutes watched per view. Online consumption came in at 2:27 minutes per view.

“This is not surprising given that gaming consoles are currently the most common playback device connected to TVs and most closely replicate a comfortable lean-back experience,” the report says. “We anticipate this disparity to increase as more customers make content available to viewers through connected TV apps and gaming consoles.”

Courtesy Brightcove

More information and statistics are available here (PDF).

[Cross-posted to Future of Media]

Digital Journal launches smartphone apps powered by Polar Mobile

December 15th, 2010

Left to right: Digital Journal CEO, Chris Hogg, and Polar Mobile CEO, Kunal Gupta, show off the new Digital Journal app. The free news app is now available for iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry devices, Android devices and Windows Phone at app.digitaljournal.com

We’ve just made a big announcement on Digital Journal so I’ve included the press release below:

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As one of the first news outlets to bring user-generated content to mobile phones, Digital Journal is extending its presence to smartphones in partnership with Polar Mobile. Today, Digital Journal announces apps for almost every smartphone on the market.

Digital Journal has partnered with Polar Mobile to release free news apps for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch as well as BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone devices. Available for free at app.digitaljournal.com, the apps enable smartphone users to read news from Digital Journalists working in 175 countries around the world.

Readers can follow breaking news via Digital Journal’s smartphone app and share articles via Facebook, Twitter and email from within the apps.

“We’re very excited about bringing user-generated content to virtually all smartphone platforms at once,” said Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal Inc. “Mobile platforms are shaping the future of media, and we’re happy to partner with Polar Mobile to bring our engaging news network into the palm of your hand.”

In partnership with Polar Mobile, Digital Journal is releasing free news apps for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch as well as BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone devices. Available for free at app.digitaljournal.com, the apps enable smartphone users to read news from Digital Journalists working in 175 countries around the world.

The Digital Journal news apps feature articles, blogs and images from professional and citizen journalists, bloggers, photographers and reporters around the world.

“Every brand needs a mobile strategy, and we are pleased Digital Journal has chosen to work with Polar’s Platform to grow their reach on mobile and drive new revenue,” said Kunal Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, Polar Mobile.

“The launch of Digital Journal’s new smartphone apps complement our highly interactive mobile site at m.digitaljournal.com,” said Hogg. “Our smartphone app gives mobile news readers a clean and simple interface to read news, while our mobile website offers them the chance to take part and engage in the news-gathering process.”

According to Morgan Stanley Research, the smartphone market will grow to 1 billion units by 2013. Gartner research reported worldwide mobile phone sales totalled 417 million units in the third quarter of 2010, a 35 percent increase over the same period the year before. The application marketplace is also expected to see booming growth, as the global market for mobile app downloads is expected to climb to 21 billion downloads by 2013, a Polar Mobile report indicates.

Download the app on your phone by searching for “Digital Journal” in your device’s app store or marketplace. You can also visit app.digitaljournal.com to download the free Digital Journal news app!

About DigitalJournal.com:

DigitalJournal.com is a global digital media network that attracts millions of readers. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, DigitalJournal.com covers breaking news from around the world and is a recognized leader in social news with tens of thousands of members in 175 countries around the world. DigitalJournal.com also consults news organizations on how to empower their audience to acquire content, drive revenue and increase engagement from digital media properties. For more information, visit digitaljournal.com.

About Polar Mobile
Polar Mobile is the global leader in enabling businesses to extend their presence across mobile devices by leveraging a proprietary software Platform (SMART™). More than 7 million people in over 100 countries use Apps powered by Polar’s SMART™ Platform for the most engaging mobile experience. Polar has over 400 Apps across iPhone, BlackBerry and Android smartphones for 200 world-class customers in news, sports, entertainment and lifestyle media verticals. For more information, visit polarmobile.com.

11 key elements for the future of mobile

December 13th, 2010

Photo by Ed Yourdon

Polar Mobile, a company that makes mobile applications for more than 150 customers including Time, BusinessWeek, and Sports Illustrated, to name a few, will release a paper today that will identify the top trends in mobile for 2011.

I obtained a copy of the report ahead of its release.

Among the 11 major trends to watch out for in 2011: Security threats, major fragmentation across various platforms and devices, and massive growth for the tablet market. According to the report, social media will play an increasingly important role in mobile and marketers and businesses will need to start focusing on engagement rather than number of downloads.

“Mobile will start to become part of every business’ marketing and distribution strategy in 2011,” Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile, said in an email statement. “That’s where we all spend our time and brands, marketers and publishers will want to capture that opportunity.”

Going into 2011, Polar Mobile says the following areas are key to the growth of mobile over the next year:

Mobile strategies will extend beyond iPhone and iPad. Polar Mobile says simply having an iPhone app is not a true mobile strategy.

Research firm Gartner forecasts mobile App downloads will top four billion this year and grow to 21 billion by 2013.

Furthermore, more than 1 billion smartphones are expected to ship by 2013, with players other than just Apple (Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Symbian, Samsung and more)

For developers working with Android, fragmentation will become a challenge because Google has released seven versions of its Android OS (1.1, 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.01, 2.1, 2.2) in less than two years.

Polar Mobile says older Android devices will suffer from performance lags.

Furthermore, OEMs such as HTC, Samsung, LG and Motorola each customize their version of Android to distinguish their phones on the market. This will compound the Android fragmentation problems.

Tablets are going to be a major part of the growth of the mobile industry. Polar Mobile believes tablets will become as commonplace as computers, appearing in every home.

Going into 2011, Samsung, RIM, HTC, LG, Acer, Cisco, Dell, Motorola, OpenPeak, Viewsonic, Apple and others will all have their own tablets.

Customers will be drawn to new distribution channels and have more options when purchasing tablets, from OEMs, carriers and retailers.

Apple is expected to sell more than 10 million iPads and Samsung is expected to hit 1 million units sold this year. Gartner believes more than 55 million tablets will be sold in 2011.

Right now advertisers, marketers and businesses typically focus on number of downloads rather than number of active users. In 2011, that will change.

Polar Mobile says most businesses have no clue what happens inside their apps, which is why most only report on the number of downloads. In 2011, improved analytics and tracking capabilities will allow companies to build products that promote user engagement, and enable them to tweak based on real-world feedback.

Companies will shift priorities to focus more on continued usage than number of downloads.

Like the Web, social will play a huge part in the future of mobile.

Polar Mobile notes that 35 percent of Twitter’s active members use the service on their mobile device.

[url=http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics t=_blank]According to Facebook[/url], there are more than 200 million active users who access the site via their mobile device and those users are twice as active as non-mobile users.

Polar Mobile says mobile consumption habits are different than online user experiences and social will play a role in making mobile unique.

With the rise of usage on mobile platforms, the world will see more mobile-exclusive brands and content emerge.

Polar Mobile says new, mobile-only brands will be launched by traditional publishers and niche and focused content will be used to create “greater user stickiness.”

Companies that expand on mobile will also be able to leverage new distribution channels to acquire new users.

Paywalls are going to suffer on mobile. Outside of iTunes, Polar Mobile says it’s very difficult to buy physical or virtual goods on your phone, and limited infrastructure will be the stumbling block for paid content.

Polar Mobile says the industry needs major infrastructure updates and billing improvements before paid content and micro-transaction businesses will see mass adoption.

Applications and mobile websites will be more intertwined, offering a better user experience. Polar Mobile says apps will leverage the mobile Web to scale utility and add custom features across multiple devices.

As the app and mobile web markets mature, average users eventually won’t be able to tell the difference between a mobile website and an app.

Apps will begin using near-field-communication (NFC) technology to enable them to become mobile commerce tools. For example, retailers will be able to use NFC to increase in-store purchases by pushing notifications to shoppers about deals or specials.

Polar Mobile says Android Gingerbread, the recent release of the OS, also supports an API for NFC, giving developers the tools they need to build functionality into apps.

In addition to NFC, RFID chips implanted in smartphones will turn them into payment tools.

Companies and individuals will need to pay more attention to App security and threats, as mobile adoption grows into 2011.

Polar Mobile says smartphones often store far more personal information than desktops that is easily accessible by mobile apps, and App distribution channels do not currently mandate security testing.

The company warns that nefarious developers could use techniques such as spoofing, tampering, repudiation, information disclosure, denial of service, and elevation of privilege to get personal information.

Finally, Polar Mobile says fragmentation across operating systems and devices will grow exponentially. Going into 2011, there will be a huge number of mobile platforms, including Apple iOS, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, Windows Phone, HP Palm, Samsung Bada, Nokia Symbian and Intel MeeGo.

The device market will also expand, including smartphones, feature phones, tablets, smart TVs, automobiles, netbooks and browsers.