Archive for the ‘advertising’ category

Pixazza rebrands as Luminate, looking to make images more interactive

July 27th, 2011

The company formerly known as Pixazza has rebranded as Luminate and they’re launching a new platform today that changes what you think of when you hear the word “images.” Instead of being static photos, Luminate turns images into mini applications.

“Images are the center of the Web,” Bob Lisbonne, the company’s CEO, told USA Today. “But until now, they didn’t do anything. “We want to put little apps at the bottom of the image, so that there’s interactivity, there’s information, there’s functionality…behind every image you see online.”

So how does it work? When a user mouses over an image, they’re given a number of ways they can interact with it, such as shopping, sharing, commenting and navigating. For example, using the image above, when a user clicks on the Luminate icon in the corner of an image he or she is given options to see more details about the dress in the image, including links on where to buy it:

You can also share directly with friends via social networks; find out stats about athletes within photos; there are links to related info online; users can tag images based on geography and more.

The ability to layer product data onto images is not new, but Luminate promises a streamlined, simple process with a very reach feature set.

The company has racked up 4,000 publishers who now use the technology, including US Weekly, Hearst Digital Media and Access Hollywood. In addition, Luminate delivers ads seen by more than 150 million unique users per month — triple the numbers the company saw at the start of 2011. The new platform is expected to deliver even larger audiences across categories such as commerce, information, social, organization, advertising, navigation, public service and presentation.

Luminate has raised nearly $20 million in funding and competitors include Stipple, Image Space Media, GumGum and others.

The beauty in Sony promo video for upcoming tablet

June 17th, 2011


Sony is gearing up to launch two tablets called the Sony S1 and the Sony S2, but not much is known about them yet.What we do know is that they are built on Android Honeycomb and the S1 boasts 9.4-inch screen, while the S2 is smaller with two 5.5-inch displays.

To tease about what’s coming, Sony has put together a five-part story called “Two will” featuring the Sony Tablet. In the first video, you get to see glimpses of the device but that isn’t what struck me as being impressive — the video itself did.In this video, we see a series of domino-like movement with steel balls moving along, knocking things over, before starting a small model train.

The idea is not new, but the way this video is shot is really striking, reminding me of a Tim Burton film. The lighting is captivating and the “episode” is a really unique way to generate buzz and build momentum around a product.

Good work Sony, this pre-launch video is well done. Not everyone agrees, but hey, that’s what opinions are all about.

Check it out embedded below and tell me what you think.

Future of Media recap: Start-ups, gamification and ‘pay-what-you-can walls’

April 11th, 2011

Future of Media panel on stage at the Drake Hotel in Toronto. From left to right: David Silverberg, Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

by David Silverberg and Chris Hogg

The future for media organizations is not all doom and gloom, and there is more opportunity and experimentation happening today than ever before. That was the overall discussion at Digital Journal‘s Future of Media panel discussion last night in Toronto.

In a meaty conversation that sunk its teeth deep into topics of start-up culture, gamification and paywalls, editors and experts discussed why we should be optimistic for legacy media and start-ups experimenting with innovative news projects.

Jamie Angus, acting head of news at BBC World News, talks with other panelists at a Future of Media event April 6, 2011 in Toronto. - Photo by Janusz ÜberallThe insightful debate included a wide array of media experts: Jamie Angus, acting head of news at BBC World News; Jon Taylor, senior director of content for Bell Media Digital; Chris Boutet, senior producer for digital media at the National Post; Mathew Ingram, a senior writer at GigaOM; and Kathy Vey, editor-in-chief of OpenFile. The discussion was moderated by David Silverberg, managing editor of DigitalJournal.com.

The theme of the night could be summed up by Ingram’s poignant one-liner: “When you’re on Death Row, it’s easy to find religion.” He referred to the important wake-up call many newspapers faced with plummeting ad revenue and an upturned business model.

Boutet of the National Post agreed and said his outlet has adopted a digital-first strategy to allow readers to easily consume online news, while making sure the print product still had strong long-form content. “It needs to start with digital and end in print,” he said.

The conversation often veered into the benefits and dangers of using on-the-ground reporting from citizens in global hot spots. Angus said the BBC had previously ignored social media but now the organization is increasingly incorporating tweets into its reportage. “That could never happen two or three years ago,” he admitted.

Ingram replied, “When Twitter came out, I don’t think anyone would have predicted newspapers would have entire staff devoted to their Twitter account.”

OpenFile editor Kathy Vey laughs as journalist Mathew Ingram tweets from the stage at a Future of Media event in Toronto. From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Vey, who runs the collaborative news start-up OpenFile, said she’s optimistic about journalism’s future, considering how many important news start-ups have made an impact in the U.S. She just wishes Canada could better nurture start-ups and entrepreneurs.

The conversation around start-ups took up a better part of the night, with each panelist discussing how a news organization could benefit by having an entrepreneurial approach to media production. Panelists agreed the lean approach without expensive overhead and the willingness to try new things is an important part of determining media’s future.

That said, Boutet, Vey and Ingram agreed entrepreneurial skills are not something journalism students learn in school, and students don’t enter j-school with the goal of graduating, starting their own company and trying to compete with a big newspaper.

Digital Journal Managing Editor, David Silverberg, moderating the panel discussion at a Future of Media event in Toronto. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Boutet said newsrooms need to create an environment where experimentation is encouraged, and an entrepreneurial mindset helps. He noted how the National Post has designers, programmers, digital media producers and journalists within the same area to facilitate collaboration.

Ingram agreed, saying a news experiment today can happen in an afternoon with $1,500 and a programmer who fires out some code. But that often doesn’t happen because the small numbers and quick turn-around time are not how media executives typically think. “They think in terms of months, not days,” Ingram said.

Some mainstream media outlets are stepping up their online news initiatives and experiments. At the National Post, for instance, the newspaper partnered with GeoPollster to allow people to check-in to venues with Foursquare with their political party affiliation, so a certain restaurant can be Conservative if enough Conservatives check-in to that spot en masse. “We wanted it to be fun,” Boutet said, and many panelists agreed entertaining media projects and “gamification” could benefit news outlets.

Taylor, from the newly minted Bell Media, said the growth of mobile and tablet platforms have also dramatically shifted focus and opened up many new opportunities for media outlets, especially broadcasters. “My job has 100 per cent changed because of those platforms,” he said. “We’re learning with everybody else. It’s constantly evolving.” Taylor said he’s hopeful the rules of the TV game will evolve into a more futuristic model, where it’s not just watching TV on your tablet PC, say, but also being able to swipe something from your tablet onto your TV somehow.

He also spoke about new revenue possibilities for broadcasters, saying there’s “no magic bullet” but that old ideas are becoming new again. “I think the answer is going to be a multitude of things, which include digital sponsorship, we have sponsors we have advertisers,” he said. “In the TV world you can only get so innovative, in the digital space it’s nearly unlimited.”

Taylor said the “This show is brought to you by…” line is something we’ll likely hear more often, but that media organizations have to be careful how they balance sponsorship and production. He said sponsors need to be happy with the presence, but broadcasters have to make sure content is not overly swamped with advertising messages.

From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor and Chris Boutet. - Photo by Janusz Überall

Angus agreed that mobile is an integral part of the future of media, noting that rapid adoption of mobile phones in some places such as Africa have replaced more traditional platforms such as radio. Angus said the BBC, and media organizations that reach massive audiences in very rural places, have new challenges because they must think about the medium or platform through which the message is being delivered. In some areas, media is consumed through more than just a newspaper or Internet connection. Angus said organizations who want to reach wide audiences now have to think about how much the end-user will have to pay to consume content via mobile versus other platforms when they decide where to invest and how they want to target new audiences.

On the topic of cost, the panel  discussed paywalls and how they fit in the media’s future. The BBC’s Angus and Ingram were at odds on this issue. Angus suggested the paywall experiment by the Times of London and New York Times could be the harbinger of things to come. ”What if they’re right, doesn’t that change things?” he asked. Ingram shook his head and said “But the Times of London lost a lot of pageviews…and now they’re just an expensive newsletter.”

From left to right: Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey and Mathew Ingram. - Photo by Janusz Überall

After some debate among panelists, Angus went back to the idea and admitted that while it may not be popular among readers it may be necessary for media outlets. He said if it becomes the norm, it may give media organizations enough of a revenue stream to encourage them to invest in the digital media space.

Boutet didn”t like the idea of a paywall because it’s an ultimatum that does not allow the reader to suggest how much they think content is worth. Telling a reader to pay $10 per month or go away, Boutet believes, is the wrong approach because it’s an all-or-nothing attitude. “What about a pay-what-you-can wall?” he suggested, saying some readers may not want to pay $10 per month but would be willing to pay $5. Having the option to let people price a product themselves provides a news organization with the opportunity to market-test various pricing options and determines what people will pay.

The panelists generally agreed a paywall or pay fence would work with specialty content, such as Wall Street Journal‘s financial news or ESPN.com‘s in-depth sports coverage. Ingram was unsure what metric would be used to measure success, though. “Does it look like 200,000 people paying to read your content, or does it look like millions?”

So what’s in store for the future of media? The panelists all seemed to agree experimentation is important and that the news industry as a whole is in better shape today than it has been over the last few years. That said, there are still a number of questions that need to be answered as far as concrete business models that will take shape.

Panelists present door prizes to attendees of the Future of Media event in Toronto. From left to right: Jamie Angus, Jon Taylor, Chris Boutet, Kathy Vey, Mathew Ingram and David Silverberg. - Photo by Janusz Überall

New technologies such as augmented reality provide some really interesting opportunities to media companies, and mobile phones, apps and tablets are a game-changer for how, when and where people consume content.

The overall tone of the night was optimistic, with panelists agreeing wholeheartedly the future looks much brighter than the past. Media organizations now need to focus on experimentation, and partnering with start-ups is a cost-effective way to innovate new ideas.

The panel also agreed newsrooms need to shed old attitudes and get people to talk to their audience in a two-way conversation via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, while at the same time remember that every word they say is essentially speaking on behalf of their respective media outlets. What you say, when you say it, and how you say it, are guidelines that media organizations need to quickly decide.

Video from the Future of Media event will be available shortly. Check back next week to see full coverage.

 

Report: Local digital ad revenue expected to nearly double by 2015 in U.S.

March 21st, 2011

Photo courtesy DigitalJournal.com

According to a press release issued today, BIA/Kelsey is forecasting a significant bump in local digital ad revenue over the next four years. The research and consulting firm says local advertisers are going to steadily migrate to digital media properties and revenues are expected to climb to $42.5 billion in the U.S. by 2015. That is almost double the $21.7 billion generated last year.

“This growth coincides with anticipated improvement in the U.S. economy and a continued rise in overall local advertising, which the firm expects will reach $153.5 billion in 2015, up from $136.3 billion in 2010, representing a 2.1 percent [compound annual growth rate],” the release states.

Some consider local advertising to be the Holy Grail of digital revenue, but it’s an area that has yet to fully maximize its potential. Small companies who have money to spend often find online advertising complicated or confusing to measure. Many also lack the resources or technical know-how to manage online advertising, so they simply don’t do it.

A growing exception to the rule are daily deal companies like GroupOn that have provided a very simple way to spend and measure return on digital investments. Google is also pushing its Google Places product for small business to get listed online.

BIA/Kelsey predicts digital media — including mobile, Web or other electronic means — will represent 23.6 percent of all local ad spending by 2015.

“As the business climate improves and advertisers step back into the market, they are gravitating to digital options that perhaps were not as mature before the recession began,” Tom Buono, CEO of BIA/Kelsey, said in a press release. “Our analysis indicates that as advertisers move to online, mobile and, particularly, the variants of social media, we are fast approaching a tipping point where digital media will soon become a dominant segment of the local advertising marketplace.”

Among the key drivers for increased digital spending are the growing number of smartphones and tablets; declines in newspaper revenue and the rise of paywalls; and interactive and online sectors are advancing rapidly with new options and formats.

Finally, BIA/Kelsey believes the social part of digital media is increasingly becoming a core channel for revenue. The company says the daily deal space alone will grow to $3.9 billion by 2015 and both Twitter and Facebook will be part of this expanding market.

[Cross-posted to Future of Media]

Yahoo announces digital newsstand for tablets and mobile

February 11th, 2011

Yahoo Livestand

Publishers seek to extend their reach with new technologies, and Yahoo has announced it is also getting in the game with the launch of Livestand, a digital newsstand designed for tablets and smartphones.

In an announcement made Thursday, Yahoo said Livestand will offer a steady stream of new content to consumers based on their interests. Livestand will be designed specifically for new tablets and mobile phones so articles, images, video and ads are optimized for the screen.

“Adoption of tablets and mobile phones is exploding, and digital media isn’t keeping up,” Blake Irving, executive vice president and chief product officer for Yahoo, said in a news release. “Consumers can’t find the publications they buy off the newsstand, and publishers and advertisers can’t reach the audiences they want to serve. We’re in a position to meet all of these needs. Livestand is an immersive environment that provides a dynamic and personalized experience for consumers, and a pipeline of fresh and active content for publishers and advertisers.”

Yahoo says content will be published from its vast content library, including Sports, News, Finance, Flickr, omg!, and the Yahoo Contributor Network.

“Livestand from Yahoo leverages Yahoo’s strengths in content and personalization and re-imagines them into a new kind of experience for the rapidly growing tablet and mobile phone categories,” a company press release touts.

Yahoo’s move to mobile and tablets comes on the heels its of research that showed 86 percent of people use mobile devices while watching TV. By bringing content to mobile and tablets, Yahoo hopes to capitalize on this expanding audience.

Yahoo says Livestand is designed to help people cut through the noise on the Web by personalizing content. Users can select content from specific sources and and factors such as time of day, location and a user’s personal interests will also be taken into consideration when content is published.

Speculation about a personalized news mobile experience surfaced earlier this week, as Yahoo already shows different content to visitors to Yahoo’s home page depending on what the company knows about their interests.

From a design perspective, Livestand promises to offer touch interaction, a sleek design and a “singular focus on content.” The platform will also leverage social interactions. From an advertising standpoint, the digital newsstand will offer targeting capabilities to specific devices and offer an interactive canvas that “brings magazine-style ads to the tablet.”

Livestand will be available for iPad and Android tablets in the first half of this year and mobile phones and browser experiences will follow after.