CES 2013: Second Screen Use On The Rise, But Revenue Is Not

During CES last week, representatives from television networks, software companies, cable providers and advertising firms gathered for the Second Screen Summit. 2012 was a busy year for second screens, as multiple companies, along with the Olympics, came out with companion products. But the direction and profitability of second screens remain in question. Continue reading CES 2013: Second Screen Use On The Rise, But Revenue Is Not

Are Amazon and Google on a Collision Course for 2013?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos got a “wake-up” call a decade ago, when he got word of a project at Google to scan and digitize product catalogs. “He saw it as a warning that the Web search engine could encroach upon his online retail empire, according to a former Amazon executive,” reports Reuters. That was just the beginning of a rivalry that will continue heating up in 2013. The two will compete even more fiercely in the online advertising, retail, mobile gadgets and cloud computing realms. Continue reading Are Amazon and Google on a Collision Course for 2013?

Digital Ad Revenues Smaller Than Expected for Media Firms

Digital may be a less lucrative proposition for traditional media companies than originally anticipated, according to 2012 figures that indicate legacy avenues remain primary ad revenue drivers. For the first nine months of 2012, digital advertising only accounted for about 15 percent of total newspaper ad sales, despite an increase in online readership. Additionally, radio posted digital ad revenues of $561 million for the same period, a mere 4.6 percent of the $12 billion the industry generated in total ad dollars. Continue reading Digital Ad Revenues Smaller Than Expected for Media Firms

Facebook to Aim for TV Dollars by Delivering Video Ads to News Feed

According to sources briefed on the company’s plans, Facebook “is set to unveil a new video-ad product in the first half of next year in its largest attempt to date to attract big swaths of ad dollars from TV advertisers,” reports Ad Age. Those same sources said the company will “offer video advertisers the chance to target video ads to large numbers of Facebook users in their news feeds on both the desktop version of Facebook as well as on Facebook apps on mobile phones and tablets,” according to the article. Continue reading Facebook to Aim for TV Dollars by Delivering Video Ads to News Feed

Will Amazon Launch New Focus on Online-Based Advertising in 2013?

Amazon could possibly throw the online advertising world into a frenzy with its upcoming “proprietary real-time bidding platform that plugs into exchanges and supply-side platforms, including Google’s AdX and PubMatic,” set for a full release in early 2013. “This platform lets the company retarget its users across the Web based on their browsing and purchase habits on Amazon’s owned-and-operated properties,” reports Ad Week. With Amazon’s recommendation engine and database, this could “be a game changer,” according to the article. Continue reading Will Amazon Launch New Focus on Online-Based Advertising in 2013?

IAB Study Determines Mobile Video is Not All About Being Mobile

Most consumers who watch television programs or movies on their wireless devices are not actually doing so while on-the-go, suggests a new report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The IAB report found that 63 percent of viewing takes place at home, while 36 percent takes place in a room that already has an existing device available to watch the content.

The report notes that two-thirds of respondents watch more than one hour of video a week on their smartphones or tablets. However, 85 percent of it is consumed in short bites of less than 10 minutes, according to VentureBeat.

“We need to see mobile as a primary screen for on-demand consumption, not as an afterthought,” says David Levin, president of digital agency 360i.

The report also points out that entertainment content is the most consumed, with music in the lead, followed by movie trailers, tutorials and funny short video clips. Perhaps most interesting to advertisers, the IAB study learned that 53 percent of respondents indicated they’re okay with mobile video advertising and 48 percent said the ads should relate to the video content being watched.

Video Ads on the Increase as Online Video Views Reach Record Levels

  • Have you noticed a recent increase in ads that appear in Web videos?
  • We’re watching more Web video than ever before; comScore reports more than 42 billion online video views in the U.S. for October alone. New figures from start-up FreeWheel indicate we’re also watching more Web video ads.
  • According to FreeWheel, which serves and manages video ads for companies such as Turner, Vevo and Fox, there has been a 128 percent ad view growth from Q1 of 2010 to Q3 of this year.
  • Online viewers have also increasingly finished the ads they start watching, especially when accompanied with longer Web videos.
  • “Big picture, the Web video business is still very much a work in progress,” reports AllThingsD. “And there’s still a long way to go: Video ads grew 42 percent in the first half of the year, but still only make up 6 percent of the overall Web ad business. But if it keeps headed in this direction it’s going to quickly make up ground.”

Cinematographer Praises the Soon-to-be-Released Canon EOS C300

  • Jonathan Yi is a freelance director and cinematographer who works largely in film and advertising. He teaches camera and cinematography at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts film program.
  • Yi recently posted an impressive six-minute test video of the new Canon EOS C300 that makes comparisons with current DSLRs and reveals a new standard for digital cinematography.
  • “I believe that Canon made a beautiful camera that is sensible, reliable and portable in a way that I’ve always dreamed a camera could be. It prioritizes great skin tone and has higher ISO sensitivity than any other camera out there,” he writes. “I know there’s nothing I can say to change the minds of the RED fan club. For the rest of the skeptics, I think once you get your hands on it you’ll understand how great this camera really is. Please buy this camera in January and go film some good skin tones in the dark. You’ll love it.”
  • The EOS C300 and EOS C300 PL are expected to be available in early 2012, at an estimated cost of less than $20,000.
  • Yi’s (very) detailed review is available on the Canon site, in which he writes: “As Canon’s flagship 1080p HD cameras, the EOS C300 and EOS C300 PL are designed to fit a wide variety of production needs. They are at home as A Cameras for Independent Films, Commercials, Television and Dramas as well as B Cameras on Major Motion Pictures, offering in addition to the more common 23.98P frame rate, several selectable frame rates including a straight 24.00P setting for intercutting directly with film originated material. Full HD 1920×1080 (1080p) is currently the most used and needed deliverable frame size for these applications. The EOS C300 and EOS C300 PL provide easy adoption and simplified workflow that 4K cameras currently cannot deliver.”

Secret Google Lab Where the Future is Imagined and Robots Run Free

  • A top-secret lab called Google X is tackling a list of 100 “shoot-for-the-stars” ideas, including an elevator to outer space, a refrigerator connected to the Internet that orders groceries as they run out, and robots that serve a variety of tasks.
  • A Google worker familiar with the project likened it to how the CIA is mysteriously run. “In interviews, a dozen people discussed the list; some work at the lab or elsewhere at Google, and some have been briefed on the project,” reports The New York Times. “But none would speak for attribution because Google is so secretive about the effort that many employees do not even know the lab exists.”
  • Most of the ideas are only conceptual at this point, but others may eventually see the light of day. One idea that may reach the public involves driverless cars. It would not only provide a new business for Google, but promote the company’s navigation or information technology for cars as well as location-based ads.
  • Additional ideas in development include ways of connecting objects to the Internet, such as a garden planter that could be watered remotely, a coffee pot set to brew from another location, or a light bulb that could communicate wirelessly with Android devices.

Panel Notes from FoE 5: At What Cost? Privacy Issues in a Digital World

The following are some notable comments from a panel at last week’s Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT.

Panel: “At What Cost? The Privacy Issues that Must Be Considered in a Digital World”

  • If individuals release personal information to the world, they have to distinguish when they are really losing their privacy and when they are legitimately sharing information.
  • Just because we are sharing information in different patterns today, that doesn’t mean that we have to think of privacy as a whole any differently.
  • Everyone needs to know and be aware of what each service provider’s positions are regarding privacy.
  • There should be a push to track and openly comment on user privacy policies by companies.
  • There is no question that personalization requires giving one’s information. But this is only because we have not been creative enough in developing a solution that doesn’t require information sharing. Not enough thought has gone into having personalization and privacy live side by side without compromise.
  • Here are a few examples from outside the entertainment space that have been able to personalize a user experience without compromising their privacy: Using GPS information for vehicles on the road, traffic patterns can be generated. Companies extract information from each vehicle, and anonymise the information. By using the information in aggregate each driver can receive a personalized traffic report.
  • Adnostic is a system that provides targeted ads without tracking. It does the ad recommendations by pushing all the tracking to the client side, so that the centralized 3rd party service never knows what you are doing.

Speakers:
Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard University)
Helen Nissenbaum (New York University)

Study says 80 Percent of Mobile Users Multitask while Watching TV

  • Digital advertising agency Razorfish recently partnered with Yahoo to conduct a study regarding consumer behavior and the simultaneous use of television and mobile devices.
  • “While 80 percent of mobile users multitask in front of TV, 70 percent say they multitask once a week, and 49 percent on a daily basis,” reports Lost Remote. “More than 60 percent check their phones at least ‘once or twice’ during a show with 15 percent active on their devices the entire time.”
  • These multi-taskers are primarily attracted to content related to reality shows, news, comedy, sports and food.
  • The study suggests that 38 percent believe the mobile activity enhances TV broadcasts, while an equal 38 percent find it distracting.
  • Lost Remote reports: “94 percent of mobile multitaskers communicate while watching TV, while 60 percent are looking up content. Of the communicators, the most popular activities in order are: texting, talking, email, social networking and IM.”
  • Razorfish and Yahoo also learned that most of the mobile activity takes place during commercial breaks.

Pandora Targets the Vast Majority Who Pay Little or Nothing for Music

  • Speaking at the GigaOM RoadMap conference this week, Pandora CTO Tom Conrad suggested that more than half of Americans do not pay for music each year, while 40 percent only pay about $15 annually.
  • “Conrad revealed that his company aims to monetize the vast majority of listeners who pay little or nothing per year for music,” reports TechCrunch.
  • “While there are opportunities to build businesses on the 10 percent who are willing to pay more, Pandora plans to focus on monetizing the majority via advertisements. Other music companies might be wise to target the non-paying segment as well.”
  • Pandora is working to expand across multiple areas, including “in the home, the television, the living room, the bedroom, even embedded above the ice maker on your refrigerator,” and in your car.
  • Conrad doesn’t feel threatened by Spotify’s success. “I see Spotify as largely complementary to what Pandora does,” he said. “Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek says he thinks Spotify is the future of the record store, and that Pandora is the future of radio.”

Networked Insights Hopes to Fine-Tune Social Data for TV Advertisers

  • Nielsen data is no longer enough for effective TV planning and buying, suggests Networked Insights, a company that “analyzes social data to uncover trends and consumer engagement opportunities.”
  • Networked Insights recently published reports that focus on the value of television viewers’ social data. One such report examined top social TV shows from FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS and CW. Viewers were grouped by TV Fans, Millennials, Gamers, Electronic Consumers, Moms and Sports Fans, while general sentiments from each group were analyzed.
  • “What’s impressive is how the company looks at specifically where ad money is being spent to analyze the conversations around the show,” reports Lost Remote. “For example, before the show even premiered, they described NBC’s ‘massive ad campaign’ for ‘Whitney’ as a ‘Social Turkey,’ and that ‘over-hyping a show is underwhelming potential fans.'”
  • Another report revealed opportunities for a Toyota Corolla TV ad to improve its digital strategies, specifying where targeted spending would be most effective. Respondents included fans of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” The article suggests that the case study “is pretty compelling proof that social data can help you get the competitive advantage in TV planning and buying if you listen in the right places across the social web.”
  • Networked Insights recently announced $20 million in series B funding from Goldman Sachs.

Are Popular Online Brands Leading to the Rise of Digital Monopolies?

  • France recently banned TV and radio show hosts from naming Facebook, Twitter, or other specific sites unless directly referencing a news story involving the companies. The regulation was created to reduce bias for the popular social networks over other striving, lesser known sites.
  • Apple’s iTunes has benefitted from the phrase “Now available on iTunes” commonly tacked onto advertisements where it was previously customary to simply say “Now available in all good music stores” — which could today be updated to say “online music stores” in order to include other music providers.
  • Additionally, the phrase “Now available on Amazon.com” has become standard for book promotions, which basically provides free advertisement for the site while ignoring other providers.
  • Similarly, “Follow us on Twitter” and “Like us on Facebook” have dominated commerce. “Social networks only work when people use the same ones. In other words, they naturally lend themselves to being monopolized,” suggests The Next Web.
  • Some brand names have now become part of everyday language. Google, for example, has grown so popular that it is commonly used as a verb when describing the act of searching online. TiVo is also regularly used as verb, and sometimes replaces “DVR” in conversation.
  • The article casts doubt on the actual effects regulation would have on social media monopolies: “…users will typically go where all the action is taking place.”
  • “The Internet isn’t a monopoly though. It’s an oligopoly consisting of multiple monopolies from different digital industries, and the reason this is happening really isn’t all that complicated,” adds The Next Web. “Success breeds success, something which underpins most monopolies, whether we’re talking about dominant languages, biological species or, indeed, Internet technology companies. Hegemony stems from success, and it’s certainly not unique to the Internet age.”

Tout is Like Twitter for Video: Is This the Next Chapter in Social Media?

  • Social startup Tout offers a Twitter-like microblogging service, but enables users to publish 15-second video clips instead of 140-character text fragments.
  • “In other words, now anyone can be famous for 15 seconds,” suggests San Jose Mercury News.
  • When asked how it’s different from the Facebook feature that lets users post video chats, CEO Michael Downing explained the “abbreviated and near-instant nature of ‘touts’ makes them like mini-conversations.”
  • Endorsements from high-profile users such as Shaquille O’Neal, Mitt Romney and ESPN are helping the service build momentum.
  • O’Neal is one of many celebrities who have taken to communicating via Twitter (he currently has more than 4 million followers). “But what I’ve been noticing about Twitter lately is that you don’t know who the person you’re talking to really is,” he said. “When you can see my picture, you know it’s me.” O’Neal is so impressed with Tout that he took an ownership stake.
  • Since launching in mid-April, the San Francisco-based startup has attracted 4 million unique visitors. “It took Twitter two years to hit 1 million visitors,” explains Downing. “We hit it in under 12 weeks.”

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