Archive for the ‘games’ Category

Google Buys Slide In Social Networking Push

August 6, 2010

from paidcontent.org

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is buying social app maker Slide, as part of its soon-to-come new entry into the social networking/social games space. Slide, which was founded four years ago by Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, is behind a number of popular social networking apps, including SuperPoke Pets and Top Fish.

TechCrunch, which first reported the deal, puts the price at $182 million; the NYT, which is confirming the news, says Google is paying $228 million.

Either way it’s a big discount to the $550 million valuationput on the company when it raised $50 million in a fourth round of funding in January 2008. Then again, there were signs that all was not well at Slide. It laid off staff a year ago, saying it wanted to focus on bigger ad deals.

We’ll likely have more details on Friday, when the deal is expected to be announced by both companies. Google says it won’t comment on “rumor or speculation.”

see original article at  http://paidcontent.org/article/419-google-buys-slide-in-social-networking-push/

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How Facebook will take over the world

July 13, 2010

from guardian.co.uk

Facebook will announce its 500 millionth user any day now, and that’s around 22% of all internet users globally. That’s a pretty impressive milestone, but founder Mark Zuckerberg has already said he expects Facebook to reach one billion users before long.

But given that take-up among those key demographics in the developed world isn’t far from saturation, the next phase of growth will be in developing markets and will prove harder work for the firm in the face of domestic incumbents, technological differences and government censorship. So how is Facebook moving in on those markets?

• Venturebeat interviewed Facebook’s head of international growth, Javier Olivan – the guy who led Facebook’s crowdsourced translation project. He described the development of a free, low-bandwidth mobile version. Facebook is making deals with at least 50 operators across India, Russia and more that means the expense of using data services is carried by the operators rather than users.

global domination by orphum.

Photo by orphum on Flickr. Some rights reserved

• Across Asia, the growth pattern varies from one extreme to another. Indonesia is just 500,000 users behind the UK, Facebook’s biggest userbase, and is top, according to comScore, in the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia. But in Vietnam and China Facebook is blocked, and elsewhere, like Russia, it faces an uphill struggle to overtake domestic rivals.

• Facebook acquired a Malaysian contact importing service called Octazen Solutions, which means it can tap a wide range of email services in the region.

• In India, the site built a database of school details to pre-populate lists and make it easier for users to search for friends, one of a number of ‘under the hood’ strategies for growth.

• Facebook is closing in on Google’s Orkut in both India, which appears to be stalling, and Brazil, where it has a quarter of Orkut’s traffic.

• In Japan, where it has 5% of the traffic of market-leading Mixi, Facebook had to focus on making a decent mobile web version rather than replying on apps. In Japan and South Korea, more users access social networks via mobile than by desktop, so Facebook has some substantial catching up to do given that Olivan admits its mobile site was “unusable” eight months ago.

• Interestingly China appears a no-go area, with Google’s problems and eventual withdrawal, the current block on Facebook and the dominance of domestic sites like RenRen, 51 and Kaixin001 presenting too much of a challenge at this stage. Olivan puts this down to “an ROI calculation that goes into every country we consider entering”.

• The New York Times also points out that though Olivan only has a team of 12, he is backed by Facebook’s $1bn annual revenues, which means significant investment in new products and a steamrolling of its rivals. It also means Facebook can continue to hire much of the world’s best developer talent, which it regularly poaches from Google.

Will Facebook reach 1 billion? I don’t doubt it. We can expect them to focus on the highest growth countries with strong commercial potential and the least established incumbents. But this will still be like Bagneres-de-Luchon to Pau on stage 16 of the Tour de France. Tough, in other words.

Also in Facebookland

• The New York Times has helpfully compiled an introductory guide, for those who might have been living in a cave for the past four years. Or, my mother.

• A Futurescape report predicts Facebook will fight Twitter for the $180bn global TV ad market as these social networks and back channels are formally built into new TVs. While social media has some impact on TV ratings now, the report predicts recommendation, discovery and content sharing will be central to pay-TV services in the future.

see original article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/jul/08/facebook-international-growth

The FT embraces Foursquare, and introduces day passes

April 13, 2010

from guardian.co.uk

If you’re already compulsively playing Foursquare and find yourself notching up points at, say, LSE, you’re in for a treat. The Financial Times new deal with a handful of leading business schools is the first major deal for the location service Foursqure in the UK, and demonstrates both the kind of marketing campaigns we will be seeing much more of, and how mainstream casual gaming has become.

The FT has done a deal with Foursquare

Foursquare users at the cafes in Cass, LSE, London Business School, Harvard and Columbia will be able to earn secret codes that will give them access to premium subscriptions for FT.com. More venues will be added as the campaign continues.

For Foursquare, this is an opportunity to promote itself to a wealthy and entrepreneurially minded userbase, while the FT gets a very fashionable marketing campaign. “We’re conscious we need to engage with readers in different ways,” said Rob Grimshaw, the FT’s head of digital operations. This is just one of a range of initiatives that are pushing the FT brand in social media spaces in ways that allow a different relationship with us, and there and tangible results.”

As I wrote last week, there is considerable potential in ‘funware’ for the news and publishing industries, and in incentivising a loyal community through a competitive points and rewards system where editorially appropriate. Grimshaw said that Twitter and Facebook are important tools in bringing people to the FT site, and though Foursquare is unproven as yet it is important to engage and experiment. As for the FT’s own in-house developers, Grimshaw wouldn’t give absolute figures but said no organisation trying to reshape its business for the digital age could ever have enough. “You could double the developer resource and still not have enough.”

Of late, the FT has found itself at the centre of a seemingly climactic discussion about the success, or not, of paywall systems. It has had some credit for its own strategy of a paid web subscription, but one that allows casual users access to ten articles each month, and overall counted 126,000 paying subscribers at the end of the financial year. The next push is with a daily pass, and plans for a carnet of day passes. This mirrors the newspaper itself, said Grimshaw.

“We accept that there are those people committed enough to subscribe annually, and a group that love the content but don’t want to commit to an annual subscription, and there’s a similar distinction online. Just offering an annual subscription is not enough. so there’s potential there.”

And how much potential is in the iPad? “The publishing industry is always looking to fix on the next saviour and there’s a lot of hype. But the pragmatic view is this is a new product and, for the next 12 months there won’t be enough people with one to make the community significant. At day one, this is about experimenting and playing with the channel, and while that might be important it is not central to our business.”

Grimshaw said it raises questions over the extent to which it competes with the phone and with ereaders as a content platform, and suggested the answer might be in how consumers treat the device. “I think users will like the experience and the evolution,” he said.

As ever, when the advertising market slumps, subscription looks like a great idea, and for the FT the paid-access strategy is reinforced by a wealthy and specialist audience base. But other publications, too, have to explore paid access in this climate. Grimshaw quoted recent IAB figures that put search ads at 60% of the UK online ad market, while display accounts for 20%.

“When you think about the different companies trying to float operations from that 20%… social media outfits, traditional publishers, portals, specialists and ad networks – it’s just not big enough to float everyone’s ambitions.

see original article http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/apr/12/foursquare-ft

Endemol Sets Up Global Brands Business

March 30, 2010

from worldscreen.com

By Kristin Brzoznowski
Published: March 29, 2010

LONDON: Endemol’s new division, Endemol Worldwide Brands, will focus on extending the company’s properties across multiple platforms, including investment in product development and the creation of games applications and branded entertainment.

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Serving as CEO of the new division is Oliver Gers, former senior executive at FremantleMedia and IMG Media. As part of his new role, Gers will be responsible for Endemol Group’s key digital activities following the integration of digital into the company’s core commercial business. Gers takes up the post with immediate effect and is based at Endemol Group’s offices in London, reporting to Tom Toumazis, Endemol’s chief commercial officer. Joerg Bachmaier, former senior VP of digital media business development at Endemol USA, has been named senior VP and general manager for the Americas at Endemol Worldwide Brands. Further appointments will be announced in due course.
 

Toumazis commented: “The launch of Endemol Worldwide Brands represents another significant step forward in our ongoing strategy for growth; one which we believe will add considerable value to our IP. Olivier has a proven track record in the media industry as an innovator with extensive strategic and operational experience. His expertise in brand enhancement through digital media, original content creation and commercial extensions makes him ideally suited to lead this new worldwide venture.”

Gers added: “Endemol is perfectly positioned to launch a successful international business in this space. Its brands are recognized worldwide, attract a huge fan base and can cross over seamlessly into other forms of content and consumer products. This is an extremely exciting opportunity and I’m very much looking forward to the challenge and to working with Endemol’s leading operations around the world.”

see original article

http://worldscreen.com/articles/display/24916

4 Ways Non-Profits Can Use Google Buzz

March 21, 2010

from mashable.com

Geoff Livingston co-founded Zoetica to focus on cause-related work, and released an award-winning book on new media Now is Gone in 2007.

Despite some initial flaws, Google BuzzGoogle Buzz continues to show promise as a social marketing platform. It has a significant (though somewhat latent) user base, with an increasing number of loyalists who swear by it.

When a green field lies before you, so does opportunity. Some non-profits stand to gain from being part of the early Buzz adopter community. Whether a cause needs to further the dialogue with a tech-savvy crowd, or is attracted to the functionality of GmailGmail integration, Buzz does bring some new capabilities to bear.

Here are four great uses for Buzz in cause-based activity.


1. Manage Public Conversations Better


A useful feature of Google Buzz is its public threaded conversation stream. This format has significant advantages over TwitterTwitter’s disjointed @reply conversations and hashtag-based threads, as well asFacebookFacebook’s often high privacy walls.

“We’ve been looking at using Buzz to have public conversations about Mothers Fighting for Others‘ work with an orphanage in Kenya,” said Jeff Turner, President of Zeek Interactive. “We want to be able to facilitate a consistent thread of conversation, but we want it to be more public and open than Facebook or [Google] Wave would allow. With Buzz, we feel like we can maintain a clear stream of thought around a topic, and at the same time, do it in a public forum where someone we might not be able to envision being interested could join in.”


2. E-mail Integration Means Better Workflow


Gmail Buzz ImageNon-profits could use Buzz to manage workflow across a group. This can be useful for an organization with project teams spread across multiple offices or in the field. With e-mail integration, it saves the organization from having to set up a separate account with another private conversation tool likeBasecampBasecamp.

“An example would be to set up Buzz as a private group for a project team, large or small,” said Shireen Mitchell, a Washington D.C.-based digital activist. “Twitter updates, blog posts, and other related content that has an RSS feed can be connected to individual [Buzz] accounts tracking topics related to the project. The team can make comments and select “like” to provide a consensus of interest on each update. This would keep the team updated on news, topics and content for any existing issue-driven social media campaign of the organization. [It’s] sort of a mini crowdsourcing of the team.”


3. Finally Connect to “Unsocial” Users


Another interesting aspect of Buzz’s workflow and e-mail integration is the use of a system that blends 2.0 functionality with a 1.0 system. Non-profit managers can use this to intelligently blend workforce conversations between younger and older, or tech-savvy and entrenched members of their teams. Crossing the streams may enable better communications.

“Google Buzz allows users to publish private streams to specific contact groups,” said John Haydon, a non-profit social media strategist. “This is a perfect way to include staff members who don’t use social media in important real-time conversations, especially during news-worthy events like the earthquake in Haiti.”


4. Geo-Location Adds a New Element


Location Map Image

When Google launches a social network, it brings more to bear than your average start-up. Consider the ability to integrate geo-location with Google MapsGoogle Maps into your social network activity. People can see social activity on the fly.

“Fast forward to a cause marketing campaign like Starbucks’ partnership with Product RED,” said Joe Waters, author of the Selfish Giving blog. “Buzzing about the latest campaign to a really large audience with geo-location features [enabled] lets people see in real-time all the people [talking] about the campaign in their area — especially in densely packed areas in New York where [Starbucks] are practically right across the street from each other.

“In short, Buzz can potentially broadcast a cause marketing campaign to a much larger audience than say Twitter. And the geo-location feature, if it takes off, can give a program a real-time, tangible quality that can’t be replicated on another [social media] platform.”

see original article http://mashable.com/2010/03/20/non-profits-google-buzz/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mashable+%28Mashable%29

March 21, 2010

by Peter Katz and Jessica Richman

from culturehacker.workbookproject.com

MovieblogRemember the choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) books?  Those old childhood standbys are being recycled in the form of audience participation in movies, theatres, and online. Does she or doesn’t she? You get to decide…

In movies, CYOA has taken several forms. In 2006, Lean Forward Media, a company started by two Harvard Business School grads, created The Abominable Snowman, a CYOA-based DVD designed for children. In 2008, SilkTricky created the online movie Survive the Outbreak, a zombie flick that lets you CYOA. (A heist movie – Bank Run – is in the works.) Survive the Outbreak has a total of 21 scenes, with 10 total decision points: six options lead to death, and two lead to survival. (h/tTubefilter.tv)  More recently, creators have linked YouTube videos based on user clicks, a kind of DIY CYOA (examples). And just a couple of weeks ago? The web series Spade.

Some obstacles to uptake of this new format are familiar: audience familiarity with the medium, new ways of thinking by designers and filmmakers, technical issues with managing clicks. Moreover, these experiments raise some interesting artistic questions: what is the ideal ratio of decision points to scenes? Where should those decision points be placed? Does it differ for adults vs. children? One terrific feature of new media is that its easy to gather data to learn more about what works best – but it also means that there is still a lot of experimentation is left to do.

From a business perspective, the question, as always, is monetization. SilkTricky solves this problem by simultaneously formatting the online movies as iPhone games (which I couldn’t find in the online store for some reason); Lean Forward Media is selling children’s DVDs to parents (but they haven’t produced a movie since 2006, so I’m not sure how well that’s going). An interview with Lynn Lund of SilkTricky noted that they spent $35k on their movie, not including pre- or post-production, which they did themselves. These movies are not cheap.

But audiences really seem to like them. Web reviews of Survive the Outbreak were quite positive, with many lamenting only that the movie wasn’t longer (and some that the acting was bad – but that’s not exactly new for a zombie flick). That’s another possible problem with these new technique – they must stand on their own as movies and cannot rely on exclusively on a gimmick. So a filmmaker has to make 21 scenes to get to 8 endings, instead of (if we assume a similar ratio) three scenes to get to one. Making more scenes is more expensive, and demand will have to justify that cost.

What hasn’t been done on a wide scale are CYOA movies in movie theatres. CYOA has been used in live theatre productions (for example, the 2007 run of Intimate Exchanges, reviewed in the NYT) and in screenings at SXSW (The Weathered Underground, 2010). The question, though, is whether this technique could be used to bring people back to the theatres from their Netflix and their online gaming. And no one has yet put up the money to resolve that question. If audiences like it (as they seem to so far, at least on their own computer screens), this could lead to greater participation and engagement and perhaps a boost to the theatre-going experience.

There’s a reason why we all remember the CYOA books – they’re lots of fun. The next few years will undoubtedly see more attempts to transfer that sense of power and enjoyment to the big screen.

see original article http://culturehacker.workbookproject.com/2010/03/real-time-audience-feedback/

Producers’ Forum: Principles of Transmedia Storytelling

March 21, 2010

By Mansha Daswani

from worldscreen.com

NEW YORK: Jeff Gomez and Nathan Mayfield will be hosting a session at the MIPTV Producers’ Forum—a two-day initiative organized in association with World Screen—about developing stories and concepts across multiple platforms.

The first thing you need to know about transmedia storytelling is that it’s not the same thing as “cross-platform” or “cross media,” according to Jeff Gomez, the president and CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment. “Transmedia is where you’re planning and coordinating the rollout of an artful project, a story, and you’re using different media platforms as if each is an instrument and you’re composing a symphonic score,” he tells World Screen Weekly. “Each platform plays a role in telling a story. That what makes it distinct.”

Gomez will be participating in the Principles of Transmedia Storytelling session on Tuesday, April 13, at 3:30 p.m. as part of the Producers’ Forum, together with Nathan Mayfield, the chief creative officer and co-founder of Hoodlum. The executives will be hosting a creative boot camp, drawing on their extensive experience with transmedia projects—Gomez’s credits include James Cameron’s mega-hit Avatar, while Mayfield’s work includes Lost and Flash Forward.

“I can’t wait to share the learnings that we have made over the many projects we have produced,” says Mayfield. “This is a halcyon opportunity for producers to take charge, explore new models and, most importantly, truly engage with their audience. Our key tip is very simple: never make your audience feel stupid! So many online extensions we see rely on audiences to be tech savvy, our experiences never let the technology get in the way of good storytelling.”

Both executives stress the importance of transmedia projects today, given the increasing fragmentation of the media landscape. “In this day and age, people are enjoying stories on whatever platform they can,” explains Gomez. “At the core of any good transmedia implementation is a highly compelling story and when you become a fan of the story world, the body of fiction, you will feel compelled to chase it, to actually move from one platform to the next to get more enjoyment out of that aspirational universe.”

He continues: “No matter what country you’re from, in this day and age if you’re in television you’re noticing at least the start of an exodus away from television, particularly on the part of young people. Young people are becoming preoccupied with interactive media, video games, the web, and that is impacting ratings and it’s impacting revenues. With transmedia, you’re quite often addressing young people exactly where they live. There’s no doubt that television is still an incredibly powerful driving platform, but with transmedia, you’re increasing the touchpoints between your audience and the narrative.”

This is a view shared by Mayfield, who co-founded Hoodlum in Australia more than a decade ago and quickly became a pioneer in the world of online content. “We see these online extensions as the key deciders in an environment where audiences are seeking new ways to get their entertainment fix,” he notes. “Our most successful projects have been those that have a single message and URL across all channels of communication. Our most successful projects are ones that have all marketing pointing to our site. It is our responsibility to give audiences a taste of the film or TV series, a way to set up questions that can only be answered by the film or TV series. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that the leap you are asking your mainstream audience [to make] between TV and online is as small as possible… sending an audience from your beautiful, expensive TV series to a gritty handheld webisode will never be as effective as emulating the production values of the TV series in the online extension.”

One of Hoodlum’s most high-profile projects has been its work on Lost, with the Find 815 and The Dharma Initiative online experiences. “Studios were and continue to be very responsive to online extensions,” Mayfield says. “After all, they are in the business of storytelling and once we had allayed their fears, it was not long before they were calling on us to create stories that would be told across multiple platforms. ABC Studios was the first champion in the U.S. to really embrace the online extensions.”

Mayfield says that in approaching Lost, as with any other project, the process begins with “allaying the fears of the creatives involved. We are not about to take your beloved brand and create a story that sits outside the mythology that you have created. The key element is to ensure you have champions in your marketing and creative teams. Honestly, the devil is in the detail with these projects and that means you need to make sure you are working with pioneers who are going on the ride with you. This is the Wild West and we worked closely with the producers of the show and ABC Entertainment marketing to mobilize the fans. As I said above, ABC has really led with the way they have embraced online extensions. It was up to us to then make sure we were creating an experience that would ensure audiences wanted to return again and again.”

For Gomez, whose transmedia projects include Avatar and Showtime’s Dexter, the process begins with “immersing ourselves in the world such as it is when we arrive on the project. Our job in general is to collect all the information about the world [of the film or TV show] and present it in the form of a mythology. So we’re compiling everything that’s known about the universe, the characters, the locations, the historic story points, and putting it into one single massive document. And then we help our clients to determine how best to implement that story across an array of media platforms. So, how will this best work as a video game? How will this best work as a mobile execution? And in doing so, we also become the guardians of quality control. We make sure that the content lives up to the quality of the main story, so that you don’t get too much of that knockoff licensed product that doesn’t add to franchise.”

Beyond working on existing television and film projects, both Gomez’s Starlight Runner and Mayfield’s Hoodlum are developing their own IP, and are assisting major consumer brands with their transmedia marketing campaigns.

Gomez explains that when approaching a brand like Coca-Cola—Starlight worked with the company on its Happiness Factory campaign—”we have to look at what could be about 60 seconds worth of content and turn that into a huge sprawling universe, so it takes a little more creative energy, which is fun for us.”

“Big advertising brands are seeking new ways to engage with audiences,” Mayfield says. “They are evolving from branded entertainers to branded storytellers. Branded storytelling is a hybrid of Hoodlum’s expertise to integrate the brands values, tones and sensibilities with quality stories that resonate with consumers.”

The Principles of Transmedia Storytelling session takes place on the Tuesday of MIPTV at 3:30 p.m.

5 Things You Need to Know About Location-Based Social Media

March 20, 2010

from mashable.com

Kevin Nakao is VP of Mobile & Business Search for WhitePages, a Top 40 Web and Mobile Publisher. You can find him onTwitter, and on the Whitepages Blog where he writes about mobile, local, and social media.


Location Apps ImageWhile last year’s SXSW seemed to serve as the “coming out” party for location-based services (LBS), maybe this year’s conference signifies the migration of these platforms into mainstream culture. And perhaps the only real “new” concept to emerge this year is the idea that there is finally a real opportunity to make money via “location.”

Here are five things that companies should consider as they look to utilize location-based services (LBS) as part their mobile strategy.


1. Location Shouldn’t be the Only Goal


From finding the nearest ski slope on REI’s Ski and Snow Report to a nearby movie on Flixter, there are plenty of Top iPhone applications that have incorporated a “lead with the offer, not the capability” philosophy into their mobile product offering to provide a better service. Build the best service first, then add the bells and whistles.

With all the hoopla surrounding location, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that location’s real appeal to advertisers is the fact that with this functionality, you can reach the on-the-go user, who is ready to buy and consume. Just because TwitterTwitter and FacebookFacebook offer location doesn’t make that valuable or new to advertisers. Location-targeting via IP address has been around a while. For the same reason radio is a great advertising channel for retailers, LBS advertising is also valuable: because it can reach the consumer near the point of sale.


2. The “Long Tail” for User Adoption


Long Tail Chart

FoursquareFoursquare has clearly emerged as the location darling. Consider the fact that after only one year, they’ve reached 500,000 active users (Foursquare recently tweeted they added 100,000 users in 10 days).

However, if you apply any city’s share of the total U.S. population, the results show some pretty low estimates of Foursquare users in individual localities. What emerges is a very “long tail” — a steep, narrow graph — of local user adoption. This shows why it is important to achieve scale if you hope to see return on investment in the location marketing space.

For example, using these rough estimates of a city’s proportional share of the U.S. population, if a local pet supply store wanted to target people in San Francisco, the estimated reach would be 1,310 Foursquare users. Even if you double this audience estimate, the number is fairly small for even a local marketer. We had to hit around 4 million downloads of the Whitepages iPhone app to achieve the minimum scale needed for advertiser geo-targeting. Today, 80% of our campaigns from major brands are geo-targeted.

Editor’s Note: It’s important to remember that these are just rough estimates. Because Foursquare was initially only available in a handful of major metro areas, the geographic distribution of users may not precisely follow the geographic distribution of the population.


3. Mobile Battery Life is Key


Battery life is the single biggest threat to location. With GPS on, the phone is asking the network where it is, and this chatter can drain battery life — anyone with an iPhoneiPhone knows what I am referring to. Thus, phone manufacturers will play a critical role in the future of LBS. RIM, the manufacturer of BlackBerryBlackBerry Rocks! devices, faced this problem early on with the energy-tax of e-mail polling, and as a result, their devices now have some of the best battery life.

Foursquare has helped us move forward here as well. “Check-ins” help to address the issue as they offer efficient geo-triggers without having to keep battery-draining GPS features on at all times.


4. Location Will Be the Battleground of the Mobile OS


Looking forward, I predict the mobile platform wars will be fought with location and maps. This is an important feature that a platform can use as a point of differentiation for consumers and developers.

In anticipation of that battle, Apple purchased mapping company Placebase, and GoogleGoogle is starting to provide unique mapping features like turn-by-turn navigation on its AndroidAndroid devices. The only hope I see for Windows Mobile is if they do something completely revolutionary on the mobile location front. A development like this was alluded to at the recent TED conference with its augmented reality layering of geo-tagged FlickrFlickr photos and real-time video integration.


5. Location Pays


At WhitePages, we monetize our mobile services through a mix of premium, national display, and sponsored links for local business. Our effective CPM (revenue per thousand ad impressions) for sponsored local links is $30-$50 — double the effective CPM (eCPM) rate we see for premium display ad campaigns from national brands. The eCPM multiple of local targeted ads over ad network rates is a staggering 10x.

Location-based inventory will also become scarce as Apple recently announced that iPhone apps will not be permitted to access GPS capabilities for advertising alone. There now needs to be some consumer benefit and functionality in order to access a user’s location. Geo-targeted inventory on mobile will continue to be at a high premium with no excess supply or ad networks to drive it down.


Conclusion


It is my hope that by this time next year, SXSW –- the festival of “emerging” music and technology –- will have finally moved on from location. It’s clearly happening now, and if integrated wisely, location will be making companies too much money to be called the “cool kid on the block” any longer


More location-based resources from Mashable:


– 9 Killer Tips for Location-Based Marketing
– 10 Foursquare Apps You Can Use Right Now
– 6 Foursquare Apps We’d Love to See
– 6 Tips for Getting the Most out of Foursquare
– Foursquare vs. Gowalla: Location-Based Throwdown
– Location, Location, Location: 5 Big Predictions for 2010

see original article http://mashable.com/2010/03/19/location-based-strategy/

DIGITAL: Netflix: Xbox streamers were ‘disengaged from physical media’

October 19, 2009

originally from videobusiness.com

By Jennifer Netherby — Video Business, 9/25/2009

SEPT. 25 | DIGITAL: Just as the PlayStation 2 was crucial to launching the DVD business, the latest generation of videogame consoles, led by the Xbox 360, are playing a pivotal role in the fledgling digital movie business.

The reason is simple: Xbox 360 is in an estimated 16 million U.S. homes, the PlayStation 3 is in 8 million, the Wii is in another 20 million or so, making gaming consoles the leading Internet-connected device already hooked up to TVs.

They’re expected to hold that lead until 2013 when connected HDTVs overtake them, according to Futuresource Consulting.

Studios say that both Xbox and the PlayStation are a key driver of digital movie and TV episode sales after Apple iTunes.

Xbox, which has offered movie rentals and TV show sales through the Xbox Live Marketplace since late 2006 and streamed Netflix Watch Now since last year, has a 31% share of the digital video-on-demand business, second only to Apple’s 52% share, according to Screen Digest. That’s all the more notable given that Xbox doesn’t yet have content deals with all the major studios. (20th Century Fox and Sony are the two holdouts.)

Meanwhile, rival PS3 is getting more aggressive in video, saying it has delivered 250 million game and video downloads to U.S. users since launching its service last year. However, Eric Lempel, director of PlayStation Network operations and strategic planning at Sony Computer Entertainment America, acknowledges a majority of those sales were for games.

There also are hints and hopes that the Nintendo Wii could add a digital-video component by the end of the year, which would add tens of millions more connected devices for delivering movies. Sonic CinemaNow started offering Hollywood films to Wii users in Japan earlier this year through a third-party provider, though the company wouldn’t comment on any U.S. plans, beyond saying gaming is part of its strategy. Determined Wii owners can already get video from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu and other online movie services using PlayOn software installed on a PC.

“We see game consoles playing a major role,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment executive VP of digital distribution Sean Carey said. Not only are they connected to the TV, but Carey said, “the demo that typically buys these devices is that digital customer.”

For Xbox and PlayStation, that’s good news. For other movie services, it’s unclear what it means.

So far, Netflix is the only third-party video service available on any game console in the U.S. The company has an exclusive deal with Xbox 360, but for how long, neither side has disclosed.

Netflix chief financial officer Barry McCarthy told an investors conference in early September that game consoles are the “principle” device for Internet movie services to be on because of the large install base. “In a perfect world,” he said, “we would like to be on the Wii and the PS3 also.”

Both Xbox and PlayStation execs say they are open to adding other third-party services to their consoles, though both seem intent on creating a more curated experience for users rather than adding the broadest array of digital movie stores to their devices, as manufacturers of Blu-ray Disc player and HDTV have done.

“It’s not just about plugging partners in,” Xbox Live general manager Christina DeRosa said of the company’s strategy. “It’s about picking the best and developing the best service around it.”

Lempel said PlayStation would consider adding services that add convenience and are easy to use.

“We don’t want to have a lot of services competing on the PlayStation Network, but if it really brings a good experience to the user and expands our content offering, certainly we’d look at it,” he said.

For studios, game consoles offer another advantage over other living room devices: access to the hard-to-reach and harder-to-market-to core male 28-year-old videogamer demo.

“I don’t think a lot of our audience sits down at 8 p.m. to watch a TV show,” said Lempel. But they are watching on demand. South Park and Family Guy episodes tend to be top sellers on both consoles.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that some of the customers Netflix has signed up from its Xbox partnership weren’t watching movies on DVD before and don’t order DVDs through the service, though they are streaming movies from Netflix.

“They were disengaged from physical media,” he said.

For certain types of titles that appeal to its core base, Xbox’s share of business can be substantial.

Lionsgate president of digital Curt Marvis said the studio’s slate of action, horror and comedies are perfectly suited for the gaming crowd.

“As a studio, we do extremely well on the Xbox and PS3,” he said. “We view that as a very, very important marketplace for us.”

Magnolia Entertainment’s sci-fi Mutant Chronicles turned out to be a big seller on VOD, largely thanks to the Xbox.

“When you do deliver a young male title to us, our success in that demo tends to end with us punching above our weight,” Xbox general manager of content acquisitions and strategies Ross Honey said.

Nevertheless, Xbox execs believe the viewing experience, not content, is key to drawing in viewers. Honey points out that there are more places than ever before to get the same movies and TV shows. Instead, Xbox is focusing on things like its social networking “party mode” and other interactive features in development.

PlayStation Network is looking to license exclusive content and develop its own original content, Lempel said.

Sony’s biggest differentiator may be its large hard drive that can store plenty of digital movies. Unlike other video services where rental transactions outnumber digital sales, the opposite is true on the PlayStation, where 70% of digital transactions are movie purchases. However, that is likely partly because, for many films, the company only offers a purchase option.

Even as consoles stake their claim on the still small digital business, no one expects them to make it the overnight success DVD was. Digital, most believe, will take longer to build.

“It’s not going to be a groundbreaking shift to digital,” Futuresource analyst David Sidebottom said.

see original article http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6698916.html?nid=4672

SEPT. 25 | DIGITAL: Just as the PlayStation 2 was crucial to launching the DVD business, the latest generation of videogame consoles, led by the Xbox 360, are playing a pivotal role in the fledgling digital movie business.

The reason is simple: Xbox 360 is in an estimated 16 million U.S. homes, the PlayStation 3 is in 8 million, the Wii is in another 20 million or so, making gaming consoles the leading Internet-connected device already hooked up to TVs.

They’re expected to hold that lead until 2013 when connected HDTVs overtake them, according to Futuresource Consulting.

Studios say that both Xbox and the PlayStation are a key driver of digital movie and TV episode sales after Apple iTunes.

Xbox, which has offered movie rentals and TV show sales through the Xbox Live Marketplace since late 2006 and streamed Netflix Watch Now since last year, has a 31% share of the digital video-on-demand business, second only to Apple’s 52% share, according to Screen Digest. That’s all the more notable given that Xbox doesn’t yet have content deals with all the major studios. (20th Century Fox and Sony are the two holdouts.)

Meanwhile, rival PS3 is getting more aggressive in video, saying it has delivered 250 million game and video downloads to U.S. users since launching its service last year. However, Eric Lempel, director of PlayStation Network operations and strategic planning at Sony Computer Entertainment America, acknowledges a majority of those sales were for games.

There also are hints and hopes that the Nintendo Wii could add a digital-video component by the end of the year, which would add tens of millions more connected devices for delivering movies. Sonic CinemaNow started offering Hollywood films to Wii users in Japan earlier this year through a third-party provider, though the company wouldn’t comment on any U.S. plans, beyond saying gaming is part of its strategy. Determined Wii owners can already get video from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, Hulu and other online movie services using PlayOn software installed on a PC.

“We see game consoles playing a major role,” Sony Pictures Home Entertainment executive VP of digital distribution Sean Carey said. Not only are they connected to the TV, but Carey said, “the demo that typically buys these devices is that digital customer.”

For Xbox and PlayStation, that’s good news. For other movie services, it’s unclear what it means.

So far, Netflix is the only third-party video service available on any game console in the U.S. The company has an exclusive deal with Xbox 360, but for how long, neither side has disclosed.

Netflix chief financial officer Barry McCarthy told an investors conference in early September that game consoles are the “principle” device for Internet movie services to be on because of the large install base. “In a perfect world,” he said, “we would like to be on the Wii and the PS3 also.”

Both Xbox and PlayStation execs say they are open to adding other third-party services to their consoles, though both seem intent on creating a more curated experience for users rather than adding the broadest array of digital movie stores to their devices, as manufacturers of Blu-ray Disc player and HDTV have done.

“It’s not just about plugging partners in,” Xbox Live general manager Christina DeRosa said of the company’s strategy. “It’s about picking the best and developing the best service around it.”

Lempel said PlayStation would consider adding services that add convenience and are easy to use.

“We don’t want to have a lot of services competing on the PlayStation Network, but if it really brings a good experience to the user and expands our content offering, certainly we’d look at it,” he said.

For studios, game consoles offer another advantage over other living room devices: access to the hard-to-reach and harder-to-market-to core male 28-year-old videogamer demo.

“I don’t think a lot of our audience sits down at 8 p.m. to watch a TV show,” said Lempel. But they are watching on demand. South Park and Family Guy episodes tend to be top sellers on both consoles.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that some of the customers Netflix has signed up from its Xbox partnership weren’t watching movies on DVD before and don’t order DVDs through the service, though they are streaming movies from Netflix.

“They were disengaged from physical media,” he said.

For certain types of titles that appeal to its core base, Xbox’s share of business can be substantial.

Lionsgate president of digital Curt Marvis said the studio’s slate of action, horror and comedies are perfectly suited for the gaming crowd.

“As a studio, we do extremely well on the Xbox and PS3,” he said. “We view that as a very, very important marketplace for us.”

Magnolia Entertainment’s sci-fi Mutant Chronicles turned out to be a big seller on VOD, largely thanks to the Xbox.

“When you do deliver a young male title to us, our success in that demo tends to end with us punching above our weight,” Xbox general manager of content acquisitions and strategies Ross Honey said.

Nevertheless, Xbox execs believe the viewing experience, not content, is key to drawing in viewers. Honey points out that there are more places than ever before to get the same movies and TV shows. Instead, Xbox is focusing on things like its social networking “party mode” and other interactive features in development.

PlayStation Network is looking to license exclusive content and develop its own original content, Lempel said.

Sony’s biggest differentiator may be its large hard drive that can store plenty of digital movies. Unlike other video services where rental transactions outnumber digital sales, the opposite is true on the PlayStation, where 70% of digital transactions are movie purchases. However, that is likely partly because, for many films, the company only offers a purchase option.

Even as consoles stake their claim on the still small digital business, no one expects them to make it the overnight success DVD was. Digital, most believe, will take longer to build.

“It’s not going to be a groundbreaking shift to digital,” Futuresource analyst David Sidebottom said.

By Jennifer Netherby — Video Business, 9/25/2009

4 Things Old Media Can Learn From the Music Industry’s Last Decade

October 12, 2009
from ivonson.com

by Ligitas on 08-10-2009

//
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newspaper-keyboardNick Crocker is MD of Native Digital and co-founder of We Are Hunted.

What the news industry is experiencing now, the music industry started dealing with 10 years ago – falling revenue and a migration to digital. Ten years on, the music industry is still coming to grips with the changes. A new force – iTunes – has emerged and with it, the iPod, the MP3 and a shift in consumption that has resulted in 95% of music downloads resulting in no payment to the creators, at least according to IFPI data.

As the news industry faces up to the digital challenge, it’s worth looking at the music industry’s last decade to understand what the news business has coming. Its future success will depend on:

– Its approach to the notion of ‘free’ content.
– Its ability to adapt not just its own process, but that of the ecosystem surrounding it.
– Its willingness to embrace new technology, to experiment and innovate and its openness to the needs of consumers.

What follows is a list of four things the news industry can learn from the music industry’s last decade.


1. Rumors of your death will be greatly exaggerated


The ‘death’ of the music industry has been playing out now for a decade. And yet, millions of people still buy CDs. Even though they’re freely available on P2P networks and cheaper in a digital format, physical CDs still matter to people. Even vinyl still matters to people. It’s safe to say then, that there will be fewer newspapers sold in ten years, but there will not be none.

The music industry exists because people love music. Some businesses in that industry might be less profitable now, but people still love music as much as they ever did. The newspaper business exists because people need news. Profitability is wilting, but in a world overloaded with messaging from all manner of sources, the need for original, exclusive, highly relevant and genuinely useful content has never been greater.

Lesson: Just like people still want music, people still need news. The news industry isn’t dying, but it must evolve to avoid stagnating.


2. The print industry’s brand will suffer


The music industry has copped a beating over the last decade — much of it has been deserved. There are countless examples of insanely disproportionate lawsuits that have outraged reasonable music consumers. Combine this with the lingering notion that major record labels are suit-filled factories with a taste for vulnerable, indie blood and you can start to see why the music industry gets blamed for all of music’s ills.

The print industry might have the same coming. Earlier this year, the Associated Press board voted to “pursue legal and legislative actions” against those using content without permission. Aggregators will be the first targets of these actions. The AP has also committed to a remarkable plan which will see it charge up to $2.50 per word for use of its articles.

statesman-link

Rather than embracing the notion of “do what you do best and link to the rest” and maximizing the value of the link economy, the AP appears to be choosing the litigious route. When the music industry stared down Napster and BitTorrent, it too chose the path of litigation. And while litigation effectively throttled Napster (and a number of subsequent players) it did little to slow the spread of illegal downloads and nothing to engage a generation of consumers embracing a new form of consumption.

The legality of aggregators who reprint an excerpt of text and link to it is a gray area. As the argument over the nature of copyright for print online develops, expect the boundaries of ‘fair use’ to be tested. If we learn from the music industry’s experience, we can expect any fallout from the testing to splash on to the news industry at large.

Lesson: Learn from the mistakes that the music industry has made. The news industry’s brand might suffer, but the decline in public perception can be mitigated by embracing new forms of content distribution.


3. The ecosystem is the problem


Music industry people see the digital opportunity. However, seeing an opportunity and making the most of it are two different things. One of the major issues for the music industry in the last decade has been evolving the music ecosystem away from making, selling and distributing physical CDs and towards new digital distribution models.

Artists, managers, labels, publishers, press, distributors, packagers and producers are all still to some extent entrenched in traditional ways of thinking about the music industry. Innovation has to overcome the combined inertia of all these forces to see the light of day.

newspaper-boxes

The news industry will have the same problem. Anyone who makes a living off the process of supplying, writing, editing, printing and distributing printed piles of paper all over the country will have to be transformed if the news industry is to embrace the digital opportunity. Most importantly, consumers will always prefer free. Regardless of whether its music or news, it’s hard to convince people to pay for something they’re accustomed to getting for free.

There are plenty of smart people in the news business with smart ideas about how to evolve. News Limited’s Australian CEO John Hartigan had this to say:

“How many journalists … have written a story recently that was original, exclusive, highly relevant and genuinely useful to [their] audience? … Fewer papers are being sold and in my view it’s because many of them are largely boring and irrelevant to their readership. Their content is ubiquitous rather than unique.”

Hartigan understands the problem and sees the opportunity to embrace new ideas. But ideas and insight aren’t the issue, execution is.

Lesson: The news industry has great ideas, but execution will remain a problem until it learns to let go of old models of reporting, distribution, and consumption and evolve.


4. This is the end of one-size fits all


It used to be that music fans had one main way to consume musical products – the CD. What the music industry is now learning is that music fans come in all shapes and sizes and are willing to consume all types of musical products, from free to outrageously premium.

News is no different. It’s no longer about one paper for all people. It’s about news distilled from many different sources, delivered many different ways on a range of platforms.

monocle

People have shown they will pay for premium products in specific niches. The success of publications like Monocle is testament to that. Best described as the Economist of lifestyle magazines, Monocle isn’t just a magazine, but a multi-platform brand encompassing the magazine, a physical store with Monocle branded merchandise, and a web presence that publishes text, audio and video content. Consumers engaging with Monocle can buy the magazine in stores, they can access content for free online, they can pay to engage online more deeply or they can go to a Monocle store and buy Monocle products.

The news industry is going to have to develop a similar model that matches multiple products, at multiple price points, through the right channels to the right consumer. This is starting to happen, but there’s a long way to travel before people understand that a stand-alone, general news website isn’t a sustainable business model.

Lesson: Independent music artists have found a way to make money by developing new, innovative value-add models — the news industry must follow suit.

A decade ago, the record industry was blindsided by the shift to digital. Analyzing the impact of that change is a worthwhile exercise for anyone with a stake in the future of news. Where do you think the news industry should be heading? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

see original article

http://www.ivonson.com/internet-marketing-news/internet-marketing-idea/4-things-old-media-can-learn-from-the-music-industry%E2%80%99s-last-decade