Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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Second-screen TV app startup GetGlue just keeps on trucking. Originally launched as an app for
checking in to your favorite TV shows and collecting
stickers, the company has been steadily expanding
its business to include content discovery for shows on the iPad or on your TV. Now it’s hoping to better monetize its mobile and tablet apps, and
has hired longtime digital media exec Evan Krauss as President to help with that. Krauss has spent the last 18 years at a variety of
entertainment companies over the years, including
stints at Yahoo!, AOL, Excite, JumpTap,
Looksmart, and Agency.com. His last big position
was as EVP of ad sales for Shazam, where he
helped build out that company’s second screen ad business. In addition to Krauss, GetGlue also recently hired
Shelby Houston Haro as its EVP of sales, coming
from Fandango and Flixster. In an email, GetGlue
CEO Alex Iskold wrote, “Evan is joining us a President to lead all the aspects of the business, particularly focusing on revenue… With these two hires, we
are now serious about building out and scaling our business.” The hiring of its new sales leaders follows an attempted — and failed — merger between GetGlue and rewards-based TV companion app Viggle. The deal was first announced last November but called off earlier this spring. Since then, GetGlue has continued to operate independently, trying to boost monetization along the way. No
doubt the startup hopes that its new president Krauss will be able to expand its own business with advertisers.
The company has been making a bigger push on that front with recent updates to its mobile apps. That incudes the introduction of a new advertising product for brands, networks, and studios called Promoted Entries. That enables networks and advertisers to highlight their products and shows in users’
Guides. Launched with Pepsi during the Super Bowl, the Promoted Entries offering is designed to boost
engagement with viewers who are using the app while watching TV. It allows users to share promoted
products with friends who also use the app, as well as on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. GetGlue not says it has 4 million registered users, and has accrued more than 800 million data points about
what they’re tuning into. The company has worked with more than 75 TV networks and 10 movie studios to
promote their content. It’s raised about $24 million since being founded in 2007, with investors including Union
Square Ventures, RRE Ventures, Time Warner Investments, and Rho Ventures, among others.

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We’ve been working on getting more details on a
press event that Facebook is having this week.
Earlier, we wrote it could launch a news-reading app,
but we have since heard more details that point to
something else entirely. On June 20, a source says
Facebook will unveil that Instagram, its popular photo- sharing app, will begin to let people also take and
share short videos. Call it the Vine effect. We are still looking for more information because we
understand that Facebook has not wanted the details
of June 20 to leak out — so this could be an
intentional blind alley. But if the Instagram video
report is true, you could say the event invite itself —
sent by snail mail, coffee cup stain charmingly in one corner — is a red herring of its own. Earlier reports about Instagram getting video provide
some indication, though, that this is not coming out of
the blue. Most recently, about three weeks ago
Matthew Keys broke a story noting that such a
service was getting tested internally. At the time,
there wasn’t any information on when it would be coming out, nor whether there would be filters, nor
whether this would be in a separate app or part of an
Instagram update. The videos would be between five
and 10 seconds in length, he noted. Getting video on Instagram is a move that would
make sense. Specifically, it looks like a direct
response to the rising popularity of video-sharing
services, namely Twitter’s Vine. It, and others like
Viddy, Cinemagram and Socialcam, sometimes get
described as “Instragram for video” apps. The Vine app — which lets users take six seconds of
video footage on an iOS or Android handset and then
share those clips to Vine’s own network, Twitter or
Facebook — has shot up in popularity since going
live in January. After Twitter debuted an Android
version of Vine in the beginning of June, usage reached a tipping point: shares of Vines surpassed
those of Instagram photos on Twitter — usage that
has only diverged even more since then: Of course, you could argue that part of the reason is
because Twitter no longer shows inline views of
Instagram photos — that may have affected how
many Instagram photos have been shared to Twitter. When those Instagram/Twitter cards disappeared, we
noted that part of the reason for the move — taken by
Facebook/Instagram, not Twitter — appeared to be to
drive more direct traffic to Instagram itself, a popular
social network in its own right, with over 100 million
monthly active users, rising sharply since Facebook bought the company last year for $715 million. Putting in a video service could serve to further that
strategy even more, before new-but-already-popular
services like Vine get more of a foothold. It will mean
one less app and social network for users to build up,
and, for those who like to take and share videos,
another reason to visit Instagram. You can see how something like video could be a very sticky
complement to its photo service. There could be another reason for adding video to the
service: it’s a very attractive medium for advertisers
and marketers. Of course, Instagram is not running any ads yet — in
fact, Facebook and Instagram got a lot of heat over
changes in their terms of service in December over
how it could implement advertising services in the
future — so much heat that they rolled back the ToS
and apologized. And in Facebook’s last quarterly earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a point of
noting that while big brands were interested in
advertising on Instagram, for now there were no plans
to implement this. (That’s not to say that Instagram is
not already a substantial marketing platform for
brands.) And with 100 million+ users, you could argue that
there may not be enough scale there yet to really
monetize ads properly. Adding in video is laying the
groundwork — and providing one more engine to grow
that Instagrammer base.

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On the heels of Google wading into the music
streaming waters with its Google Play Music All
Access service, with a $10 fee for all-you-can-eat
streamed tracks, the indie music agency Merlin has
today published results of a recent survey of its
20,000-label member group, plus an analysis of 6.5 billion music streams over the last year, which spell
out where the money is coming from today.
Streaming services are making increasing headway
as a revenue driver for musicians, but digital
downloads — specifically Apple’s iTunes — are still
ruling the roost. Worldwide, iTunes has held on to its spot as the
single-biggest source of revenues for Merlin’s
independent label members, both across key markets
like the U.S. and UK, as well across Europe and
globally. Interestingly, Spotify is securely in second
position, underscoring just how popular both Spotify and streaming services have become — second has
been a place held by Amazon for some time prior to
this. Amazon’s MP3 download service subsequently
slipped down to third place across the board, while
Deezer and eMusic are split regionally in terms of
their influence and in grabbing fourth place. We’re reaching out to Merlin to see if we can get a
specific percentage breakdown here. Typically iTunes
has been estimated to hold around 60% of the digital
music market by revenues; NPD put its share at 63%
in April 2013. (Update: A Merlin spokesperson says those breakdowns are not being disclosed.) “The new generation of digital services has created a
new dynamic of consumer freedom, limitless choice
and myriad paths to discovery,” Charles Caldas, the
chief executive of Merlin, said today in a speech at
the Great Escape conference in Brighton. “Our
numbers illustrate that this dynamic is bringing incremental value to the market, and the demand
from music fans for the music being released by our
independent members is higher than ever before.”
However, in what might be a swipe not just at big
labels but big players like Google jumping deeper into
the market, he also cautioned against companies that might be trying to apply legacy music royalty
concepts to digital. “The ecosystem is fragile: power is more
concentrated than ever, and we are seeing an
attempted land grab by the largest companies for
digital market share as they try to recreate the old-
market advantages they are clearly losing in the
digital space,” he noted. Merlin, despite its tens of thousands of indie label partners, only makes up
about 10% of the world’s music market, so it has a
place continuing to rage against the machine. It will be interesting to see whether Spotify’s (and
streaming’s) rise are eating into that 60%
marketshare for iTunes. But the research from Merlin
suggests that if this is the case it’s not a watershed
moment quite yet: both formats appear to still be
growing, even if streaming is growing more. Some 92% of respondents in the survey said that
streaming and subscription revenues (based on
streaming) grew in 2012 compared to a year ago.
One-third said the rise was as much as 100%. The rise in downloads was less pronounced: around
66% said a-la-carte download sales grew alongside
that streaming rise. Only 8.4% said the rise in
download revenues increased by 100%. In terms of what the growth in streaming means for
actual businesses, the takeaway is still marginal. Merlin’s members say that they expect royalties of
$65 million or more for 2013 from streaming services,
but if you just do the math and divide that among
20,000 members, that works out to only $3,250 per
label. Considering that Merlin claims that its
members’ share of streaming services is typically 12-20% higher than those of other major labels —
included in Merlin’s counts are acts like The National,
Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver, as well as labels like
Domino and Beggars Group — it sounds like
streaming, despite all the advances and popularity,
remains for now just an opening act, and not the main event. Full results of the report below. View this document on Scribd

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Silverpop, the marketing tech company that
announced $25 million in new funding last month, is
announcing a new feature to help customers adapt to
all the different ways that people are opening their
emails. The feature, called Email Insights, accomplishes
three main tasks, the company says. First, it allows
them to preview how an email will look in up to 30
different apps across multiple devices. (It’s working
with a company called Litmus to create those
previews.) Adam Steinberg, Silverpop’s director of emerging apps, said that there was previously a lot of
uncertainty and guesswork in the process — for many
marketers, the testing process previously consisted
of emailing people they knew with different devices
then asking, “How does it look?” Next, Silverop provides analytics about which devices
and applications are being used to open those emails.
Customers can then use that data to create emails
that are customized based on a user’s “preferred
device.” “The marketer wants to know which type of device
their customers are using so it can give them a
device-centric marketing message,” Steinberg said. For example, he told me that if an online retailer is
launching a new iPhone app, instead of sending the
same promotional message to everyone on their
mailing list, they could create a special message for
people who usually read those emails on an iPhone,
with a direct link to download the app. Email Insights is now available to all Silverpop
customers with pricing that starts at $40 per month.

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Aereo users, listen up. The company that has been bringing you access to
30 over-the-air broadcast channels on the cheap is
switching up its pricing structure a bit to make things
less complicated. Unfortunately, this switch also
makes things slightly more expensive, but still highly
competitive in today’s content streaming landscape. Starting on May 15, the original five-tier structure will
be boiled down into two options: The base $8/month
fee will offer 20 hours of DVR storage, and a $12/
month fee will get you 60 hours of DVR storage.
Neither service requires a long-term commitment. However, it’s worth noting that the $8/month plan
changes the way you can record on Aereo’s DVR
service, only letting users record from one channel at
a time. At the same time, the $12 plan actually offers
more than it used to, bumping up storage from 40
hours to 60 hours. When Aereo first launched, it offered more levels of
service, including a $1/day deal. This was a unique
option for the service, as it let users tune into huge,
national events without forcing them to buy into the
service on a monthly basis. Events like the
Superbowl, presidential election, or the Academy Awards instantly became accessible to people
without cable, and also offered an easy, painless way
to taste the Aereo service without making a
commitment. While dropping that plan may remove that taste-test-
ability, in the end Aereo believes that simplifying the
options will be a better experience for customers. Here’s what founder Chet Kanojia had to say in a
prepared statement: We looked at our data and it was clear, consumers
want a more simple approach to pricing. With our new
pricing structure, consumers begin with one base plan
and then have the ability to upgrade their membership
to triple their DVR storage capacity. We want to make
it simple and easy for consumers to access our technology and we believe this updated pricing plan
accomplishes just that. For current users of Aereo, your plan will remain the
same until the end of your current membership period.
For those on the $12/month payment plan, you will be
automatically upgraded to 60 hours of storage. Right now the service is only available in New York,
but Aereo has plans to expand into new territories
very soon. Happy TV viewing, everyone!