media brands

TIME Goes Mobile, Brief in Web Overhaul

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2014 04:44 PM

Mobile is at the heart of consumer consumption, and media brands have been listening hard. That's why news organizations like CNN and the New York Times have launched recent site redesigns optimized for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, and now it's TIME's turn. 

In the same week that Newsweek returned (controversially) to print after going digital-only in 2012, TIME has launched an extensive overhaul of its website to optimize its content for mobile—and its ads, including hosting more videos and native ads.

“Our data suggest that nearly half of you are currently reading this on a smartphone or tablet,” TIME wrote in a blog post describing the changes. “TIME invented the news brief; the original magazine included 100 stories, none longer than 400 words. Fittingly, the centerpiece of our new home page is The Brief, a fast take on the 12 stories you need to know about right now.”Continue reading...

media brands

Time Inc., MLB, NHL and More Throw Support Behind New 120 Sports Network

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2014 01:44 PM

ESPN may consider itself the “World Wide Leader in Sports,” but Sports Illustrated’s owner, Time Inc., and a few major sports leagues are looking to take a big piece of its action with a big investment in online sports network startup, 120 Sports.

Online video is growing exponentially, Time Inc. will join Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, NASCAR, and college sports conferences to create content for the network that will “include content such as game highlights and commentary in two-minute segments,” according to the Wall Street Journal. No live games will be featured.

The NFL is not currently part of the 120 Sports package since it announced last month that it will have its own online video app, NFL Now, “that will tailor programming according to each user's interests, part of an independent effort by the league to extend its reach on digital platforms,” the Journal reports.

The 120 Sports site will launch later in the spring and have its own app, but the content may also appear on third-party sites. It won’t require viewers to authenticate their cable providers, such as how NBC won't allow online viewers to watch live streams of Olympics coverage without entering such information.Continue reading...

social media watch

LinkedIn Will Allow All Users to Sound-Off as It Opens Content Floodgates

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2014 04:56 PM

Continuing its evolution from a resume library for headhunters and job-seekers to the complete professional's network, LinkedIn is following trends set by Google, Facebook and Twitter and turning to a harder focus on content in various forms.

The company is adding the option for all users to write and share longform posts to their LinkedIn profile, essentially making every user a LinkedIn Influencer. Current Influencer posts, which come from top executives and industry leaders, generate nearly 31,000 views and more than 80 comments on average from the brand’s 277 million monthly active users.

"We're really excited to actually open up this publishing platform and start to draw some of that experience, knowledge, and insight out of these members and onto the LinkedIn platform to share at more of a massive scale," said LinkedIn's Head of Content Products, Ryan Roslansky. 

The new tool will be rolled out in the coming weeks, marked by a pencil icon near the Share Box on profiles. While any published content from users will be visible on their profiles, LinkedIn will use algorithms to choose articles with the most traction and distribute them more broadly.Continue reading...

brand makeovers

Getty Images and Sheryl Sandberg "Lean In" On Sexism in Stock Photos

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 10, 2014 01:39 PM

Lean In, the female empowerment nonprofit founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is joining forces with Getty Images to present better images of women in stock photographs. Taking on "institutional sexism," the goal is to create a stock-photo library of 2,500 new pictures that portray women of all ages in a better light.

Getty reports that the three most-searched terms in its image database are “women,” “business” and “family.” But according to Jessica Bennett, Lean In's contributing editor, a large share of results from queries for "business woman" and "career woman" are "completely sexualized or just really cheesy," she told Ad Age. "There's so much terrible stock imagery out there, so we wanted to put something out that felt really authentic and empowering." 

The Lean In Collection of photos show a diverse group of age-appropriate women and girls in business settings, at home and at play. Lean In will claim an undisclosed amount of fees from the usage of those images by corporate sites, photo editors and media outlets.Continue reading...

web watch

The Mother of Virality: From Cat Memes to Politics, BuzzFeed is an Unstoppable Force

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 5, 2013 04:43 PM

BuzzFeed, arguably the king of viral content on the web is projecting 2014 revenue to be as high as $120 million, according to Ad Age, as it now ranks among the top news sites with traffic more than four times last year, reaching 130 million-plus unique visitors in November.

Started in 2006 by Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed is the gold standard of headlines and cat memes in a world on digital overload. Peretti’s original intent was an engine for viral content chosen primarily by algorithms, but today, his company has amassed an impressive and well-credentialed editorial staff and is moving into creating original video. 

The record-setting spike in BuzzFeed’s November traffic is due in part to Facebook’s change in algorithm that brings more of its stories to user’s news feeds, but Twitter referral traffic has also surged with 180 percent growth in the past year. Buzzfeed’s YouTube channel reached 110 million views globally in November, and the site’s global unique user numbers are up 350 percent year-on-year.Continue reading...

game change

Book Vending Machine Gives New Meaning to Self-Publishing

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2013 01:41 PM

For those that still prefer to buy their books in print-form, retailer Books-A-Million has debuted a new way for consumers to get their paperback fix: a book vending machine. 

Dubbed the Espresso Book Machine (though it doesn't serve up any caffeinated drinks), it can print out any of nearly seven million titles between 5”x5” and 8”x10” and ranging from 50 to 600 pages. One unique feature, though, is the self-publishing options. Consumers and aspiring writers can upload their digital reams of short stories, novels, family histories and images to the machine that can be arranged and printed on the spot.Continue reading...

retail

Hallmark Tests Customized Concept Store to Revive Relevance in Digital Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 20, 2013 01:54 PM

Along with printed newspapers and books, greeting cards have been put on deathwatch for some time now due to the rise of digital communications via email, text and online greetings. But Hallmark, the biggest of them all, is fighting back. 

The company has opened a new concept store in Kansas City, Mo., to test out new products and retail experiences that will keep the print brand relevant after a decade that saw the greeting card business fall 60 percent, Time reports. The brand has even opted to drop its full name, choosing to mark the store with "HMK."

What HMK is mostly pushing is customization. According to the Kansas City Star, consumers can buy cards, books, and cutting boards, among other things, that are customized. Plus, there are warm cookies when customers enter.

“We wanted to get credit for doing something buzzworthy,” Jack Moore, Hallmark Gold Crown president, told the Star. “We wanted our brand to feel younger and more exciting to today’s shoppers. We want the consumer to say, ‘Wow. This is different. This store will help me create the perfect, personalized gift that is not available anywhere else.’”Continue reading...

ad watch

FTC to Convene Panel as Native Advertising Augments

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 19, 2013 05:40 PM

If you're still confused about what native advertising really is, you're not alone. In fact, the general topic has become such a great concern that the Federal Trade Commission is convening a workshop on Dec. 4 to hopefully clear up the blurred lines between editorial and ad content that is increasingly confusing consumers.

Native advertising, a.k.a. blended advertising, branded or sponsored content, “is a type of converged media that combines paid and owned content into commercial messaging that is fully integrated into, and often unique to, a special delivery platform,” as defined by the Altimeter Group

Key to the ongoing conversation is what publishers and ad companies must do to make sure consumers can spot the differences between different types of content. The new approach to advertising is used by practically every web publisher in some form, from brand partner stories on BuzzFeed to sponsored posts on Facebook.

Registered workshop participants include representatives from such brands, as well as NPR’s Bob Garfield, former dean of Columbia Journalism School Nick Lemann, ad-tech companies like Outbrain and Sharethrough, and executives from The Huffington Post, Edelman, and Procter & Gamble, among others.Continue reading...

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