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Monthly Archives: October 2015

27
Oct
2015

NFL Demonstrates The Power of Live Streaming Over Broadcast Partnerships

by Bill

As the NFL Football Season takes shape and your team is starting to pile up the wins or losses, it’s easy to lose sight of the enormous business being done in the background. Most of the media coverage this week will be about the resurgent Miami Dolphins under a new coach, or the fact that the Seattle Seahawks seem to be regaining their championship form – but in reality, the biggest news of the week involved a game in which the 2 and 5 Jacksonville Jaguars eked out a 4th quarter upset win over the now 3 and 4 Buffalo Bills. That game, played in London, may be a harbinger of how the entire league handles its media deals in the future.

For the first time ever, Yahoo and the NFL agreed to stream a live NFL regular season game for free online to a global audience. The game has reportedly attracted 15.2 million unique viewers and 33.6 million total views, even though it was held early in the morning with a starting kickoff time of 9:30AM.

“It’s been a great opportunity to partner with the NFL and deliver a truly exceptional global live streaming experience for our users,” said Adam Cahan, Yahoo’s SVP of Product and Engineering, in a published media release. “We’re seeing a dramatic shift in the industry as audiences’ primary video watching moves away from TV. We were thrilled to join the NFL in setting a new standard for sports programming for our users and advertisers.”

In a lesson probably learned from the global success of Netflix, the NFL managed to reach a much wider international audience with a third of all active streams during the game coming from viewers outside the United States, across 185 different countries worldwide.

“We’re a lot closer to the internet being a real, legitimate distribution platform for NFL games than we were one or two years ago,” explained NFL executive vice president of media Brian Rolapp when speaking to Peter King of Sports Ilustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback.  “We’re thrilled with the results of our initial step distributing an NFL game to a worldwide audience and with the work of our partner, Yahoo,” said Hans Schroeder, Senior Vice President, Media Strategy, Business Development & Sales for the NFL. “We are incredibly excited by the fact that we took a game that would have been viewed by a relatively limited television audience in the United States and by distributing it digitally were able to attract a global audience of over 15 million viewers.”

The majority of the money made by the NFL has always come from their lucrative broadcast television contracts, and ancillary revenue that only became possible with the major networks available as distribution channels for NFL content. Now, instead of only 3 or 4 real bidders for NFL games in the future, this London Yahoo event opens up the opportunity for the NFL to broadcast its own content via NFL.com, or to partner with any number of major online entities including Google, Yahoo, Facebook and hundreds of others. The quality of the feed was as clear and crisp as most television broadcasts and if you are a television network executive heading into the negotiation room to discuss future NFL game rights, your seat just got a whole lot hotter.

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09
Oct
2015

Edward Snowden Twitter: Web Media Dynamics Have Changed

by Bill

Edward Snowden remains one of the most polarizing figures in recent American history for his role in exposing the massive scale of data scrutiny governments are using to track the activities of individuals. His exile to Moscow and international limbo as a man without a country is well documented as well, but a recent StarTalk podcast interview Snowden participated in with the Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is causing far reaching rogue waves that are impacting many facets of modern media.

During the interview Tyson made an off-the-cuff remark that Snowden ought to have a Twitter account. A day later @Snowden was created and the immediate results have been startling from a web traffic and mass media perspective. In less than 24 hours, with zero publicity work, the account generated more than one million followers organically. Snowden follows only one other account, the official @NSAGov account of the organization he is at odds with and one would expect the NSA has taken interest in Snowden’s activities on Twitter as well.

Beyond the political implications which may subjectively depend on your own views of Snowden as a whistleblower or a traitor, there is pure objective fact supporting the idea that he has immediately become the single most influential person on the Twitter-sphere. In fact, Wired Magazine reported that tweets by Snowden about articles they wrote more than a year ago created such a large surge in traffic to their website that they took immediate note of the increase in activity. Other sites Snowden has mentioned or linked have reported their servers straining to keep up with the massive influx of interested viewers sent by a single tweet.

Since its inception Twitter has been known by marketing professionals as a great place to build brand awareness but a very difficult source of traffic for direct monetization. Getting people on Twitter to see something about your brand is one thing, getting them to react to it by leaving Twitter to visit a target site or convert, as a paying customer is another endeavor entirely. However, in less than a week Edward Snowden may have become proof of a key concept in the way Twitter really works. Rather than building a brand by launching a Twitter account, which does more for Twitter’s traffic than your own, relying on proven personal brands that exist outside Twitter and using Twitter as a way to focus the interest of the public at large in those brands seems to be a much more marketable way to approach their medium.

Edward Snowden may have been terrible for the NSA in his former role, but in his new one he may be terrific news for established bands, pundits, and social media strategists who will want to track his Twitter activity at least as much as any counter-spying agency every would.

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02
Oct
2015

Mobile Ad Blocking Attracts New York Times Attention

by Bill

Many site owners still operate with the false mindset that digital marketing is somehow outside the scope of the public’s attention. In fact, it has become so much within the spotlight of public attention that the venerable New York Times published an extensive Mobile Ad Blocking article about the ways consumers can block mobile ads to keep digital marketing outside of their field of view.

On September 9th Apple released new iPhones and trumpeted the release of iOS 9, which includes support for apps designed to block ads on mobile devices. Ad blockers are not a new technology and have been used by an increasingly large segment of desktop traffic for years to combat the often-intrusive ads that blink, flash, make noises or include eye-catching content designed to distract a reader away from the main body of the webpage they chose to visit. However, mobile traffic has remained a stronger option for many merchants due to a dearth of ad blocking options for phone and tablet browsers.

Now, iOS 9 and Android are putting mobile browser blocking technology on equal footing with desktop ad blockers and offering their users simple ways to remove all ads with just a few clicks in their settings options. The technology works on all webpages by removing ads from view and showing only where an ad used to be, or showing the alt text of the images.

Some argue the move is a disingenuous attempt by handheld providers and platform creators to drive traffic sales from Apps since ad blockers do not block ads within any app provided by the app stores. Others see these as payback for years of overly popups and popunders that have plagued internet users in the past and lined the pockets of aggressive marketers.

What is now undeniably and unanimously accepted by website owners is the fact that banner ads and other image based traffic drivers are quickly becoming obsolete – across all desktop and mobile devices. Many have already transitioned toward contextual text ads in the body of site content, some have chosen to outsource their ad budgets, buying traffic from brokers and CPA networks – and many are now resigned to the idea that consumers are gaining much more control over what they see, where they see it and how they interact with it online.

As this trend accelerates, business owners will need to continue evolving their marketing methods to include opt-in ads, app development, social networking and the kind of ads that people prefer to see. It’s unlikely anyone will ever make a device that blocks ads during the Superbowl, because those ads have become as interesting to viewers as the big game itself. Now it’s time for Internet advertisers to up their game or be left on the sidelines by potential customers who no longer notice or respond to desperate blinking calls to action on the sidebar of every website.

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