Archive for February 2008

Publisher Spotlight: Big Think

February 29, 2008

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Big Think

The New York Times, 1/7/2008

Big Think (www.bigthink.com) mixes interviews with public intellectuals from a variety of fields, from politics, to law to business, and allows users to engage in debates on issues like global warming and the two-party system.

TechCrunch.com, 1/7/2008

The site is set up to as a place to find intellectual video snacks. Typically, each video shows a public intellectual or pundit against a stark white background answering a single pointed question in three to five minutes. Big Think launched with 2,000 clips from 85 “guests”, including Senator John McCain on the two-party system, psychologist Steven Pinker on human nature, and economist Paul Krugman on whether future generations will hate us.

Contact your sales rep for inventory, sales@spotxchange.com

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SpotXchange Publishers

February 29, 2008

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The  SpotXchange marketplace includes publishers with an array of popular Web video content. Included is a sampling of those sites and their estimated monthly unique users.

Casual Gaming Through partnerships with game publishers and gaming networks like Lycos and NeoEdge, SpotXchange now reaches an estimated 20 million monthly unique users. Publishers include, 

Brand recall rates for in-game ads are 3x to 4x higher than those for TV ads. In-game ads improve purchase consideration by 41%

*Forrester, “Why Games Matter,” July, 2007

News & Entertainment Through partnerships with entertainment publishers and news networks like Blinkx and Voxant, SpotXchange now reaches an estimated 50 million monthly unique users. Publishers include,

Tim Hanlon Interview

February 29, 2008

In late 2007, SpotXchange CEO Mike Shehan sat down with Denuo Group, Publicis’ Senior Vice President Tim Hanlon to discuss the future of online video advertising. The conversation was inked and published as a two part series in MediaPosts’ VideoInsider Newsletter. But, the articles didn’t cover the entire conversation. The rest of the interview is included in this month’s edition of SpotXchange Insight.Read article one and article two for a look at their in-depth conversation on online video advertising.

Mike Shehan (MS): How do you think the agencies and media buyers are grasping the video sponsorship intermingling of online and television?

Tim Hanlon (TH): It’s classic agency iteration. They wait for things like scale and volume to occur. I think 2007 showed this type of behavior, i.e. non-linear viewing inclusive of broadband video became a sizeable activity-so sizeable that it is impossible to ignore. That said, what you have is a turf battle by television buyers who originally bought network programming in a linear fashion and interactive media buyers who have been experts to all things online. When you toss the ball that is broadband or online video up in the air it is literally a jump ball between those two differing perspectives. The idea is the clear harmonizing of both.

Television buyers should be comfortable with the notion that their video ad can and will run against the same programming and be measured in a more granular fashion. The digital buyer needs to be aware of some of the more historical truths of television, e.g. mass audiences, CPMs etc. But, both need to work in unison for the advertiser. Unfortunately agency structure gets in the way of that behavior.

You see either one or the other dominating the buying process-for some it’s a digital agency, for others it’s a TV agency. It encompasses both television and online dynamics. How marketers choose to have online video analyzed and bought is up to the marketer. I argue that they should harmonize as quickly as possible because they are one in the same. It goes back to my broader thinking that it’s not new media anymore, it’s simply media.

MS: As an insider do you see those silos breaking down or are the walls getting thicker?

TH: Money dictates structure, behavior, agreement, etc. We’re still in a place where we objectively see data pointing to a more holistic viewing pattern across multiple touch points.

The reality is that the budgets are still stuck about a year or two behind and they are disproportionately biased toward linear television distribution. Two things can happen: one, the traditional purveyors of linear television, broadcast networks, cable networks, stations, etc. broaden their opportunity to be not just linear television, but to be on-demand, online video, mobile, etc. The television buyers adjust their budgets accordingly, the networks now get multi-touch point buys and not just television buys. The other thing that can happen simultaneously or instead is a general shifting of budgets based on overall viewing behavior regardless of where it’s coming from.

The challenge is that not every broadband or online video environment is from a trusted television brand. You’ve got the blip.tv’s of the world that are offering worthy original content. You’ve got companies like nextnewnetworks and other digital studios creating new content that have advertising opportunities. If I’m a television buyer I can’t sit back and wait for my traditional TV sellers to do the adjustment for me and then bring me along for the ride because that’s only half the battle. The other half is this explosion of ‘other video’. Some is quality, smaller audience, which in aggregate is notable. Ironically, those long tail programs can actually start scaling up with more audiences and can maybe make the jump to these hallowed networks some day.

It’s a cycle of existence where the traditional big broadcast television programs are now available in lots of different digital touch points and lots of original stuff from the ground level. Creative individuals can actually start aggregating little audiences by themselves and can get the attention of big distribution channels. If I am considering video for my client’s advertising, I need to be fully cognizant of all of that behavior and evolution.

MS: In today’s world we find ourselves fighting agencies to get the video creative that was used just for the TV buy.

TH: That money is still going to come from television budget spillage which brings creative advertising spillage, producing the 15s and the 30s originally created for television. I think we’re nearing the end of that first generation and we’re starting to really get people to create with multiple video touch points in mind. The reality is that this is going to happen incrementally. Year over year we will be in a more sophisticated place. I am not saying that mass TV centric buys, like American Idol and the Super Bowl, will go away. But the disproportionately larger amount of video buying-not TV buying, but video buying-across lots of touch points including broadband video will be a more sophisticated exercise in the next year or two.

MS: Marketers tell us different things are important to them: CTRs, conversions, percentage of the video ad viewed, etc. Do you think there is any right or wrong measurements in an online video ad buy?

TH: Increasingly marketers and their agencies are going to have different variables for how success is judged. These early days are influenced by TV. But online video is more than that when you get in to dimensionalization, direct response or the ability to go further with an ad message and/or the granular targeting. With all media, you are going to see an increase in the desired metrics by advertiser, and they are not going to be as uniform as they were historically. Most marketers and their agencies are going to be interested in having as many granular demarcations as possible. Individuals are going to aggregate the way they choose. I like to use the example of when Bank of America bought the MBNA America credit card. They pioneered “infinity marketing”. The approach was not to market a VISA or a MasterCard but a Georgetown University alumni association VISA, an American Dental Association MasterCard or the New Jersey Devils VISA card to 10, 20, 30 thousand people at a time, in their own way and environment. It’s up to MBNA to aggregate those audiences, thousands of different groups to whatever scale they need to be a viable business. They effectively became the second or third largest credit card issuer in the country. That is what marketers are moving towards.

American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) Media Conference

February 28, 2008

What: Visit SpotXchange at the AAAA’s Conference in Orlando, Florida.

When: March 5-7, 2008

Where: Rosen Shingle Creek Resort & Golf Club, Expo Hall, Booth # 404

Who: Contact Paul Bowlin, pbowlin@spotxchange.com, or Bryan Blood, bblood@spotxchange.com, to set up a meeting.

SpotXchange opens NYC office, builds sales team to meet demand for online video advertising

February 19, 2008

WESTMINSTER, CO February 19, 2008 – Online video advertising network SpotXchange has opened an office in New York City and is looking to bolster the company’s sales team in the area.

The office allows the company to expand its presence in the advertising capital of the world. This marks SpotXchange’s first major investment since securing its first round of funding earlier this year.

The new office is located at 40 West 37th Street Suite 1200 New York, NY 10018. The main number is 917.297.0885.

The company is also bulking up its Eastern region’s sales staff to meet the advertising community’s increasing use of the SpotXchange marketplace.

Regional VP Paul Bowlin will run the office and is overseeing the hiring process. Job inquiries can be sent to pbowlin@spotxchange.com.

Based in Colorado and launched in November 2006, the SpotXchange online video advertising network allows advertisers and publishers to buy and sell online video advertising in a true, real-time auction marketplace. The patent-pending technology takes the best practices in sponsored search-self-service tools, free market bidding, precision targeting, transparent reporting, real-time tracking and optimization-and applies those tools to a comprehensive marketplace of online video ad inventory. The marketplace currently represents
over one billion monthly impressions.

ABOUT SPOTXCHANGE
The SpotXchange patent-pending online video advertising platform received the 2007 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Award for BEST VIDEO AD PLATFORM. The company was spun off from Colorado-based digital marketing and technology company, Booyah Networks in March 2007. Booyah Networks ranked 23rd on the 2006 Inc. 500. Clients and partners include Voxant, Blinkx, Internap, LiveVideo.com, NeoEdge, United Press International and others.

# # #

Contact:
Valerie Quintanilla,
SpotXchange
Valerie@spotxchange.com
303.345.6623

CoBizMag.com: ColoInternet democracy – Westminster video ad server looks to help the little guy. You can place cheap video ads with this free tool

February 11, 2008

CoBizMag.com Monday, February 11, 2008 at 8:56:23 AM

By Keith DuBay

One of the reasons I started this blog was to discover how businesses could communicate to their customers in a new but confusing age of media. Large businesses have enough ad budget to cover almost any channel to communicate to potential customers. They are going to try everything, from mass audience advertising to targeted display to search. But what about the small business?

In my view, the most powerful new customer communications tool for small business – other than referrals from current customers – is search, and Google dominates that segment because it has such a good search engine. But what if a company wants to advertise online and raise its overall profile, i.e. non-search branding, to a targeted audience? This is the area that a Westminster company called SpotXchange plays in, and it just received a round of financing from a blue-ribbon cast of angel investors to forge ahead in the online video advertising area.

What is SpotXchange?

My best description is that SpotXchange is a sophisticated campaign planning and ad-buying software, ASP-style, for online video advertising. SpotXchange puts together publishers/websites with advertisers. Judging by the online demo that CEO Michael Shehan walked me through, it looks pretty easy to use. All the small businessperson needs is a video ad saved in any one of six common video formats. Then you’re off and running. You can place your ad for jewelry, books, old guitars, accounting services or just about anything on sites that can be targeted by publishing category (say, sports), city, state, region, income demographics, age or just about any other category. The ad runs alongside a site’s video player and is not spliced into the file; this makes it easier to automatically feed into a site’s system.

SpotXchange also counts how much money you’ve spent, tracks how many of your ads have been downloaded and will even place banner ads.

Because it is online advertising, it can be pretty cheap. Shehan gives the example of one client, a motivational speaker who has booked some hotel space in Las Vegas for some seminars. He spends 1 cent per impression, ($10 per thousand). Thus, Shehan said if the speaker got 20,000 people in Las Vegas to view his seminar ad and five of them paid the $200 seminar fee, he spent $200 for $1,000 worth of business.

SpotXchange depends on revenue shares with publishers to get paid. The general idea is that for a 50/50 split, publishers can sell their unsold inventory of ad space through SpotXchange.

“We’re democratizing the whole process to allow all advertisers to advertise, no matter how small,” Shehan said. “We work with Ford, Overstock, Miller Lite, but I’d say we have more local advertisers than big brands, the guys who will spend $10 a month, $500 a month, people who don’t have an agency. It’s perfect for people who can’t afford a TV commercial.”

Apparently publishers are OK with the idea of selling their surplus space. The 300 who have signed up with SpotXchange represent 10,000 websites, Shehan said. He’s not out to steal the advertising relationship, he said: “We bring the advertisers to them. We’re an exchange. We set up a marketplace that allows anyone to participate.”

SpotXchange was founded just more than a year ago. To date it has 100 “clients,” advertisers such as Mapquest, Gaiam, Brookstone, Vitamin Shops and Little Tikes. Other partners include Voxant, Blinkx, Internap, LiveVideo.com, NeoEdge and United Press International.

How it got started

To date, more than $5 million has been poured into developing SpotXchange. Most of the early funding has been from its former parent company, Booyah Networks.

“We started looking at online video and realized it’s a mess of a space. There were very few standards and all these different players. From a media buyer’s standpoint it was horrible,” Shehan said.

Recently, SpotXchange announced an undisclosed amount of angel financing from Alex Bogusky, chief creative officer of Crispin Porter + Bogusky advertising; Laurence Change, Mike Lu, Kent Moore, Blaine Rollins and Claire Young, all former Janus fund managers and Tim Hudner, former operations and technology manager at Janus. With backers like that, I think it’s safe to assume SpotXchange’s technology is pretty damn good.

Elephant in the bedroom

Every software company will tell you that what they do is unique, just like it is inevitable that all used cars are “certified” and that every single company in the history of companies that write press releases about themselves is a “leading” company. Shehan said he has competitors, but that they work more as reps who “work manually.”

And then, there’s Google, the company that wants everyone to do business through it and owner of 500,000-plus advertiser relationships.

“On the video side, Google obviously has a lot going for them, but they don’t have this on the video side today,” Shehan said. “As a small company you always hope you can move faster.”

Right now SpotXchange is in a race to add as many advertisers as it can. There’s no doubt in my mind that SpotXchange is being set up to be sold. What would make sense? How about a Dex-type online yellow pages, which already has the advertiser network SpotXchange seeks? The company does not disclose revenues, but says it has 40 employees. The usual way to measure technology companies is to multiply the number of employees by $100,000. That would give this company about $4 million in revenue, but this company is still in the start-up stage and would not likely have that much revenue.

There are still some things to work out for online video advertising. An advertiser still has to produce a video ad. Quality digital video production is becoming cheaper and more available to the masses. Smaller, leaner agencies or single practitioner services are sure to follow. Yup, business owners may try to do their own videos and there’s going to be some real bad video advertising produced.

It’s just the price of living in a democracy.

Keith DuBay (kdubay@cobizmag.com) is online editor of ColoradoBiz.

Link to article

thePlatform Unveils Largest Ecosystem of Partners and Open Approach for Online Video Publishing

February 6, 2008

SEATTLE – February 6, 2008

As the market for professionally produced online video has matured, so too has the need for media companies to incorporate highly flexible, open and robust methods that help them keep pace. Today, thePlatform, the leading broadband video management and publishing company, announced the broadband video industry’s largest collection of pre-integrated partner technologies and an open approach for assisting media companies with their online and mobile video initiatives.

thePlatform’s customers benefit from the widest choice of pre-integrated partner services and technologies to support their unique business needs. Companies participating in thePlatform Framework, the company’s premier partner program, span the entire ecosystem of online video, including: advertising campaign management systems, ad sales networks, content delivery networks, content protection, media formats, transcoding engines, payment processors, syndication outlets and video search. In addition, customers can easily use their own in-house digital asset management system, customer relationship management and other back-office applications in conjunction with thePlatform’s system.

“Every media company has its own unique vision for online video, and they are becoming less tolerant of technology constraints or specialized vendors that inhibit their growth or agility,” said Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform. “Our customers want the ability to trial new technology and choose the best vendors without dramatically impacting their operations. thePlatform framework addresses this need with a robust menu of pre-integrated solutions that give them flexibility to easily create the optimal solution. No other broadband video management company has our open approach to partners or proven history in the space.”

“thePlatform and Cisco are collaborating on the creation and deployment of streamlined web-video management, distribution and delivery platforms enabled by the Cisco Content Delivery System,” said Paul Bosco, Cisco vice president and general manager of video and broadband initiatives. “We are also focused on convergent platform extensions supporting the fusion of web, television and user-generated content built around the consumer media experience across the growing number of wired, wireless and mobile devices in our lives. We welcome the opportunity to be a founding member of thePlatform’s ecosystem program and to continue our engagements with innovative customers worldwide.”

The Ecosystem
thePlatform Framework gives technology companies full-featured software development kits, engineering support, training, and development sandboxes for a quick implementation. Companies participating in thePlatform Framework include:

Advertising & Monetization

  • Adap.TV
  • BlackArrow
  • CSG Systems
  • DoubleClick
  • Lightningcast
  • Panache
  • PayPal
  • ScanScout
  • SpotXchange

Content Delivery

  • Akamai
  • BitGravity
  • Cisco Systems
  • Edgecast Networks
  • GridNetworks
  • Highwinds
  • Internap
  • Limelight Networks
  • MediaMelon
  • OnStream Media

Playback Experience

  • Apple Corp.
  • Adobe Systems
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • Move Networks

Transcoding

  • Digital Rapids
  • On2
  • Rhozet
  • RipCode
  • Telestream

Content Syndication

  • AT&T
  • Clearspring
  • Comcast.net
  • GoTV
  • iTunes Podcasts
  • MobiTV
  • MSN Video
  • Sprint
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube

 Professional Services

  • Ascertane
  • Cypress Consulting
  • Genex
  • Online Video Service
  • Schematic

Digital Asset Management

  • Clear Story Systems
  • North Plains Systems

Content Protection

  • Microsoft Corp.
  • Widevine Technologies

 Additional companies will join the partner program in the coming months. Technology companies interested in participating in thePlatform Framework and utilizing its application programming interface (API) should visit http://www.thePlatform.com.

thePlatform’s system manages the entire logistics process behind the publication of broadband video from the content owner to the consumer. Media companies and video sites rely on thePlatform’s services to manage their media, generate revenue from their content, syndicate media to outlets and create unique broadband video players. Hundreds of professional media companies use thePlatform for their online and mobile video needs, handling billions of videos requested by consumers every year.

Media companies interested in publishing or syndicating their video across the web and mobile phones email us here.