Archive for August 2008

SpotXchange Joins Casual Games Association

August 20, 2008

WESTMINSTER, CO August 20, 2008 Online video advertising network SpotXchange has joined the Casual Games Association.

“Given the overwhelming success our video advertisers have experienced with casual gaming ad inventory, we felt SpotXchange would benefit from being involved in the industry’s leading organization,” said Michael Shehan, CEO/President of SpotXchange. “Our participation will allow us to increase our knowledge and understanding of the industry’s needs and enables us to act as more of a conduit in bringing advertisers and casual gaming publishers together through our network.”

The Casual Games Association is an international organization with a paid membership of more than 4,000 gaming executives, publishers and developers. Dedicated to promoting casual games for general consumers and providing educational resources for game development, the association hosts annual conferences in Seattle, Kyiv and Amsterdam, publishes a magazine three times a year, and issues research reports on the industry. The association was founded in 2005 by members of the casual games industry.

According to eMarketer in the next five years video games as an ad medium will grow significantly. Spending will increase from $692 million in 2006 to $1.9 billion in 2011 with half of the spending expected to take place in the U.S. This will be spurred by a growing audience, heavily women and older gamers, and a need for game developers to offset larger production costs. The SpotXchange network is already seeing powerful network stats that illustrate these trends. The marketplace reaches over 60 million unique gamers each month, 90 percent of in-game ads are viewed in full and CTRs are coming in at one to five percent.

“The increasing interest in casual games has created a powerful opportunity for advertisers to get involved. Companies like SpotXchange make it easier for publishers, developers and advertisers to work together,” said Craig Holland, marketing director of the Casual Games Association. “We are pleased that companies like SpotXchange are using the Casual Games Association as a resource to expand their presence in the industry.”

Based in Colorado and launched in November 2006, SpotXchange reaches over 60 million unique gamers across the world through its partnership with over 50 casual gaming networks, social gaming networks and casual gaming portals. SpotXchange is a video advertising network that provides sophisticated targeting, a hands-on client services team, reporting, and a transparent marketplace for publishers and advertisers’ online video advertising needs.

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 eGames, Gamesville, iWin.com, FreeRideGames.com, NeoEdge, Real Arcade, Slingo, TryGames, WorldWinner, and more.

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Contact:
Valerie Quintanilla
303.345.6623
Valerie@spotxchange.com

Mashable: What YouTube Needs to Do Now to Turn Things Around

August 8, 2008

This week I took part in a panel with fellow Internet video execs at the RBC Conference. Everyone on the panel was in agreement that brand advertisers want to sponsor “safe content”–professionally produced content that runs on reputable sites. Having said that, I don’t think that is YouTube’s only solution–there are other monetization models currently in the market such as display ads and overlay ads that can be priced on a CPA (performance) basis that could be used to monetize UGC. There may also be other monetization models not yet developed that may be used to cash in on YouTube’s massive volume of UGC inventory. At the end of the day, although the content is primarily UGC, it represents a significant volume of traffic and (as Blinkx CEO Suranga Chandratillake pointed out during our panel discussion, but not quoted in the article below), more than anyone, Google can afford to lose a little money on YouTube as it figures this out. After all, Google didn’t monetize search through advertising AT ALL during its first few years, but they ultimately figured out how to do that pretty well.

What YouTube Needs to Do Now to Turn Things Around 

YouTube hasn’t been able to monetize videos of eighty-year old men mooning a crowd of onlookers? It hasn’t been able to monetize someone lip-syncing “I Kissed A Girl?” Who would have thought that?

At a recent meeting of Internet videoSelling-Entertainment-Online Jan-08 executives at the RBC Capital conference, the panelists told those in attendance that user-generated content simply doesn’t provide any real monetization value and Google needs to find new ways to turn things around if it wants to turn a profit.

Later on, the execs said that the key to Google’s success has nothing to do with user-generated content and everything to with professional content, which can be controlled, analyzed, and properly determined to appeal to the key demographics advertisers are looking for.

“What we’ve found is that advertisers and agencies are only interested in professional media, so professional content providers are having a good time finding extremely high demand because they have a lack of video views,” Blinkx CEO Suranga Chandratillake said.

And for once, we’ve finally heard what YouTubeYouTube ‘s business model should be. It needs to forget about user-generated content and trying to monetize that and actively seek ways to entice more people to its professional content and make it a greater value proposition for its advertisers.

Of course, Google has already taken significant steps in that direction as of late with deals between YouTube and Seth MacFarlane that will see the “Family Guy” creator working on a series of short cartoon spots designed exclusively for Google.

But the company’s initiatives need to go far beyond just that. It needs to keep user-generated content on YouTube because that’s what people are looking for most when they go there, and try to support that section of the site with display ads. On top of that, it needs to coax more companies to bring professional content over and actively sell advertising on that content, which is not only controlled, but user demographics can be analyzed and advertisers will be able to determine if the site is worth spending money on.

YouTube is an extremely expensive endeavor for Google that has yet to bear fruit. But if Google is smart, it will listen to what the execs said at the RBC Capital conference and start to actively seek out professional content that will entice more companies to spend money in the space.

If it doesn’t, look for YouTube to look even more like a bloated waste of money.

Link to article

MediaPost: 10 Questions For RFPing A Portal Or Video Ad Network

August 6, 2008

Great checklist! SpotX has you covered on all points!

MediaPost Online Video Insider Posted August 5th, 2008 by Tod Sacerdoti

Having served over 3 billion video ads in the last couple of years, we have learned a few things about the business. Whether you are buying video ads from a portal, publisher with multiple sites or a video ad network, there are 10 questions we recommend that you ask before committing to the buy.

1. Can I select the specific sites (or URLs) within your network that my ads will appear on (or can I select sites not to be included)?

Controlling your video buy means understanding the content quality of the inventory. If you are not offered the ability to add or remove sites it is because:

a) You are likely to remove the site/s where the portal/network intends to send the majority of your ad budget.

b) The vendor doesn’t have the technology to segment their inventory (this should be a red flag)

2. Can I see my campaign performance broken out site by site?

Even though you selected the sites that your ads should appear on, your ads will not necessarily appear on those sites or be spread equally among the selected sites. Make sure you ask for sites based on site performance as it is now offered by many players. I always recommend asking for a screenshot from every site agreed upon.

3. Can I optimize my campaign based on performance during the life of the campaign?

Many companies selling video inventory are forcing agencies to run campaigns regardless of performance. Many sites outperform the industry averages, based on CTR or attitudinal measures so make sure that you can optimize when you see the performing sites. You must have the above-mentioned performance breakdown to optimize against this data.

4. Will you guarantee that you will serve the entire allocated budget?

Video publishers are notorious about over-committing to inventory allocations and then under-delivering. In fact, many publishers have budget minimums and further under-deliver against that minimum! Be sure to make large sites or networks commit to budget fill, and put penalties in your terms for under-delivery.

5. Can we use my existing ad server (Atlas, Doubleclick) for billing purposes and to track impressions/clicks?

Discrepancies are a real issue when you use online advertising, but are nowhere more prevalent than in online video. It should be mandatory for any large budget that the agency’s ad server is the source of truth for billing and tracking purposes.

6. Will my ads be served on any syndicated content or embedded video players off the approved sites?

Syndicated content and embedded video players are the single easiest way to waste a video ad budget. Most publishers and ad networks that offer syndicated content or embedded video players do so primarily as a way to generate a large volume of cheap inventory and, therefore, increased margin. It is not offered because it adds value to the advertiser’s campaigns.

7. Will my ads be served on UGC sites?

Let’s be honest, there is a lot more bad video inventory on the Web than high-quality video inventory. Not surprisingly, most of the bad video inventory is user-generated content. Unless your campaign target specifically includes UGC, I would avoid it at all cost. It under-performs on every performance metric we track.

8. Will there be any rich-media fees or ad-serving costs in addition to the media cost?

You are likely already paying ad-serving fees for your ad server, so you don’t want to double your fees. Many vendors use rich media fees or ad serving costs as a way to extract additional budget out of agencies. The reality is that there are many vendors with enormous distribution that do not charge either of these fees, so make sure you do your research before you buy.

9. Can you handle all file conversions and technical implementation issues?

If your campaign includes mostly standard video ad units, then your media partner should bear the technology costs of converting your video files for every implementation. Put simply, all you should need to do is send the vendor the video files and any accompanying banners – they should be willing to handle the rest.

10. After we deliver campaign assets, how fast will the campaign go live and how fast can we pause the campaign if there are any issues?

Video ad execution often takes a bit longer than traditional display advertising, so you need to know what timelines you are dealing with. A reasonable timeframe is roughly three business days. Anything over that for starting or pausing a campaign should be reason for concern.

Link to article

TVWeek: Digital Dealmakers

August 4, 2008

Digital Dealmakers
August 3, 2008

Mike Shehan, CEO of SpotXchange

The player: Mike Shehan, CEO of SpotXchange

The play: SpotXchange is an online video advertising network that brokers deals for ads against online video content. Ads can be pre-rolls, overlays, banners and pre-game ads in which a video advertisement plays before a casual game starts. SpotXchange is the sister company to Booyah Networks, which builds technologies and provides solutions for sponsored search.

The pitch: Because of parent company Booyah’s work in search, SpotXchange can allow advertisers to tweak their campaigns on the fly based on real-time Web results, much like advertisers can do with search campaigns. “We provide a lot of transparency to allow advertisers to see exactly where their ads are being placed. They can load and launch campaigns within minutes as opposed to 30 days,” Mr. Shehan said. “The biggest thing our advertisers appreciate is the ability to optimize campaigns based on performance, just like you would with search.” Advertisers can pick and choose the sites and inventory they want.

In the mix: SpotXchange reaches 84 million people per month across its network of publishers, including Blinkx.com, ClipSyndicate.com, Pando.com, Videojug.com, Voxant.com and Vuze.com. Advertisers have included big brands like the U.S. Army and Ford, agencies like Universal McCann and direct-response marketers like Netflix. SpotXchange also works with local advertisers such as attorneys, retailers and restaurants because SpotXchange can target by city. “It’s a powerful marketing tool because it does drive phone calls and leads to them. For every local video ad, we overlay with a unique phone tracking number,” he said.

The backstory: Mr. Shehan founded parent company Booyah in 2001 with proceeds from selling his house. That company is now profitable.

The money guys: SpotXchange was funded by Booyah Networks at launch in 2006 with $6 million. The company also has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic investment money. SpotXchange makes money from selling ads and expects to be profitable in 12 to 24 months.

The pros: Online video advertising is a fast-growing business and revenue should rise from $471 million last year to $7.2 billion in 2012, according to Forrester Research.

The cons: Competition is stiff from online video ad networks like Tremor Media and Broadband Enterprises.

Background: Mr. Shehan was born in Westchester, Pa., and grew up in Baltimore. He graduated with a degree in biology from Vanderbilt University. Before founding Booyah in 2001, he was CEO of an image search technology firm and founded e-commerce company Logex. He lives in the Denver area with his wife and four children.

Who knew? In 2001 Mr. Shehan and his wife sold their dream home in Boulder, Colo., to fund Booyah Networks. Three months after they moved the house was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, with the couple in front of the home on the cover.

Posted on August 3, 2008 8:50 PM | Permalink

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