Digital Video News: ‘We’ve Seen Times Where 45%-50% May Be Coming From Mobile’

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Digital Video News: ‘We’ve Seen Times Where 45%-50% May Be Coming From Mobile’

Ava Seave ,

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I dig into the details of media businesses.

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“I think we’re still in the early stages of the Wild West with mobile,” said Greg Peters, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Inform (formerly NDN.) In a wide-ranging interview, Peters reports enormous change in the devices where Inform’s traffic originates. “In 2014 we started the year with about 6% of our video views coming from mobile, and we ended the year with almost 30% coming from mobile. And this year we’ve seen times where 45-50% may be coming from mobile, and that’s usually the weekends.”

This is consistent with Mary Meeker’s report that of the time spent with digital media, the average U.S. adult spends 51% with mobile digital vs. 42% with desktop and 7% with other screens.

Peters says the industry is experimenting with mobile ads that can engage customers and earn higher CPMs including ”everything from takeover ads, to interstitial, to auto play ads. In some cases, it’s accomplishing the objective of the advertiser, but in other cases it’s alienating the viewer on mobile, because they feel like it’s intrusive.”

Inform, however, is focused with mobile — as with desk top — just on pre-roll. “When there’s a video embedded in a mobile web page, it looks very similar to a desk top view.”

Inform’s innovation in mobile has come with their purchase of Reverb Technologies earlier in 2015. “They have a product — a mobile engine — that’s very similar, at least in my view, to the Flipboard product,” explains Peters. With the purchase, “we’re going to change this mobile engine’s user interface, and give it away for free to all of our publisher partners. We’ll be able to change the look and feel and make it look like that publishing partner – be it the New York Daily News or the L.A. Times. The content that gets surfaced up through that engine can be their content, or can be their media ownership group, or what’s trending in general.” Peters is anticipating rolling out the product in early 2016.
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How it all works

Many of Inform’s distribution partners are members of the Associated Press (AP) which has had a strategic relationship with Inform since 2010. It is the major deal that Peters credits with putting the company into “hyper mode growth” in early 2011. The AP’s current video licensing, sales and distribution agreement with Inform will be in place until 2017.

In an interview, Bill Burke, AP’s Director of Video and Audio Products, explained how the two companies work together. “We license our content to Inform, so AP itself as a content provider gets a share of the ad revenue. And our members are the distribution partners, so they get a share of the ad revenue.” Sometimes AP is both content provider and distributor in the case of AP.org and the Big Story. AP members can use Inform, but aren’t obligated to.
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New A&E Reality Series ‘Born This Way’ Is Sweet, Raw And Real

Dave Walker ,

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I write about TV. That’s a lot.

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One mom says it took 20 years to reckon with her daughter’s disability.
“I do have a story to tell,” says one cast member, and she’s right.

The cast of A&E’s ‘Born This Way’ (Credit: A&E).

The cast of A&E’s ‘Born This Way’ (Credit: A&E).

To its credit, Born This Way, a new six-episode series about young people debuting Tuesday night (Dec. 8) on A&E, doesn’t shy from reality-TV conventions and cliches. There are confessional interviews with the cast in which they share their truest selves with the camera. There are self-described players and divas. There is weeping.

The Real World was groundbreaking when it first landed back in 1992. MTV ’s pioneering reality franchise helped change TV for a generation or more (so far), and first minted the storytelling conventions that would grow to be clichés.

That show and this show come from the same production company, Bunim-Murray, which in the decades between the two have populated TV screens with Project Runway, I Am Cait, The Simple Life and Kardashians to infinity.

The cast members of Born This Way – sweet Rachel, sportsman Sean, rapper John, confident Steven, empathy-ready Cristina, ambitious Megan and drama queen Elena – may not vie with Kim and Khloe for pop-culture ubiquity, but the point of the show they’re on is to ask, “Why not?”

Rachel, Sean, John, Steven, Cristina, Megan and Elena were born with Down syndrome, though that and the show’s cameras are not the only things that unite them. Their wants and needs are the same as other people their age, including the people on other Bunim-Murray shows, even the ones that come with Kardashians.
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The list includes romantic companionship, fun outings, a tribe of their own to tease and be teased by, a job, a purpose, independence. Also maybe most of all a steep reduction in the limitations their culture, including sometimes their own parents, impose on them.

 

Burke says Inform has been good for AP and its members for numerous reasons including:

  • Well chosen content. Inform uses “only premium video providers at the same quality level as AP”, across many genres citing hundreds of local TV stations and Comcast CMCSA -1.69% regional sports.
  • They are sales guys.  “They have been consistently able to sell 100% of the advertising availability and do so at a high CPM. So that’s been a good revenue share for them and a good revenue share for us.”

AP does not have an exclusive licensing deal with Inform. “We have a YouTube Channel and we have deals with other aggregators in order to have a presence across a whole series of platforms.  But we are happy to work very closely with Inform because they have been effective for us – and of course, they have a big chunk of our customers.” 

A glimpse of Inform's back end Photo credit: Gary He/Insider Images for Inform

Facebook FB +0.94%’s video play

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Inform is actively considering its relationship with Facebook’s video strategy. The companies are talking and cooperating, according to Peters.

  • Currently. “They’ve white-listed us for all of their API’s, so we get information on the social graph and we get information on what’s trending down to the granular level of what stories are trending, and what’s trending across publishers.”
  • “We’ve aggregated content from about 280 local television stations. News happens somewhere local first, and then it gets reported on by national. So, we’re able to, in real time, provide all this local content into Facebook, into their algorithms to match the stories.
  • Future. “We are thinking about how can we combine this data and create, what I call, an ‘accelerator’, to accelerate consumption of news and social in a combined way where Facebook was in harmony with publishers, and publishers with Facebook. They’re willing to basically bring us into the Facebook team, to work on all of this together.”

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