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May 26 2017

How to find a wonderful idea | OK Go
Where does OK Go come up with ideas like dancing in zero gravity, performing in ultra slow motion or constructing a warehouse-sized Rube Goldberg machine for their music videos? In between live performances of "This Too Shall Pass" and "The One Moment," lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash takes us inside the band's creative process, showing us how to look for wonder and surprise.

May 25 2017

A secret weapon against Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases | Nina Fedoroff
Where did Zika come from, and what can we do about it? Molecular biologist Nina Fedoroff takes us around the world to understand Zika's origins and how it spread, proposing a controversial way to stop the virus -- and other deadly diseases -- by preventing infected mosquitoes from multiplying.

Kawaja’s Three Reasons For Digital Media Optimism

With fears of an advertising duopoly, concerns about shady agency practices, a downturn in VC funding and mounting anger at programmatic opacity, there are plenty of reasons to be bearish about the digital advertising ecosystem right now.

But one of the leading thinkers and M&A advisers in the space doesn’t want you to forget the sector’s positive underlying outlook.

In this video interview, LUMA Partners founder and CEO Terence Kawaja spoke with Beet.TV at LUMA’s own Digital Media Summit, where he delivered a State Of Digital Media address he said puts “the case for optimism”. That case is a three-pronged reason to smile:

  1. Growth: Regardless of the challenges that do exist and have to be addressed, we’re seeing more and more dollars flood in to digital. When you think about super-charging that with artificial intelligence, we believe the organic growth of the sector is going to continue unabated for the next foreseeable future.”
  2. New entrants: We’re seeing large companies with massive capabilities and capitalisations coming in to the space, making investments, making acquisitions from a diverse group of buyers ranging from large CRM marketing clouds to big data companies, big media companies, telcos, even private equity. That ought to be a very strong ‘buy’ signal.”

  3. Deals: We are getting deals done at fantastic valuations, at great multiples that do not reflect the negativity associated with some of the publicly-traded companies.”

LUMA’s State Of Digital Media report shows a dip in venture funding to ad-tech companies. But, where VCs walk away, private equity is coming in – and Kawaja sees that as a sign of sector maturation.

What’s more – whilst many grumble about a duopoly of Facebook and Google in advertising, Kawaja tips Amazon to extend its cloud and voice-controlled device expertise in to digital ad services.

This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.


OpenAP ‘Good News For Us’ Says Nielsen’s Hasker

If you thought broadcasters’ newfangled ways of selling TV ads using advanced audience-buying tools in 2017 will freeze traditional TV measurers out in the cold, think again.

Fox, Turner and Viacom teamed to co-found OpenAP, a new consortium to agree on commonality in the way granular audience-describing datasets are described and made available.

To many, these new techniques may seem to supercede the traditional TV measurement system operated by Nielsen.

But not only does Nielsen nowadays have its own set of products aiming to measure TV and video across multiple platforms for publishers and advertisers – OpenAP is also part-powered by the company.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Nielsen global president Steve Hasker says: “From a Nielsen perspective, this is good news, because our data can and will feed in to those platforms pretty seamlessly. We’ve built it so it provides a true cross-platform comparability in terms of its audience measurement.

“No matter how a marketer wants to use those platforms (or) wants to use that data), we’re able to provide it seamlessly.”

Nielsen is making its audience segments, household, personal and buyergraphic TV ratings data available through OpenAP, the company announced in April. The system also leverages Accenture and comScore know-how.

To Hasker, cross-platform media measurement has now reached an inflection point.

“We’ve been talking about measurement for years,” he says. “This year, this upfront, this conference, we’ve really made some progress as an industry.

“I think we’ve seen more progress in the measurement ecosystem … in the last 12 months than we have in the previous 12 years.”

This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page

May 24 2017


FreeWheel’s Brunet Discusses The Programmatic Guaranteed Future, Unified Header Bidding

Premium video provider FreeWheel believes that guaranteed, programmatic transactions on a one-to-one basis between publishers and buyers represent the future of both video and linear television. The programmatic guaranteed world is the “next generation of programmatic transactions for premium publishers because this guarantees a safe transaction for both the seller and the buyer and it also gives control back to the publisher,” says Hervé Brunet, GM, Markets at FreeWheel.

In this interview with Beet.TV during the TV UpFront market, Brunet addresses the importance of both a unified platform for video and TV inventory and one decisioning engine for header bidding to handle both programmatic and direct-sold transactions.

In one-to-one, guaranteed programmatic selling buyer and seller agrees on things like terms, pricing, flight dates, inventory and audience type. “The seller would actually bundle the inventory and guarantee it to the buyer and the terms would be agreed upon, which is very important in an UpFront setup,” says Brunet.

It also creates a bridge between digital video and programmatic or linear TV. “We think the programmatic guaranteed world will be the way to transact both digital and TV,” he adds.

FreeWheel has committed to creating a unified stack, “which is really the future for the industry. This is what the sellers want but it’s also what the buyers want eventually.”

On the subject of header bidding, Brunet points out the reality that despite being a “red hot topic,” the technique was created for desktop and display. It’s not designed for video, mobile screens, OTT and non-IP environments like set-top boxes.

“Plus it introduces delay in the transaction so it basically ruins the user experience,” Brunet says.

Moreover, having direct handled by an ad server and programmatic by header bidding “basically defeats the purpose of holistic competition across the board between direct sold and programmatic,” he adds.

FreeWheel’s unified decisioning engine bridges this gap so that direct-sold campaigns compete with programmatic campaigns across all screens.

To underscore the depth of digital advertising fraud, Brunet cites the discovery by Internet security firm White Ops of a $1 billion-plus Russian hacking operation called Methbot in which bots posed as humans watching online videos. At the time, FreeWheel conducted a study and found that 99.999% of its traffic did not match the IP addresses that White Ops had listed, “which means our publishers are inherently clean,” he says.

In a related study as part of the FreeWheel Video Monetization Report, FreeWheel determined that on average its viewability metrics were 15 percentage points above those of random publishers.

Looking beyond the desktop, where the need for viewability first became a concern, Brunet stresses there’s a bigger story to be addressed.

“Viewability needs to address all devices,” he says. “Video includes OTT, mobile, set-top, VOD and eventually linear TV. Those devices need to be taken into account as well in the future.”

This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.

This is what democracy looks like | Anthony D. Romero
In a quest to make sense of the political environment in the United States in 2017, lawyer and ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero turned to a surprising place -- a 14th-century fresco by Italian Renaissance master Ambrogio Lorenzetti. What could a 700-year-old painting possibly teach us about life today? Turns out, a lot. Romero explains all in a talk that's as striking as the painting itself.

Taboola Flips To Cards To Give Publishers Infinite Engagement

In the last couple of years, the idea of “cards” has gained steam for presenting online information. Google’s Material Design aesthetic depends on cards, Facebook feed items are shown as cards.

And now Taboola, one of the big companies powering recommended content at the bottom of publishers’ news articles, is going with cards, too.

On Wednesday, Taboola launched Taboola Feed, a new way of presenting its recommended content – both sponsored and otherwise – at the bottom of news articles. And the new system is more than just cosmetic:

  • Now that content will be signposted in “cards”, free-standing units beneath article text.
  • Cards can contain anything – not just basic text-and-image pairings, but rich media, games and more.
  • Taboola’s feed scrolls infinitely, like Facebook’s, meaning more and more recommendation units can be surfaced as readers continue to scroll down.

In this sit-down interview with Beet.TV, Taboola CEO Adam Singolda is upfront about the inspiration for the product launch – social networks and mobile phones.

“The average person spends 55 minutes every day on Facebook,” Singolda says. “The reason is … instead of thinking of placements and real estate on the page, everything is streamlined in to this card system.

“Taboola Feed … offers consumers to scroll down, like they do in social networks. My hope is consumers will linger on the open web as much as they do in social networks.”

To realize that dream, Singolda will need to get customers buying in to both cards and feeds. So he is launching a modularized way of getting them to build card content, in what he’s calling “our version of the Apple Store, a marketplace for cards”.

“If you’re a startup anywhere around the world and you want to be part of a publisher ecosystem, you can build a card,” Singolda adds. “Let’s say you’re a weather company – you can build a card about the weather. It can be a commenting card, a gaming card.” This video shows how different kinds of cards may be deployed in Taboola Feed:

The system has already been used by the New York Daily News, with both sides claiming it has driven up both reader engagement and monetization.

Taboola Feed also takes a swipe at many commonly-accepted ways of delivering commercial messages online. Taboola claims that many web pages nowadays are too stuffed full with all manner of ad units and widgets, often competing with content for users’ attention.

Standardising delivery in something called “cards” seems like a beneficial way of going with the current user interface tide, whilst also cleaning up the ad ecosystem.

The Taboola Feed card system can be used both to serve links to publishers’ own organic on-site content, as well as the content marketers want to promote through publisher sites.

This interview was recorded at the annual Digital Media Summit of LUMA Partners.


Male-Oriented UPROXX CEO Blank On The Importance Of Branded, Shareable Content

Male-centric UPROXX considers itself to be a creative agency because of how it understands and caters to its audience, which perceives entertainment as more than just movies, film and TV. It’s about what’s being produced by major studios, labels and “what our audience are making in their own bedrooms,” says CEO Benjamin Blank.

In this interview with Beet.TV at the Digital Content NewFronts, Blank talks about “the culture of now,” how UPROXX approaches collaborating with brands and how to get those brands to “create a piece of content that is shared naturally by our audience. It’s a tricky thing to figure out.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.


McCann Of Little Things: Lifestage Content Not Necessarily Gender-Specific

Little Things specializes in creating meaningful, inspiring content for women who are part of the “nesting and nurturing psychographic.” But men might also find its content of interest provided that they fit the parameters of this life stage.

This is typified by Little Things videos that range from how to keep an avocado green to the easiest way to make a smoothie by pre-storing the ingredients in a mason jar—the latter having generated 88 million views, according to Editor-in-Chief Maia McCann. In this interview with Beet.TV at the Digital Content NewFronts, McCann discusses the company’s foray into OTT content delivery and why “mom content shouldn’t be just about being a mom.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.


HealthiNation: Strictly Vetted Content For Patients, Families And Caregivers

Videos are a powerful way to communicate health and medical information to people at all levels of literacy, but only if the content is strictly vetted. “We have a very strict process in terms of what we publish and what sources we use,” says Dr. Preeti Parikh, Chief Medical Editor of HealthiNation.

In this interview with Beet.TV during the Digital Content NewFronts, Dr. Parikh explains how she helps her editorial team decide on accurate and legitimate sources of information, the importance of reporting both preventive measures and how to live with certain conditions, along with the way that video helps to simplify complicated subjects.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.


NBCU’s Yaccarino Lauds Set-Top Box Insights for Advertising Results

National marketers want “scale that’s smart” by combining the best data from digital platforms with premium television content. And to close the loop, they want to be able to transact on a currency that reflects their desired business outcomes, says NBCUniversal sales chief Linda Yaccarino.

She wants to “shine a light on the need for the industry to reach out beyond legacy metrics so we can promise our clients, the national marketers, an improvement to their business.”

This was a big theme in NBC’s TV Upfront last week.

In this interview with Beet.TV at the annual Digital Media Summit of LUMA Partners, Yaccarino talks about what advertisers have been waiting for, the value of parent Comcast’s set-top box data and the company’s newly expanded relationship with Snapchat in the form of a daily news show on the social platform.

While no one argues the value of premium content and its impact on an advertising campaign, “How great would it be for us to be able to transact on a currency that reflects their outcomes to improve their business,” says Yaccarino, who is Chairman of Advertising Sales & Client Partnerships for NBCU.

She dismisses traditional ratings like C3 and C7 as “an approximate number of who may or may not have watched out show that we have to wait three weeks to get.” Lacking better metrics, marketers have lacked “the data they craved or were promised form the digital platforms combined with the scale of premium content.”

She cites NBCU’s audience tools and studio, largely powered by data from parent Comcast’s set-top boxes, as providing insights that can be married together with consumer data “to have a good prediction” of advertisers’ business outcomes.

As ADWEEK reports, NBCU just announced that NBC News will produce Snapchat’s first daily news show. Yaccarino says what started out as a “very modest relationship” with the social platform for the Rio Olympics “changes every single day.”

This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.

May 23 2017


Fueled By Proprietary Technology And Snapchat, Mashable Video Views Soar

This time last year, Mashable unveiled its proprietary Velocity Technology Suite software, which uses predictive analysis to inform content creation. Since then it’s gone from “a couple hundred million video views” monthly to 1.5 billion, according to Chief Revenue Officer Ed Wise.

Using Velocity, Mashable tries to identify “who’s influenced, who can influence on a certain topic and who’s influenceable,” Wise says in this interview with Beet.TV at the Digital Content NewFronts. This is done by staffers examining users’ behavioral habits like sharing, engaging on the web, liking, commenting and other activity.

Snapchat in particular has been a boon, as Mashable is the platform’s exclusive tech partner for its Discover network of media outlets. “That’s led to significant growth. For us it’s a game changer,” says Wise.

At this year’s NewFronts, the company launched a new vertical video product called Mashable Reels. Reels are arranged as slideshows that can be easily scrolled through on both desktop and mobile devices. The slides also change automatically after the individual videos they contain finish running, as Tubefilter reports.

Sprint and McDonald’s are two launch partners for Mashable Reels, according to Wise.

He says the “secret sauce” for Mashable inside of video and in addition to sponsorships is branded content, again fueled by predictive analytics. “I think when you look at the advertising community they’re not really quite sure what to create,” Wise notes. “They have a gut.”

He cites the example of an automobile manufacturer that says it wants to target 18- 34-year-olds who are in the market. Since that doesn’t really differentiate the auto brand from its competitors, Mashable seeks additional targeting data that might consist of, say, coffee, shoe and travel preferences. Then it tries to figure out what content those targets are consuming right now.

“The brand might think it’s entertainment but we’re saying it’s technology,” specifically technology related to music, so Mashable does a deeper data dive. “Inside of that thread we’re going to see that the insight is fearless thinking” so content related to fearless thinking is produced and distributed.

“It’s creating the right piece of content that you may not have thought was the kind that you should create,” Wise says. “If we’ve done that right we then should prove out that it actually works that we’ve moved the needle on your business. I think we’re getting pretty close to being able to do that.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.

Why I speak up about living with epilepsy | Sitawa Wafula
Once homebound by epilepsy, mental health advocate Sitawa Wafula found her strength in writing about it. Now, she advocates for others who are yet to find their voices, cutting through stigma and exclusion to talk about what it's like to live with the condition.

May 22 2017


Will Smart Machines Adjust TV Ad Load Automatically?

LAS VEGAS — Around the TV industry, advertising executives are responding to growing consumer disaffection for ads, by reducing ad load and rejigging the duration of ads served in to commercial breaks.

But what if machines did it for them?

That’s a future Scott Braley sees emerging. Speaking on a Beet.TV panel, the Ooyala ad platforms GM explained the idea.

“We’re seeing some broadcast customers who use analytics from the player to inform ad load on a little bit more of an optimised basis,” he said.

“We’re moving in that direction where there’s more machine feedback that automates the different number of breaks you can have, the load per break and what-not … adjusting the pod length, the number of breaks per hour.”

Turner has already been experimenting with running fewer, longer, better ads in its breaks, and other TV firms are examining how to make ads more engaging. Braley thinks algorithms can customise the deployment of TV ads for different audiences.

“Certain audiences have a different predilection for consuming content,” he says. “Certain content will attract more affinity from users. Certain devices will generically have different user experiences.

“Looking across those three and figuring out, at any moment in time, if there’s an optimal ad load based on what you know about the user and the audience and the content, then informing the advertising platform to adjust its setting.”

But, also appearing on the panel, Fox Networks Group advertising data and technology group SVP Noah Levine thinks linear TV is “a way’s away” from the prospect, whilst Viacom data strategy SVP  Gabe Bevilacqua said acceptance of higher ad load comes down to targeting.

“It’s quantifiable, it’s clear – when you are in-target, you’ll watch more of the ads,” he added.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas.   The series is sponsored by Ooyala.  For more coverage of NAB, please visit this page.


NGL Media: Reaching Latinos With Premium Video And John Leguizamo

Most people don’t get to create one company with actor John Leguizamo. David Chitel, CEO & Founder of Hispanic-oriented video provider NGL Media, has done it twice.

At the Digital Content NewFronts, the company’s production division, NGL Studios, announced two new initiatives: Latin History For Morons, featuring Leguizamo, and a new platform called EOP Comedy: With Liberty and Comedy for All. In this interview with Beet.TV, Chitel talks about NGL’s proprietary video technology, its ability to reach Hispanic and multicultural Millennials with premium video and the 50 private marketplace deals it executed with advertisers in 2016.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.

Poverty isn't a lack of character; it's a lack of cash | Rutger Bregman
"Ideas can and do change the world," says historian Rutger Bregman, sharing his case for a provocative one: guaranteed basic income. Learn more about the idea's 500-year history and a forgotten modern experiment where it actually worked -- and imagine how much energy and talent we would unleash if we got rid of poverty once and for all.

Business Insider Has A Three-Pronged Social Play For Advertisers

In the last few years, Business Insider has risen to be one of the most popular business news websites on the planet – but selling that audience to advertisers doesn’t happen solely on that website.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Business Insider chief revenue officer Peter Spande says the publisher is now helping brands make BI-style content specifically for social channels.

The world no long just comes to news sites, they experience them through social platforms, too. On Twitter, for example, @businessinsider now has almost two million followers – and BI is embracing the opportunity to deliver branded video there.

“We do three things, and only three things,” Spande tells us, channelling a pitch he made to ad buyers at the Digital Content NewFronts:

  1. “We can get people’s attention in less than two seconds with the content we’re creating.”
  2. “We can hold their attention, that’s what’s really hard.”
  3. “In many cases, we can drive people, then, to action.”

“We can do it in a way that wasn’t possible without social. We’re not going to say the website is dead. We create over 600 pieces of content for our websites.

However, in many cases, the way people access our websites is completely different than it was 10 “years ago. People are coming via social. That has led us to telling stories on those platforms rather than click to come through to our websites.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts 2017. The series is sponsored by the IAB. For more videos from the #NewFronts, please visit this page.


OpenAP Is Just The Start, Viacom’s Bevilacqua Says

LAS VEGAS — When Fox, Turner and Viacom unveiled a new tool to help agencies buy ads across their new advanced TV offerings in April, it was described as “historical“.

But one of the partners says the move was just baby steps in what will become a much more full-fledged affair.

OpenAP is a way of introducing commonality around the ways the TV companies describe the many audience characteristics that are now targetable by advertisers through their platforms.

Until now, advertisers who were embracing the new TV targeting opportunity were getting confused by dissimilarities in those characteristics, when all they wanted to do was to to find their intended viewer.

“With OpenAP, we’re taking a first step here,” says Viacom data strategy SVP  Gabe Bevilacqua in this video interview with Beet.TV. “Right now, we’re building a foundation, built on consistent audiences, giving the advertiser and agency power and control over who sees their segment, where and how.”

Bevilacqua says OpenAP was a response to ad buyer demand.

“(We) are seeing a ton of demand in the market for ‘let’s do TV a little bit differently’,” he added.

“Pick-up truck intenders with (Fox) is a little bit different from pick-up truck intenders with (Viacom).”

OpenAP is powered by Accenture.

This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the 2017 NAB Show in Las Vegas.   The series is sponsored by Ooyala.  For more coverage of NAB, please visit this page.


News Corp CTO Wants Balance And Lessons From Tech Platforms

News Corp’s new global technology chief wants to learn from big tech platforms, and to keep his brands publishing through social sites – but only if the deal stacks up.

This month, he was confirmed in the role of chief technology officer after Paul Cheesbrough moved along to the same role at sister company 21st Century Fox. So what is in Marc Frons inbox already? For one, it is the big beasts.

According to recent reports, some publishers are cooling on Facebook, with some pulling out of Instant Articles altogether. And it’s clear there is growing publisher resentment toward what is being cast as the “duopoly” of Google and Facebook in digital ad dollars.

But Frons strikes a measured tone.

“It’s important for us to stay on these platforms – but in a way that makes sense for our businesses and our readers,” he tells Beet.TV in this video interview.

“In the beginning, everybody was rushing to put their content on Facebook or giving Google all of their content just because they wanted the traffic and the distribution. It’s clear that that’s a model that’s not sustainable.

“But, on the other hand, you can’t pull back entirely either. There has to be a balance and middle ground.”

Frons’ approach to technology will involve making some 4,000 tech workers across the sprawling News Corp group work more closely together.

And he wants to proceed in a way that makes the company agile and open to taking tech risks.

“Where news organisations can learn from Silicon Valley is this way of iterating and experimenting toward the truth or the better outcome, instead of having a more ideological approach,” Fronts adds.

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