Tag Archives: interactive

Digital Wednesdays: Back in Action

Blogging around here has been light due to the fact that I’ve been analog the last week as we took some much needed R&R time down in Aruba. I had never been there before but would certainly go back.  For those interested in the trip, read some of Sherri’s postings at HermanWeb or check out the pictures.

My main source of digital media news was TechMeme.  I’ve realized that this site has quickly become my quick fix for many things important to me.  I realize this site aggregates a hand selected and sometimes biased group of postings, but I didn’t have time to read through every one of my RSS feeds.  Actually, I could not tell you the last time I have read my RSS feeds.  So much for personalization.

A few articles/topics have stood out in my mind based on the recent news and I’ll highlight and link to a few here, before I start my day catching up on email and phone calls in the office.

iPhone – I’m probably the ten millionth person to speak about this device.  It’s important for the future of computing, not just phones.  I don’t think of the iPhone as a phone but rather a mobile computer.  Thinking of the iPhone in this nature is hard to do consistently, but when you do, it opens up a world of possibility for applications and the like.  Apple should be announcing the next version of the iPhone next month and I’m sure it’s going to excite quite a few people.

Multitouch PC – natural input, coming soon to a PC near you.  Well, maybe not in the very short term, but relatively soon.  This is extremely important for the roadmap of the evolved PC.  We’ve been using the same i/o devices since these computers hit the mass consumer in the early/mid 80s.  Advertising opportunities around the multitouch software could be vast.

TechCrunch Statistics – I’m becoming more and more of a numbers person and find this post all about TechCrunch to be extremely interesting.  If I was Alley Insider, PaidContent, Center Networks, ReadWrite Web, or any other digital media/technology site, these stats may be extremely relevant to me as I can then benchmark my site to see how it’s performing.  One area that was interesting to me was that of the  posts by weekday & words per post.  I’ve highlighted one of their graphics below so you can see:

TechCrunch Postings

Facebook OpenSource / Arms RaceReadWriteWeb labels this the “Social Networking Arms Race” which I find pretty humorous.  Hopefully, what will ‘net’ out of this arms race is a real commitment to data portability.

Why Websites Suck: Google Analytics Style – The full article doesn’t do much justice, but the notion of HIPPO is very important here.  Highest paid person’s opinion.

A little excerpt:

Avinash Kaushik thinks one of the reasons why so many websites “suck” today is because of the hippo — as in the “highest paid person’s opinion.”

And, yes, you’re likely a hippo — a successful advertising executive, CMO or brand manager, pulling in a six-figure income, often found pontificating about what does and doesn’t work online. You use tried-and-true metrics such as unique visitors and click-through rates to decide on the best design for your landing page or what content is best suited on your product site.

CEO & Founders Series, Interview #5: PhotoShelter

I’ve got a passion for photography, both personally and through business. When I was working at FortuneCity, I worked with the team to create MyPhotoAlbum, one of the leading photo hosting destinations. I met Allen through another entrepreneur and it was only fitting to run this interview because I’ve got a photography lesson this weekend in Central Park. Also, the interview is fairly in-depth and fascinating.

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Please welcome the CEO and Founder of PhotoShelter, Allen Murabayashi.

 

Please state your name, title, and years at current company/position:
Allen Murabayashi, CEO/Founder. We officially registered PhotoShelter as an LLC in February of 2005, and launched our first product, the PhotoShelter Personal Archive in late June of 2005.

What are you currently up to? If entrepreunering (my word), tell me about your startup. If investing, what are you looking at?
I currently run PhotoShelter, which has two main services for photographers. The first is the Personal Archive, which is a subscription-based, “business-in-the-box” service that allows photographers to archive, distribute and sell their images. Over 20,000 photographers worldwide use that product.

We recently launched our second product, The PhotoShelter Collection, which is a stock photography platform that sits between flickr and Getty Images. Basically, we allow anyone who is interested in selling an image commercially as stock to upload images, go through our editing process, and then we market the image to ad agencies, publications, graphic designers, et al.

Why are you doing this? You could be doing so many other things in the world, what about this particular idea strikes you?

I’ve been interested in photography since junior high. In 2001, I purchased a digital SLR, and started hanging out with a lot of professional photographers. The shift from film to digital presented some pretty unique problems, but it also was a huge opportunity to take these digital files and use the Internet to solve the problem of distribution and photographer rights.

With the explosion of digital and the increasing demand for content, we see so many opportunities to take a hugely diverse group of photographers from amateurs to pros, and assemble them in a community with the primary mission of licensing the photos. The buyers love it because they get the diversity of flickr, but with the ready-to-license capability of the mega stock agencies. And the photographers love it because we give them the best cut in the industry, and treat them like artists, and not just suppliers.

All startups should be addressing a problem in the market. What is that exact problem and how are you solving it?
We believe that image buyers are constantly seeking new sources of imagery, and they have real budgets to spend on getting the right image to illustrate their concept. The current models of selling stock photography are outmoded and don’t address 1) the diversity of contributors that exist, and 2) the velocity at which buyers need to find and then license work.

I like to use eBay as an example because they are the prototype for the online marketplace. Ebay treated suppliers and buyers democratically, built a community and a platform, and once they created some fluidity in the marketplace, they grew dramatically. They proved that there was a need for diversity, and that you didn’t have to go through traditional channels to create commerce. We believe that we can follow the same path.

Have you thought about your business model yet? I’m assuming so, so tell us a bit about it.
The PhotoShelter Personal Archive has a monthly subscription, and we take transaction fees from sales originating from The PhotoShelter Collection.

If you’re looking at an ad-supported model, how are you going about it? Do you have in-house ad sales? Using a rep firm? What are the challenges that you’re facing with getting ad dollars?
I’m a bit anti-ad-supported model because it typically only works for the largest of consumer plays. And I think that a lot of the large companies are still trying to figure out how to make money. I personally prefer a much more direct revenue model that isn’t a function of traffic, but rather of buying activity.

If you’re selling a product/service/subscription, how is that coming along? What are the challenges? Are you using the freemium model?
Yes, we offer both a free, limited account, as well as paid subscriptions with the Personal Archive. The free account acts as a great funnel for acquiring paid users. It gives us an interested pool of users, who in some ways, are really looking to be upsold on a product that can solve some of their fundamental problems of archiving, distribution, marketing and sales.

Conversion points and conversion % will always be the challenge. You can always work to improve the conversion, and we’re learning a lot about how people perceive our product when we examine the conversion possibilities.

As an entrepreneur or investor, what are your thoughts on competition? How do you view competition?
The competition is really Getty Images, and in this respect it’s tough because they are a very well established player with lots of big contracts in place. However, there’s also a lot of unrest in the industry and people are looking in particular for ways to license images very easily for usage on the web. In this respect, there is a huge opportunity for an Internet upstart to come in and shake things up. Getty uses the Internet as a channel; they are not an Internet company. We think this distinction actually ends up being pretty crucial in the operating philosophy.

If your competitor called you up to have coffee and discuss shop, what would you do? Would you go? What would you divulge?
Of course! There is so much to be learned by talking to people, especially the competition. And in some ways, I appreciate the academic challenge of growing a business, and am very interested in people’s philosophies of success. That said, “loose lips sink ships” so I wouldn’t divulge anything that I felt would comprise our success.

Is the current state of the economic market playing to your favor? If so, why? If not, why? What is your forecast of the market throughout 2008 and do you see affects? Macro and Micro economic theory would be interesting to hear about.
I’ve never felt that as a start-up that we were so affected by the markets. If you’re starting from zero, there is a huge opportunity for growth, so to use the economy as a reason that you can’t make your first $1, $100, $1000, $10000….it’s silly. If we were making $10MM a month and much more mature a company, I can understand how the economy would affect the bottom line, but we’re in growth mode. Maybe I’m naïve about this stuff, but I think at this stage, blaming a lack of success on the economy is an excuse.

How much of your time is spent working? How much is spent with family? Have you found the entrepreneurial quality of life yet?
I work 6 days a week. I absolutely refuse to work on Saturday, and this is more of a sanity thing. I find myself working a little more than I’d like, but at the same time, it’s enormously satisfying to be able to create change as execute plans and “turn the ship” when we think we need to. It helps that I’m single, that’s for sure. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, for me to have a family while doing the entrepreneurial thing.

Thank you very much Allen, we really appreciate you taking the time! Please leave questions and comments for Allen here and he’ll be sure to answer.

40% of People Would Give Up Television….

I’m a huge fan of Interactive advertising, not just Internet advertising. I believe there is a difference between the two, almost in parrallel to saying that a ‘square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square.‘ Interactive encompasses anything digital (in-game advertising, RSS, digital OOH, mobile, etc), whereas Internet advertising is just that, Internet.

Piper Jaffray, a leading middle market investment bank released a research report back in February entitled, “The User Revolution” which had some solid statistics for the Interactive advertising world. This world is growing and eventually will dominate all media forms as traditional media (TV, Radio, Print, OOH) are all becoming digital/Interactive.

High level details of the reports:

  • 1. Global online advertising revenue to reach $81.1 billion by 2011.
  • 2. Communitainment: Internet has increasingly become a principal medium for community, communication and entertainment — three areas that have collided and are impacting each other’s growth — generating a new type of activity: communitainment. Communitainment is taking time away from other, traditional, types of content consumption on the Internet.
  • 3. Usites — The increasing popular category of user generated sites, which we are calling Usites, are driving traffic away from other destinations and pose a challenge to the advertisers and publishers.
  • 4. The Internet is now a mainstream medium: The web is the leading medium at work and the second leading medium at home behind television.
  • 5. Internet usage patterns are changing, favoring Usites, communitainment sites, search, and away from traditional portals.
  • 6. User Generated Brands. The consumers are taking control of content consumption and branding.
  • 7. Media Fragmentation: Advertisers increasingly will need to buy more inventory, from nearly all types of media, especially the Internet, to have the desired impact.
  • 8. The Golden Search: search has become the new portal.
  • 9. Google’s dominance is likely to expand, partly fueled by a wide variety of non-search related products that create a virtuous cycle of brand affinity for Google.
  • 10. Video ads will be the driver of the next major growth in brand advertising and getting additional dollars shifted from traditional media to online.
  • 11. Ad networks are experiencing increased demand due to increasing Internet fragmentation, desire for more targeted inventory, increasing usage of networks for branding and increased site visibility.
  • 12. Agencies are rapidly evolving into more sophisticated, technology-savvy entities that combine best of breed offerings.

There is a chart that is referenced on Influx Insights blog this morning from this report as well that shows that 40% of people are willing to give up TV for Internet, up 14% since 2001. This isn’t as high as I’d like to see, but certainly an improvement. For one, I know that I spend a lot of time consuming Interactive media, and only a small percentage consuming television and print.

As people consumer more Interactive media, things will become much more efficient (technology gets involved) and amazing opportunities are created. The Brickhouse at Yahoo, Next New Networks, Haystack, and other emerging Interactive companies will innovate and create tomorrow’s media channels.

Media Consumption: 18-34 Year Olds

We’ve heard so much about the 18-34 year old male demographic over the past year that it’s hard to imagine any other demographics exist. What about females ages 25-49? This article won’t deviate from talking about the 18-34’s, but will shed some light on them in a different way than most analysts are writing about.

I’m going to preface this by saying that I’m smack in the middle of the 18-34 year old demographic. Heck, I’m in my early 20’s. Alright, fine, you win. I’m 23. But I’ll be 24 soon. Why is this important? Because I can add more insight into our demographic from a marketing and technology standpoint that an outsider can…even one who is paid $65,000 a year to sit in a hot agency of the week and extrapolate insights into our demographic.

It’s my belief that males, ages 18-34 haven’t stopped watching TV because it’s a poor medium. I’m going to argue that there are a lot more media choices and opportunities available to 18-34’s which in turn devalues television in our daily lives as the main center of information and entertainment. Back in the 80s, my main method of receiving ‘content’ and ‘media’ was through television… I couldn’t read the newspaper *yet*, alright, maybe the USA Today, but the Wall Street Journal was gibberish to me.

Television had the monopoly over any 18-34 year old’s time back before the Internet became the new black, well today, for fall, isn’t the new black, brown? Television ratings were through the roof due to the lack of other available media channels.

Today, if I want the news, I have my sources:

Primary: Internet (PC), mobile
Secondary: television, radio (internet, satellite, and AM/FM)
Tertiary: podcasting/timeshifting

Now, if we look at the order of how things are listed, we’ll see that the primary ways of getting news are the most direct…they take the shortest amount of time to find the news I’m looking for. Thanks to Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Technorati, etc – we can find information much faster than any other medium. If you look at the secondary way of getting information (television/radio), you’ll note that you would have to listen to an entire show possibly to get your bit of information you want…which is a lot of wastage. In media, wastage is unwanted clutter that dilutes your media message. Usually, CPM’s rise heavily for this… which could turn a $50CPM on untargeted media (television) to an eCPM of $5000 (potentially) for low-wastage targeted media.

Television isn’t out though. 18-34 year olds still watch TV. I’m a huge hockey fan, and in order for me to watch my favorite team, the New Jersey Devils (even though I grew up in New York), I have no other place to watch other than at Continental Airlines Arena. iTV is starting to ramp up with different players emerging, but it’s going to be a while before ITV overtakes
broadcast/cable television as the ‘new’ TV. I also love Family Guy, Will & Grace, and Entourage….those are all television programs. Yes, I can watch them on my PC, but my laptop screen is 15â€?, and my LCD is only 20â€?. I don’t know many people who will sit at their computer and watch television with friends over…after-all, television is a social medium in terms of watching it with more than one person.

So, my argument here is that to reach the 18-34 year old, tweens, pimple-poopers, huggies generation, etc, and from now on, any age demographic that’s coming up through the ranks, reaching them on multiple media platforms is going to be essential. There are too many choices with too little time for us to just devote to 1 medium. Technology to the 18-34’s and
to any other younger generation is second nature to us…we expect to use it to find information. We consume media on multiple platforms and I am seeing different companies emerging that understand this and start utilizing these platforms to reach us…platforms could include video games, podcasting, Internet, mobile, in-flight, event sponsorship, blogworking, and many others.

At Digital Hollywood this past week, a panelist on one of the advertising topics mentioned that targeted media and emerging media didn’t have the reach of television or radio as of yet…however, a rebuttal emerged from the audience stating that targeted emerging media may offer lower numbers of reach, but their qualification to the marketing message is exponentially higher that the wastage factor is an order of magnitude lower. It makes sense. Before marketers write off platforms because they only reach 5 million users whereas television channels could potentially reach 100 million viewers, look at the wastage. Sometimes we overlook this.

Also, frequency is important…how much is too much? Is frequency across multiple media platforms in the same campaign counted? If you see an ad for Starbucks (sitting in Starbucks in San Diego currently) in a video game, then on a website, then on your mobile phone…do those 3 advertisements add up to the frequency cap or does each one act independently of one another?

A few questions are raised in all of this and there are no answers. The post has gone a bit off topic and I’ve rambled a bit, but at the end of the day, 18-34 year olds are consuming multiple media channels and platforms much more than before, and with constant availability and always on access, we see no end in consumption in sight. Television is still alive, but the value of television in today’s media budget’s are diminishing…take the dollars and apply it elsewhere…emerging media has some amazing prices right now that will get you into your target consumers much faster, efficient and at a lower eCPM that makes sense for both your agency and/or your brand.

As for the 18-34 year olds, we’re still here and we’re consuming more than ever. We still watch our television programs but we also split time with streaming concerts and video games, amongst many other things. Can’t forget MySpace and Instant Messenger…..how much time is wasted, oh, wait, I mean absorbed there?

Also, be a leader. Think different (thanks Apple).

Kermit: Miss Piggy, you look beautiful!
Miss Piggy: Thank you!
Kermit: [aside] Hollywood talk.