Browsing articles from "February, 2011"

Introducing our new weekly feature, the Future of Media Advice Column

Feb 28, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments


by David Silverberg

Are you confused by today’s fragmented media landscape? Do you have questions about what new media and journalism will look like in the next few years? Curious how to bring innovation to your own media outlet? Future of Media is proud to introduce a new weekly feature – the Future of Media advice column.

Published weekly, the advice column will answer questions from our passionate audience about anything relating to media’s future. The column will not only feature the expertise of Future of Media editors David Silverberg and Chris Hogg, but also include insight from industry leaders across the world. Got a question about UK’s citizen journalism start-ups? Wondering how much work it’ll take to make a great smartphone app? We’ll find the right expert to answer your questions.

Anyone can submit questions by going to our Contact section and emailing us a question (or feedback regarding the column). Feel free to let us know who you are, if you want that info made public. We can’t guarantee we can answer every question, because space is limited in the column.

The column will be published in this blog on a weekday afternoon every week, but not on a steady date/time yet. Keep reading our Future of Media blog so you don’t miss this advice column. We’ll also notify our fans on our Twitter feed and Facebook Page.

We look forward to reading your questions, and feel free to spread the word to anyone interested in where media are going.

The rise of effective location-based digital coupons

Feb 25, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  1 Comment

By Alex Romanov, Guest contributor

2010 was widely proclaimed to be “The Year of Mobile,” with marketers and industry analysts everywhere taking note of the growing trend. Mary Meeker, the renowned mobile analyst commented earlier this year that “mobile is driving the most dramatic behavior transformation in history.”

But some new trends are already taking off in 2011: place-based and proximity-based marketing, a rapidly-expanding channel that combines the benefits of digital and mobile interactions. In particular, marketers are increasingly using this channel to deliver digital coupons to reach consumers. From an advertising perspective, this medium is particularly effective, and for number of reasons – most importantly because the mobile channel is ideal for reaching today’s technologically-savvy consumers within the context of a place, location or proximity to a retail space.

Mobile and Digital Converge
It’s estimated that more than 85 percent of Americans adults now own mobile phones, and a recent study found that Americans are spending almost three hours per day on their mobile phones. It’s safe to say then that this time will only increase. Capitalizing on consumers’ growing mobile usage, place-based mobile technology allows retailers to connect with consumers instantly as they are in-store, shopping and primed to buy. Typically, digital coupons are delivered through this proximity technology by detecting consumers who have mobile phones and are within close range of a retail presence (from 3ft to 300 feet) and then sending those consumers content – with their permission, of course. This technique provides an unparalleled level of “hyper-local” targeting. The potential impact and ROI for advertiser and brands is tremendous.

Huge Digital Coupon Growth
For those still questioning the efficacy and value of digital coupons versus print coupons, the latest numbers speak for themselves. According to the Digital Coupons Trends Report for 2010, more than $1.2 billion in digital coupons savings was issued in 2010, representing a 41% growth over the year before. Digital coupons have dramatically outpaced the growth compared to coupons distributed in newspapers, which only grew 7% in the same period.

And because consumers can be targeted as they are shopping – sort of a digital version of the in-store “free food sample” concept, the digital coupons are delivered right into the palm of consumers’ hands. Digital coupons target consumers at the right place and at the right time, and as a result consumers are far more likely to visit the store, interact with a brand, or make a purchase. In fact, a study conducted by IBM found that 72 percent of consumers are more likely to take action after receiving a message while “on location” compared with messages received off-site.

Direct Marketing News Convenience, High Response Rates and ROI
Digital coupons deliver what printed ones cannot: convenience, higher response rates, immediacy and measurement. Comparing the response rates of print coupons to place-based mobile coupons, it’s clear which delivery method is most effective: print coupons traditionally only receive a 1.5-2 percent response rate, whereas place-based mobile coupons typically receive response rates of between 23-33 perecnt. In terms of ROI, marketers stand to make significant gains by using these types of digital mobile coupons.

Unlike print coupons, using digital-based coupons also offers the opportunity to build demographic information about consumers as the technology allows retailers to collect data on which offers are being accepted or rejected by consumers, so they can manage or adjust their campaigns immediately. All collected data is kept for review and future use, providing useful “Business Intelligence” while also helping retailers to improve the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. This means that retailers can quickly identify potential problems and opportunities and respond to both – simultaneously reducing revenue losses and increasing revenue gains.

I believe that digital coupons will become hugely popular for marketers across all verticals throughout 2011. It is very likely that going forward, we will see 2011 or 2012 become “The Year of Proximity-Based Marketing,” as mobile and digital signage converge, and with digital coupons being utilized by marketers on a large-scale basis.

With this in mind, it would be wise for brands to take note of growing place-based mobile and digital interactions and plan for the future.

Alex Romanov is CEO of iSIGN Media, a Toronto-based digital media company that is the leading developer of interactive proximity marketing solutions. The company’s solutions allow digital signs to ‘talk and interact’ with nearby mobile devices, providing mobile users with information and incentives at exactly the time they need them. Contact him at

Digital Journal releases data showing strong growth in user-generated media

Feb 24, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Digital JournalOur sister site Digital Journal, issued a press release today that is important for anyone following user-generated content and how it plays a role in media.

The press release is pasted below:

TORONTO, Feb. 24 – Digital Journal, a global digital media news network, released data today showing strong growth in its online and mobile divisions.

Regarded as a pioneer and leader in crowd-sourcing and user-generated content, Digital Journal has 30,000 professional and citizen journalists, bloggers, photographers and freelancers in 200 countries around the world.

Today, the company released the following information related to growth:

Mobile growth

  • Mobile website and smartphone apps attracting more than half-a-million pageviews per month and growing.
  • Smartphone apps launched in mid December 2010 for Android, Apple, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices in partnership with Polar Mobile.
  • Smartphone apps downloaded 35,000 times since launch, currently growing by more than 5,000 downloads per day.
  • Interactive mobile website allows anyone to post news, blogs, images and more from their smartphone.

Online growth

  • Attracting millions of readers, doubling year-over-year entirely by word of mouth.
  • Crowd-sourcing content from 30,000 members in 200 countries around the world.
  • Paid out more than $100,000 to outside contributors so far.
  • Digital Journal has published more than 100,000 news articles and 65,000 images from contributors in every major metropolis around the globe.
  • Editors make more than 200 appearances on national TV, radio and in print each year.

Future of Media events

  • Digital Journal is now running a semi-annual conference called Future of Media, a speaker series dedicated to discussing the future of media.
  • Past speakers include executives from Facebook, Global News, CBC, CTV and more.
  • Sponsors have included Dell, Rogers, Canada Newswire, Queensway Audi and more.
  • Every event has sold-out, hitting capacity before doors open.
  • Future of Media events widely regarded as must-see media events for executives in media, advertising and PR.

“Digital Journal is excited about its strong growth and global reach,” said Chris Hogg, CEO of Digital Journal, Inc. “With a content platform that is proprietary and automated, we’re currently looking at a number of potential strategic partnership opportunities.”

Digital Journal Platform & Technology

Digital Journal’s proprietary content platform enables qualified contributors to publish content such as news, blogs, images and video, as well as engage in discussions on important topics from their communities. The company’s platform enables content creation at scale, and ad revenue is shared with contributors based on how many pageviews and how much engagement their content attracts.

Digital Journal’s platform enables the company to scale from a hyperlocal focus to an international audience, with the ability to contact readers and contributors within 1 km (1/2 mile) of any geographic location in order to crowd-source content. That technology has been showcased in events such as the recent uprisings in the Middle East and Africa; when a massive earthquake hit Christchurch, New Zealand; and in order to mobilize citizens to cover their communities in metropolises such as Toronto, New York, Paris, London, Sydney and more.

Digital Journal publishes a variety of content ranging from on-the-ground news reports to more general interest stories on topics such as celebrities, business and food. Contributors and readers interact in a one-of-a-kind social news experience that blends news reportage with social communities and groups.

Digital Journal also consults news organizations on how to empower their audience to acquire content, drive revenue and increase engagement from digital media properties. For more information, visit

UK newspaper The Telegraph may charge for content in September

Feb 22, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

Don’t call it a paywall. The Telegraph is planning to roll out a digital content system to charge for some of its content, the Guardian has learned, but the technology won’t act as a full paywall. In the UK, paywalls currently exist on newspaper sites such as News International’s Times, Sunday Times and News of the World.

The Telegraph’s metered plan will launch in September. It will supposedly allow readers to access certain content free, and then ask readers to pay a certain fee if they read more than a designed amount of articles.

The Guardian writes: “The system set to be introduced has been described by one source as ‘very light touch’, with a ‘very generous allowance’ before users would reach the metered limit and be forced to register and pay.”

A source told the Guardian the goal of this initiative is to encourage readers to subscribe to the print edition, which will then give them free access to digital content on the Telegraph website.

Neither confirming nor denying the specific report, a spokesperson from the Telegraph says a payment system is still up in the air: “Absolutely no decisions have been made on the introduction of a paid-content model. Like all publishers, TMG continually evaluates the developments in the digital sector.”

Could the future of newspapers include AMOLED technology?

Feb 18, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

Last month, the tech world got a glimpse of where flexible screen technology is headed: Samsung demonstrated its Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode (AMOLED), a major upgrade from LED and LCD screens you might be enjoying on your smartphone or TV right now. It’s even a step above OLED, a product Sony has been promoting for awhile.

As you can tell by the video, the AMOLED technology is incredible: a 4.5 inch AMOLED display is less than 0.3 mm thick with a 480×800 resolution. Tech blog Singularity Hub explains the engineering behind the innovation: “Unlike LCDs and LEDs, the light producing components in AMOLEDs are organic, non-crystalline (read: flexible) films that are sandwiched between a transparent anode and cathode layer.  Each resulting pixel is in series with its own thin film transistor, a switch that actively controls the electrical current delivered based on the required brightness of that pixel.”

Essentially, the displays are sharp, vivid and flexible. You could wrap them around curved surfaces or attach them to T-shirts. The image on the screen curves with the screen and doesn’t lose any of its sharpness.

So we’ll likely see AMOLED on smartphones, retail window displays, entertainment and more. But what about media? Why couldn’t newspapers take advantage of this flexible technology?

Imagine the advantages: with a flexible screen, a “digital newspaper” could also be rolled up and delivered to you, like ordering an Amazon Kindle. No longer will major costs go towards paper and ink, but instead AMOLED screens could deliver the news every day, no new device needed. Just like the News Corp’s The Daily, users can pay a certain weekly or annual fee to get the latest news via these flexible displays.

And don’t think these  AMOLED newspapers would be delicate. Samsung touts the tech’s toughness in a video, which supposedly shows AMOLED screens withstanding  hammer attacks and Europop songs. At such thinness and lightness (0.29g), AMOLED could give readers a very mobile way to consume news. And just imagine how eye-popping videos and photos and comic strips would look on these high-res screens.

Any new technology will be expensive, and right now AMOLED’s biggest challenge is getting over the high-cost hump. Some speculate that’s why AMOLED hasn’t truly taken off, despite finding a home with the new Samsung Galaxy Tab and the upcoming Nokia E7. To apply AMOLED to newspapers…that’s a challenge for more than just Samsung and other AMOLED creators, such as Sony. News publishers will have to radically rethink their distribution process; jobs would be slashed in paper mills and supply chains across the world; and writers would have to take an e-ink page from News Corp and approach journalism with a decidedly digital focus.

What kind of world would we live if newspapers and magazines came on AMOLED screens? Is this a technology you would embrace or is it just a bit too sci-fi for you?