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#aop3c: Think duration, not page views for online video says MSN’s Peter Bale

October 8th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Advertising, Events, Multimedia

In a session discussing the future of video at the the AOP Publishing Summit 2009 (also featuring BBC Worldwide, ITN On, CBS Interactive, InSkin Media) Peter Bale, executive producer for Microsoft UK said that in the next 18 months to two years we will see a shift in the way video is measured for advertising purposes.

Duration spent watching, or ‘dwell-time’ will become a much more important measure than page views, and the format of advertising itself will change – with more connection between television advertisements and online campaigns, Bale predicted.

Listen to Bale talking to Journalism.co.uk here:

“Page views at the moment are used – rightly or wrongly – as a proxy for ad impression delivery,” said Bale.

“For example, we deliver something like 10 billion page views on MSN in UK, a couple of years ago it was only five billion – and there is a vague approximation between that and ad impression – it’s become a necessary currency for us for advertisers and it does give you a sense of scale, but what it doesn’t give you is a good measure of engagement.

“It is not information that works tremendously well with a video intense site or this environment where people are trying to make more money off the web.

“Average revenue per user and dwell time are going to become much more important. It’s about time online, as opposed to pages moved through and consumed.”

It will require new advertising formats, he said. “It will become more engaging, it is going to become more easy to click on an ad in a video environment.”

In addition, television advertising will become more interactive and connected to the online offering:

“I despair at the moment at the lack of real connection to a major brand’s web campaign – it rarely gets promoted effectively on television,” said Bale. “It’s as though people are working in two completely different environments.”

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MSN UK signs up with PressDisplay to add newspaper e-editions to site

September 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Newspapers

MSN UK will now feature its own version of PressDisplay.com, which provides an archive of digital editions of newspapers and magazines, according to a press release from earlier in the week.

PressDisplay, which is owned by newspaper distribution firm NewspaperDirect, features e-editions of titles including the Times, Guardian, Washington Post and the Australian.

MSN PressDisplayThe new feature on the web portal will be branded as MSN PressDisplay and will give users free access to the front page and two stories from any publication on the day of print. To access more stories and back issues, users will be required to register with PressDisplay and offered subscription offers, starting at 79p to buy a credit to view another article.

The service offers different packages for personal and corporate use including greater access to archived editions, for example, the £79.95 ‘Corporate Unlimited’ lets subscribers go back up to 60 days in the archive.

Titles can be searched by country, language or browsed alphabetically, and search preferences can be saved by individual users.

The service is compatible with iPhones, Blackberry and eReaders, the release said and also offers interactive features – such as the ability to comment on articles and share them via social networks or email.

“Together we have been able to deliver innovative features which give consumers access to a huge number of publications on the great NewspaperDirect interface. At a time when the survival of newspapers is being questioned we see this as a great outlet for newspaper content,” said Peter Bale, MSN executive producer, in the release.

MSN UK also recently launched its local news and information site MSN Local.

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Telegraph.co.uk: MSN discussing hyperlocal partnerships with local papers

Microsoft has been very chatty this week – see its long-awaited announcement of a search partnership with Yahoo.

On top of this and following the launch of the data-rich MSN Local, MSN executive producer Peter Bale told the Telegraph that the site was hoping to take feeds from local newspapers and map the content.

“Hyperlocal news online has never been more important and we think this is a really interesting growth area,” he said.

Payment for the feeds is a possibility or a linking/traffic driving arrangement could be made, he added.

Full post at this link…

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Microsoft’s Photosynth as a storytelling tool

Speaking at yesterday’s Association of Online Publisher’s (AOP) editorial technologies event, Microsoft executive producer Peter Bale extolled the virtues of Photosynth as a new visual storytelling tool.

The experimental, but publicly available tool, was used by CNN in its coverage of the Obama inauguration to thread 100s of photos together. These create a scenic panorama but can also be drilled into using additional feature Deep Zoom:

Screenshot of CNN's inauguration website

Within MSN its being used five or six times a week and the team are learning more about its capabilities with each use, Bale told Journalism.co.uk.

The product is being deployed commercially e.g for motoring sections to show car interiors in high detail. MSN also used PhotoSynth to display professional and user-contributed images during the recent heavy snowfall in the UK.

“What we’d like to do a lot more of is multiple crowd-contributed pictures where you can get several hundred or thousand people contributing a picture of a similar event, stitched together in a communal panorama,” he explained.

Photosynth works in combination with Microsoft’s alternative to Flash, Silverlight, which Bale says is ideally set up to enable map mash-ups and overlaying other content onto the threaded images.

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AOP 2008: At yesterday’s digital sweetshop – best of the rest

October 2nd, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Events, Online Journalism

It was all a bit kids in a sweetshop at yesterday’s AOP Digital Publishing Summit, if we forget all the problems with wifi, of course.

The main aim, for most attendees, In all likelihood, was to talk to all the people they know in online life, but rarely get the chance to talk to in person – over coffee (and odd looking cake/pastries) and lunch during the day, and drinks in the evening.

The programme ranged from panels to energetic speakers with a broad range of digital publishing topics covered – though perhaps not as much new discussion was initiated as some participants hoped, despite Peter Bale from Microsoft attempt to get some answers from YouTube’s Jonathan Gillespie.

A few additional highlights to add to our coverage so far:

Emily’s Bell’s vision for Guardian’s international reach: In the panel introducing ‘the digital pioneers,’ Bell, director of digital content for Guardian News & Media, said the group sees now as a ‘uniquely’ timed opportunity for the brand to expand internationally – and to do so before their rivals do.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk afterwards, Bell elaborated on her example of the Economist’s well-established grasp of the international market.  Although it happened for the Economist over a 20-year period, she told me that a similar endeavour in 2008 is ‘compressed’ by the web.

Bell also pointed out during the panel that the Chinese words for ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity’ are one and the same (I tried to keep that in mind as my laptop charger physically broke and the wifi went down).

The Guardian’s move stateside was also referred to by Saul Klein, partner of Index Ventures and moderator of later panel ‘Growing in the Digital World’.

Quoting Simon Waldman, Guardian Media Group’s director of digital strategy and development (and Emily Bell’s boss), Klein said the Guardian’s acquisition of ContentNext was ‘well set up to exploit’. Waldman explained how moves like that prepared the group for a US audience.

The ‘Unlocking the mobile internet’ panel: In the spirit of the thing, TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher gave out his mobile number for questions before probing the panel on their respective views on mobile internet’s future.

Is 2009 the year of mobile? Melissa Goodwin, controller of mobile at ITV says not: “I don’t think it’s next year, I’m hoping it’s 2010.”

“We just want to give you anything you may want,” she said of ITV’s mobile strategy, though she admitted that building advertising revenue was very much an ongoing issue.

Goodwin also revealed that consumers can look forward to Friends Reunited on two iPhone applications in the first part of next year, as reported in more depth over at PaidContent.

Stefano Maruzzi, president of CondeNet International, on outlining Conde’s digital development: As reported over at MediaGuardian and PaidContent, CondeNet, the online arm of Conde Nast, has got lots of ideas about lots of things:

  • Rolling out a Wired website worldwide (and in different languages, he told PaidContent)
  • Keeping Tatler’s online presence minimal
  • Engaging with the iPod user audience
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MSN mashes blogs and entertainment maps

May 13th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Uncategorized

MSN has created two new mapping tools using content from its blogging and entertainment channels.

The SpacesVision map displays updates from bloggers on the site’s Live Spaces platform in almost real-time.

It describes itself as the latest stage in the ‘vision map genre’ following established mapping services FlickrVision and TwitterVision.

Meanwhile the Celebrity Spotter tool mashes up a feed of events with a live map to pinpoint where celebrities will be in the UK over the next four weeks.

Peter Bale, executive producer of MSN.co.uk, said the two creations were ‘just the start’ of the site’s experiments with mash ups.

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