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Would You Let ‘Tablet Experts’ Handle Your Mobile Redesign?

logoIf PadSquad, a New York City based mobile advertising startup, has anything to say about it, 2014 will be all about tablets and native advertising for independent media companies. Dan Meehan, founder and CEO, explains that his company “sits between online publishers and advertisers.”

While large publishers like the New York Times, who’s redesign was actually more desktop-y than expected, have their own developers and sales teams to optimize the mobile experience for both users and advertisers, Meehan says that his company’s focus is on “the next tier of publishers, who have a large audience, and quality content, but rely on third parties to sell their inventory. We focus on categories — men’s lifestyle, sports, entertainment and are looking to power that long tail of independent media companies.” Currently, this means sites like GoldenGlobes.com, TheDailyBanter.com, and GadgetReview.com.

PadSquad provides its services free to publishers — they migrate the desktop content to responsive mobile sites. They make their money from the advertisers, Meehan says. “We handle everything on the backend and we work with national brand advertisers and facilitate campaigns across all the pubs that we power and then we share that revenue with the publishers.” Read more

BBG Launches Mobile First, Live-Reporting Platform

relay1Say what you will about the government, but it might have just changed how we think of breaking news platforms. Go figure.

The Office of Digital and Design Innovation at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) has released Relay, a mobile first platform for real-time reporting.

It’s interesting from both the backend and the consumer’s experience. In terms of the CMS, it’s not hard to train reporters how to use it, according to Randy Abramson, Director of Audio and Video Projects at the BBG. Reporters in the field submit content via email, by including the content type (text, video, audio) and the designated hashtag for a story in the subject line. Says Abramson, “then you just include your message in the email and it’s filtered through the system.”

Editors can also assign multiple permissions and stories. Some content, like a video interview, can be published immediately. Other breaking news content will be sent to a queue to be reviewed, verified, and fact checked. Says Abramson:

Fact checking is a definite concern for the BBG and our services….At the same time, there are a lot of types of stories that don’t have to go through the same type of fact checking as a breaking news story. If you’re covering SXSW or something, you can  publish very quickly.relay-mandela-death-pakistan2

For the news consumer, it’s easy to follow breaking, real-time reporting. Each story has a unique URL, so you don’t have to already be following Voice of America, for example, or download an app. Instead of searching through various social media feeds for info, it’s all collected on the Relay site.

Read more

Push Notifications for Everyone: App.net Launches ‘Broadcast’

appnet alertsYou don’t have to make your own app or hire an editor to handle push notification headlines for it anymore. App.net, the social networking and micro-blogging site, launches a new service, Broadcast, today, allowing anyone — from the freelance blogger to web magazine mogul — to send out their own push notifications.

All you have to do is download the app, released today on both Android and iOS markets, set up your ‘broadcast channel,’ and publish your notification. On the consumer side, they’ll have to sign up, too. And subscribe to you. But CEO Dalton Caldwell doesn’t see it as a hassle: Read more

Wibbitz: Turn Text into Video, ‘Readers into Watchers’

Video editors of the world, unite! Wibbitz is a new news application that turns text based articles into short videos using RSS feeds and smart algorithms, complete with natural voice narration and infographics. In five seconds. It’s either the next big thing or the next sign that we’re one step closer to ‘The Fifth Element.”

They’re backed by Horizon Ventures (Spotify, Siri, Summly, among others), so it’s probably both.

The idea behind the technology falls directly in line with the habits of “news snacking” on mobile devices. But don’t publishers have a problem with taking their content and aggregating it? Not really, Wibbitz co-founder Zohar Dayan told me over the phone this week:

Not once they understand our long term vision. Our consumer facing vision is to be a platform that allows third party content providers to produce their own videos out of their own content. It’s mobile friendly and generates higher CPMs, especially with mobile devices.

We all know that producing videos is expensive, and as Dayan notes, “there’s only a certain amount of videos you can produce on a daily basis.” He hypothesizes that on a medium sized website, about 15% of articles have videos, some produced in house, some grabbed from the internet. “We enable them to leverage their own existing content and turn that 15% into 80% percent. Once they understand that, they’re interested in using it on their own platform, and that’s we’re going to enable them to do in the coming months.” Read more

ifussss: New Video Sharing App and Newsroom for Journos

If you see something, share something. That’s the motto and logic behind a new video sharing app called ifussss. Say it with me now: EYE- FUSS. 

While Twitter and Facebook already have us all gathering images and looping videos, ifuss is targeted to news organizations. Co-founder Edward Brooks explains:

Right now, it’s a ton of effort. Users are looking for good content, they’re interested in things happening in their area. If you know a story’s already broke, you can go to Facebook or YouTube, but even if you find the content, you don’t know if you can use it, if it’s been used before — the whole process in the middle is difficult. 

The concept is the same as, say, Instagram. You see traffic on a bridge, for example. You shoot and upload it to the ifussss network. It’s automatically geo, time, and hash tagged. News editors can search and monitor the ifussss newsroom platform and, this is where it gets interesting, buy the content. 

They still haven’t worked out the kinks on pricing, but it’s going to be a “very low cost” price, says Brooks. ifussss collects that revenue and pays a percentage to the citizen journalists who took the video in the first place. 

Brooks mentions that a contact of his in a local New York City newsroom says they had five or six people combing through user-generated video after Hurricane Sandy. 

It would make that process much easier. We’re not asking you to change that behavior, but now the archive is there, it’s verified content, and ready to use. 

There’s been much discussion around Twitter’s Vine and Instagram video, but both of the behometh’s continue to tell us that they aren’t a media company. ifussss could fill in that gap. The big question is: will newsrooms pay for user generated video content? Brooks thinks they should. 

“It’s about video with value,” he says. “It’s not just about breaking news. I saw a Lisa Liu filming in Washington Sqaure Park the other day… It’s of no value right now, but when that movie comes out or wins awards, the footage could be of value later. It’s in the archives, tagged, and ready to be used.”
The app is set to release in the store in late August, but they are offering limited pre-release access to the app if you sign up now. I’m curious to know what you all think of the concept, so let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

 

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