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August 27 2012


Blip Networks Has Syndication Deal with AOL On, Readies App Roll-out

Blip Networks, the New York-based video site for original web series,  has a deal with AOL On to syndicate 60 shows. It is an the arrangement that is driving significant traffic for Blip, says Kelly Day, CEO, in this interview with Beet.TV

The company recently announced a syndication deal with Yahoo which involves some 13 shows.

We spoke with Day at the Blip last week about the companies syndication and distribution strategy.  She says that the company will launch as a number of mobile apps for the Apple iOS and Android platforms this fall.

Andy Plesser

April 24 2012


Collaborating for Dollars: How to Raise Revenue With Others

At the recent Collab/Space 2012 event, more hands shot up when Journalism Accelerator's Emily Harris asked who was interested in generating revenue than for any other question. Clearly, there's big interest in collaborating to earn money.

Here, then, are some pointers on collaborating to earn revenue and otherwise improve business performance.

Share The Pie to Make It Bigger

The common model in the media business used to be that one party would pay another a flat fee for a specified service or product. A publisher, for example, paid a vendor for printing or distribution. A freelancer got a check for a specified amount, agreed upon in advance.

PieThese days, however, it's increasingly common for two parties in a media deal to share revenue as it grows, rather than for one to fork over a single lump sum -- an approach that aligns interests and keeps both sides working toward the same goal.

Content creators for platforms like YouTube, BlogTV and Yahoo Voices can earn more revenue as what they produce gets more traffic. Vendors like AdSense and ad networks collect a share of revenue as it's earned, rather than simply charging a fee upfront for their technology.

Sure, if you're a content creator, it can be hard to let go of the impulse to keep all the money your efforts earn -- after all, the more participants there are, the more revenue has to be generated to support them. But your chances of earning more revenue grow if more people are collaborating to help make a project a success.

Help Promotion and Distribution

The more people or organizations there are collaborating on a media effort, the more promotional and distribution outlets become available, from websites to social networks, broadcast outlets, emails, mobile platforms, word of mouth, and so on. 

A New York Times executive recently told me that the paper's collaboration with WNYC on SchoolBook generates a lot more awareness of the education website because of the radio station's reach. (Read our previous coverage of SchoolBook.)

Lowell Bergman

Such active linking and sharing can, in turn, increase a product's search engine visibility, thus generating more traffic over time. And every additional pageview that carries revenue opportunities such as ads equals more money over time.

For non-profits, increased traffic can lead to increased funding.

"Collaborations could lead to ... more recognition, more distribution and more impact for stories," MediaShift's Mark Glaser, who co-hosted Collab/Space with UC Berkeley's Investigative Reporting Program (Berkeley IRP), wrote on a discussion thread started by Harris on the Journalism Accelerator website. "That could lead to more donations, memberships and foundation interest for funding."

At Collab/Space, co-host Lowell Bergman of Berkeley IRP pointed out that a Frontline collaboration with another news organization generated twice the viewership of a typical episode of the investigative documentary series.

Increase Efficiencies and Decrease Costs

In today's resource-starved news business, with reporters being laid off and fact-checking and copy desks eviscerated, it's increasingly difficult for any individual news organization to have the person-hours needed to carefully report a story and get it right.

"Collaboration has become something that is not just optional," Glaser said at the event. "It's become something that's really required and necessary."

Collaborating creates efficiencies by enabling partners to report and produce different parts of the same story. Rather than having multiple partners send a reporter or camera operator to a news conference, the partnership can send one coverage team, and other staff can focus on complementary work. People who are good at writing can write; those who specialize in video production can focus on that; and so forth. Organizations can share resources on the business side, too.

"Do we all want to be islands, or do we want to collaborate, share things like back-office operations?" asked Evelyn Larrubia of the Investigative News Network collaborative, which helps its dozens of members share "back-end" resources such as billing and accounting. "The problem we're solving is not a content problem. It's a resource problem and a depth problem."

Change the Mentality and Learn "Coopetition"

arm wrestling

Journalists needed to learn, as technologists in Silicon Valley have, that sometimes, cooperation with competitors is the best thing for your business, Glaser said. Facebook, Google, Twitter, Foursquare and many other media and technology companies share some level of information and code with competitors, knowing they'll be stronger for having done so.

As The Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Gawker have shown, others will share your material and build a business on it with or without your active participation; in that case, it's better to form proactive partnerships for mutual benefit.

Many news organizations and some journalists still tend to be proprietary about their efforts. But in a linked economy, why invest resources in "matching" a story that's just a click away?

"We have to have this kind of cultural shift," Glaser said. "There's a kind of ownership of the story that ... becomes about us. 'I want this scoop, I want the award.' What we have lost along the way is it's not about us, it's about serving people -- uncovering things that are important."

Oakland Local's Susan Mernit talked at Collab/Space about a for-profit news organization that "doesn't link out" and refused to help fund her organization's efforts to contribute to their site for fear her not-for-profit group would eventually overtake them. Both, actually, could have benefited and earned more revenue from the content.

Build Smart Networks to Build Value

Collaboration can take advantage of the network effect, the concept that the more nodes there are in a network, the more value there is to the network and to each of those nodes -- even when the nodes are competitors.

One apt illustration is "private label" ad networks that allow similar, sometimes competitive websites to aggregate their page views and communities through platforms such as Addiply, BSA Private Label and AdKiwi and increase each site's ability to appeal to advertisers they'd have more trouble reaching on their own.

In one example, a group of local websites that reach different neighborhoods around Chicago are banding together and increasing their ability to sell throughout the region with one sales staff.

Large media companies such as NBC Universal and Cox media have formed their own private label networks to group sites by subject, such as health, sports and food. Collaborating in this way can lead to more revenue for all.

Limit Liability

Imagine if CBS News had collaborated with computer experts to vet documents allegedly showing George W. Bush shirked his duties in the National Guard, or if Jason Blair had collaborators on his false stories published in Times. In each case, the news organization could have saved huge embarrassment and cost, and even kept the focus on the issues in the stories rather than the mistakes.

Also, the more contributors and organizations there are behind a story, the less easy it is for someone offended by it to take legal action. As Bergman noted, "If you can spread the liability on a story," you can make those who might sue think a little more before they do.

By its nature, business is a collaborative venture. All sides must derive value for a deal to succeed, and that's never been truer than in today's media business. Journalists who've grown up in a lone wolf, competitive culture would do well to emulate the lessons of their brethren in other domains.

Related Stories

> Collab/Space 2012: Building Trust, Tools and Relationships for Collaborating by Meghan Walsh

> Live Coverage of the Collab/Space 2012 Event by Ashwin Seshagiri

> Collab/Space 2012 Detailed Agenda

Keep up with all the new content on Collaboration Central by following our Twitter feed @CollabCentral or subscribing to our RSS feed or email newsletter:

Get Collaboration Central via Email

An award-winning former managing editor at ABCNews.com and an MBA (with honors), Dorian Benkoil handles marketing and sales strategies for MediaShift, and is the business columnist for the site. He is SVP at Teeming Media, a strategic media consultancy focused on attracting, engaging, and activating communities through digital media. He tweets at @dbenk and you can Circle him on Google+.

Pie photo courtesy of Flickr user Mackenzie Mollo; arm wrestling photo courtesy of Flickr user Fabio Venni.

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April 23 2012


Ooyala's Sean Knapp: Use Auto Play Wisely

Having a video start automatically when a Web page loads can be appreciated or annoying -- valuable and destructive, says Sean Knapp, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer or the Ooyala, the big video services company.

Knapp says that the decision to use auto play is based on a number of factors unique to the publisher.  Mostly, he advises against auto play on a home page.

He is a proponent of continuing auto play, meaning after a clip is watched, another clip is served in the same player.  He says that Ooyala's new recommendation engine delivers subsequent videos to be served, increasing consumption.

Andy Plesser 


Tags: Distribution

April 20 2012


Looming Video Platform Wars: Microsoft's Windows 8 Will Be Ahead of Apple, Revision3's Louderback

LAS VEGAS -- The upcoming Fall release of Windows 8 aka "Metro" will be a big breakthrough in presenting video in a unified format on multiple screens, putting it ahead of Apple, says Jim Louderback, CEO of the big video tech/lifestyle producer Revision3.

We caught up with the veteran journalist turned media executive on Tuesday at the NAB Show.

Louderback says Revision3 is streaming 100 million monthly video views.  He tells Beet.TV that the most popular Android App is for the Kindle Fire.

Andy Plesser



Teradek Unveils The New Cube Wireless Video Encoder At NAB

LAS VEGAS – Teradek, leader in wireless HD video encoding technology, introduced their new Cube camera-top HD video encoder this week at NAB.  In this video, Teradek’s Director of Marketing, Michael Gailing, gives us a closer look at some of the features of the new Cube.

"The cube is just a wireless video encoder," says Gailing.  He explains that the new version is just an extension on previous models.  "Predominantly it’s been hardware refinements."  One of the biggest refinements is the new OLED screen, which Gailing explains, "will basically give you the ability to access all of the great features of the Cube at your fingertips.  No longer are you going to have to use an iPad or a computer to get into it."  They’ve also added MIMO WiFi technology and, according to Enhanced Online News, a built-in rechargeable battery.

Gailing also talks about the Cube’s integration with Livestream.  "We’ve integrated their log-in credentials directly into the Cube firmware, so you can literally plug in your username, your channel and your password, and hit ‘Go Live’ and you’re ready to broadcast in under three minutes flat."

Megan O’Neill



Kit Digital Introduces Social TV Platform at NAB

LAS VEGAS -- Kit Digital, the big global, Prague-based provider of digital video services, has introduced a set of social media tools to its platform at the NAB Show this week.

We spoke with Alex Blum, COO, about the new social functionality and other developments at Kit and industry trends.

Blum, an early AOL executive involved with Internet-based video more than a decade ago,  was the CEO of New York-based KickApps which was acquired by Kit last year.

Andy Plesser



January 28 2012


Blip's Steve Woolf: Web Video Success Comes from Targeting "Narrow Niches"

LAS VEGAS - Steve Woolf, VP of Content for Blip.tv, says that success in creating original Web video content comes from targeting  and connecting with "narrow niches" of special interest groups. 

We caught up with him earlier this month at the International Academy of Web Television Awards at CES. 

Blip.tv won the IAWTV Award for best video platform.  While the win wasn't a true industry triumph as neither YouTube or Vimeo were nominated, it was a clear acknowledgment by the Academy for the big video site's role in cultivating so many aspiring web creators.  

The site served 300 million video views in December, Woolf told me today via email.

Andy Plesser

Disclosure:  Beet.TV uses Blip.tv as its primary publishing platform and has a commercial arrangement.


January 19 2012


Akamai Supports Hollywood's "UltraViolet," Bolsters its Content Distribution Network

LAS VEGAS -- At CES, technology giant Akamai threw its weight behind Hollywood's UltraViolet video initiative -- a technlogy which allows consumers to watch and share movies and TV shows across multiple devices, said Kris Alexander, Chief Strategist for Connected Devices & Gaming at Akamai, in this interview with Beet.TV

The UltraViolet platorm is designed to help protect movies and TV programming against digital piracy while allowing users to play DVD content via the cloud across various devices.

More than 750,000 consumers have signed up for the UltraViolet program for access to digital versions of content they've bought on DVD.  But the format has yet to take off in a major way, so support from companies such as Akamai may help.

"This is an important transitional step for consumers," Alexander said. He added that Akamai has added enhancements to security and content distribution over its network, which is vital as more video moves to the cloud. Akamai is also working on solutions to help port content to various smart TV platforms.

Alexander added that Akamai is preparing to deliver Olympic programming across various devices this summer from London.

Please see our exclusive interview with Mitchell Singer, Chief Technology Officer Sony Pictures and head of the UltraViolet initiate. 

Daisy Whtney

January 12 2012


LG Launches Google TV Integration

LAS VEGAS, LG Electronics has introduced the Google TV platform to its "smart" television, explains Matthew Durgin, Director, Smart TV Content Business, North America, in this interview from the floor of CES.

Durgin tells Beet.TV that the upside of the integration of the Google TV UI is the richness of content partners who are currently part of the LG offering -- which includes Amazon, Netflix, VMIX the NBA and a new agreement with Verizon FiOS.

Around this IP-enable programming is global advertising platform powered by YuMe, Durgin explains.

Also at CES, LG introduced a new motion remote with voice activation.

Andy Plesser

Disclosure:  YuMe is the sponsor of Beet.TV's coverage of CES

January 10 2012


Thought Equity, Big Video Licensing and Distribution Company, Raises $28 Million in New Funding from Investcorp

Thought Equity, the big, Denver-based syndicator of premium video content has raised $28 million in capital from Investcorp.

Earlier this year, we sat down with CEO Kevin Schaff about the company and the scope of its distribution deals with some 400 media companies.

We have republished the interview today.

Andy Plesser

January 04 2012


Adobe Targets Big Market in Connected TVs; Market Slated to Reach 80 Million Units in 2012

About 80 million connected TVs should ship this year, up from 60 million last year, and tech giant Adobe Systems is aiming to play a role in capturing both browser-based and app-centric alternative viewing.

We spoke to Adobe's Jens Loefler, a technical evangelist for the company,  and CNET's senior writer Maggie Reardon interviewed him for Beet.TV.  

"From an evolution perspective it's hard to tell what the direction is. It seems to be going towards the application model but things could change quickly," he said. "We see a drive towards applications from a user experience perspective."

The application model can also give programmers more control of the look and feel of their content on connected TVs.

Even so, Loefler added that browser-based models for content on connected TVs are still playing out in the marketplace and Adobe is aiming to support them. Adobe has also been ramping up its TV Everywhere services and signed new content providers this fall to power authentication models for them.

This segment was taped at a two-hour session at the Manhattan offices of Livestream.

Daisy Whitney

Tags: Distribution

January 02 2012


Akamai Buys Key Rival Cotendo

Internet services giant Akamai closed out 2011 with the purchase of mobile network acceleration software maker Cotendo in a deal that analysts say gives the company a greater berth in cloud computing.

We caught up with Akamai's Industry Marketing Manager Andrew Grant in New York about the company's efforts on behalf of media clients. CNET's Maggie Reardon, senior writer, interviewed him for Beet.TV

He spoke about the work Akamai is doing in the security protection area. Akamai looks at security from the perspective of protecting the brand, the network and the consumer data and transactions, Grant said. Security needs  have increased with the proliferation of TV Everywhere services that require additional layers of protection.

But the core of Akamai's business is delivering huge amounts of traffic across the Web efficiently. Akamai has 100K servers worldwide in nearly every major telco or system operator, Grant said.

This segment was taped at a two-hour session at the Manhattan offices of Livestream.

Daisy Whitney


Tags: Distribution

December 30 2011


Joshua Young: 2012 will be the year we focus, again, on the writer

Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up 2011 by asking some of the smartest people in journalism what the new year will bring.

Here’s Josh Young, who currently handles the contributor network at the real-time media company Sulia, and who formerly headed social news at The Huffington Post.

The first of Google’s ten core principles has framed the way we think about the content on the Internet:

Focus on the user and all else will follow.

Of course, that user is really what technologists and economists both call the “end user.” When it comes to content, that means the reader. This principle presumes that users have information needs and that the information to satisfy those needs already exists. The task is culling, discovering, finding.

This is essentially the idea that content just happens. Search is the easy example, but you can see it in curation, too. The answers are all there — disguised by the blooming, buzzing confusion of even more information — and we just need a better filter.

Almost all content platforms are informed by this principle, as well — at least as a matter of positioning. WordPress has no agenda. Tumblr doesn’t care what you write. Pinterest doesn’t have a say in what boards you pin together. Quora doesn’t care what you ask or answer. Nor does YouTube care what you upload. Soundcloud doesn’t care what you create. Read It Later doesn’t care what you read later any more than Twitter cares what you Tweet. The list goes on and on.

The formula for today’s most successful content platforms is to give a bunch of writers each a soapbox and then to give vastly more readers some tools to find the soapbox best for them. In any two-sided market, after all, an economist might tell you to subsidize the side that’s more price-sensitive and to charge the side that has more to gain from network effects. Blah blah blah.

Of course, audiences will never just happen. Likewise, “Focus on the writer and all else will follow” doesn’t seem like a promising economic model.

But I am not an economist, and I think 2012 will be the year in which we realize that Google’s first core principle misses something important. We will recognize all over again the value in catering to the writer — or, rather, the best writers. We will thus also invest in giving them tools to reach the right readers. Maybe readers aren’t so price-sensitive, and maybe they stand very much to gain from network effects. 2012 will show us.

Image by Steven Depolo used under a Creative Commons license.

December 21 2011


Vadim Lavrusik: Curation and amplification will become much more sophisticated in 2012

Editor’s Note: We’re wrapping up 2011 by asking some of the smartest people in journalism what the new year will bring.

Next up is Vadim Lavrusik, Journalist Program Manager at Facebook.

Ladies and gentlemen, we can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to build a sustainable journalism model. Better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster.

Okay, putting “Six Million Dollar Man” theme aside, I do believe every word of that. And here’s a small sliver of the way I think the process can be improved: curating information in a way that both puts it in proper context for consumers and amplifies the reporting of the citizenry.

For the last year, much of the focus has been on curating content from the social web and effectively contextualizing disparate pieces of information to form singular stories. This has been especially notable during breaking news events, with citizens who are participating in or observing those events contributing content about them through social media. In 2012, there will be even more emphasis not only on curating that content, but also on amplifying it through increasingly effective distribution mechanisms.

Because anyone can publish content today and report information from a breaking news event, the role journalists can play in amplifying — and verifying — that content becomes ever more important. Contributed reporting from the citizenry hasn’t replaced the work of journalists. In fact, it has made the work of journalists even more important, as there is much more verification and “making sense” of that content that needs to be done. And journalists’ role as amplifiers of information is becoming more crucial.

What does that mean? It means journalists using their skills to verify the accuracy of claims being made on social media and elsewhere, and then effectively distributing that verified information to a larger audience through their publications’ community of readers and fact-checkers on the social web.

Curation itself will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. As the year has gone on, breaking news itself has taken on new forms beyond the typical chronological curation of a live event. In the new year, we’ll also see new curated story formats. And we’ll see new tools that allow those formats to take life.

But the mentality of content curation needs to evolve, as well. It’s still very much focused on how to find and curate the content around a news event or story, but much like the old model of content production, there is still little emphasis on making sure that the content is effectively distributed, across platforms and communities. The cycle no longer stops after a piece is written or a story is curated from the social web. The story is ever evolving, and the post-production is just as important.

Though there are plenty of journalists doing a great job at recognizing that — and though news organizations themselves are increasingly putting emphasis on content amplification — the creation of content, rather than the distribution of it, remains the primary focus of news outlets.

The coming year will see a more balanced approach. Whether it’s a written story or one curated from the citizenry using social media tools, we will see a growing emphasis placed on content amplification through distribution, and an increasing effort to ensure that the most accurate and verified information is reaching the audience that needs it. Information will, in this environment, inevitably reach the citizenry; at stake is the quality of the information that does the reaching. If content is king, distribution is queen.

Image by Hans Poldoja used under a Creative Commons license.

November 30 2011


NeuLion Delivers HD Video to Hockey Fans via Adaptive Streaming

NeuLion, the New York-based IP video delivery services company, is providing consistant, high quality delivery to hockey fans with a technology known as adaptive streaming, says Chris Wagner, EVP and co-founder.

NeuLion is provides the National Hockey League with all its digital video solutions.  We spoke with him last week about his company's implementation for the NHL.

Separately, ESPN has embraced adaptive streaming with its Elemental Technologies, Streaming Media's Jan Ozer reports today.

Andy Plesser

Tags: Distribution

September 18 2011


Latakoo Helping Newsrooms Move Big Video Files Fast

SAN FRANCISCO -- Austin-based Latakoo has a product which allows video producers to compress big files to under 5 percent of their size and then send via the Web.

The company has 200 customers, many in the news business, according to this report in TechCrunch.   We caught up with Jade Kurian, president at the TechCrunch Distrupt conference earlier this week.

Another company which provides video compression to video publishers including The New York Times is San Francisco-based Aspera.  Here's our story from earlier this year.


July 17 2011


Data visualization journalism's voyage west

Stanford University :: This visualization plots over 140,000 newspapers published over three centuries in the United States. The data comes from the Library of Congress' "Chronicling America" project, which maintains a regularly updated directory of newspapers. The screenshot shows newspaper distribution in the U.S. in 1922. 


Watch the interactive map www.stanford.edu

May 15 2011


Gawker Media's Unconventional Online Video Strategy: Not Sharing

For the past 10 months, Gawker Media has used Viddler to manage its online video distibution.   The Viddler player powers Gizmodo, Gawker TV and other properties. 

Unlike the vast majority of online video news sites which seek broad sharing and distibution of clips, the videos on the Gawker Network do not provide embed codes or other standard sharing tools.  Management has configured the Viddler player so video consumption is just for the site's pages.

The management of Gawker's video is just part of the fast-growing portfolio of major publishers who are working with the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based Viddler, whch includes Engadget and other AOL properties.  You can also find the player on the Sony PlayStation blog.

We spoke with Sandie last week at the Streaming Media East conference.

He is a 2006 graduate of Lehigh University, in Bethelehem.  During college, he did an internship at Macromedia in San Francisco in the the Flash Media Server group.  (Macromedia was later purchased by Adobe.)

Sandie co-founded Viddler with Donna DeMarco in 2006 as a consumer video sharing site. The company has evolved into a provider of "white label" online video services to businesses and organizations. Its business is software-as-a-service.

The company has raised $2 million, has 25 employees, 1,000 customers, serves over 70 million video views per month, and is profitable, he says. 

Competing in the highly competitive sector, with some very well capitalized companies, Sandie says his company is making significant progress with advanced technology and lower cost, "pay as you go," customer terms.

Andy Plesser


May 10 2011


Roku Owners are "Cutting the Cord" in Substantial Numbers

Some 15-20 percent of Roku owners are cancelling their cable or satellite services agreement and are relying solely on a broadband connection to get their television programming, said company VP Jim Funk in this exclusive interview with Beet.TV.

The Roku box, which connects via WiFi or Ethernet to a television set, streams a variety of free and subscription channels.  It is enjoying considerable growth, spurred in part by a new retail strategy and overall consumer demand.   The company expects the number of Roku devices to triple this year, from one to three million.

We spoke with Funk today at the Streaming Media East conference where he was a panelist on "cord cutting," moderated by Peter Kafka of AllThingsD's MediaMemo.

Funk also spoke about Roku's new deal with EPIX.

Much more from the show to follow.

Andy Plesser


April 29 2011


FreeWheel to Manage Video Ad Serving for CNN.com Webcast of Royal Wedding

FreeWheel, the fast-growing video management firm, is providing live video ad management for a number of broadcasters including ESPN and Turner.  

Tomorrow, the company will be managing video ads for the live streaming of the Royal Wedding on CNN.com.

Today, we spoke with Doug Knopper, co-CEO, about the growth of FreeWheel, including the signing of Britain's Sky and the opening of a London office.

Knopper speaks about how the company provides forecasting around management of ads for both live and on demand programming.  He explains how the complexity of video ad management across multiple platforms is driving big broadcasters and video sites to use his company's services.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, the company has its main R&D in Beijing where it has a staff of 80.   Knopper speaks about the value of a development staff in China.

Andy Plesser

Editor's Note:   FreeWheel provides ad serving services indirectly to Beet.TV, both as the ad management service for Blip.tv, our video provider, and for Aol/5Min, our principal syndication partner.




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