Media

YouTube Takes the Subscribe Button to the Next Level

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YouTube rolled out a shiny new feature: embeddable Subscribe buttons. This has been done in an effort to get viewers to subscribe to more channels (thereby spend more time on the service).

According to the YouTube Developer Doc, “The YouTube Subscribe Button lets you add a one-click Subscribe button to any page. The button lets people subscribe to your YouTube channel without having to leave your site to either log in to YouTube or confirm their subscriptions” In practice, this is just as easy as embedding videos onto ones site, only in this case it will be a one-click Subscribe button that makes it easier for fans to follow on YouTube.

This could work wonders for B2B’s and B2C’s, as it would help boost subscription rates when used effectively. Thankfully, this is available for both free and paid YouTube channels. What’s more- users can choose between basic buttons, and fancier ones which feature company logos.

In typical Google/YouTube fashion, they are staying one step ahead of the game by discouraging channel owners from dishonestly inflating numbers on YouTube. Channel owners can’t offer or promote prizes or rewards of any kind in exchange for clicking on a YouTube Subscribe button – so there goes that tactic.

What do you think about embeddable Subscribe buttons?

New Media Roadshow to NY – Last Chance to Apply (HBO, Time inc.,News Corporation)

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english: This is the american HBO brand logo. ...

Image via Wikipedia

The Israeli Export Institute, New Media Branch, is organizing a delegation to News Corp and Time Warner. Israeli companies participating in the delegation will meet decision makers in these leading media companies. Key technologies of interest include Internet TV, innovative user interfaces,  multi platform solutions and location based services.

The good news is that it is an affordable business development event. The bad news is that last application date is TOMORROW.

More details here.

Humus Manifesto and Shakshuka Reality

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Shakshuka
Image by STML via Flickr

Michael Eisenberg, an Israeli VC, wrote two thought provoking posts about the way the government  invest properly in Israeli High Tech. From Microsoft and .Net monopoly through iPad banning, to poor distribution of CSO funds, our government neglects the important aspects of maintaining Israel’s technological leadership.
Though not a VC, I’ve worked in several industries, from mobile to internet to media, and I meet a lot of startups in different stages. And I think that though Michael is right in his claims, there is another angle to this story – the core competencies of the Israeli industry is not as important as in the past.

Origins of Israeli High Tech
Israel’s High Tech originated, broadly speaking, from 4 sources:
1. Technological army units such as 8200, Air force and Mamram
2. Universities such as Technion
3. Russian immigration
4. ECI/Comverse RAD group and other major companies, whose employees who jumped ship and opened their own startups.

The strong points of these sources were electrical engineering and telecom oriented know how.

The Best Beta Site
Israel has one of the highest mobile and broadband penetration rates. Therefore, a mobile startup could easily sign a deal with a local mobile operator and make it a beta site. The local mobile industry was at the same level as  European mobile markets, so Israeli companies could launch products in that huge market relatively easily, as it was close to what they had locally. I was a part of such process when working with Flash Networks. First we sold our product to Orange, and then to T-Mobile. We knew what was needed in order to build and deploy a product in such an environment.

Media and Internet are Winning. Pipes are losing.
However, the market changed. World wide innovation lies more and more in internet companies. Hulu is more innovative then Motorola. Google is more innovative (and profitable) then Nokia. Mobile operators are not as important in the value chain as they were before. And Apple is changing the game again and again with innovative hardware and software.

Failure in  Growing the Business
Most Israeli companies are just not big enough, or maybe not with the right culture and financial resources to win over the mobile and telecom market and create the next Nokia or even next iPhone. The last guys who tried it failed and closed shop, not to mention their founder’s financial trouble. Yes, I am talking about Else Mobile and Eli Reifman‘s troubles. So in that area we are basically, well, screwed.

No Longer a Beta Site
So let’s look at the Israeli internet industry. Unlike the mobile market, there is a huge difference between local internet industry to international or American one. While video is growing drastically in the US, and major media companies experimenting with new business models, our market is just too small, too centralized, to make companies feel their bread and butter is at risk. With 3-4 major media players (Hot, Yes, Reshet, Keshet), and two major portals (Walla, Ynet) no one has the incentive to innovate. They are making enough money as is, and digital cents are not even on their map, as no one buys content here.
We don’t have an Israeli iTunes. We don’t have an Israeli Hulu. We don’t have an Israeli Huffington Post. We don’t have an Israeli ereader market (Sorry E-vrit, not enough units sold yet). Come on, iPhone, one of the biggest media innovations, landed here less than a year ago.
Amazingly, there is a huge gap between Startup innovation and portals’ adoption of technology.
So the Israeli media and internet is like Shakshuka – some great cutting edge media technology (eggs) floating in a sea of not extremely innovative portals (tomato sauce).

Culture
With technology less of an issue and winning product is the focus in the online and media industry – culture and media consumption habits become the key for creating a winning company. And, we don’t have the visibility of neither. Cause our local market is so different.

Is This The End?
Is this the end of Israeli startup industry? No. There are several amazing content and media companies here in Israel such as Innovid, Outbrain and many more.
But we need to start think differently. It is not like 8200 will start to create cool video players so Israeli innovation won’t die. But it might be that in the future these units won’t be as important in Israeli High Tech as in the past.

Possible Solution
We need a simple plan – and do the so unIsraeli thing to do- actually follow it. We should encourage Hot, Yes and the major portals to invest in innovation. It might be through tax incentives or other ways, but we should give them a reason to do so, cause they don’t have one now.
We should create special incubators for media companies with international media veterans. I have couple of names in mind.
And we should take into consideration that the market is going to change to the worse for us. As Michael said, we are definitely not competitive in price. If the current situation will continue, we will lose our technological edge as well.

What’s Wrong with this  Post?
If you know me you know that I love well established facts. Unfortunately I don’t have the numbers to back the claims here. It is based on personal experience and being in the industry for 10 years.
Would love to hear your opinion.

OMG! Twitter wants to make money!

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Twitter announced that it will stop 3rd party apps from injecting ads to users streams without its permission. The reason is simple – they are going to launch a new ads products that, well, injects ads to user streams ( that’s the idea behind promoted twits).
And immediately the blogsphere starts with it’s almost knee jerking response: they are alienating developers! How can they do these? Another post describes the tearful eyes of a developer whose company is ruined by this move.
Come on guys, let’s stop the bs. Twitter is a company. With board of directors. And investors. And bills to pay. And this company managed to accidentally create an amazing service. So they need to pay the bills. Simple. Easy. They could improve the way they interact with developers, but nothing more.
Let’s grow up. Social platforms change the world. And should make money for their owners.
The dumbest thing ever is to base a business model and a company entirely on someone ELSE’s platform.
Enough said.

The Future Of Publishing (1): P&G Explains Publishers How To Survive The Digital Age

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Last week I was invited to speak at Digital Innovation Summit in Berlin, organized by VDZ, the German Magazine Publishing association. In this series of posts I’ll cover some of the topics discussed.

Susanne Kunz, media and communications director, Procter & Gamble, Germany, spoke at Digital innovators summit in Berlin last week, and had some very direct words to say to publishers. She stressed the fact that magazines are facing competition for ad money – and they aren’t necessarily delivering premium value.
First she explained that magazine publishers in Germany are missing the most important value they could provide – customer insight. Publishers are not investing enough in knowing their customers and provide valuable information to advertiser.
Second, she believed that companies and brands should be present on all platforms, cause their customers are on every platform too.
Third, she stressed the fact that with content becoming more and more open and free, magazines should focus on bringing truly unique content to customers.
And last but not least, she mentioned mobile as more than a content distribution platform – but also could be used for virtual goods and product delivery.

The session was meant to be a wake up call to publishers – it seems that at least in some cases it worked…

Morning Digest

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Image representing hulu as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

How wrong can a YouTube competition get  http://bit.ly/cNKdd

Justin.tv becomes more social   http://bit.ly/1aKVNF

How can I share video on Twitter?   http://bit.ly/Jecii

Concrete news about Hulu‘s international expansion  http://bit.ly/18u7Aw

New York Times Releases An Amazing New Application, Misses The Point

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New York Times released a slick new new version of its  Adobe Air application called Times Reader. The innovative application allows readers to read and subscribe to NYT rich content, including articles, images and videos.

New York Times are fairly advanced in the US journalism field. I use their iPhone Application regularly, and enjoy their well produced videos.

But their new application won’t change a thing.

Unlike Serege Jespers, who in his post announced that this application is the future of journalism, it is still based on the idea that people will subscribe to NYT content, and pay for it. And this is yet to be seen. Ok, I am way too kind – IT DOESN’T WORK.

Why should I pay for their content if so much of it is free? And does the NYT really believe that a well developed application change the fundamental flaw in their industry?

I hope, for them, that this isn’t the case.

NYT application.png

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Jeffery Hayzlett, Kodak's CMO about Social Web and Marketing

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Eastman Kodak Company
Image via Wikipedia

Why … do I take the time to use social media like Twitter and Facebook? …. Because there is no better way to engage the various audiences that are important in my professional and personal life.

…Your involvement in social media will grow your brand, strengthen the connection between you and your company’s key audiences, and keep you aware of what’s really happening with your business. It’s well worth the time investment….

No, these are not the quotes of a social media consultant. Refreshingly, these are the words of a CMO of a well known company. More

Choosing Camera For Online Video Production – Part 1.5

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Bell & Howell 8mm home camera
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In the first post in this series I’ve reviewed the basic considerations in buying a camera for online video production. This post will cover advanced camera features, for savvy buyers (or latent video geeks like me). Understanding them can help you make better choices when buying your next video camera. Just like the previous post, I will focus on sub $1,000 cameras, as an entry level for most videographers. So let’s start: More

With ABC In Bed With Hulu, YouTube's life Just Became Much Harder

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ABC 1946 logo
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After long negotiations, ABC are becoming a stake holder in Hulu, the Internet TV company funded by NBC, Fox and Providence Equity Partners. This deal further strengthens Hulu’s position as the leading premium online TV provider, with 27 partners, and newly extended 2 years exclusivity of the main players’ content.

Hulu is proving that great content is king. The site, that was launched a little more than a year ago, has shown meteoric growth and is the third largest online video site in the US. However, as Jeff Zucker, NBC’s President,  mentioned in his NYC Media Summit interview, the site is still not profitable.

This deal has a profound effect on YouTube, the queen of video UGC. The site, which is losing hundreds of millions of dollars annually, is facing a huge challenge, that puts it in a collision course with the TV networks’ prodigy. More