Mar. 28, 2008

Thanks Jeff for the Great Review

Jeff Gedgaud just did a product review of the D-Link DSM-520 MediaPlayer (the first device powered by MediaMall).  They call the MediaMall feature ActiveTV, and his review of the DSM-520 was as follows:

Ease of Use, Performance: 23/25, Look & Feel: 23/25,
Features 25/25, How much I enjoy 24/25

Total: 95/100

And his review of MediaMall:

"The system is very easy to use and the additional software I installed went automatically to install the Active TV setup and the system had the most up to datefirmware. Active TV is a service provider that adds a section on your media player that has movies, videos and audio like You Tube, MovieLink and VH1 VSpot. You can also get several other pay per view providers such as CinemaNow and Movielink where you can rent or buy full length movies from current release hits to older movies.

These pay per view or monthly subscription services are all available through your PC as well as the media player so you can watch them on your TV or PC. That is one feature that is really nice, especially for finding videos on sites like You Tube, you can browse on your PC to find the content you want and then save it for later viewing. Using the media player to browse for videos is not exactly user friendly so finding them on your PC may be a bit easier. "

Yes - we know the ActiveTV YouTube page is not the best for browsing and searching.  We need to add some features to it -- like an on-screen keyboard and some better browsing features.  It is on the list ;).  We are hoping that YouTube itself will create and manage a great 10-foot UI page, but we're not holding our breath.

I have a question for editors writing about the DSM-520.  Why does MediaMall never get mentioned as the service provider of this great ActiveTV feature?  Is the MediaMall name bad?  Should we call the product Active-TV Player or something like that?  Or is our PR department just really bad (ha! we don't have one -- isn't that obvious?)  We're open to suggestions!

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Mar. 25, 2008

Video Advertising - Keep it open!

I am thrilled about the eMarketer stat — behavioral targeting is projected to grow to a $4.8 billion market by 2012 -- and it seems online video will be taking over the majority share of that.  One of the barriers that has been raised to behavioral targeting with online video is the fact that the cookie data (which stores the users behavior, enabling the ad network to decide which ad to display based on the users behavior -- aka behavioral targeting) often resides in the player -- which, of course, are not standardized.  Eric Franchi raises the issue in his article Behavioral Targeting and Online Video: Making It a Reality: “Cookie data may be utilized to deliver video as it does now for display, but not in every player format (formats being Flash, Windows Media and Real Player to name a few).”

We came across this barrier recently when trying to integrate an ad network into MediaMall.  Since we use our own player that enables the video to play on the TV vs. PC, we needed an ad network that didn't require the cookie data be stored in the player.  We found that, in fact, the logic for using cookies can reside in the page, in standardized jscript, regardless of what player is being used to actually play the media. And that cookie intelligence can then just instruct the player (whatever player it is) to play a given ad once it makes a decision on what to play.  Both tremormedia and spotxchangeuse jscript in the page vs. logic in the player. So — the fact that so many ad networks bake their intelligence/logic into the player, instead of keeping it in jscript in the page, which is video-format agnostic will slow the growth of the category.  I hope to see more ad networks adopting the open approach!

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Mar. 20, 2008

Video Advertising Metrics - Still Figuring it Out

In our effort to bring all the compelling Internet video content to your TV in a cost-effective manner, of course we will be bringing advertising too. Advertising is (naturally) a big part of our business model. But -- how does video advertising really work? How effective is it? In our model, the viewing experience is very similar to TV advertising (like the video that plays in the upper corner while you are searching through on-demand listings from your cable provider). But it is bought, sold, managed, and distributed like on-line advertising. So which metrics apply? The online click-based metrics or the TV "audience" (aka number of viewers) metrics? We're all trying to figure that out. Tameka Lee just published an interesting article based on a recent study conducted by Exponential Interactive Study: Consistent Performance Metrics Emerging For Online Video which found that the majority of video buyers are still using "click-through" metrics (logically, since these are the same folks who buy other forms of online advertising), but those who did use "view-through" metrics were much more satisfied with their effectiveness. It seems to me that which metrics work best depends on three factors: (1) the goal of the advertiser, (2) the viewing context/audience targeted and (3) the ad itself. If an advertiser's goal is to drive traffic to a website (ultimately for purchase), then an interactive click-driven ad targeting folks sitting at their PCs makes sense. If the advertiser's goal, however, is to build brand awareness, or introduce a new product to targeted consumers (who may be watching a certain type of video on their PC or TV), then a pre-roll or post-roll-type ad with view-through metrics may make much more sense. From a context-perspective, interactive video ads can only be effective where the user is watching the ad on their PC. But, with view-through-associated goals, the video consumption could be TV or PC-based. In the MediaMall environment, when users are watching through their TV and the navigation and interaction is remote-control-based, it is likely that ads with a view-through goal will be much more effective. And -- in the end, the view-through metrics are still more granular than on broadcast TV. So - I am glad that the survey respondents had much higher satisfaction with the view-through metrics. I am sure the metrics will get better and better as video advertising matures.

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Mar. 19, 2008

Best Gear of the New Year

Laptop magazine recently rated the D-Link DSM-520 with Active TV Technology (which is powered by MediaMall) as one of the best new devices in 2008. Laptop Magazine's special edition showcases the "Best Gear of the New Year" and the DSM-520 with Active Tv was in the top 5 -- along with Apple TV, Linksys Media Center Extender DMA 2100 and the SlingCatcher from Sling Media. We are honored to be placed among these leading edge devices and technologies. You can see the review yourself here: Best Gear for the New Year

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Mar. 18, 2008

MMT jumps in the Blog Game

We are excited to launch our blog. We will focus on the Broadband Video industry as well as give you a glimpse of what is going on inside MediaMall Technology's virtual walls. To introduce myself -- I am one of the Founders of MMT (MediaMall Technologies) -- and you can find out the boring stuff about me elsewhere. Here, I want to focus on the interesting stuff -- like why my 14 month old son LOVES MMT. We have a D-Link DSM-520 that enables us to easily watch YouTube on our TV (powered by MediaMall's Active TV technology). My son can watch his favorite YouTube video -- Rhino -- over and over while I work on my computer without a nagging son trying to crawl in my lap saying "Rhino, Rhino, Rhino" over and over. If you have kids, you really get the "over and over" part. It is nice for him to be able to watch Internet videos without sitting in front of the computer screen (and for me to be able to work simultaneously).

Last time I checked, Amazon had the best price on the DSM 520. And -- we are working on getting MediaMall integrated into lots of other devices to enable more folks to use it! Stay tuned.

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PlayOn runs in the background on your PC over your home network. It uses standards called UPnP and DLNA to communicate with networked gaming consoles,TVs, and mobile phones working both as an internet browser to access online media and as a UPnP media server to serve videos to UPnP compliant devices. Learn more
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