Did I Miss Something?


April 7, 2008 | Tracy's Blog

So one of my former colleagues from GetConnected emailed me -- "I was reading your blog and I feel like I missed something..." Yeah -- I guess a lot has changed. I have moved beyond the Web on PC experience and jumped into the Web on TV experience (not to be confused with the WebTV experience -- this time we're focusing on what you want to do in front of your TV and what your TV is made for -- watching video). To further the confusion, I made a brief (2 year) pit stop along the way in online recruiting (Jobster), but am now back on the Broadband Video path. Phew. It was kinda fortuitous though -- The ActiveTV product took A LONG time to build and get to market (four years!) -- so even though I took a pit stop, I was re-engaged before the product was in consumer hands (Oct. 07). AND -- I was able to meet some of the coolest and most talented folks I have ever had the pleasure to work with -- the old Jobster team. What is great is that almost all of my former Jobster colleagues have been bitten by the start-up bug -- and started things themselves! Hats off to:

Ethan Lowry, Adam Doppelt and Patrick O'Donnell at UrbanSpoon -- <a href="http://www.urbanspoon.com">www.urbanspoon.com</a>

Dave Lefkow at BaconSalt -- <a href="http://www.baconsalt.com">www.baconsalt.com</a>

Marty Unger at YouSaidIt -- <a title="blocked::http://www.yousaidit.com/" href="http://www.yousaidit.com/">www.yousaidit.com</a>

Alan Steele and Phil Bogle at Merge Lab -- <a href="http://www.mergelab.com">www.mergelab.com</a>

Neil Crist and Tracey Middlemas at Prosys Group -- <a href="http://www.prosysconsultinggroup.com">www.prosysconsultinggroup.com</a>

Kerry Rupp at HolidayGoLightly -- <a href="http://www.holidaygolightly.com">www.holidaygolightly.com</a>

Mark Maunder at FeedJit.com -- <a href="http://www.feedjit.com">www.feedjit.com</a>

Tony Wright at RescueTime -- <a href="http://www.rescuetime.com">www.rescuetime.com</a>

Jason Goldberg at SocialMedian -- <a href="http://www.socialmedian.com">www.socialmedian.com</a>

And for sure, I am missing some (feel free to pipe in). All of these Founders deserve kudos for just jumping into their own things. Maybe it is the times, but starting something is always hard and always takes guts. I'd say this legacy points to the fact that it was a REALLY great team with some awesome talent.

So - yeah, it was a circuitous route -- and if I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't change a thing!

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New Release - Coming Soon!


April 1, 2008 | Tracy's Blog

Although I am an April Fool for sure (born on the 2nd), this is no April Fools joke ;) I am so excited about our new software release (2.57 - coming out next week). I just spoke with David -- our CTO (in Denmark) and Jeff -- our CEO (in NY), and WOW -- it is really jam-packed. We are adding in advertising for the first time with Tremor Media and SpotXchange; there is a bunch of new content (Hulu, Howcast, CNN, ESPN, and lots more), a registration mechanism (so we can figure out how many folks are installing MediaMall). We also recently released a new standalone UPnP Media Server. Obviously the dev team has been seriously cranking. Once we release it, <a href="http://www.dlink.com/activetv/">D-Link</a> will post it to the <a href="http://www.dlink.com/activetv/">DSM-520</a> user base so that folks can get the latest stuff. And -- I'll let you know when it is available as well.

I hope your day is filled with Fun and Adventure as we enter Q2 and Spring!

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Thanks Jeff for the Great Review


March 28, 2008 | Tracy's Blog

Jeff Gedgaud just did a <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/667525/product_review_dlink_wir... review </a>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 &amp; Feel: 23/25,
Features 25/25, How much I enjoy 24/25

Total: 95/100

And his review of MediaMall:

"The system is very <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/667525/theme/1546/easy.html" title="easy" class="link"><font color="#000000">easy</font></a> to use and the additional software I installed went automatically to install the Active TV setup and the system had the most up to <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/667525/theme/1567/date.html" title="date" class="link"><font color="#000000">date</font></a>firmware. 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 <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/667525/theme/1442/buy.html" title="buy" class="link"><font color="#000000">buy</font></a> full length <a href="http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/667525/theme/1208/movies.html" title="movies" class="link"><font color="#000000">movies</font></a> 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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Video Advertising - Keep it open!


March 25, 2008 | Tracy's Blog

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 <a href="http://blogs.mediapost.com/video_insider/?p=164">Behavioral Targeting and Online Video: Making It a Reality</a>: “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 <a href="http://www.tremormedia.com">tremormedia</a> and <a href="http://www.spotxchange.com">spotxchange</a>use 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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Video Advertising Metrics - Still Figuring it Out


March 20, 2008 | Tracy's Blog

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 <span class="articleHeadline"><a href="http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.san&amp;... Consistent Performance Metrics Emerging For Online Video</a> 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 </span><span class="articleHeadline">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.</span>

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