Dhingana is stepping up its efforts to monetize its streaming service for Indian music after it introduced video-roll advertising, initially for its iOS app only.
The company — which has offices in Pune, India, and Sunnyvale, California – launched its advertising platform in August 2012 and it also offer a paid-for subscription for those who prefer an ad-free experience. The company says that its new ‘Premium Video Advertising’ feature is targeted at brands looking to reach its music-loving users with “TV quality commercials”.
Companies are now able to run 10-30 second pre- or post-roll clips that are integrated into the app, taking the place of album cover art or anything else that is on-screen. Since Dhingana provides only audio, the ads are displayed when there is a pause in a user’s activity, meaning that they are likely to come into contact with the device’s screen.
That is designed to keep the listening experience unaffected, CEO Rohit Bhatia explains:
Video is one of the best forms of advertising, delivering two-to-four times higher performance over regular display banner ads on mobile devices. Our video ads are carefully integrated to be shown when the user is already engaged with our music for several minutes to maximize the impact for the advertising brand without compromising the listening experience.
Launching for iOS — both iPhone and iPad — the ads will come to the Android app soon, but, already, Dhingana has recruited a major name, Coke, to kick things off (update: Dhingana tells us that although Coca Cola is an advertiser, it hasn’t specifically agreed to video ads at this time).
The move to introduce more interactive advertising comes three months after the hiring of Bhatia, and the company is likely to have solicited the opinion and feedback of Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for advertising, who joined its advisory board last year.
Bhatia has a number of ambitious goals and, in his first interview as CEO, he told TNW that he wants to make the service compelling enough for its users to listen for 2 hours each day. That’s roughly 60 hours per month, and would some way ahead of Spotify, which logs an average of 15-20 hours per month per user.
“I’d like Dhingana users to wake up and go to bed with Dhingana music, using it all through the day,” he said.
Founded in 2007 by twin brothers Swapnil and Snehal Shinde, Dhingana offers more than 500,000 songs across 35 languages and claims a monthly active user base of more than 15 million. The service is available for iOS, Blackberry, Android, Symbian Windows Phone and via a Web-based player.
Headline image via scubabrett22 / Flickr
Remember Slide, that social technology company acquired by Google way back in 2010? No? Well, just to jog your memory, one of the first products to emerge from that acquisition was an iOS (yup) app called Photovine, which rolled out in July 2011.
In the build up to launch, Slide had been teasing the public with news of the app, after it emerged that Google had registered the trademark and .com domain name; then a splash page emerged teasing a few more details.
After a short private beta period, it was finally launched to the public in August 2011, and we went hands on with the social photo-sharing app, giving it a favorable review. However, Google pulled the plug on Slide and Photovine the following March and, well, that was the last we heard of it until earlier this year, when the Photovine brand emerged from Los Angeles-based app development company Silo Labs.
Silo Labs is a Stanford & USC alumni startup, funded by Tech Coast Angels to the tune of $220,000, and Photovine is the first app of its conveyor belt. Though Silo Labs now own the Photovine trademark, it seems Google still owns the Photovine.com domain name, and the Internet giant has declined to release this to them. As such, Photovine has plumped for Photovineapp.com as its main splash page.
Soft-launched in March this year, Photovine has been iterating its photo-aggregation app, though at the time of writing it only reels in photos from Facebook and Instagram. This will be fine for many folk.
It’s also worth noting here that it isn’t really the same thing as Google’s product, all that’s happened here is a brand name acquisition.
You will of course need to connect your Instagram or Facebook account, which you’ll be prompted to do when you spin the little wheel on the main screen.
Assuming you have connected both accounts, you can opt to filter your snaps for each platform by images you’ve personally uploaded, ones your friends have uploaded or ‘all photos’. It would be good to have an addition option here, to display all your own photos from both Instagram and Facebook, and omit your friends’ uploads.
You’re then presented with a Flipboard-style magazine of photos, which you can click on individually or view as a slideshow. You can set transition time and even play music. And shaking your iPhone changes the slideshow animation.
The music is turned off as a default which is only right, and when you switch it on you’ll be prompted to play any song from your device. Personally, I have no real desire to play music while viewing photos, but it seems the guys at Photovine have one eye on future monetization via music partners – how this eventually transpires, remains to be seen.
Interestingly, Photovine also doubles as a camera app, allowing you to snap photos, carry out some basic (or plain bad) edits and share them to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Photovine operates in a very competitive space, with the likes of Snapjoy (recently acquired by Dropbox) and Pixable already strutting their stuff. Indeed, the latter of these is probably the most comparable to Photovine, and Pixable is already cross-platform and integrates with Twitter and other platforms too.
Photovine, however, is a well constructed app, offering a really nice interface which is fun to use. Plus, it is early days, so there is a lot of room for iteration. The company says it’s working on an Android and iPad incarnation, as well as some “very exciting features” for Photovine 2.0.
Photovine is available to download for free from the App Store now.
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Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
Warby Parker, like so many other lifestyle/tech hybrid companies, faced the problem many small companies see while trying to launch a real brand: how do you make the story resonate?
Neil Blumenthal, co-founder of the company, spoke at the Wired Digital Conference where he described Warby Parker as a “mission driven” company. Blumenthal said that the idea behind the company came when a friend left a $700 pair of glasses in an airline seat pocket. Having seen how cheap glasses are made in Asia at the same factory that made those $700 glasses while working at a non-profit, Blumenthal imagined a lifestyle brand that reduces the friction associated with hopping down to the optometrist.
“There’s a strong business rationale for everything we do,” he said. “We’re doing good in the world.”
The company is a mere three years old and Blumenthal and the other founders spent a full year working on a few basic things, including building a narrative around the brand.
“We only invested into three things the first year: to start our first collection, our website, and PR,” he said. Blumenthal later talked up importance of having a socially responsible mission — in this case, the company’s buy a pair, donate a pair Do Good program — and the effect it could have on driving sales. According to Blumenthal, having that sort of vision increases customer loyalty and word of mouth buzz — right now, about half of Warby Parker’s sales are driven by word of mouth.
The final step in the plan? Raising awareness. Even before the company moved to New York and began creating pop up shops, the nascent Warby Parker team allowed customers to come up to the office (a.k.a. Blumenthal’s apartment on Philadelphia’s Walnut Street) to try on frames. They got very lucky. Business took off.
“When we launched, within 48 hours we had to suspend the home try-on program because of lack of inventory,” he said.
The company became so successful that the office they worked in SoHo kicked them out – customers who wanted to visit the office were using the elevator so much, they broke it.
Read the original here: The Three Things Warby Parker Did To Launch A Successful Lifestyle Brand
Facebook has finally found a permanent executive for one of its key leadership positions in its international operation: Nicola Mendelsohn, a longtime veteran of the ad industry, is joining the social network as its VP, EMEA. She replaces Joanna Shields, who left Facebook nearly seven months ago in October 2012 to run Tech City, the London tech cluster advocacy group. Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions, was in the role on an interim basis.
Mendelsohn joins most immediately from Karmarama, an ad agency where she was partner and exec chairman. Before that she was at Grey London and a board member at BBH. She had also most recently been president of the IPA — the first female in the organization (an ad trade industry body) in 96 years. She’ll be leaving her position at Karmarama in July and making the transition then.
Facebook has had a mixed picture in EMEA and given that it currently makes the vast majority of its revenues from advertising, it makes sense to draw from that world for the role. Europe alone has 269 million monthly active users in Q1 but its ad revenues in the region actually declined last quarter, and are now at $423 million, down from $440 million the quarter previously. That was in a quarter where other regions like the U.S. declined as well — although some of that would have been due to seasonal attributes and also the fact that the last quarter covered a slightly longer period.
On the other hand, the EMEA operation also includes key markets that in some ways may represent some of the most interesting growth for Facebook: with regions like Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe also included in Mendelsohn’s remit, she will also be responsible for some of the emerging markets that are currently some of the fastest growing for the social network. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg said when Facebook announced 1 billion users, the next 1 billion is likely to be in emerging markets like those in in EMEA rather than in more developed and mature regions like the U.S.
Mendelsohn will be bringing deep contacts in the industry, along with both independent and big-four agency experience to the mix as Facebook looks to grow the number of brands and agencies relying on Facebook and its particular brand of social advertising for their marketing strategies.
“Facebook’s innovation in the way brands are putting people at the centre of the conversation is fascinating,” Mendelsohn said in a statement. “I am very excited to be joining the team and I look forward to bringing my experience to Facebook.”
She will be reporting to Everson. “I could not be more thrilled to announce Nicola Mendelsohn as the VP of EMEA,” Everson said in a statement. “She brings outstanding leadership and passion for what Facebook can do to become an indispensable partner for our clients and agencies throughout the region. It’s testament to Facebook’s innovative role in business and advertising that we’re able to welcome a leader with such great experience.”
More to come. Refresh for updates.
Read the rest here: Facebook Appoints Ad Vet Nicola Mendelsohn As Its New VP For EMEA
Snackchat! Taco Bell tweeted, “We’re on Snapchat” last night, urging their Twitter followers to add them for a “secret announcement” sometime today. This is the first major brand to use Snapchat to reach customers, and could signal the beginning of Snapchat’s monetization.
Snapchat is an ephemeral photo messaging application that raised a $13.5 million Series A in February. Taco Bell reached out to Snapchat on Twitter yesterday; after a couple of responses from Snapchat (below), Taco Bell announced that they’re on Snapchat at the handle “tacobell.”
@tacobell lol yes we should. Just had a delicious Doritos locos taco last night
— Snapchat (@Snapchat) April 30, 2013
@tacobell okay! If you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll make sure it gets to the right place!
— Snapchat (@Snapchat) April 30, 2013
In December, when Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel told me the company was prototyping monetization features, I wrote about the most likely ways the company could monetize:
With a very captive audience, Snapchat could have very profitable ads. Imagine a picture snap once a day or every 10 snaps where you have to hold the image and view the ad for five seconds before using the app more. Or an advertising video snap that played on its own for 10 seconds, instead of you holding it down to view.
The problem with most mobile ads is that they take up too much of the screen at random times (Facebook app newsfeed, anyone?) and both mobile and web ads are ignored by users as they adjust to where the ads are located and just scroll past them.
Snapchat could offer advertisers a highly engaged user for a very brief period of time.
The most interesting part of this Taco Bell development is that the company asked followers to add them on Snapchat. There are two settings for “Who can send me snaps”: friends and everyone. Snapchat sends all users, regardless of their settings, video snaps on holidays like Christmas and New Years. If Taco Bell is asking users to add them, it means they’re — at least for now — only sending snaps to people who add them. But, at least from the tweets above, it looks like there’s been some sort of collaboration between Taco Bell and Snapchat so far.
Taco Bell doesn’t need Snapchat’s help to snap people who have friended Taco Bell. So the logical next step would be sending snaps to everyone, the way Snapchat sends holiday snaps to all users — regardless of settings and who they’ve friended.
This could be very lucrative revenue source for Snapchat. Rather than banner ads covering part of the screen in snaps, users could ignore snap ads and simply not open them. But I think a lot of users, myself included, would open most of the snap ads out of curiosity. And obviously, an opened snap reaches highly engaged eyeballs, as it fills the whole screen, with the user physically touching the ad.
Of course, some users will be pissed off by ads invading their Snapchat inboxes, a far more private space than the public streams of social networks. For now, Taco Bell snapping to their “friends” is an interesting first step towards monetization.
I’ve Snapchatted Spiegel and Taco Bell asking for comment (seriously). I’ll update the post if I hear back and once Taco Bell sends out their surprise Snapchat announcement.
Update: reader Adam Britten points out that this is not the first brand to use Snapchat, as frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles used the app for a coupon campaign in January. Nonetheless, Taco Bell is a far more recognizable brand with a huge marketing budget, so their use of the app is likely more indicative of a larger trend both for brands and Snapchat users.