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Archive for July 2013

Rocketeer Charity: The St. Baldrick's Foundation

The St. Baldrick’s Foundation was selected as our first charity of the month.

This volunteer-driven charity is dedicated to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives. St. Baldrick’s currently funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization excluding the U.S. government.

St. Baldrick’s began as a head-shaving event and continues to be the signature event of the foundation. “Shavees” ask friends and family to make donations “on their head” and in return, they attend one of the thousands of volunteer-organized events around the world where they have their heads shaved in solidarity with kids fighting cancer. Since 2000, more than 230,000 shavees – including more than 22,700 women – have shaved their heads, raising critical funds for childhood cancer research.

This organization was nominated by Rocketeer Brandi, a six-time shavee for St. Baldrick’s. In six years, Brandi has raised more than $22,000 in memory of three children who lost their battle with cancer and two children who are still fighting. Next March, Brandi will become a Knight at the Bald Table for shaving her head a seventh time. To learn more about her story, click here

For more information at the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, click here.

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Rocketeers in Orbit: AWE's Scott Maddux at TV of Tomorrow in San Francisco

Rocketeer Scott Maddux is on a speaking roll having just wrapped up a panel discussion at last week’s TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco. During his From App to Platform panel, Scott and his panelists focused on the hot topic of what the role of apps will be in the TV industry as TV Everywhere (TVE) and Second Screen continue their tremendous growth. Scott entertained the audience by opening the discussion by joking that if you just insert a network name before watch, now, sync, live or anywhere, you basically have any TVE or Second Screen app ever made! 

The key takeaways from the discussion are centered on ad services, discovery, social audience and product trends. Below is a quick reflection on these takeaways and how we have made each a top priority for clients.

Ad Services

The bottom line is that big money comes from video ads, but we are now starting to see more compelling companion or synced ads sneak in mid-stream while viewers are watching a show.

There is a heavy focus on concurrent media to deliver experiences on the same screen while a video is playing. For example, when you are watching a show on a tablet or phone, you will view contextual content on the “lower thirds” of the screen in the moment. Imagine instantly receiving an offer to purchase a T-shirt that your favorite actor is wearing or having instant access to purchase the next episode in iTunes!

Here at Bottle Rocket, we’ve been working with some of our clients on their upfront presentations in which you’ll begin to see those “lower thirds” in time for the Fall TV premieres so stay tuned!

Discovery

From Samsung’s point of view, the TVE and second screen experience is more about discovery. This is because the majority of interaction happens between the programs. It is less about watching the shows and more about finding the next thing to watch.  

We Rocketeers are doing this with our AWE platform.  When we think about our experiences, we start with mobile but understand that television viewing happens in the living room and we have to drive tune-in to live linear programs.

Social Audience

When Scott asked the audience of network executives what other platforms they’re focused on, Pinterest and Instagram seemed to be top of mind for most. Channing Dawson, Senior Advisor at Scripps Networks, discussed how Pinterest compliments, and most importantly, adds value to their shows focused on home and travel.

There are several ways that networks can take advantage of user-generated content, including hashtag-filtered tweets or perhaps the highly filtered content view. The Deadliest Catch, for example, uses tweets that occurred during the live linear broadcast as tweet overlays during their rewind show. The Long Island Medium on TLC overlays tweets that are indirectly related to the specific episode, but blend well with the show based on the message of the tweet. Examples of highly filtered streams include content from the cast of the show or producers.  

Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, hinted last week that they may have services similar to DVR coming soon which is indicative of just how valuable associating tweets with time-shifted viewing is today.

Product Trends

On Demand may not be going away, but live linear streaming is coming to mobile and will massively transform the user experience. The vast majority of TV viewing today is still live appointment television and a lot of that will transfer over to mobile apps.

We Rocketeers are ready and excited for the transition! Under Scott’s leadership, Team AWE is providing a platform solution, which has already proven extremely valuable to clients, especially on the server side with deeper integration. This, however, is not a stand-alone solution and we are focused on features, functions, sources and management tools, such as AWE Traffic Control. Want to learn more? Check out the AWE site for more info! 

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Judy Johnson, director of product innovation for Dallas-based app developer Bottle Rocket, thinks a lot of people are approaching the idea of the second screen completely wrong.

“Up until now, [second screen] has been mobile,” she said Oct. 20, speaking during a second screen panel at the Digital Hollywood conference. “Now, we’re seeing any screen can be the second screen.”

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