LinkedIn Rolls Out Content Platform To Elevate Brands

What Happened
LinkedIn has started rolling out its content curation platform Elevate, designed to give company employees a professional platform to share content relevant to their interests and advocate for their employers. Along with the wide roll-out, the professional social network has also improved their audience analytics tools, allowing users to track their reader demographics in order to better understand who’s engaging with their content. LinkedIn first announced Elevate in April, and its early partners included Visa, Unilever and CEB Global.

What Brands Need To Do
Compared to the myriad of other content platforms available, Elevate benefits from a very specific focus that makes it stand out for brands, as it helps enterprises turn their employees into brand ambassadors. Content curated and shared by real employees could also add authenticity and credibility to the companies in terms of expertise and thought leadership. Therefore, companies, especially those in B2B industries, should consider encouraging their employees to try out this content platform and actively advocate for their brands.


Source: AdAge

Discovery Channel Plays With Sharks In Virtual Reality Shorts

What Happened
Discovery Channel is dipping its toes into the uncharted water of virtual reality and 360-degree spherical video as it announced the launch of its virtual-reality platform, Discovery VR on Friday. The cable channel will kick things off with a series of short-form VR videos that invite viewers to swim with sharks as part of its hit show Mythbusters. Other nature-focused VR shorts are also reportedly in development.

What Brands Should Do
Virtual reality holds great potential as an immersive media platform for brands to fully engage their audience with innovative, branded experiences. The lack of quality content has been hindering VR from mainstream consumer adoption. In recent months, however, a slew of media owners and brands have started creating original VR content, including Facebook, BBC, Birchbox, and major Hollywood studios.Therefore, it is important for brands seeking to immersively engage with its audience to create branded VR content sooner than later.

Source: AdWeek

Meerkat Debuts Original Content With Al Roker-Fronted Cooking Series

What Happened
Meerkat, the popular live-streaming app that broke out at this year’s SXSW, has been consciously diversifying its content offering, partnering up with cable channels like CMT and Discovery for exclusive behind-the-scene looks. Now, it is ready to venture into and encourage original content with a three-part cooking series starring well-known TV personality Al Roker, a noted early Meerkat adopter.

What Brands Should Do
Already, several brands in various industries, including entertainment, sports, and automobile, have been eagerly experimenting with live-streaming on Meerkat and Periscope to reach today’s mobile-first, instant gratification-seeking consumers. Earlier last month, Nestlé became the first brand to run a paid campaign on Periscope, hiring social influencers to promote its Drumstick ice cream cone in their live streams. As the platform continues to grow and add more brand-friendly features, brands of all types would be wise to start to develop livestreaming strategies and explore the nascent platform.


Source: The Verge

How Snapchat Revived Its Discover Content Channel

What Happened
Partners of Snapchat’s Discover content channel are reporting quite positive results since the popular messaging app revamped its layout two week ago to give Discover content to give Discover content more, ahem, discoverability, as well as, adding a shareable feature to Discover content. Snapchat claims that half of its 100 million daily users visited the Discover section in the past month, while publisher partners like Daily Mail and Hearst also reported huge spikes in views and engagement. Discover, which launched with 11 media publishers in January, hasn’t yet lived up to the expectations of some partners around traffic and ad revenue. It was under fire earlier this year for overcharging for its ads, and the company quickly dropped its ad price to a much more reasonable two cents per view.

What Brands Should Do
With the revamped Discover section seemingly delivering the good results that Snapchat had hoped for, it could be a good time for brands and advertisers, especially those seeking to reach the younger audiences, to consider looking into Snapchat’s content channel and its ad units.


Source: Digiday

Samsung Gear VR Headsets Soon To Get Original Series

Samsung has teamed up with Skybound Entertainment, the studio behind hit TV series The Walking Dead, to produce a new virtual reality series titled “Gone,” exclusively for Samsung Gear VR headsets. Virtual reality, along with other immersive media platforms such as augmented reality and spherical videos, has enjoyed a lot of buzz in recent years but suffers from a chicken-and-egg problem with content and users buying the hardware. By teaming up with a Hollywood studio, Samsung is clearly hoping to follow the footsteps of Facebook’s Oculus VR and leverage the Hollywood’s production expertise into creating appealing content in order to attract users which will in turn attract more content creators.


Google “Jumps” Deeper Into Virtual Reality

Google has announced a new version of its smartphone-powered virtual reality viewer Cardboard, adding support for iOS devices as well as phones with bigger screens. The latest Cardboard design will fit larger phones, up to 6 inches, and it’s gotten rid of the magnet controller, replacing it with a cardboard input button that will work with every phone. It is also much easier to assemble. In addition, an accompanying Cardboard virtual reality app for iOS will also be made available soon to broaden Cardboard’s accessibility.

Moreover, Google is also determined to push VR technology into the mainstream with a new open-sourced “Jump” VR platform that aims to facilitate and assist users in creating VR content. It also teamed up with action camera maker GoPro to develop a crazy-looking 16-camera rig for easier 360-video shooting.’

With other more polished VR headsets, such as Facebook’s Oculus and Samsung Gear, readying for consumer market, Google seems to be more focused on VR content rather than the hardware, which is a smart strategy for Google to ensure its place in the nascent VR market. Altogether, these new offerings will make producing live action VR content much cheaper and the confirmation that YouTube will stream spherical video will make its jump to the mass market happen sooner than later.

Snapchat To Debut New Content From Sophia Vergara And MLB

Read original story on: Variety & WSJ Blog

“Modern Family” star Sophia Vergara is coming to Snapchat with her own reality series Vergaraland. Co-produced by Fusion and Latin World Entertainment, the six-episode series promises a humorous look at the actress’ career from the perspective of her son.

Snapchat has also reportedly worked out a deal with Major League Baseball Advanced Media to introduce a weekly series of baseball-related video content. We first heard back in March that Snapchat is looking to broadcast live sport events, and this seems like a solid first step in that direction.

Ever since the beginning of this year, we have been witnessing Snapchat’s relentless push into original content to build out its media platform outside messaging. So it seems only natural that Snapchat is now getting Hollywood celebrities and sport leagues on board to boost awareness of its original content.

Led by Snapchat and Facebook Messenger, the messaging apps are racing to become full-fledged media channels. Although it seems still a bit early in the game to declare a winner, Snapchat is most definitely in the running with its vast popularity among Millennials and Gen Z, which means that brands trying to reach those young audiences need to take notice.



Reddit To Create Original Video Content

Read original story on: The Verge

Continuing its trend toward generating content instead of aggregating it, Reddit is moving beyond podcasts with the launch of its video division, which will no doubt open up new monetization opportunities for the self-claimed “front page of the internet” site. Given the concentrated young male audience that Reddit generally attracts, this new video platform should be a great opportunity for brands looking to reach that highly coveted demo.

By creating its own video content, Reddit can tap into a more lucrative advertising format. Reportedly, the first patch of original content would be videos of its staple feature —the Ask Me Anything (AMA) interviews. After all, it makes perfect sense to develop videos based on a forum that even the sitting president appeared on in order to capitalize on that attention and fully explore its potential.


Snapchat Spices Up Discover Content With New Features

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Continuing its transformation into a content platform, popular messaging app Snapchat has rolled out an update that brings a few significant new features to its branded content channel Discover. Snapchat users can now share content clips with friends, which will include a clickable banner that would direct recipients into Discover. Online publishing thrives on virality, so it makes perfect sense for Snapchat to make Discover content easily shareable.

Moreover, users can also embellish on the content clip with their own drawing and captions before sending. Undoubtedly a good way to encourage reader engagement, brands should be mindful of the content they put out, as this feature opens content up to parody and co-option, potentially resulting in “next-level awkwardness” for brands and media owners.


Why Facebook Is Chasing After Online Publishers

Read original story on: Wall Street Journal

In order to attract and retain more users, Facebook has been quite ambitious in terms of building its social network into a content platform. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 48% of respondents said they recently read news about politics and government on Facebook. So it came as little surprise when Facebook announce a new initiative, dubbed Instant Articles, earlier today to increase its appeal to digital publishers.

As part of the content initiative, Facebook is offering to let publishers keep all the revenue from certain ads, which is clearly aimed to lure them into distributing content through its social network. Although concerns over access to reader data and user experience control have already been voiced, Facebook is reportedly finalizing the details with its launch partners, which includes BuzzFeed, The New York Times, National Geographic and other major publishers.