YouTube Factors ‘Time Watched’ In Search Rankings

YouTube is now factoring watch time over number of clicks in its video rankings. The site says it wants to reward videos that keep users on the platform longer and not just those that manage to get clicks.

YouTube announced the change on October 12, describing it as a “continuation of ongoing efforts to focus our video discovery features on watch time.”  This follows changes that the platform made to Suggested Videos in March.

The new analytical tools factoring in watch time include an enhanced views section that shows creators how their videos are engaging viewers as a measure of performance. The site now factors that into search ranking. Previously, videos that had a more optimized search ranking were based on clicks alone. It was a ranking that was easily manipulated by clever video producers who would often choose thumbnails designed to get clicks, while the content itself may not have been worth watching.

YouTube’s “Creators” blog describes the change, “The experimental results of this change have proven positive — less clicking, more watching. We expect the amount of time viewers spend watching videos from search and across the site to increase. As with previous optimizations to our discovery features, this should benefit your channel if your videos drive more viewing time across YouTube.”

Source: TechCrunch


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iPad 4 Reveal Annoys Some Consumers

Apple recently revealed the fourth generation of its iPad, just seven months after introducing the third generation iPad. This new iPad, which is double the speed of the next newest model, rankled some consumers.

An informal survey of over 1,400 people showed 76 percent saying that Apple released products “too regularly” . Clearly not many are deeply angry with Apple, as over half or respondents said they would be likely to buy the iPad Mini or fourth generation iPad.

Source: Silicon Beat

Exclusive: Newzoo Has Gripes With iPad Mini’s Price, Name

Newzoo has followed up on the report on the iPad Mini yesterday. Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo, sees potentially broad support for the device, but he’s still not keen on the name.

“We were guessing and actually hoping the name would be iPad Air. It would give the device more flair and supporting the appeal towards kids in a family situation,” wrote Warman. “Now the kids wanting their own Apple device are continuously reminded they have the ‘mini’, not the ‘real’ thing. Sometimes I doubt if Apple truly realizes the situation in family households. Parents rather do not want their kids playing on their iPhone (for various reasons) and the iPad has earned its place as an essential ‘floating’ screen that fills the gaps when it comes to accessibility via other screens. The unexpected high intensity of use of this new screen is now not available enough to satisfy the desire of the kids to play games.”

“For the kids there is the iPod Touch and now the iPad mini,” he continued. “They both are a direct alternative for a Nintendo DS or PSP. Nobody talks about the iPod Touch but sales and use is huge for a large part because of the fact parents do not want their kids to play on their iPhone and decide to get an iPod Touch. The positioning of the iPad mini will cannibalize on this. It will cannibalize more on the iPod Touch than on the iPad.”

Warman also notes that they were hoping for a sub-$300 price on the system; the price starts at $329 instead. “The price certainly is not ‘mini’ and a bit disappointing,” said Warman. “Disappointing for families because it is considerably higher than handheld consoles, making the decision for parents a difficult one. Disappointing because it leaves the door wide open for Google, Samsung and especially Amazon to increase market share. Amazon is rolling out at an enormous pace in ‘price-sensitive’ Europe in six countries at once with 600 staff in their EU HQ in Luxemburg.”

“Apple only talks about functionalities justifying the price,” he added. “Personally, I believe they are correct, but they are hiding the fact that they had no other option than to price the iPad mini this high. The device is caught between the iPod Touch and the iPad and especially the iPad 2. The only way to have a lower price for the iPad mini was to restructure pricing on their complete portfolio. And I think they should have done that. They missed a golden opportunity to show that they realize there is a recession out there and life is not easy for everyone. Even if they only lowered pricing of all products about $20, the effect on the feeling of sympathy fort heir consumers would have been enormous.”

In the end, Warman realizes that despite certain gripes, Apple will probably win in the short term. “But of course, the device will probably sell like crazy and stock will go up. But do realize that growth of total Apple revenues is fueled for a large part through newcomers in emerging markets and Asia. Apple is taking a risk by not having a specific (second) focus on the Apple believers that were there from the start. Consumers, call them early adopters, that expect surprising innovations and cool and sympathetic moves from ‘their’ Apple. I am one of them. I am waiting. Meanwhile I will talk with my wife if we can afford two iPad mini’s for the kids for Christmas. I think one at most. Or two Kindle Fires,” concluded Warman.

Hobbit Tie-In For Denny’s

Denny’s has announced that it will have a Middle-Earth-inspired menu as part of a tie-in with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. There’s going to even be a marketing campaign about the movie tie-in.

The campaign will begin with the special menu items on November 6 and a TV spot on November 12. Expect to see parts of the campaign running through January.

The ads began with a teaser of unbranded billboards in the Los Angeles area and online banner ads written in Tengwar, the elvish script created by author J.R.R. Tolkien, that said “Middle Earth is coming to America’s diner.” Those will be changed out for branded ads in English with the same message.

Menu items will include “Hobbit Hole Breakfast,” “Frodo’s Pot Roast Skillet,” “Gandalf’s Gobble Melt” and the “Build Your Own Hobbit Slam,” which includes limited-time items such as “Shire Sausage.” Frances Allen, Denny’s CMO said, “We just felt with the two breakfasts that whole notion of comfort eating and comfort food [were a fit for Denny’s.]”

Denny’s customers will also receive a trading card pack with select Hobbit inspired entrees that include collectible cards with 12 in total to collect and Denny’s coupons. The chain will also put QR codes on placemats that will provide customers with additional Hobbit related content such as videos, online games and a behind-the-scenes look at the national TV spot.


Angry Birds Launching From McDonald’s

McDonald’s is reported that 1,500 branded location will host the life size slingshot based on Angry Birds. Leo Burnett worked with game developer Rovio to create the campaign, which involves online media, outdoor ads, and location-based promotions like providing gamers with power-ups if they play on their iPhones in McDonald’s.

Source: Ads of the World

ESRB Launches Digital Rating Service

The ESRB announced the launch of its Digital Rating Service for downloadable games. Not only will this allow developers to get their titles rated immediately and for free by filling out an online questionnaire, but there will also be descriptors warning customers if a game shares their personal information with third parties, their location with other users, or allows uncensored user interaction through direct communications, media sharing, or user-generated content.

“By simplifying the process and eliminating the cost to developers, the ESRB expects to broaden adoption of its ratings among game providers of all types,” the ESRB explained in a statement. “The resulting ubiquity of ESRB ratings will ease a parent’s job by presenting a single ratings standard across the many platforms on which their children access games. Increased adoption of ESRB ratings also means that developers will no longer be subject to differing and oftentimes conflicting rating systems and standards for their digitally delivered games.”

Gree Purchases Pokelabo

Gree announced that it has acquired Pokelabo for $173 million. The developer is best known for card battling games like Mystic Monsters and The Clan Battle Of Fate.

“That’s something I’ve struggled with over the past few weeks. Just thinking they could maybe go all the way and compete against DeNA or Gree which are multi-billion dollar companies. But I’m seeing way too many other companies out there trying to do that,” said Pokelabo board member Gen Isayama. “In the smartphone game we were the leader, but people catch up really fast.”

Source: Wall Street Journal

Star Citizen Smashes Kickstarter Goals

Cloud Imperium announced that it has raised over $540,000 for their Kickstarter project Star Citizen. The project by Chris Roberts started on October 18 and reached its goal in less than a week, with over 12,000 backers.

“The amount of support from our fans has been overwhelming,” Roberts said. “We had a few hiccups on our own site in the first week of operation, which led us to open up the Kickstarter page. Kickstarter provided better scalability for us and additional options for our fans. In the end, this is all about breathing new life into the PC games business. PC gamers have been left on the sidelines for the last few years. I want to utilize all the new technology that a PC can provide and bring space sims back into the modern area with a bang.”

On Roberts’ self-operated crowd funding site at they’ve raised more than $1.3 million (and more than 15,000 additional backers), bringing the total amount of pledges on both sites to over the company’s stated minimum pledge goal of $2 million.


Just Dance 4, Skylanders Centerpieces For New Wii Bundles

Nintendo has announced a new set of bundles for the Wii ahead of the launch of their Wii U system. On November 4, they will launch a Just Dance 4 and a Skylanders Giants bundle to consumers.

“These bundles give consumers a way to enjoy some of the hottest new games for this generation’s most popular console at an attractive price,” said Steve Singer, Nintendo of America’s vice president of Licensing. “Together with our third-party publishing partners, we’re delivering maximum value for families who want to get the most for their home entertainment dollar.”

The Just Dance 4 bundle has a white Wii console with matching Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk controllers for $129.99. The Skylanders Giants bundle will have a blue Wii console with matching Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk controllers, one Portal of Power, two Skylanders characters and one exclusive Giant Skylander, all for $149.99.

Electronic Arts Downplays The Demise Of Social Gaming

Electronic Arts has famously feuded with Zynga over the integrity of the latter company’s social games. Now, with severe layoffs coming at Zynga, EA COO Peter Moore is seemingly toning it down a bit, both offering condolences to those that have lost work and downplaying theories that the social gaming industry is faltering.

“We always feel bad when people lose their jobs,” Moore said. “Our hope is certainly the locations I’ve read online, those folks can get re-employed pretty quickly.”

“I think it just got a little overhyped,” Moore added. “And now the demise is being overhyped the opposite way. I still think there’s a strong place for social gaming. I think a lot of social gaming is moving mobile. We feel well positioned to take advantage of that. And people shouldn’t read too much into whatever is going on with Zynga.”

Source: Eurogamer