Spotify Brings Video Ads to Desktop and Mobile

After making available a more premium-like music streaming product, Spotify continues to ramp up its ad-supported service by launching video ads for both desktop and mobile today. The spots will be either 15 or 30 seconds long and kick off with Spotify’s long-time advertising partner Coca-Cola.

Although Spotify has focused on audio-only music streaming, this addition of video capabilities inspires visions of promoted music videos, movies and game trailers that would fit appropriately on the platform.

The service’s premium users will continue to listen ad-free, however a new option for free users begins, where users can choose to see a 30-second ad and receive ad-free streaming for 30 minutes thereafter.

It will be interesting to see how many users elect to view the longer ads and what ads will be appearing on Spotify in the near future.


Source: AdWeek

Gamescom Becoming One Hot Game Show

Every year, game shows are held around the world to celebrate the art form of video games, as well as harbor new announcements from developers and publishers that excite the game community in general. Usually, the big announcements are kept for the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, which is held every June. However, it appears that the popular Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany is successfully playing catch-up.

Held last month, Gamescom was the home for many game announcements, as well as opportunities for players to get hands-on with upcoming games. The show drew around 335,000 consumers, compared to about 48,900 industry folks at E3. Gamescom also drew quite a bit of gaming press, according to a report from PR and online analytics company ICO Partners.

The company monitored the output of both specialist and mainstream online media from Gamescom, and found that the PS4 harvested the most column inches with a total of 10,929 articles. The Xbox One followed closely behind with 8,043, while the Wii U was in a distant third with only 1,563 articles, despite the presence of heavy hitters like Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors.

The chart shows the details between the events, and while E3 continues to be a big draw overall, Gamescom is slowly but surely catching up in coverage. At the time, E3 harvested 16,000 pieces for PS4, 11,433 for Xbox One and 6,271 for Wii U.

Meanwhile, the Sony and Microsoft Gamescom events also drew in big articles, with Sony achieving 4,195 articles (compared to 3,435 the day after) and Microsoft gaining 2,580. Both companies had big announcements during the show, including special system bundles and exclusive reveals.

While E3 is likely to be the bigger draw for a while with its local accessibility and ease of attending, Gamescom is no doubt making its mark when it comes to game shows. Even with its overcrowded audience, companies are no doubt getting the most out of attending the show.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Activision And Red Bull’s ‘Destiny’ Promotion

Activision’s Destiny continues to get a huge marketing push as it heads to its retail and digital release tomorrow, and the latest move that’s been made is bringing in energy drink/sports squad Red Bull into the mix.

Activision has announced that it, along with Destiny developer Bungie, has teamed up with the Red Bull Air Force Elite Skydiving Team to celebrate the launch of Destiny tomorrow, with a special promotional event that will take place in Bellevue for this evening’s launch.

A member of Bungie’s development team will join in with an OpTic Gaming Performance Coach and the Red Bull Air Force to skydive to the location on Monday evening. Following the jump, the team will join fans in playing the sci-fi shooter before its midnight release, in which they’ll be able to pick up a copy for themselves.

As part of the promotion, Red Bull will produce programming based around the special activity, creating a special called Destiny Drop Zone: OpTic Gaming Takes To the Sky, which will be a three-part series covering the preparation and execution of the skydive. It will be available to view on both the Red Bull YouTube channel and its eSports network.

“We love Red Bull’s passion for adventure and exploration and are excited to kick off this partnership with the launch of Destiny. As partners, we can’t wait to see what awesome moments we dream up together,” said Pete Parsons, COO for Bungie.

The promotion is just part of the latest push by Activision for the game, which also includes a live-action trailer, various pre-order promotions (including pre-download for the game on consoles) and even a fake fragrance lampooned by Microsoft’s European division. In addition, Bungie has announced a promotion where people who purchase the digital PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game can upgrade to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at no extra charge.

Destiny will arrive on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360 tomorrow.

Source: Gameranx

Cross-Channel Marketing Not Hot Yet

Tracking customers across platforms as they utilize different devices (TV’s, mobile units, tablets, game systems) around the house isn’t as easy as some marketers would like to think it is, and that may be why the idea of cross-channel marketing may not be picking up as rapidly as some were hoping. It’s an ideal strategy, especially when it comes to gained interest from seeing an ad in more than one place, but it’s also a bit tiring when it comes to establishing the process. At least, that’s what a May 2014 study by Econsultancy, in association with Oracle Marketing Cloud, has revealed.

Cross-channel is a priority for certain companies, but not everyone has picked up on it yet. The report shows that 43 percent of those polled believe that they could understand consumers’ journeys and adapt their marketing planning as a result, while an estimated 30 percent have put together teams to work on the marketing. However, out of those polled, less than 20 percent could actually measure the financial impact of cross-channel promotions, as well as the ability to determine customer retention through integrated marketing.

Out of those polled, only a startling seven percent believe their organizations were fully prepared to execute cross-channel marketing. 35 percent believed they just weren’t ready to tackle it at all. And 62 percent confirmed that their efforts with messaging, execution and delivery strategies had nothing to do with alignment across touchpoints. 10 percent disagreed with the statement by comparison.

Mobile plays a big part in the process, with marketers focusing on integration of the channel into their overall planning. 76 percent of those are doing it this year, a change from 60 percent in the previous year. That said, only 23 percent in general had integrated mobile messaging in some form, and even less, 16 percent, did the same for push notifications.

It looks like cross-channel marketing has a ways to go before it’s accepted as the norm.

Source: eMarketer

The 4th Annual Streamy Award Winners Have Been Announced

By Jessica Klein

The 4th Annual Streamy Awards, presented by Coca Cola, awarded the winners of 33 categories this past Thursday, September 4 at the YouTube Space LA. On Sunday, September 7, the remaining winners were announced in Beverly Hills. Hosted by Hannah Hart and Grace Helbig, the award show was also available via live stream on, where we watched to record the nominees who took home Streamys.

And the winners are…

First Person Channel

Jenna Marbles

Original Song

“Whistle While I Work,” Chester See

Action Sci-Fi Series

“Video Game High School”

 News & Current Events Show


 Drama Series

“The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”

Fashion Program

Bethany Mota

Comedy Series

“My Drunk Kitchen,” Hannah Hart

Kids/Family Series

“Kids React,” The Fine Brothers

Ensemble Cast

“Video Game High School”

Beauty Program


Gaming Program

Smosh Games

Viner of the Year

Brittany Furlan

Audience Choice Show of the Year

Audience Choice Entertainer of the Year

Tyler Oakley

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Harmonix Bringing VR Music To Samsung

With the official announcement of Samsung’s virtual reality headset last week, developers are lining up to create unique experiences for the device. Harmonix, the developers of the Rock Band and Dance Central franchises, is the first out of the gate, with the announcement of a new “music experience” for the device called Harmonix Music VR.

The project utilizes the company’s Music Analysis Engine to create audio visualization events based on the tracks chosen by the user. What happens next is a “musically responsive environment,” said the company, explaining its deep interaction with the music itself.

Publicist Nick Chester hinted at the project earlier this week, tweeting that Harmonix was working on ‘developing software” for Samsung’s device, while stopping short of announcing any official name. Harmonix’s Dawn Rivers, who works in the lighting department of the company, followed up with her own tweet, stating, “I can’t wait for folks to see the crazy project I’ve been on at Harmonix for Samsung’s Gear VR.”

Using Oculus VR technology, the headset utilizes the Galaxy Note 4 as its main display. It’s an ideal choice with its 5.7 inch quad HD screen, 3 GB of RAM, and strong CPU and GPU system.

The game wasn’t given a specific release date, but Harmonix Music VR is expected to launch later in the year, alongside the Galaxy Note 4 itself. A price wasn’t yet given.

This would be yet another notch in the belt for Harmonix, which is having a stellar year between the development of Disney’s Fantasia: Music Evolved (releasing this October for Xbox One and Xbox 360), the release of the downloadable Dance Central: Spotlight for Xbox One, and the success of its returning Amplitude series on Kickstarter. Despite a small round of layoffs earlier in the year, things are on the up-and-up for this developer.

Realistically and virtually, at that.

Source: Polygon

Kahlua’s Short White Russian Film

When it comes to what made the White Russian drink famous, there’s no doubt that “The Dude” abides. That’s the character Jeff Bridges made famous in the 90’s film The Big Lebowski, portraying a bowler who enjoys slugging down the drinks when he’s not embroiled in the midst of a kidnapping plot.

To help celebrate the legacy of the drink, Bridges has teamed up with Award-winning director Ivan Zacharias for a new short sponsored by Kahlua called The White Russian, which can be viewed below.

In the four-minute clip, which has ties to Kahlua’s ability to make a solid version of the drink, Bridges tells an interesting story to a bartender, explaining how, as a younger man, he came upon a prime opportunity to find a treasure buried within the desert. Of course, the trek to find said treasure isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as trouble comes in tow, in the form of a couple of rivals in cars. And then, out of nowhere, a Cosmonaut decides to make an appearance.

The piece manages to work not only in Kahlua’s favor, but also Bridges’, as many fans consider his performance in The Big Lebowski to be one of the most iconic. “The Dude” has been a popular character for years, appearing in t-shirts and posters, as well as being the subject of the Lebowskifest, a yearly festival that brings together fans of the film. (Bridges has attended on more than one occasion, even performing with his band one year.)

Meanwhile, Kahlua benefits with a sly nod to its White Russian model, while also producing a fun little web film that pays tribute to niche cinema without going overboard – definitely an unlikely approach to marketing.

Now if we could only get more films with “The Dude.”

Source: YouTube


‘Heavenly Sword’ Producer Discusses CGI Movie Adaptation

With UK developer Ninja Theory working on a brand new Sony PlayStation 4 IP, Hellblade, fans of the studio’s Sony PlayStation 3 game Heavenly Sword are finally getting something new. While it’s not a sequel to the beloved action game, it’s a new CGI origin story that has been designed to expand the story with film sequels down the line. The movie features the voices of Anna Torv, Alfred Molina and Thomas Jane. The Blu-ray and DVD launched this week from Cinedigm, leaving it up to fans to dictate more linear content.

This marks the first of multiple CGI movie adaptations from Blockade Entertainment, which is also working on a Ratchet & Clank movie with Insomniac Games. David Wohl, vice president of production at Blockade Entertainment and producer of the Heavenly Sword CGI movie, talks about adapting the game into a new entertainment property in this exclusive interview.

Why did you choose Heavenly Sword for a movie adaptation?

When we look for video game properties that we’d like to develop into feature animated films, there are always several criteria that we look at. First, does it have compelling characters and a story that, if developed into a feature, an audience would want to see Every game has its fans, but our goal is to create a film that will be enjoyed by those fans as well as those who have never heard of the game.

With a strong, charismatic reluctant hero in Nariko, and the vicious, malevolent despot Bohan, as well as an array of colorful costars representing Nariko’s clan as well as her enemies, we felt that Heavenly Sword definitely fit the bill. And with its vast library of beautiful designs and environments, as well as richly detailed CG models created by WETA, it fit our other most important criterion — being able to use existing material to reduce the pre-production cost, thereby enabling us to create quality animation at a lower cost. This was especially important for Heavenly Sword, which, as our first film, needed to be created within very stringent budget guidelines.

How did you work with the developer on this film?

In the early stages of production, we were constantly in touch with [developer] Ninja Theory and Sony Computer Entertainment as we began to develop the story of the film. They were extremely helpful, giving us backstory on all the characters and helping to guide the vision of the story. They had given much thought to where the characters would go after their story (if a sequel was ever to be created) and they were very forthcoming with this information, allowing us to seed our film with some of these ideas. Of course, like any film development process, there were times along the way when our story needed to diverge from the game story for one reason or another — and whenever this happened, our partners were supportive of our choices, and were always helpful in figuring out solutions to any story questions that arose.


What will fans of the game find new from watching this movie?

First, I just want to say that when we chose to focus on developing existing video game properties into feature films, we were well aware of the stigma associated with many of these films. There’s no need to list them here, as I’m sure everyone can think of many examples of films of this type that failed for one reason or another. In analyzing this fact, we found that, with very few exceptions, the filmmakers were unable to capture the essence of what made the game successful in the first place, and because of that, they often lost the support of the fans of the game, which, to us, is unacceptable.

Obviously we want the film to be accessible to everyone — not just Heavenly Sword game fans — but at the same time, we never want to alienate the core audience. So, when we were developing Heavenly Sword, we were very sensitive to the legions of fans of the game, but at the same time, we didn’t just want to regurgitate the story they already knew. So, as I hinted at above, there are definitely areas where we took some liberties with Nariko’s journey and the backstory of the Heavenly Sword, adding new twists that will have fans of the game definitely curious about where it’s headed, but we’re confident that they’ll have as much fun watching the tale as we did making it, and in the end, we feel that they’ll enjoy the new places where we took the characters, while paying homage to the elements that made the game a success.

What is your CGI process for bringing Heavenly Sword to film?

We were very fortunate with Heavenly Sword because even though our budget was considerably lower than the usual animated film, we had the benefit of an extremely rich assortment of characters and environments that were already built and nearly ready to be used. As with all films of this type, we still needed to increase the detail of the assets, but they started from such a strong place, the work wasn’t as costly and time consuming as it would’ve needed to be if the assets were of lesser quality. Once they were ready, we worked with a combination of motion capture and keyframe animation to create the film.

Our only small regret, really, is that as we were completing production of the film, the next generation of videogames were beginning to be unveiled, and with them, even higher-quality assets were being created to match the incredible power of these new machines. Sadly, due to our time and budget considerations, we were unable to boost the quality of our assets to match those of what we knew would soon be seen by the public. But hopefully if we can make a sequel, we can take the characters to the next level!

What impact do you feel a successful home video run will have on a video game sequel?

When we first talked to Sony about the project, we discussed the idea of making a film that would bridge the gap between the first game and a potential sequel. Ultimately we decided that this wouldn’t be satisfying to much of the audience who were likely unfamiliar with the property, so we chose to do a version of the origin story that would be familiar enough for fans of the game to appreciate it, yet different enough (especially at the very end) for them to see where a possible sequel could potentially go.

Since there hasn’t been a Heavenly Sword game for several years, we hope that this film will remind the game fans why they liked the game in the first place (beyond the renowned gameplay, of course!), while introducing a whole new generation of fans to Nariko, Kai, Bohan, Flying Fox and the rest of the stellar cast of characters inhabiting the world of Heavenly Sword. Hopefully this combination will kindle a desire for a sequel to the game (and film, of course). We’re very happy with the final product, but time will tell.

What opportunities do you see CGI opening up for video games?

Really, the sky’s the limit. As the cinematic quality of games continues to improve, as well as the quality of the assets themselves, and as kids grow up into adults who have spent their lives seeing video games as a legitimate storytelling medium, the line between the two will continue to grow thinner, and the two will cross over more and more frequently, until there really will be no difference at all except for the interactivity that a game offers, versus the passive experience of watching a film. And frankly, I wouldn’t even be surprised if that went away eventually and movie watching in itself will become more of an interactive experience.

Are there plans to extend the story with a movie sequel?

We definitely had a sequel in mind when we wrote the ending of the film, so really our fate is in the audience’s hands now. But if we were blessed with the green light, we definitely have plenty of ideas on where the story would go.

Reddit Introduces New AMA Mobile App

One of Reddit’s most popular features is its crowdsourced question-and-answer forum known as “Ask Me Anything” or “AMA.” And now, according to TubeFilter, after much anticipation, Reddit is bringing these popular AMA interviews to the mobile app category.

Variety says the AMA app is already available on iOS and is scheduled to be released on Android later this week. The app is aimed to make AMAs a lot snazzier with an elegant design that allows users to keep up with discussion threads in real time, unlike the traditional, lackluster desktop version.

The app is designed users who browse Reddit on their phones while also appealing to new users. “We want to make it easier for new users to join Reddit and experience all the awesome content,” said Reddit’s SVP of mobile, Ellen Pao. “That’s part of the overall goal of becoming a more mature company.”


Source: TubeFilter


Vevo To Bring Virtual Reality Music Videos To Your Living Room

By Jessica Klein

Vevo is going 3D. Thanks to the upcoming worldwide launch of Vevo on Samsung Gear VR, all 100,000 plus HD music videos and original shows on the platform will be viewable in a virtual reality experience.

Vevo will play on Gear VR through its app. In a blog post, the company’s product leader John Li describes the experience as akin to “finding yourself transported to the Apollo Theater in New York City, where Pharrell is performing live in front of you.”

US and Canadian viewers will also be able to experience Vevo TV in 3D, which entails constant music video content on the platform. In other countries, Vevo watchers can see customized local programming of their own.

As of now, there’s no exact release date for Vevo on Gear VR and in the Oculus Store, where it will also become available upon launch. However, we should expect it before the end of 2014.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.