Line Looks To Music Streaming To Monetize

Now that the service is fully functioning with its mobile payment set-up, Line, a popular messaging application in Japan, has announced details regarding its forthcoming music-streaming service, according to VentureBeat.

With the launch of the service, the team has formed a new company called Line Music Corporation. It’s a partnership between the messaging app and Avex, a Japan-based record label, as well as Sony Music. This will allow access to both companies’ vast music offerings.

With the distribution service, Line will be able to expand its “global user base and experience developing and operating smartphone services.”

Line has come a long way over the past three years, launching in Japan and gaining over 170 million monthly active users across 230 countries with its messaging tools. It’s also expanded to include other services as well, including applications that involve camera usage and games alike. No doubt the addition of music service could help it increase even further.

Along with expanding its audience, the music service could also help the company in terms of monetization, as it’s already set up services in terms of selling digital content on its channels. So far, the service has paid off in other areas, with stickers already generating a huge profit by themselves, to the tune of $10 million a month.

As far as when the service will launch, Line hasn’t provided a release date as of yet, since the companies are still in “concrete discussions” in terms of distribution and profitability. However, Line has promised that it will happen sooner rather than later, and a solid date shouldn’t be too far off.

Even with the departure of certain artists from the music streaming front (like Taylor Swift leaving Spotify), there’s still plenty of money to be made within the industry, and chances are Line will have no problem finding a profit, although there’s still the question of if it will make as much as other services.


Storm8 and Hasbro Launch ‘Monopoly Bingo!’

Even though Monopoly has been a hit on the board game front for many years, Hasbro is taking every opportunity to expand its appeal to new markets. Just weeks after seeing a console debut on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 thanks to Ubisoft, a new mobile game has arrived, called Monopoly Bingo!

The game is a partner product between Hasbro and Storm8, a Redwood City-based developer that recognizes the popularity of the Monopoly brand, despite its age.

“Consistently delivering highly engaging, fun mobile games has allowed us to reach over 400 million users since our company was founded in 2009,” said Storm8 CEO Perry Tam. “We couldn’t have asked for a better way to begin our foray into licensing world-class brands than with one of the most successful brands in gaming, and we expect this to lay the foundation for many more opportunities for Storm8.”

Speaking with VentureBeat, Terence Fung, chief strategy officer for the team, explained how the launch of the game helps with recognizance of popular brands. Not only is Monopoly Bingo! a tie-in with a popular board game, but it also has its hand in social casino games, which calculates to nearly $2 billion a year.

Mark Blecher, senior vice president for digital gaming and corporate development for Hasbro, also had his say on the matter. “The iconic Monopoly brand is one of the world’s favorite brands,” said Mark Blecher, senior vice president of digital gaming and corporate development at Hasbro, in a statement. “Given Storm8’s vast mobile network and strong social casino game experience, we expect that this new title will enable millions of Monopoly fans to enjoy an exciting new spin on a timeless classic as well as bring new players into the Monopoly universe.”

The game is available now on the Apple App Store {link no longer active} in a free-to-play format, and will also be coming to Android next month. There’s no word yet if players will be able to collect $200 every turn, but chances are you’ll still be cashing in on the casino front.

Facebook Q&A: Zuckerberg Talks The ‘Dislike’ Button, Username Policy + More

Mark Zuckerberg gave his second Q and A today on a dedicated Facebook page, giving Facebook users a way to interact with the head honcho of the world’s biggest social media platform in the same way Facebook’s employees do.

This Q and A followed much the same format as the last one, with questions both from an actual audience at the event and popular questions on a Facebook thread posted beforehand.

First up was insight on whether or not Facebook will implement a “dislike” button. Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that “sometimes people don’t feel comfortable pressing ‘Like’ for sad news,” but ultimately, he doesn’t think Facebook needs a “voting mechanism” to judge whether or not a post is good or bad.

When a question pooled from the Facebook thread called out Facebook as being a “time waster,” Zuckerberg rebuffed the question by saying he didn’t think there was anything wasteful about building relationships on the platform.

“We try to give everybody the voice to share the things that matter to them in so many ways,” he said.

One of the biggest issues at hand for Facebook as of late is their username policy. Very early on in the Q and A, this policy was addressed when Zuckerberg said other social platforms are more separate from reality, but the goal of Facebook is to be more connected to real life.

“If you’re connected to your real-life identity, there’s more accountability,” he said, going on to say it is an important part of what makes Facebook a safe platform.  “We take our role in civic debate really seriously.”

Throughout the Q and A, there was a recurring theme of Facebook being taken more seriously than just a social platform. After all, in sheer user numbers, Facebook’s “population” would be higher than many countries. Zuckerberg feels that Facebook should be used like a public service, seeing the platform as a sort of social catalyst that makes a difference in the real world. Zuckerberg even called for politicians to connect with their constituents on Facebook:

“It’s important to know what people are talking about, not just analysts and people in charge of companies.”

Zuckerberg voiced his impatience in getting Graph Search off the ground for non-English speaking users now that the feature has rolled out for the mobile app. “A lot of Facebook right now is day-to-day; however, there’s a big opportunity to keep knowledge around, learn from wisdom,” he said about accessing and searching for the data in Facebook’s over a trillion individual posts.

Also touched on was Facebook’s very controversial study on how users’ emotions could be manipulated by the platform. Zuckerberg fumbled through the answer, saying it was important for Facebook to know how people could be affected by good or bad posts and how that influenced their behavior.

“We need to make sure that when we make changes, they’re positive social changes.”

Google To Online Advertisers: Half Of Your Ads Aren’t Being Seen

Online advertising, much like its “traditional” physical ancestors, has been likened by some to throwing darts at a board and hoping they land in fruitful spots. Marketers are often skeptical about whether or not their ads are being seen by actual humans; unfortunately, a new Google report confirms their misgivings.

The report, an infographic titled “Five Factors of Viewability,” breaks the news in no uncertain terms: “Many display ads that are served never actually have the opportunity to be seen by a user.” Google’s stats, gathered in conjunction with company-owned ad platform DoubleClick, claim 56.1 percent of all ads served online meet with human eyes, while comScore’s own independent estimation pegs the figure at just 46 percent.



What can be done to remedy this situation Google offers advice in the form of reasons given for non-viewability, which include a user scrolling past an ad too quickly to take it in, an ad’s only “viewer” being a robot, and an ad failing to even deliver in the first place. Google also noted a wide gulf in visibility figures between “above-the-fold” ads, displayed at the top of a page, and “below-the-fold'” which requires scrolling to be seen: Above-the-fold sits at 68 percent visibility, while below-the-fold struggles at a comparably paltry 40 percent.

The news is just the latest catalyst for efforts to phase out currently popular payment systems based on impressions and replace them with ones favoring viewability.

The Internet Advertising Bureau is hard at work on an ambitious initiative known as 3MS (“Making Measurement Make Sense”), a self-described “testament to the ability of markets to self-correct when their participants aren’t being served,” while Google looks on towards the future with their own Active View technology.

Adoption of core viewability-based principles by big advertising names is a major first step in shifting online advertising techniques to a point that works better for marketers and consumers alike.

2015 Is The Year Mobile Becomes The First Screen For Brands

Unlike consumers like Mr. Butch in Tokyo, who stood in line for days to get their hands on a new iPhone 6 when it went on sale, brands and advertisers have taken a “wait-and-see” approach when it comes to fully embracing the possibilites with mobile.

Echoing the conversation from the 30+ speakers and 300+ attendees at our recent [a]list summit on Mobile Marketing on Dec 3., the time to wait and see is over. 2014 was the year the mobile web usage surpassed the wired web and 2015 will be the year that marketers jump in for real.

All user data supports it and the infrastructure is now in place with effective ad formats and monetization tools as well as much more precise targeting and reporting than ever before.

With the summit still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share a few of my personal notes on what this means for publishers and marketers alike:

  1. Social is the new starting point, not search. This is good news for brands, since social is way more effective than search, both terms of getting your branded content discovered and shared. Buzzfeed’s social traffic is now 7x its search traffic!
  2. If it’s not mobile, it’s not social. 60 percent of all traffic to social media is now mobile according to eMarketer and share rates are twice that of desktop share rates.
  3. Native ads and sponsored content work. If done right, sponsored content will be embraced and shared, even more so than non-sponsored content. Tumblr has shown that this is indeed possible and their format works great on mobile. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is now implementing the Tumblr model to other Yahoo! Properties with native ads as the preferred ad unit.
  4. Programmatic is clearly the way of the future. In 2015, programmatic buying of mobile ads is projected to account for the majority of inventory sold. From now on, you are buying an audience across the mobile web as opposed to particular media properties or apps.
  5. Mobile-first video platforms like Vine and Instagram are on the rise. As Vine super-stars Jack and Jack said on a panel to the delight of the audience: “I used YouTube back in fifth and sixth grade.”
  6. Mobile-first image platforms like Pinterest also huge traffic drivers. Moreover, simple tweaks like allowing mobile users to pin an image using one click can increase clicks by up to 10x.
  7. Mobile content does not need to be “snackable.” Buzzfeed shared numbers showing that many mobile users spend longer time on a page as compared to desktop because their content is optimized for mobile consumption.

If you missed our summit last week, you can catch editorial coverage of the event on [a]listdaily here and see video interviews with many of the speakers on our YouTube channel to see for yourself what the experts said.

Do you disagree with the prediction that 2015 will truly be the year mobile becomes the first screen in terms of media consumption and brand impact Please post your comments in the thread below.


VIDEO: Kristian Segerstrale On Targeting Core Gamers Through Mobile

Super Evil Megacorp COO Kristian Segerstrale knows a thing or two about mobile-first marketing strategies, having presided over a number of campaigns targeting core gamers that helped transform Super Evil Megacorp into one of Apple’s favorite game developers.

We interviewed Kristian after his appearance at [a]list summit: Mobile Marketing’s The State of Entertainment Marketing panel to discuss the science of targeting core gamers through mobile.


How Mobile Is Fueling Global Ad Spend In 2015

eMarketer has just released their latest rankings of the top 5 ad markets in the world in 2015, showing that ad spend globally will hit $592.43 billion in 2015. That represents a 6 percent increase over 2014. The United States is still on top as far as ad dollars go, but China has ramped up considerably at the #2 spot.

eMarketer’s data breaks out what the total digital picture looks like and what part mobile plays in that as well. Worldwide, digital ad spending is expected to be $170.50 billion and of that, $64.25 billion is projected to be specific to mobile.

Just today, eMarketer released another study that by 2016, the number of smartphone users will surpass 2 billion, a considerable portion of the planet. As mobile continues it’s reach globally, becoming the almost-everyman’s platform, the ad spend is beginning to move in-step.

“Mobile advertising is the key driver of growth around the world, and advertisers will spend $64.25 billion worldwide on mobile in 2015, an increase of nearly 60 percent over 2014. That figure will reach $158.55 billion by 2018, when mobile ads will account for 22.3 percent of all advertising spending worldwide,” says eMarketer.

CREATIVE: Top Game Trailers Of The Week: Dec. 11

Between The Game Awards and the Playstation Experience, this has been an excellent week for video game trailers. While there was more than plenty for the entire gaming community to enjoy and obsess over, here are the few that stand above the rest:

No Man’s Sky – PSX and Game Award Trailers


No Man’s Sky is a giant mystery… literally. We get two more looks into the ever-expanding universe ripe with planets and species (and AT-ATs ) to discover. Even the developers don’t know exactly how expansive their universe is, but these trailers sure do make me want to explore as much as I can.

Landing on an undiscovered planet for the first time and touching the ground knowing that you are the first to do so feels like an emotional moment that will be worth repeating. Sometimes the best way to brand a game’s feel is to simply show it off.

Drakes Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – PSX Gameplay Trailer


Fifteen minutes of Nathan Drake doing his Nathan Drake thing on the PS4. Need we say more 2.4 million youtube hits in three days on the Playstation channel alone can’t be wrong.

Oh, and watch until the very end. It’s a family affair now.

Until Dawn – The Game Awards World Premier


Until Dawn came screaming onto the Game Awards stage to scare the pants off of audience members and sorority sisters alike. Toting gesture controls and a masked man that gives us horrible Saw flashbacks, this is a survival-horror scenario that feels unique among the many familiar IP’s. Any piece that can make the chest seize up in anxiety is the mark of an effective trailer.

Before – The Game Awards World Premier


Imagine having a pristine, untouched Earth. Imagine having to hunt and forage in order to ensure yours and your family’s survival. You’re not worried about the traffic to work, rather you continue to think about how long you have until the weather threatens to freeze you solid Before looks to ask those questions and more, and offers a beautifully cell-shaded pre-historic world to explore while answering them.

Street Fighter V – PSX Reveal Trailer


Produced by our team here at Ayzenberg, PSX gave its fans the greatest treat of all: A Street Fighter exclusive to just PS4 and PC users. Tapping into how important and embedded the Street Fighter series is in today’s popular culture, Capcom is stirring up its fans for a fifth round while showing a little bit of next gen gameplay. We’re ready to Hadoken all the way until its launch.

What were your favorite trailers from The Game Awards and the Playstation Experience Leave them in the comments below!