Behind The Snap With One Of Snapchat’s Biggest Influencers

Michael Platco is one of Snapchat’s most well-known artists with a broad roster of brands he works with already under his belt. You may recognize his work from being featured as ION’s #1 Snapchatter in May or you may have seen any number of the Snaps he’s done for ABC’s Pretty Little Liars, Fox’s Fantastic Four, Marriott Hotels, Lionsgate and more.

You know you’ve made it when BuzzFeed’s dubs you the “Van Gogh Of Snapchat.” It is immediately clear with his experience that Michael is someone deserving of that title.

We caught up with Michael when he visited LA to talk shop about his unusual line of work, how he got started and what tips he has for brands who want to make a splash on the platform.


Even With Growth, Mobile Video Advertising Has Concerns

Mobile video ads have become a huge boon for some companies, as spending for the format is set to reach $2.62 billion this year alone, accounting for about a third of the overall $7.7 billion that advertisers will spend on digital video ads. eMarketer reported these numbers, estimating that they’ll grow even bigger to nearly half (47.7 percent) of total digital video ad dollars by 2019.

Consumers are watching a lot more video on the market, with an estimated 105 million U.S. smartphone users watching at least one ad on a monthly basis through one of their devices — a 13.9 percent increase from the previous year. Tablets is right up there as well, with more than 100 million users watching a video once a month, representing more than half of all tablet users.

That said, there are concerns about the format, according to The Video Ink. While numbers may seem high on the front end, it’s only expected to account for more than a third of overall total digital video ad spend for the year, even with more creativity coming from publishers and video creators alike.

“Mobile video ad spend is experiencing rapid growth, thanks to larger audiences of video viewers and growing time spent on smartphones and tablets,” said Jeremy Kressman, analyst for eMarketer and author of the report (which can be found here, via a subscription). “But changes with the format are causing growing pains for the industry.”

There are a number of formats to be used with video advertising that companies have to consider, such as in-stream advertising, in-banner, in-app and interactive videos, among others, making it hard them to commit to a particular format – at least, until they see a “clear winner” that would pay off in the long run.

Mobile video still has time to iron out the kinks, however. “As consumers are becoming increasingly agnostic about the device they use to watch video, some advertisers are finding the most valuable strategy to be buying mobile video ads as part of a broader cross-device campaigns on television and digital video,” added Kressmann.

Twitch Brings E3 Live To The World

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is going to be coming to a screen near you this year, as Twitch announces its broadcast schedule as the official live-streaming partner of the show. In addition to broadcasting all of the E3 2015 press conferences and being the exclusive broadcasting platform for the PC Gaming Show, more than 30 publishers and developers will be showing games on the Twitch stage at South Hall, Booth #2803. Twitch will also have broadcasting partners from several countries providing localized content from the Twitch booth, the first time they’ve done this.

Expanding the range of content available, Twitch broadcasters will be allowed to co-stream all of the Twitch E3 content on to their own channels. “By providing their own commentary on the news, this gives broadcasters the opportunity to create a more personalized, social experience for their communities,” noted Twitch.

“The Twitch community is the single most active, socially engaged group of gamers in the world,” said Jon Carnage, Live Programming Director, Twitch. “They have a voracious appetite, especially for new indie and AAA games. With every press conference on Twitch and every major publisher being featured on the Twitch stage, we’ve got the fans covered. By having the industry’s most comprehensive collection of live streamed content, this is shaping up to be our biggest E3 to date.”

Twitch’s booth includes high-performance professional audio provided by Turtle Beach, Twitch’s official audio partner. Xbox is also partnering with Twitch by presenting the Xbox ESports Celebrity Challenge & Twitch Party. At this event—which is also sponsored by AlphaDraft and Turtle Beach—500 lucky Xbox fans get a chance to mingle with top broadcasters, celebrities and industry elite on June 16.

Among this year’s guests from the publisher and developer community will be 2K, Activision, Bandai Namco Entertainment America, Blizzard, Deep Silver, Devolver, Disney Interactive, EA, Konami, Microsoft Studios, Nintendo, PlayStation, Reverb, Square Enix, Tiny Build Games, Ubisoft, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and many more, including an array of content from the Indie Megabooth. All of the press events and booth broadcasts will be viewable from the Twitch E3 Portal.

Press Events Schedule (all PDT):

June 14
3:00 p.m. Nintendo World Championships
7:00 p.m. Bethesda
June 15:
9:30 a.m. Xbox
1:00 p.m. EA
3:00 p.m. Ubisoft
6:00 p.m. PlayStation
June 16:
9:00 a.m. Nintendo
10:00 a.m. Square Enix
5:00 p.m. PC Gaming Show (exclusively on Twitch)
Booth Schedule:
TBA on June 9th at


Take A Breath With Virtual Reality’s ‘Deep’

With both the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus set to hit the market next year, virtual reality is ready to make a triumphant entry into consumers’ hands, giving current devices released by Google and Samsung a run for their money. And with them, we’ll see a number of new developments that take advantage of virtual space, sucking users into amazing new worlds that they can explore however they see fit.

PSFK has reported on a new game that will innovate the virtual reality field in a breathtaking new way – literally. Titled Deep, the game immerses a player into a magnificent-looking world, where they can reduce anxiety and stress simply by using their breathing to control their actions.

The game, made by Owen Harris, has been showing the concept art behind his game at various events last summer, slowly putting together an experience that users will find not only tranquil, but also helpful for calming their nerves.

Throughout the game, players will see various sights from the game, including various underwater landscapes, while learning ancient breathing techniques that will help them calm down, in a meditative sense. With breathing, the environment changes with the user, as it lights up while they breathe in, and then darkens when they breathe out. Through a custom controller, diaphragm expansion is also kept track of, to make sure the player is relaxed enough.

The video below provides a demonstration of how this works:


Stampy Cat Started Playing Minecraft When The Kids Did, Hence His Success

by Jessica Klein

Called “the Mr. Rogers of Minecraft” by Entertainment WeeklyStampy Cat creator Joseph Garrett stands out among the countless Minecraft video creators on YouTube for his family-friendly content. He told Rhett & Link about how he came up with his Mr. Rogers-esque routine on this week’s “Ear Biscuits.”

To give some background, Garrett posts multiple kid-targeted Let’s Play style videos a week, the most regular of which focus on Minecraft. His main Minecraft video series takes place “in his lovely world, {link no longer active}” and it always starts off with Garrett’s character, Stampy, in his bedroom, giving his token greeting, eating cake for breakfast, and then going to his “love garden,” which includes mentions of audience members who have created fan art for Stampy.

Keep reading…

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.

YouTube Star-Studded ‘Expelled’ Proves A Success

AwesomenessTV presented a stellar case study for teen comedy Expelled, which they have called “the No. 1 social movie of 2014″ at the Stream Market Conference {link no longer active}. Presenting were AwesomenessTV’s president Brett Bouttier; head of development and production Shauna Phelan, CMO T.J. Marchetti, Mary McLaren, EVP & COO at Twentieth Century Fox and Alex Goyette, who wrote, directed and produced Expelled.

Awesomeness TV revealed that the movie topped the iTunes Charts for four straight weeks, generated 15 billion social impressions and trended on Twitter 23 times.

So what made the film resonate so well with teen audiences Part of the success is attributed to the power of bringing social media stars to the big screen, both in front and behind the camera.

A YouTube star himself, Alex Goyette was mostly known for his prank videos on YouTube. For Expelled, he had the opportunity to cast many of his peers into their first acting experience on the big screen.

“YouTube was my film school,” said Alex Goyette.

The marketing campaign from the movie also took its inspiration from what works on YouTube.

“I came from Disney where I previously worked with Frozen. This was a very different animal. These social media stars have different followings on different platforms. Sure, we did press days and all of the usual promotion, but heart of it was YouTube-y short online videos directed toward their followers,” said T.J. Marchetti, CMO of AwesomenessTV.

“This was a totally new thing for us. How do we use these YouTube stars this way in a movie We all talked about what a great test this would be, ” said Mary McLaren, EVP & COO at Twentieth Century Fox. “Will their audiences actually pay for it There were no comps we could pull for this. Our finance folks projected really low numbers and we were very positively surprised how well it did.”

“There is a lot we can learn from this. I think we’ll start to see a shift of things as we go forward and an increased interest in these kind of films.”

Newzoo: Top Core PC Games May 2015

Top Core PC Games in May: DOTA 2 Madness and RPGs Rising
Valve’s DoTA2 is rising through the rankings this month as the hype surrounding The International intensifies. RPGS are proving successful and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt makes impressive gains. Counter Strike: Global Offensive’s has retained its #3 spot, likely due to the increased focus on eSports and Twitch regularly featuring the game as one of the top five most popular streaming titles. In line with this ranking, we have developed a brand new service in collaboration with Overwolf. The PC Games Market Monitor provides a monthly overview of the performance, cross-over and churn for the Top 20 PC/MMO games, and covers more than 40 countries across Europe, North America and Latin America. More information below.

The International Frenzy

  • Valve’s MOBA DoTA2 climbed another two places to Rank 9, pushed no doubt by the intense global hype surrounding the upcoming DoTA2 International 5. As in 2014, Valve is selling — Compendiums’ to raise money and build attention for this international eSports competition. The 2014 DoTA2 International total prize pool was $10,930,698 million, making it the largest Esports prize in history.
  • The 2015 International is poised to smash those numbers, having already reached $10,518,132 by the end of May 2015. With Valve having set the stretch goal at $15,000,000, it’s not difficult to see the Dota 2 International 5 surpassing 2014 numbers, making it the largest Esports prize pool in history yet again.
  • Meanwhile, according to Newzoo’s latest eSports research, prize money made available worldwide has almost doubled in the first five months of 2015 compared to the same period last year. At this pace, total prize money will reach $71 million this year.
  • Seemingly unfazed by the attention directed toward DoTA2, Blizzard’s MOBA Heroes of the Storm continues to hold strong at Rank 12. This more ‘casual’ MOBA has so far silenced its critics and looks set to be a contender on the PC Game Rankings for some time, proving perhaps that the market for easily accessible, less competitive MOBAs is a core market that Blizzard has effectively tapped into. May 2015 was a good month for Blizzard, as its competitive card MOBA Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft moved up another place to Rank 7, mirroring its one spot climb in April.


RPGs Rising
Role Playing Games have made a strong overall showing in the May 2015 Rankings. Boosted by its free-to-play entry on the Steam platform and the release of additional game extras (including a new free character option and free mount), Tera: Rising makes its entry on the Core PC Game Rankings at Rank 18.

This is interesting considering the fact the title recently celebrated its three year anniversary with more than 17 million registered users, yet this is the first time the title has appeared on our rankings. It’s worth noting that the title originally began as pay-to-play and it was only after its switch in 2013 to a free-to-play business model that the title quickly passed the million registered accounts mark.

Orion Worlds’ ArcheAge, having rolled out fresh updates and new features, rose an impressive four places to Rank 14. This is quite a surprise considering the months of overall negative feedback over the past months from the gaming community regarding the title. Trion in recent months has been vocal in its intent to clean up the game in regards to bots and cheats, especially in the areas of spammers and game play exploits. With the Korean version of the title being upgraded to 2.0 and European server mergers on the way, time will tell if this quick ascension is a momentary community victory as it has been overall a tough few months for the title.

One to Watch: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Despite the fact it was only launched on May 19th, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has by the end of May ascended to Rank 21. Though not officially in our Top 20, this is an amazing feat considering it only had 12 days to do so. A massive and sprawling open world role playing game, the title was released to glowing reviews and is advertised to have more than 200 hours of playtime content. It will remain to be seen if the title is able break into the Top 20 rankings in June, but the outlook looks good for a title that has drawn immense attention and community joy by publisher CD Projekt’s unique approach to DRM and its policy of free as opposed to paid DLC.

How Apple’s Entertainment Impact May Skyrocket In 2015

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off on June 8, and there will likely be a number of announcements that will have a major impact on the world of entertainment in the months and years ahead. There are also some very credible rumors about what Apple is planning, and those plans may affect various markets in major ways. Let’s examine these potential announcements and what they might mean to marketers.

The Latest iOS Appears
As per its usual practice, Apple will use the WWDC to introduce the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 9. Unlike last year’s update, iOS9 is expected to be focused on performance and stability rather than sweeping new changes. The key thing being rumored about iOS9 is that it will actually work well with older versions of iPhones and iPads, thus making that older hardware more viable for continued sale. This will improve Apple’s ability to sell hardware into the most rapidly growing segment of the mobile market, which is in lower-priced devices (particularly to countries like India). This may also have the happy effect of making games perform better as well, and expanding the installed base of compatible iOS devices, which is never a bad thing.

Apple’s Streaming Music Service Debuts
This seems like a pretty good bet from all accounts, with Apple building on the foundation it acquired through its purchase of Beats. Streaming music has overtaken downloads as the major source of music for most people, and thus Apple sees the need to be there. This service is anticipated not only for all iOS devices, but for Android devices as well, vastly increasing Apple’s reach.

New iPads and iPhones
These are not likely to be announced at WWDC, as Apple usually saves that for fall announcements. Still, the rumors have already started making the rounds, with the iPad line due for a refresh. There are suggestions that Apple is working on a large-size iPad with a 12.9″ screen, compared to the current 9.7″ screen, which at the least will offer an impressive screen for gaming. New iPhones will no doubt appear as usual in the fall; rumors point to a new CPU and GPU that will lend better performance to games, as well as more powerful cameras and the addition of Force Touch, enabling the new phones to have a new input method that may be of use to game designers. The Apple Watch will also get some attention with more development tools.

The New Apple TV
While all the early rumors and smoke signals pointed to a a new version of the Apple TV to be announced at WWDC, the latest word is that this may not happen after all. The hardware is all ready, but that’s not the issue here. Apple has been negotiating with various networks in order to offer a package of services, perhaps in the range of $20 to $30 per month, that would provide dozens of the most popular television channels without the need for a cable or satellite subscription. This is expected to be hugely popular, possibly attracting tens of millions of subscribers and prompting a wave of cable-cutting. However, negotiations still aren’t complete to Apple’s satisfaction, and thus the company may wait to introduce the hardware until a suitable array of providers have signed on.

The new Apple TV hardware, though, will likely have an impressive array of features in and of itself. The device is rumored to be even sleeker than the current Apple TV, and the internals will have an impressive upgrade. Look for an Apple 8X CPU and GPU, the company’s most powerful ARM-based chips, which will run an array of software with impressive speed. There will also be increased storage on the device and more storage options, too, because Apple will finally be opening up the App Store to the Apple TV.

The App Store on an Apple TV means games — thousands of them available immediately, no doubt, as developers make whatever minor changes are needed to make current games compatible. Since games represent some 75 percent or more of the revenue from mobile apps, it’s a sure bet that they will be an important part of the new Apple TV’s appeal. The device is expected to sell for $99 (the current one has been reduced to $69, probably to make room for the new model at $99), which makes it a game-changer in the console market.

Sure, there are already Android-powered consoles like the Fire TV and the Nvidia Shield that are attracting attention, and more on the way. But the new Apple TV brings the largest developer ecosystem with it, and a huge number of top-notch iPad games that are just waiting to be played on the big TV screen. Something like Vainglory or Dawn of Titans will be impressive as hell on a big TV.

The Apple TV is going to be immensely popular for a variety of reasons beyond games, though. The package of TV providers (which will likely include such things as CNN, CBS, AMC, and others) is a sure seller. Apple’s also got HBO and Showtime options, too, which will draw in more people. And the new Apple Music streaming service is sure to be popular as well. Beyond those entertainment options, Apple is making the Apple TV the hub for its home automation services and technologies labeled HomeKit, which will be supported by a large array of providers for controlling household devices, including lighting, thermostats, security, sensors and many others.

This array of capabilities will take the Apple TV, already a solid performer (with over 25 million units sold at last report), to a new level — with an installed base that should reach 50 million or more of the new Apple TV in a year or less. This will make it one of the top consoles out there very quickly. While the new Apple TV won’t match the raw power of an Xbox One or a PS4, it’s a fraction of the price — and people will be buying it for many reasons, not just games.

Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo should be taking the new Apple TV into account in their marketing strategies, as it will give consumers a compelling alternative to purchasing a dedicated game console. Game developers will continue to create deeper and more compelling titles for iOS devices, and more direct ports of console titles will be a distinct possibility as Apple now supports game controllers in iOS. While the new Apple TV may not push as many polygons as a dedicated game console, the rendering available now on mobile chips features all of the capabilities of PC or consoles, just not the same level of power. Careful choices when designing games means that games on these “mobile consoles” can have impressive visuals, certainly good enough to impress most people.

This new era may well arrive this fall, if Apple can line up its deals. The holiday market this year may have the most console options ever, with PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U showing a strong game lineup, Steam machines arriving, several Android TV devices, and the new Apple TV all competing for market share. Marketers will need to be agile indeed as the market evolves rapidly this year.

The Apple Footprint Grows
Apple’s WWDC will mark the beginning of Apple’s expanded entertainment empire. Streaming music will extend Apple’s dominance of the music market, and by reaching Android devices it will bring more people into the Apple ecosystem. The new iOS9 will bring broader acceptance of Apple devices to a larger audience. The eventual announcement of bundled TV services will bring a huge wave of subscribers if Apple’s deal works out the way they want. Finally, the new Apple TV will not only bring all of these things together in an affordable package, it will finally open the home market to Apple games and iOS developers in a big way. We may not see all of these pieces yet, but by the end of the year it’s going to be enormous if this all comes to pass. The Apple TV could take its place among top-selling Apple products and cast aside forever its label as “just a hobby” for Apple execs.

Showtime Joins The Shift To Stand-Alone Service

When HBO Now launched exclusively for Apple devices in April, it introduced an extraordinary business plan for the premium channel, enabling consumers to watch favorite shows like Game of Thrones and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver without the need for a cable connection. Now, Showtime, its main competitor, wants to get in on the act.

Per Adweek, Les Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., confirmed that the premium channel would be launching its own premium service, simply called Showtime, next month. It’ll be available for Apple devices, like HBO Now, but there’s a major difference – it’ll be four dollars cheaper than HBO Now, going for $10.99 a month.

This service will allow consumers to watch films and original TV shows, including Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and the eerie Penny Dreadful.

“Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers,” said Moonves. “Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology. This works best when you have outstanding premium content – like we do at Showtime – and when you have a terrific partner like Apple – which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base.”

Matthew Blank, chairman and CEO for Showtime Networks, added, “At Showtime, we’re excited to offer consumers the opportunity to subscribe in new ways, by simply having an Internet connection. Our intent is to make Showtime available to viewers via every manner possible, giving them an enormous amount of choice in accessing our programming.”

Not only is this is a big deal for Showtime – especially with a lower price that could be a bigger draw for consumers looking to save a few dollars – but it’s also a big deal for Apple, landing another exclusivity window with a premium service. Showtime will eventually be introduced on other services, but, for now, it remains exclusive with the company.

Meanwhile, Showtime hopes to reach out to a different audience type with the app – millennials. “We do know that there’s maybe 12 million homes that have high-speed Internet, who are not subscribers to any video packages,” said Showtime Networks president David Nevins, speaking with AdWeek. “And there’s another, say, 75 million homes that have video packages but don’t subscribe to Showtime. So we feel like there’s definitely opportunities in new distribution.”

With shows like the titles mentioned above, it should certainly get there. Check out a trailer for the service below.


Will Instagram Stay True To Its Mission With Ads?

In an attempt to open up a new revenue cycle for its site — and take advantage of its huge 300 million user base — Instagram has launched a new campaign that enables the ability to buy items through the site, using a “Shop Now” set-up.

Adweek is reporting that the popular photo-sharing app will launch the ads within its service, featuring the “Shop Now” buttons as well as other messages that provide links to outside sites, so users can shop around for particular items while sifting through their photo feeds. In addition, the site also introduced a new API software platform that allows marketing partners to set up their own automated advertising process.

With the API, these companies can manage, track and measure marketing campaigns with ease, using technology originally supplied by parent company Facebook.

“We have benefitted greatly from being a part of Facebook,” said James Quarles, Instagram’s global head of business and brand development. “It would have taken us years to build this tech stack for ourselves. So, we’re fortunate to be able to take select pieces of Facebook’s tech stack.”

This campaign utilizes customizable commercial content that blends into photo feeds without disrupting them, similar in pattern to Facebook’s ads appearing on a user’s page, but without getting too much in the way of their daily social feeds with friends. It already has several big names on board, including Disney, Electronic Arts, Ben and Jerry’s and Taco Bells, with a combination of magazine-style photos, 15-second videos and animated GIF’s.

This does bring an interesting change to the site, however, linking people to other sites outside of it for the first time. “It’s an ideal platform to shop on as it’s so visual and fashion oriented,” said Old Navy media director Michele Schuh, speaking with Adweek. “We’re thrilled that Instagram is now offering users the ability to click directly through to a product, creating instant gratification without any cumbersome steps.”

That said, some were wondering as to why Instagram would take so longer to embrace such a program, with CEO Kevin Systrom and his company figuring out the right way to approach such tactics. “It wasn’t a question of whether or not they’d do it; we’re surprised that they held out so long,” said Siobham O’Neill, vice president of social strategy for Ayzenberg. “It’ll be interesting to see whether or not Instagram can stay true to its mission, which is that beautiful visual experience they’re known for. The click-to-buy within the platform is something a lot of users — particularly in fashion — have wanted for a long time, so this is a win for them.

“But if Instagram stops being thoughtful and starts cluttering up the feed with intrusive ads that don’t add to the experience, then they’re going to irritate their core audience and — most importantly — its most vibrant creators. In my view, Facebook hasn’t historically done a great job of managing its ads’ impact on the user experience, despite their best efforts to collect data via self-reported features, so it’ll be interesting to see how Instagram approaches this. Of note, I also think that this means that the Instagram influencer is more vital and important than ever — brands and advertisers will have to develop creative partnerships with credible, authentic voices, which are not nice-to-haves, but must-haves, in the medium.”

Only time will tell if the program will be a success, but considering that Facebook has two million advertisers that could easily work their way into the program, it’s certainly worth the opportunity. “Its not enough to just inspire; you want people to be able to take action,” added Jason Stein, CEO of Laundry Service, which operates with a number of brands, such as Beats by Dre and Jordan, through Instagram campaigns. “I can’t tell you how many people are saying on big brands’ posts, ‘How do I buy this ‘ There is a demand that people want to take action.”