Digital Down Low: January 6th
AOL introduces BrandBuilder
- According to Marketing Land, AOL introduced a suite of new ad format programs under the umbrella name BrandBuilder at CES in Las Vegas on Thursday. The new programs — Director, Buyer and Beta — included in BrandBuilder serve as the starting point for advertisers based on their campaign goals. The Director program includes a variety of formats aimed at building brand awareness, while the Buyer program is aimed at driving direct response actions such as clicks to shop, see store locations or email signups. Rather than cherry-picking through AOL’s entire catalog of supported ad formats, advertisers start the buying process by selecting one of the programs.
- The formats in Director and Buyer can include mobile, video, rich media and desktop and can run across AOL publishers, including TechCrunch, Engadget, Autoblog, Kanvas, MAKERS, HuffPost RYOT and Moviefone. The purpose is to simplify how brands and advertisers buy and serve ad experiences.
- Beta is a kind of incubator program for brands to collaborate with AOL on new formats. DataPerks and Player Up are the first two formats to launch as part of BrandBuilder Beta. DataPerks ads give Verizon Wireless customers incentive to take action on an ad (for example, download a coupon) in exchange for additional wireless plan data. It will be available in the first quarter of this year in the US. Player Up is positioned as an pre-roll alternative. The first iteration is the result of a collaboration with eBay and includes short 3-to-7-second video ads shown as bumpers, overlays in place of publisher watermarks or when a user clicks the pause button. Player Up formats are now available in the US, the UK and Canada.
Network companies want to make consumer routers more secure
- According to Mashable, malware is everywhere, and when it infects connected gadgets, it can be a problem for everybody. But a new class of device is rising to combat this trend, and it’s on full display at CES 2017. Late last year the term “botnet” became a buzzword thanks to a major cyberattack on Dyn, one of the companies that provides some of the basic infrastructure of the internet. Hackers were able to employ a network of infected smart devices — thermostats, security cameras, routers and who knows what else — from all over the world — to act as one in a DDoS attack, which crippled many well-known services, including Twitter.
- Critics have been screaming about the lack of security in smart gadgets for years. Even with improving standards (like ditching easy-to-guess default passwords), there’s only so much manufacturers can do. IoT devices connect to the internet like any computer, but their relatively unsophisticated system software, powered by feeble chips, makes them much more vulnerable to malware. Now a few networking companies are doing something about that. At CES, a new class of device is entering the spotlight: the internet security gadget — a device that is either a special kind of router or attaches to one, promising to monitor and protect your digital comings and goings
- The Norton Core is one such gadget. A consumer router built with security in mind, the Core doesn’t just connect devices — it monitors them for suspicious activity. If one day it sees that, say, your Nest is suddenly transferring data in weird ways or communicating with strange IP addresses, it’ll send you an alert. It doesn’t stop there: the Core can also segment your Internet of Things devices to another layer of your network, essentially insulating them from your “serious” computing, at least reducing the risk that a compromised device could lead to a compromised PC. It’s anyone’s guess whether enough people will ever take home-network security seriously enough to put a dent in the botnet problem. But at least now they have the tools to do so.
NFL games & playoffs are now live streaming in China with Weibo
- According to Tech Crunch, the NFL is hoping to expand its presence in China with a new deal that gives social media platform, Sina Weibo – often called China’s Twitter – the rights to live stream select games on its network, including the Super Bowl. The deal marks the first time a sports league will live stream games on the service, the NFL says. Additionally, Sina will gain the rights to non-game, video-on-demand clips, highlights and other NFL content.
- The games have already started streaming on Sina’s network, but the NFL only officially announced the deal this week. Six games have streamed over the past couple of weekend, the sports organization says. Going forward, Sina will live stream the final Sunday Night Football game in Week 17, three playoff games, and the Super Bowl. The NFL is interested in China because of fans’ growing viewership of its content in the country. Today, the NFL reports having over 1.5 million online viewers in China each week. On average, there are over 5 million views of NFL content each week. Many Chinese viewers tend to watch games played in the early morning via in-game video clips, the NFL notes.
- It’s not surprising that the NFL has sought out another online home for its games, given its continued interest in reaching younger fans via social media platforms and internet streaming sites. The NFL has worked with Snapchat to bring content to Live Stories and Discover and launched its own VR series on YouTube and Google Daydream. It has been targeting cord cutters through launches on over-the-top services like CBS All Access, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV, too. With the Sina deal, the NFL is able to reach an expanded audience through one of the most popular social media sites in China. The service has a reported 132 million daily active users, 297 million monthly actives, and a market penetration similar to Twitter or YouTube. Users post over 100 million messages daily on the platform.