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Sep 5th 2014

Disrupt San Francisco 2014: A Preview

TechCrunch Disrupt is the venue to debut tech starups, and next week the hotly anticipated, world-class hackathon and conference – Disrupt San Francisco – will kick off at a new venue, Pier 48.

The Hackathon will take place September 6th and 7th and the Conference will run September 8th through 10th. The entire event will be captured online, with 24/7 coverage and a livestream on the TechCrunch homepage.

Last year's record-breaking Disrupt San Francisco hosted 3,700+ attendees and 800+ hackers. Taking it to the next level, this year's Disrupt will feature some of the hottest speakers in the industry, including:
  • Peter Thiel, iconic investor and cofounder of PayPal and many other companies-will join TechCrunch Co-Editor Alexia Tsotsis to discuss his book "Zero to One: Notes on Startups or, How to Build the Future"
  • Billionaire investor, serial entrepreneur, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban will speak for at Disrupt for the first time
  • CEO/Co-Founder and COO of Twitch, Emmett Shear and Kevin Lin respectively, will discuss what it's like to run a gaming media monster that was just acquired by Amazon for $970 million
  • Founders of Eventbrite, and married dynamic duo, Julia and Kevin Hartz, will chat about the future of events and what the company's plans are for 2015 and beyond
  • Founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky will share his insight into running a $10 billion startup, and how difficult it was to get it off the ground
  • Disrupt veteran Marissa Mayer and CEO of Yahoo will once again judge the Startup Battlefield finals
  • Michael Arrington will interview Marc Benioff (Founder/Chairman/CEO, Salesforce), and legendary Bay Area investor Vinod Khosla (Founder, Khosla Ventures) will offer his infinite investment wisdom
  • Three new TechCrunch writers will have their Disrupt debut - Kyle Russell will interview the CEO/Co-Founder and COO of Twitch, Sarah Buhr and a panel of tech experts will discuss whether or not "digital medicine is the new Rx", and Ron Miller will chat with Scott Dietzen (Pure Storage) and Mike Speiser (Sutter Hill Ventures)
For the full agenda on this year's anticipated Disrupt, click here.



Live streaming video by Ustream

Aug 7th 2014

AOL Teams Up with the ASPCA to Help At-Risk Animals

AOL leverages the power of the Internet to improve the world around us and benefit those in need. This month, AOL is proud to be going big in support of ASPCA's "Come to Their Rescue" campaign, an initiative aimed at building a national movement that will help make a difference for millions of homeless animals across the country. The campaign's PSA, which features spokesperson and singer-songwriter Colbie Caillat, calls for animal lovers to become rescuers.


In support of this campaign – with the goal of helping the ASPCA reach its goal of 3 million rescuers, one for every homeless animal euthanized each year – AOL is providing pro bono media support across channels:
  • Desktop and mobile PSA banners on our owned and operated channels and with third party publisher inventory
  • Providing video PSA support across AOL's network, spotlighting Colbie Caillat sparking directly to the viewer
  • AOL owned and operated brands Cambio and StyleList shared editorial coverage following interviews with Colbie
  • On August 15, we're providing an AOL.com "Make a Difference" module – making ASPCA the featured charity for one full day
  • Social media support for the campaign from AOL channels

For almost 150 years, the ASPCA has worked tirelessly to end animal cruelty.

Visit http://www.aspca.org/rescue to support the campaign.

Aug 6th 2014

AOL Accelerates Revenue and Adjusted OIBDA Growth

AOL accelerates revenue and Adjusted OIBDA growth – growing both 12% year-over-year.

"AOL's future as a scaled media technology company continues to get stronger," said Tim Armstrong, AOL Chairman and CEO. "AOL grew consumer usage, video, programmatic advertising, branded content, and ad pricing throughout the first half of 2014, and we will continue to make AOL one of the best operating companies in our industry."

Other highlights include:


For the full release, click here.

Aug 4th 2014

Inertia Is Stifling Innovation - and the 'Tech Tax' is No Myth

As I reflect upon my first anniversary as global CEO for AOL Platforms, I've gained a unique perspective on the industry after years on the agency side of the business (most recently as global CEO of Razorfish and CEO of Publicis Groupe's digital technology division), to now being fully immersed in the technical innovations that are powering the rapidly evolving digital ad and publishing ecosystems. AOL has given me new insight into the many challenges and opportunities that marketers encounter when navigating the complex and crowded world of programmatic buying, data analytics, attribution, mobile, online video and more. Here are a few things I have learned in the last year -- both the good and the bad:

1. The "tech tax" is no myth. The words "confusing" and "complex" are used to describe the current ad tech landscape for a reason. A multitude of highly specialized product vendors are all vying for a sliver of the marketing pie. Currently, for every dollar that a brand spends on a digital placement, more than half is siphoned off to a complicated web of trading desks, private exchanges, DSPs (demand-side platforms), SSPs (supply-side platforms), data aggregators, tag management vendors, ad verification vendors, retargeters and more. Having seen the waste inherent in our bloated publishing and advertising ecosystems first-hand, my take is that the industry's No. 1 objective should be to unify and simplify the technologies that automate the planning, buying, execution, optimization and measurement of cross-screen and cross-format campaigns. The innovation exists. Our job is to harness it, simplify it and deploy it to increase the power and reach of every advertising dollar.

2. Inertia is stifling innovation. Things that worked in traditional media -- like "splitting the buy" across broadcast networks and static one-month-ahead planning -- don't make sense in today's data-driven digital world. Today the wealth of data and technology available make it possible to continually analyze behavior and performance data, empowering brands to zero in on the most relevant audiences and inventory in real-time, rather than hedge their bets. We wholeheartedly agree with WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell that data experts have an important role to play in this changing agency landscape: "You need to have programmers, engineers, scientists and mathematicians, and it needs different types of agency people working together." Marketers and brand executives that don't evolve from doing things "the way they've always been done" will be left behind. Those that adapt their strategies to the digital age will grow and thrive.

3. The value of data is exponential. Too many marketers lock information in silos (separating mobile, social and desktop analytics for example), which leaves them unable to realize the full potential of their data. Confirmed in a soon-to-be released study on social media marketing conducted by Convertro (the multi-touch attribution vendor acquired this year by AOL), we've long known that consumers don't engage with content in silos -- they move between devices throughout the day. And while a lower number of conversions happen on social, engagement on this channel is important to customer awareness and consideration of products. This will be increasingly important as, according to a study from the ANA and Nielsen, by 2016 nearly half of media campaigns are expected to be multiscreen. The bottom line is that data increases exponentially when it can be integrated, analyzed holistically and used to optimize decisions across all marketing channels. And marketers need to know how campaign performance is impacted by each individual impression, regardless of which screens or types of inventory are engaged.

4. Don't bother with meaningless distinctions. Our industry spends way too much time asking where the dollars are going to go next: TV or video? Mobile or display? Broadcast or digital? All decisions, whether media, creative or format-driven, should focus on reaching the consumer wherever they are, whenever they are ready to engage. And optimizing the allocation of total ad spend successfully depends on automation and data optimization that can tell you what's working, what's not and where improvements should be made, regardless of the channel.

After a year of focusing on how to make advertising technology better, faster, smarter and more efficient, I'm looking forward to a future where advertisers adopt the tools and processes they need to accomplish their most important goal: engage with consumers and move their business forward. Working together, the CMO and CTO will drive business results. Period.

Read the original article on Ad Age here.

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