In June 2007, Glam Media, a network of women’s fashion and lifestyle sites, passed NBC Universal’s iVilliage.com as the highest trafficked online media company targeting women, per ComScore metrics.The comparison drew the ire of iVillage’s president Deborah Fine who stated at the time it’s like comparing “apples to cauliflower.” Nevertheless, founder and CEO Samir Arora pointed out that ComScore measures them in the same space, an important distinction from the marketer perspective. To get there, Arora has crafted Glam Media as a publisher network that has grown to over 400 independently operated Web sites clustered around 20 “owned and operated” sites, which now attract about 25 million unique visitors monthly and 43.5 million globally, per ComScore, placing it among the top 25 Internet media companies.It’s a strategy that Arora claims traditional publishers have missed out on: Eliminating the “destination site” concept by harnessing the power of a carefully assembled network of independent publishers while simultaneously working the marketing side by creating the ad serving technology that injects large-format and interactive ad units directly into the content that best contextualizes them. A Package DealGlam Media, with offices in San Francisco for technology development and New York for media, officially launched during Fashion Week in New York in fall 2005. Since then the company has attracted over 200 advertisers that have purchased a variety of display and rich media ads that are designed to be as attractive and engaging as the content they’re positioned within.Arora compares the contextual package arrangement to a typical September issue of Vogue. “If you package content and advertising well the ads are not only desirable, they become as important as the content itself. If you’re reading a September issue of Vogue, is it for the ads, the content, or both?”According to Arora, it’s both. The fusion of compelling advertising and content is at the center of his company’s mission and something where he says traditional media have largely fumbled the ball. “Most of the traditional media companies were having a hard enough time trying to create content for the Internet and when they tried to bring the advertising experience into it they did not know how to translate the full-page glossy ads or full video immersion to the Internet.”Glam’s technology division has engineered two technology platforms—one that serves the ads across the network, called Glam Evolution, and one that allows site owners to format and syndicate their content across Glam’s various channels. The combination, says Arora, allows Glam to place ads with a high degree of contextual control.The ad-edit package is something Arora thinks traditional publishers are inherently unable to do, as long as they keep trying to shoehorn content that comes from a strictly print or broadcast heritage. “Content that resembles traditional media—print or broadcast—actually does not perform very well on the Internet,” he says. “It’s two different things. To engage users on the Internet you have to create highly visual and interactive content.Glam also produces custom “advertorial” content for its clients, which Arora says accounts for about 20 percent of overall revenues. These products are typically custom packages that include display and rich media ads, as well as interactive elements such as quizzes and microsites. Reebok signed such a deal with Glam in March 2007 for a six-week stretch to promote the launch of Scarlett Johansson’s shoe and apparel line.Revenues from advertisers are shared with the participating network sites, some making in the high six figures. The Network Effect, or Life in the ‘Mid-Tail’At the core of Glam’s business model is the network of publishing partners that cluster around the Glam-owned and operated anchor sites that represent each content channel. It’s a model that, says Arora, further separates the company from its big media competitors. “It’s the recognition that media on the Internet is not following the clustered hits business of traditional media—print or broadcast,” he says. “The top 10 magazines have a commanding share of market versus the next 50 or 100. And the same is true in television. On the Internet, this is not the case. For example, Yahoo as a media company has the largest reach of all the Internet, but accounts for 7 to 8 percent of the actual usage of the Web. There are tens of millions of Web properties in the mid-tail.”This “mid tail” is where Glam makes its home—methodically collecting blogs and other independently operated sites and merging them with the Glam publisher network, now numbering over 400 and arranged under a growing number of channels currently including fashion, beauty, shopping, celebrity style, glam living, entertainment and wellness.The point of an owned and operated site, says Arora, is to act as a gateway, or anchor, for its channel. These sites combine original content with content pulled in from the surrounding partner sites. “It’s part of a hub and spoke model for each of the clusters of channels,” he says. “That allows us to expose and support each of the publishers at the hub.”It is a model that has some very knowledgeable industry observers excited. “I have been arguing for as long as anyone would listen that the future of media is less about products and more about networks,” says media consultant Jeff Jarvis on his Buzzmachine.com blog. “It’s nice to be proven right. Glam is also an advertising network that supports the creation of content. That’s how you encourage others to produce more. So in the end, Glam is really a platform. That’s the key. Glam is a rare example of that and I say other media companies would be wise to follow suit.”Arora says Glam is in a position now where it can select partner sites for the women’s fashion and lifestyle channels from a waiting list, a process he likens to curating. “Our editors are both editors and curators. We start by making sure a site is targeted to women, then we look at editorial quality, then how we can package brand advertising with this publisher in a way that will make the ads desirable. What I don’t want to do is create a media company where users want to Tivo the ads.”Rapid GrowthArora declined to specify Glam’s revenues, which are based solely on its advertising model. However, a July 2007 story in Forbes reported revenues near $25 million for 2007. A Glam spokesperson declined to comment on that figure. Sequential quarter-to-quarter growth rates, says Arora, have ranged from a low of 40 percent to a high of 150 percent, and he expected the company to be profitable at the end of 2007. Costs, he says, are generally tied to the sales team, engineering and technology, and the revenue that is shared with the partner sites.Unique visitors have ballooned from 100,000 per month when the network launched, to 26 million currently. “And we have spent zero dollars on search or keywords to drive customers,” says Arora. If You Can’t Beat Glam, Join GlamThe company’s rapid growth as attracted its fair share of talent, and from the very sectors with which it is competing. Joe Lagani, former publisher of Conde Nast’s House & Garden, joined Glam last October. The magazine promptly closed after he left. John Trimble, who also joined in October, formerly oversaw brand advertising for Fox Interactive’s MySpace, IGN, Fox Sports, American Idol, and Scout.Additionally, Hearst and Lifetime have noticed the value of Glam’s network and signed partnership deals to syndicate content. Under the Hearst deal, Marie Claire contributes editorial content in exchange for inbound links to other Hearst magazine brands and subscription promotions. Cosmopolitan arranged to have its advertisers’ brands inserted into contextually relevant sites across Glam’s publisher network. And Lifetime, the women’s basic cable television network, partnered with Glam to create its own channel, essentially a vertical network of Web sites and blogs inside Glam’s network.MORE STARTUP STORIES:ArchitectCraftInternet EvolutionScientific AmericanWTWH Media More on this topic Rodale Partners with Glam Media Glam Gets $10M in Private Financing Glam Launches Video and Distribution Platform Are E-Media Companies—With Revenue—More Valuable? Women’s Network Eyes Men Glam Media Acquires Advertising Targeting FirmJust In Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring The Atlantic Taps Creative Leadership | People on the Move The Atlantic Names New Global Marketing Head | People on the Move This Just In: Magazines Are Not TV Networks Shanker Out, Litterick In as CEO of EnsembleIQ Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the MovePowered by
Share your voice Comments Pixar Breaking recordsThis may be minor as tidbits go, but could signal greater things for how well this animated film does. On Thursday, Fandango announced that Toy Story 4 had beaten the record for best first day presales for an animated title, outshining last year’s Incredibles 2.TicketsAs Disney’s Twitter account tells us, we can now buy tickets (nearly a month early) to see Toy Story 4 when it arrives in cinemas June 21. Don’t let kids with internet access beat you to the best seats! 2:28 Meet #Forky in this brand-new clip from #ToyStory4. See it in theaters June 21. pic.twitter.com/sVOSf3CZz4— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) May 28, 2019 TV and Movies 2 Forky is the newest “toy” in town. Pixar Nine years after Toy Story 3 seemingly delivered the perfect poignant goodbye to Woody and Buzz — we’re back. Disney and Pixar have found a new story deemed worthy of unpacking the beloved characters. Put another way, this 24-year-old series returns to tell a story… about a spork. Below is everything we know about Toy Story 4 which, to be fair, radiates Pixar’s wholesome warmth. We’ve also included reminders of what happened in the previous trilogy, in case time has blurred those adorable childhood adventures. You’ve got a friend in Randy NewmanHe’s back! The man behind multiple Pixar scores as well as one of the most touching ballads between kids and their toys brings us two brand-new songs. They’re ominously titled, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy,” and you can already get a taste of the latter and its performer, Chris Stapleton, on Spotify. Despite the seemingly glum sentiment, it’s fairly upbeat. One of the lyrics: “I just found out… what love is about,” is a stick-in-your-head winner. Meanwhile, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” is about trying to stop Forky the spork from throwing himself into the great bin in the sky. Poor guy. Toy Story 4 trailer shows Woody and Bo Peep’s long-awaited… 23 Photos 2:19 Trailers, themes and plot Trailer 1 The official Toy Story 4 trailer plonks us right back in Bonnie’s bedroom, Bonnie being that kid Andy donates Woody and Buzz to at the end of Toy Story 3. After spending a second remembering just how much joy animated characters can bring, we’re introduced to an entirely new toy: a plastic piece of cutlery known as Forky. Forky is Bonnie’s self-made arts and craft creature built of spork, pipe cleaner and googly eyes. In a brief moment, we see Bonnie sitting alone at a school table, suggesting she’s having a hard time making friends. But not a hard time connecting with cutlery. Tickets for #ToyStory4 are now available! Get yours now and see the film in theaters June 21! https://t.co/KvxWjKwwgh pic.twitter.com/TLdEcpawVZ— Walt Disney Studios (@DisneyStudios) May 28, 2019 Everything else Teaser trailer, teaser trailer reaction, Big Game ad, TV spots: meet the many promotional videos for this film. Their most significant contribution is an intro to Ducky and Bunny, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. They’re soft and cuddly carnival prizes who try to pick a fight with Buzz. See who fares better in that tiff. Also see Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, aka Keanu Reeves in 3D-animated form. Canada’s best stunt rider has a handle-bar mustache and undertakes awesome leaps of faith, metaphorical and otherwise. Release date Toy Story 4 will spring to life June 21, at a perfect kid-friendly runtime of 89 minutes (though it would be no surprise if 99% of each screening is filled with adults). Same filmmakers? While the first two Toy Stories were directed by Pixar stalwart John Lassater, Lee Unkrich took over for the third (he co-directed the second), and now the baton passes to Josh Cooley in his feature directorial debut. He brings a wealth of experience as a storyboard artist on The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Up and Inside Out. Note that John Lassater also helps out with Toy Story 4’s storyline, and that the original Toy Story was Lassater’s feature directorial debut. In other words, we’re in safe hands. Cast With new toys joining the original, there’s a lot of voice work going around: Tom Hanks returns to voice Woody. John Phillips/Getty Images Tom Hanks as WoodyTim Allen as Buzz LightyearAnnie Potts as Bo PeepJoan Cusack as JessieBlake Clark as Slinky DogWallace Shawn as RexJohn Ratzenberger as HammDon Rickles as Mr. Potato HeadEstelle Harris as Mrs. Potato HeadJodi Benson as Barbie Michael Keaton as KenJeff Pidgeon as AliensKristen Schaal as TrixieBonnie Hunt as DollyTimothy Dalton as Mr. PricklepantsJeff Garlin as ButtercupLaurie Metcalf as Mrs. DavisLori Alan as Mrs. AndersonTony Hale as ForkyKeegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and BunnyKeanu Reeves as Duke CaboomChristina Hendricks as Gabby GabbyAlly Maki as Giggle McDimplesMadeleine McGraw as BonnieRickey Henderson as Oakland Athletics bobblehead figureSay hello to Duke Caboom. Gonzalo Jiménez/CNET From the filmmakers and actors If it came as a surprise to you to hear Toy Story was coming back for a fourth time — followed by the surprise it would tell a story about a spork — director Cooley shared the same sentiment. “It was the end of Woody’s story with Andy. But just like in life, every ending is a new beginning,” he said in a press release last November. “Woody now being in a new room, with new toys, and a new kid, was something we have never seen before. The questions of what that would be like became the beginning of an entertaining story worth exploring.” Tom Hanks, who’s voiced Woody since 1995, assured us Toy Story 4 will have a huge payoff — and not just on the money side. “When I realized what they were going for, I realized, oh, this is a moment in history,” Hanks said on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show in November. Tim Allen, who’s also been there right from the beginning as Buzz, chose one of the biggest films around to sum up the impact of Toy Story 4. “[Infinity War] didn’t seem like it was going to work … and it was a lot of vignettes that all made sense,” Allen said in an interview on CBS’s The Talk last September. (Disclosure: CBS is CNET’s parent company.) “This Toy Story 4, it is so emotional, it’s so funny, it’s so big, the idea of what they’ve come up with.” Any opportunity to form a connection with a film about toys, spork or otherwise — I’m there. Now playing: Watch this: “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy” from #ToyStory4 is out now. https://t.co/XyQ3517eaS pic.twitter.com/ResOYTfM3f— Chris Stapleton (@ChrisStapleton) June 5, 2019 Note: This article is updated whenever more news rolls in. The freaky Pixar theory that could blow your mind Now playing: Watch this: Toy Story 4 trailer shows Woody on a big road trip A very Forky clipIf you’re hesitating over early tickets, maybe watch this brand-new clip that highlights the perils of toy confiscation and introduces Bonnie’s new friend, Forky. He’s a spork, in case that wasn’t clear. Understandably, Forky’s undergoing an identity crisis: he was made for soups after all. It’s up to the gang to rescue the utensil, who hits the road on a journey that will undoubtedly jump us with a profound reflection on growing up. Along the way, Woody finds his love Bo Peep in an antiques shop fending off, naturally, a hoard of ventriloquist dummies. A changed Bo, with a new under-the-cover-of-night caped persona, talks up the value of change and introduces Woody to the world of a carnival. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t answer the question of whether Totoro comes back. We will all, I am sure, be waiting with bated breath for the adorable mute’s return. Woody and Bo reunited. Pixar Trailer 2 The second trailer drops a plot bombshell: Bonnie and her family are taking a vacation. In a caravan. Still fun! Forky doesn’t help himself by getting swept out the open window, another opportunity for a gang rescue exercise. On a deeper note, Woody has come a long way since the egotistical cowboy of the first film, putting himself on the line to rescue a slightly questionable toy he knows makes his kid happy. That’s character development, Game of Thrones! Tags
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