Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Digicorp Inserts Ads Into Media Files, And Follows Them Everywhere

Digicorp Inserts Ads Into Media Files, And Follows Them Everywhere
by Les Luchter, Tuesday, May 29, 2007 6:00 AM ET
PUTTING A NEW TWIST INTO the hot category of in-stream advertising, Digicorp, Inc. has launched a service that can insert display ads into audio or video files, and follow those ads as they travel around the Internet--even through peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing.

With audio files, display ads take up the whole player screen, while video files use banners at the top or bottom of the screen.

Digicorp CEO Jay Rifkin, noting that P2P still accounts for 60% of all Web traffic, said the first "publisher" to sign an ad-sharing deal on the music side is 1720 Entertainment, whose conventional CDs are distributed by Vivendi's Universal Music Group. Rifkin said the label will provide free tracks for several artists, including Elvis White and Rissi Palmer, through such sites as iTunes, LimeWire and BitTorrent.

The tracks will use Digicorp's patent-pending ViraCast technology that dynamically inserts and updates contextual, geo-specific, interactive display ads into either video or audio files. The files can be emailed, embedded in Web pages, delivered as podcasts or distributed by P2P sites, while ViraCast continuously tracks downloads, click-throughs and impressions. Ads are constantly served to the media files, so the more they are shared and viewed, the more revenue they generate.

Music labels, for example, can now "get ad revenue from what used to be just a marketing campaign that cost them money," said Rifkin. ViraCast audio files can be downloaded and passed on, but cannot be transferred onto iPods or mp3 players, thus also helping the labels by encouraging consumers to pay for legal downloads sans ads, or even CDs.

"Each media file is like a traveling Web site," explained Rifkin, comparing the process to how other firms track ad info from individual Web sites. "We apply the same principles to an actual media file."

Content owners, he said, can log on to Digicorp's Beat9.com site, and upload their audio or video file to have it quickly converted into a fully trackable, ready-to-launch, e-commerce-enabled file.

Rifkin said Digicorp has affiliated with a number of large advertising aggregators, so that thousands of ad possibilities are already available, and they can be matched up with genre and keywords from the content, or based on users' location. Ads can change every 20 seconds, and even on the fly, all with real-time tracking.

The firm is also talking with large advertisers and agencies. Indeed, the ViraCast technology was first used earlier this year in video podcast projects from Mediaedge:cia for its clients Jaguar and Land Rover. The informational videos included banner ads that users could click on for more info on the brands.

In addition Rifkin revealed that Digicorp has been talking with companies like Businessweek.com about monetizing their podcasts, such as BusinessWeek's Cutting Edge, by sharing ad revenues.

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