Tag Archives: advertising

Mozes Kicks Up Brand Awareness at SXSW

If you’re creating mobile content, you’re marketing it. At SXSW, image001 Mozes‘ pics-to-screen technology took center stage at event producer/promoter C3 Presents’ 10th Annual Late Night bash, sponsored by Playboy. Pics-to-screen technology enables guests to send mobile photos to the venue’s display screen. MobilizedTV had the chance to speak to Greg Estes, vp of marketing at Mozes who talked about the ABCs of mobile marketing in confusing times.

Mobile marketing seems to have as many meanings as the people using the term. What’s the confusion here?

greg_estesThat’s true. If you type “mobile marketing” into Google, what will come up is everything from an ad agency that doesn’t have any technology all the way to Verizon and everyone in between. It’s helpful to draw ‘coarse grain segmentation’ of the marketplace. One is mobile ad networks. That’s basically doing advertising; people will sell inventory and space to take it into mobile. A second is building mobile websites, which helps people to take online properties and bring them into the mobile world. The third is around online direct marketing, or the mobile equivalent of direct marketing. That’s the category that Mozes is in. Some people call it CRM, or customer relationship management, but that means a lot of different things so I try to stay away from that term. It is about a customer community and having an engagement with them, and we do that for sure. There’s also a fourth category, which is mobile commerce or m-commerce. That’s taking your electronic storefront and bringing it into the mobile realm.

Can you describe what Mozes does?

We’re about being a platform for marketers to be able to send their message out to a community. We would further segment that in three ways. Usually most of our customers will do one of these three things: They do marketing when they don’t have a mobile list. The whole thing about mobile is it’s all about giving permission. Some people will run a mobile campaign or promotion or contest, to get people to interact with them, but not to build a list and build on-going engagement.

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How to Make Money from Mobile Content

From the Mobile Content & Marketing Expo

San Jose, CA—How can you miss with a panel on making money? This session, with Joe Laszlo, director of advertising at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), moderating a panel made up of mobile video executives, was packed. Each executive spoke about his or her company’s business model. Susan Cashen, vp of marketing at mywaves described the company as a handset agnostic mobile video service that delivers video around the world. “Because we’re free, we’re dependent on advertising,” she said. “We’ve also recently launched commerce with entertainment. When a consumer is immersed in an entertainment experience like watching a free Beyonce video, it’s a natural for them to be able to buy Beyonce content, both virtual and real goods.”

Transpera CEO Frank Barbieri described his company as “building the largest premium ad-supported mobile video network.” Networks in Motion is an applications and platform provider for the mobile phone, focused on search and navigation, with a subscription-based model. “Navigation and search is alive and well on the paid platform,” said CEO Doug Antone. Bytemobile CMO Adrian Hall said his company provides services to the carrier as an enabler to the end-user. “We basically enable the mobile Internet for the end-user,” he said. “And we see user-profile information which is useful for contextual and behavioral targeted advertising.”

On the advertising front, asked Laszlo, are advertisers are willing to pay a premium for mobile? Bytemobile’s Hall said the one thing that appears obvious is that the more targeted the ad, the more valuable. Barbieri said that mobile has far more focus of attention than the PC, where the screen could be displaying several windows and other distractions simultaneously. “For brand advertisers, that increased attention leads to better numbers,” he said. “I think the news is fairly good in these early days.” Cashen said about 6.5 million unique come to mywaves every month; they come twice a week and spend 20 minutes, watching 2 or 3 minute segments. “A 30-second pre-roll just won’t cut it,” she said. “In the short term, there are big opportunities to connect with consumers via direct marketing. There’s genius to leverage the video entertainment on the handset from the point of view of a brand. Taking what works on the web on mobile is taking baby steps,. You have this incredible storefront on the handset. Click-to-call, click-to-buy: there’s no better measurement. Leveraging the entertainment to create action is where we feel good.”

Cashen said that transcoding video for the consumer gives her company information on the consumers. “We have the ability to target by DMA, time of day, and type of handset,” she reported.

Everyone is trying to drive personalization and the consistency of brand across multiple devices, noted Hall and more personalized advertising based on user needs will create a dramatically stronger click-through rate. The mobile marketing campaign has to have ways to interact with the user, said Barbieri. “We work with our brand advertisers to brainstorm the mobile marketing campaign and how to target the audience.”

Antone observed that his company’s business model is different in that the user pays $10/month to navigate. “It’s no longer how you get from Point A to Point B,” he said. “We want someone to turn it on in the morning for real-time traffic information. Not just where’s the local movie theater but what’s playing and when. It’s all available on your client-server application on your handset. See us as a publisher that’s getting your content out to people. Our customers are the carriers, who sell to their customers. That’s our strategy. All of them have this $10 price point. At some point it’ll be $5 and beyond that it will be zero, a free application. The relevance of this is that when someone is mobile, they’re also motivated. When you’re in a browsing application and looking for a restaurant, you’re motivated to go. Targeted, pertinent advertising that can happen during that search is what we’re focused on.”

But to get the numbers, the only way the carriers can make that work is to draw in big percentages of their users. To get 50 to 60 percent, they’ll have to change the pricing model. “We’re betting on the idea that they’re going to try to do that and not roll over,” said Antone

Focusing on how the Networks in Motion product will one day be free, Antone talked about the challenge. “It depends how good we all are at creating the economics on the back end,” he said. “That listing of Italian restaurants in your neighborhood, for example. Would you find it offensive to get a manipulated search, where the restaurant that’s farther away pays to be listed first? When do consumers say, Forget it – you’re giving me something I don’t want. We have to do this in a way that there’s enough economics but the consumer still likes it.”

Finally, panelists spoke about the role of the carrier, between the extremes of a dumb pipe and a walled garden. “There is a smart pipe concept where there’s a tremendous amount of marketing and merchandising power that any one would be a fool to ignore, because they have a connection to the user with billing inserts, with product marketing on the deck,” said Barbieri. “There’s a relationship that can be used to promote content well. We have to move from a programming-type mentality of carriers to more of a merchandising, marketing and retail type of relationship. And that’s good for us and for the consumer as well. We have yet to get to the point where there are tremendous marketing and retailing competencies at some of the carriers, but that’ll change.

The carriers could move faster,” added Hall. “They are desperately trying to be smart pipes and it’s incumbent on us to work with them to become smarter. While they’re starting to recognize they’re sitting in a unique place and make smarter use of the user profiles they see. By doing that effectively, they’ll continue to be smart pipes or, in some cases become smarter pipes.”


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Mobile Advertising Models: What Works, What Doesn’t

From the Mobile Content & Marketing Expo

San Jose, CA—Moderated by JupiterResearch vp/research director Julie Ask, the panel on mobile advertising models includes AdInfuse vp of marketing David Staas, Zumobi vp of market development Ken Willner and AdMob vp of marketing Jason Spero.

The panel discussed some of the more obvious topics about what is working, including how to define that (answer: depends on the advertiser), what the campaign has to be (answer: consistent, repeatable) and if cross-platform will become a more integrated fact of the future (answer: yes).

Perhaps more interesting was the question of what doesn’t work. “As Jupiter Research we talk to agencies and ask them why they’re not doing mobile,” said Ask. “They’ll say it’s not appropriate to their brand or their target audience…and then they’ll say they don’t have the bandwidth or the time to understand.”

AdMob’s Spero noted that click-to-call isn’t yet working the way it should, and that a lot of companies need a lot of hand-holding to launch the first mobile campaigns. “Companies like AdMob and AdInfuse are getting called into the agency role,” he said. “We’re in the early stages.”

AdMob's Jason Spera

AdMob's Jason Spera

In response to a query from Ask as to whether they’ve ever stopped a company from pursuing a mobile campaign because of its inappropriateness to their brand, Zumobi’s Willner said they hadn’t had that problem. “We’re talking about longer-term, on-going sponsorships,” he said. “That’s what we do, rather than serving the banner ads to that user on a mobile website, who didn’t have the intention of being in front of that brand.”

Spero said that “there still has to be a lot of education about the level of granularity we can really get to…or we’ll dramatically under-deliver.” Across the industry, the off-deck publishers are doing a lot to build up information for targeting, said Staas who noted that publishers are starting to build their own databases which include zip code and age…not behavioral data yet. I

With regard to local advertising, the panelists saw that it is more likely to happen as a large national brand advertising on a local basis “They have the skills and the dollars,” said Spero, who said that AdMob served 200 million ads the day before.

The GPS app of the iPhone is also opening up the door to location-based advertising. “We’re doing that right now,” said Spero. “We don’t that so granularly that you’re on the corner of Market and First.” But he pointed out that, even with the number of iPhones out there, it’s not near the scale that an advertiser needs. “When we get to the Symbian, Android world, we’ll start to get to those numbers that will be interesting,” he said.

Challenges for the future? “One of the biggest things is to get mobile to be a line item on the budget instead of an after-thought,” said Staas. “We see that not yet as a priority. when we start to get to that level, it’ll open up the market. The other part that’s challenging from a technology standpoint – we have to get more devices into the market that are true follow-ups to the iPhone. Touchscreen, very intuitive media – that opens up the market on a huge level.”

From Willner’s perspective, what Apple did with the app store is the big game-changer. “Believe everything you read: it’s astonishing,” he said. “It levels the playing field for brands that want to get in front of end users. With a carrier, you spent months working with them to trying to find common ground. With iTunes, it takes 5 days. It is a challenge for small companies and brands to rise to the top, but a huge opportunity.”

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The Future of News is Mobile

San Jose, CA—I’m at the Mobile Content & Marketing Expo here for the new two days, publishing live reports. First up is a keynote by Associated Press GM of mobile and emerging products Jeffrey Litvack, someone we interviewed in the pages of MobilizedTV six months ago.

Litvack started by speaking about what mobile means to newspapers, which he said is the next-generation revenue producer for publishers. But sorting through how to do it and figure out the parameters as well as how to market it to potential readers and make sure advertisers are getting the return they need are just some of the problems facing newspapers.

Jeff Litvack, Associated Press

Jeff Litvack, Associated Press

He focused on the iPhone as a seminal event, with the size of the screen, the touchscreen and the use of icons as well as the browser. “We’re moving away from WAP,” he says. “Mobile web is simpler and easier to understand. It’s a similar experience to the Internet.”

A study showed that most mobile users want news…but there’s no icon on the iPhone for news. The Mobile News Network from AP was created to address this gap in the mobile environment. First goal was to make it a good user experience.

Working on a GUI that was customizable and easy to share for users was the first order of business. Then Associated Press built a comprehensive news network; they currently handle news for 80 percent of the U.S. newspapers, including smaller local newspapers. iPhone users have been able to rate applications, says Litvack, and one reviewer said “it’s like a newspaper in your phone.” “As far as we’re concerned mobile is the killer app,” he says. “We’ve had more than 400,000 unique visitors in August–and this is just on the iPhone.” He reported that they’re planning to roll out more and more versions for different phones. Page views have grown dramatically from May (2.1 million) to September (26 million).

With regard to how they’re making money, Litvack noted that news should be delivered free. “We made a conscious decision that news on the iphone had to be complete,” he says. “Not just a headline where you’d click and go to someone else’s website. The user had to have a complete experience, without getting confused.” AP invested millions into ingesting and displaying content into one unified solution for the end user at was complete and consistent. “We’ll give them the whole story and then let them decide how much of it they wanted,” he says.

Most important categories are top stories (29 percent), local news (18 percent), sports (12 percent) and entertainment (9 percent). Other top categories are photos, wacky news (a popular click-through category) and world news.

How AP begins to monetize this is the next big challenge. Display advertising is projected to grow from $54 million to $1.1 billion by 2012 (Yankee Group). The ads have a recall rate similar to TV, he also reported (IAG May 2008). “It’s definitely working, for brand awareness and aiding purchasing as a whole,” he says. “We see a higher ROI for the advertiser.” It also allows interactive marketing opportunities, he notes. Message to mobile users can also be targeted [see MobilizedTV article on mobile targeting advertising.]

AP will be adding new categories including movie reviews, restaurant guides, event listings, weather and traffic. Future features include a news ticker, multi-lingual versions and international partnerships.

“A lot of what we’re talking about is the smart phone,” he says. “AP made a big bet on the smart phone. People asked us why we did that, and we did it because it’s going to grow. In 5 years, it’s expected that smart phones will be 75 to 80 percent of the market. This is where the market is going.”

Litvack says AP has also reached out to a variety of handset manufacturers to create more optimized versions. “Our goal, simply put, is to become the news button on every next-generation phone,” he says.

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Marshall Herskovitz on the broadband biz post-quarterlife: Confused But Still Fighting

Marshall Herskovitz detailed the history of creating “quarterlife,” including the relationship with MySpace. “We had 13 members, so we were a threat to them,” joked Herskovitz. “But they didn’t want to be in a position of promoting another social network…but it worked out.” NBC’s Ben Silverman had seen the pilot and liked it and said he wanted to put it on the network, “which for us was a dream come true.” “Here we were back on television–on our terms,” he said. “And our production is paid for. It was a wonderful deal all the way around.”

To make many months into a short story, he said, “we were the third most successful scripted series in MySpace’s history.” “We got 48 hours of promotion on YouTube, which gave us thousands of views,” Herskovitz continued. “NBC did a pretty good job of promoting it.. There were one thousand articles written about it in periodicals around the country. We hit every base we knew how to hit. But as the NBC premiere loomed, I had the sick feeling that we weren’t going to develop the audience–7 to 8 million people–that NBC would need to make it work. I thought 3 to 4 million people would watch it.”

When it premiered, he was sitting in a hotel room in New York with some of the “quarterlife” cast. “I knew what it looked like on a television,” he said. “But watching this knowing it was being broadcast by NBC put me in a different mindcast. This was a TV show being broadcast all across America. I turned to the cast and said, This is a disaster. No one is watching. This doesn’t feel like a TV show.” Herskovitz said his predictions about the number of viewers was correct, but he didn’t predict that NBC would throw them off the air after one episode. “One minute we were the bright young man, and the next minute we were old news,” he said. “It was the fastest fall I’ve ever gone through in this business, and I’ve been through a few.”

What he did was rethink the business plan, and tried to think what he could do with the show. “We had to accelerate the next part of the business plan, which was to create more content,” he said. “We put into development five new series and are figuring out what to do with the show. If we can only do it on the Internet, I’ll have to rewrite the contracts. Or we can find a new TV partner.” The social networking aspect has worked well. “We’re hopeful this experiment will work well, in some form,” he said. “Since we’re all friends here, I’ll share with you where I am. Where I am is really confused. When I talk to people, they’re really confused too. A lot of people talk with great certainty of what they’re doing, but they’re confused to. How do you make enough money to stay in business? There aren’t a lot of good answers.”

Disturbing trends, said Herskovitz, is that “virus” is a good word because in life the viruses that attack our bodies do so in different ways and move at different rates. Some viruses mow people down in two days, others hide in the body for years. “If you do a series about peoples’ inner emotions, that virus spreads more slowly than Will Farrell talking to a baby,” he said, referring to “The Landlord.” “This idea of gaming the viral process gets harder and harder.”

“There are a lot more people trying to get a lot more content in front of people,” he said. “It’s getting harder to be seen.”

He also described how ratings were incredibly high and positive with the first episode on YouTube, which garnered 800,000 views. “If you look under the fold, you’ll see episodes 2, 3, 4 and so on,” he said. “But only 23,000 people made that journey to the second episode. The extent to which people didn’t give a shit about what they were watching — and for something they liked — was disturbing. There’s been a learning curve for those of us from traditional media. Will there ever be a thing like appointment Internet the way there is appointment TV?”

He also expressed the difficulty of promoting in a consistent way on YouTube. Also frustrating: “There’s nothing I did [in my traditional media career] without a $10 to $30 million marketing budget,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone has tried a $15 million budget for marketing. Maybe it would work. Maybe the Internet is like everything else. But here’s the problem — none of you have that kind of money to spend. And I’m not sure that’s the direction we want to go with the Internet. I’m moving forward with creating content. Michael Eisner claims he’s making money. Alot of people who care about me are asking me why I’m doing it if I can’t make money. Where’s the home run?”

“For me, the answer is a little bit embarrassing,” he continued. “The reason I’m doing it is because I love it. I got very excited about it in the beginning. I came to feel we were offering something not being offered by anybody else. I felt we were creating a social network for creative, emotional people to reveal their authentic selves, a more intimate landscape that gave people a more intimate way of connecting than Facebook. And it’s been astonishing to me how it’s grown. I think I am providing something for people they didn’t have in their lives before. And that means a great deal for me.

“This is an emerging business and every month it changes,” he concluded. “And one day it will make money. There are a lot of things I’d like to see explored that haven’t been explored. I have yet to find anyone who can prove that a subscription model doesn’t work. That might be false.”

“What I’m trying to understand is promotional partnerships,” he said. “Where two websites can partner with each other and not mind if people go to both. That’s a new and amazing idea that’s grown up organically on the web. This whole idea of syndication of content which means that thousands and thousands of sites pay you almost nothing, so you earn a little more than nothing. The whole idea of how you manage relationships with advertisers. I have a great fear we’re going back to the 1950s, where Colgate Palmolive [sponsored shows]. It’s becoming pretty bald what they want to do, and they’re gaining more and more control, which I think is bad for us.”

“The last thing I’m confused about is the relationship we all should have to the giant companies that dominate the media landscape. It’s interesting that the Big Six have been ham-handed so far in their forays into digital media…and that’s been good for us. They’re not entrepreneurial and don’t really understand this. The new behemoths, the Googles and folks like them, are quite smart at this and are exerting as much control as the big media companies, which are getting smarter. It’s now harder than a year ago. The idea that a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it will increase when these big companies aggregate. It’s already true and it’s going to become more true. I believe the Internet is a remarkable moment in human history where information can be democratized, coming at a moment when information has become commoditized by corporations who make money from it. There is this amazing moment, and I feel some responsibility to find a way to keep the Internet at least somewhat at a level playing field, where you have a chance to do something on your own. Fifteen years ago, there were 40 independent TV production companies. There aren’t any now,.”

He also revealed that the Producers Guild of America (of which he is president) is talking about a new alliance of producers for digital content as a way for protecting ourselves, to protect independents within it, to go up against the big companies that have the size to dominate. “I’m still fighting,” he said.


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Grushow Talks Filmaka: Blogging live from Digital Media Summit

Today, Pervasive Media president Bill Sanders moderated a panel on “Hollywood’s Online Video Gambit,” with panelists York Baur, executive vp of development at Zango; Ken Wirt, vp of consumer marketing at Cisco; and Sandy Grushow, president of Filmaka and former chief of Fox TV.

Since the panel is about how Hollywood is taking online video seriously, began Sanders, he described how he recently asked his writer friends, when they went out on strike, whether they were doing this to throw down the gauntlet and make a stand…or whether they thought the studios are making a fortune on new media and keeping the money for themselves.”If it’s the latter,” he said. “Think again.” Sanders also noted that if the Holy Grail is advertising support, his question is, if every startup thinks it’ll be supported by sponsorship and advertising, there’ll have to be a thousands times the current advertising dollars.

The questions he has for the panelists began with what they will say to Wall Street about how they’re going to make money, and how will they get the consumer to keep coming back? Sandy Grushow began, referencing the strike and how most writers have gone back to business as usual. “There is a big opportunity in creating high quality content for advertisers desperate to follow the eyeballs that have left television and gone to the web,” he said. He divided content into three buckets: “There is the user-generated folks; those used to making $3 million a year from Fox TV; and those interested in creating high quality programming for the web.” “We’ve demonstrated there are a lot of enormously talented people who haven’t found their way into the Hollywood tent,” he said. “What we’re doing is systematically creating an opportunity for those people to gain access to that world.”

The problem of the “top down” model, from TV to the web doesn’t work he said. “It’s impossible to cut through the clutter,” he said. “The phone never rings.” Thus his “bottoms up” process where Filmaka challenges creative people around the world, through various competitions, with the promise of real access to the Hollywood system that otherwise they’d have a hard time touching. “But everyone is chasing the same ad dollars,” he admitted. “I hate the idea of just being a digital studio, making series and hoping advertisers will come on board. We’ve created a process to engage advertisers in an interesting way.” He said he had a lot of advertisers on deck that he isn’t able to talk about. But he did talk about Miller, with the tagline “Life is what you pour in it.” Filmmakers from 117 different countries were invited to make something of that line. “You can’t replicate that through an agency,” said Grushow. “We’ve turned competitions into a business. People are logging in every day – they’re winning cash prizes, and increasing their odds of having their work seen.”

Is Filmaka a destination in and of itself, or a service? asked Sanders. “We don’t view ourselves as a destination,” answered Grushow who said he was interested in distributing media as widely as possible, working with legacy media and directly with advertisers desperate to figure out the web. “Who better to speak to than voracious consumers of media as opposed to the ad guy who drives behind tinted windows and works in an office? What we get are young people who are really talented with ideas that wouldn’t get born in a Hollywood suit – they’d get killed at the outset.” Grushow, who also noted that Filmaka has a relationship with William Morris Agency, spoke about a contest that Filmaka had when it was in beta: to make the jury laugh, with the topic of extracurricular activity in the office. Two young people from the U.K. submitted a 3-minute piece; he gave them $10,000 to make five more. An agent at William Morris jumped out of his chair when he saw it, saying his client, who was quite picky, would love it. Inside of an hour, a meeting was set up with this Emmy-Award winning comedian who loved the ideas and is now having meetings with the two, very surprised young guys in the U.K. “If that ain’t a paradigm shift, I don’t know what is,” said Grushow. “And the development costs were $10,000.”

Cisco’s Wirt talked about the rapid growth of digital media usage in the HDTV/broadband home, which uses 1.5 terabytes. Future projections go into the exabytes. It all represents an enormous growth of video traffic on the Internet. “What we see really driving this is a combination of social networking combined with video, which we call visual networking,” said Wirt. Eighty-four million people saw “The Evolution of Dance” on YouTube, he noted. How did so many people get to it? Social networking, he said, and that’s the phenomenon driving the consumption of video. People tell you about a video, it’s been rated and ranked.

Sanders asked what gets people to come back to the same destination again and again? Wirt said people come back to a place because of the quality of the video, the quality of the product. Does the guy who produced “The Evolution of Dance” have one more in him? If he doesn’t, people won’t come back. But he has awareness, and the opportunity is come back. Grushow added: It’s a series, not that different from normal television. “It’s just harder because there’s so much bloody choice, but someone will come up with “Seinfeld” on the web and that’ll be the game changer.”

Baur said that his company isn’t about generating content but exclusively about monetizing it, for the last nine years – “Successfully,” he added. Baur then proceeded to dump several buckets of cold water on the conversation that went before. “Video is not about quality – all that matters is the popularity,” he said. “In my view, and it’s easy for me to say, you want to ultimately want to be the platform on which everyone else can create. The world will vote. You can’t create popularity. ” He said his company spends a lot in online marketing to become one of the top sites for online gaming. “I would also tell you casual gaming is much bigger than video on the Internet,” he said. “And games are considerably more profitable. Games are addictive and video is not. Video is by definition a transitory experience.” To the ad side, Baur said the reality of online advertising, 42 percent of the total ad dollars spent in the U.S. were spent on search. “What does this tell you?” he said. “Search works really well and all the other stuff [doesn’t]. If you can make advertising appear as content, you’ll do really well.” He also doused the idea of the subscription model, asking the audience to raise their hands if they subscribed to video online, outside of subscriptions related to work. Out of the audience of 100+ people, only two raised their hands. “That’s kind of the way it is,” he said. “We trained a generation of people who want it for free.” [For the record, both Sanders and Wirt came up with examples of subscriptions that are financially successful.]

Grushow, who joked that he didn’t want to argue with someone with a successful business, nonetheless told Baur that he thought his view of the web was static. “This is the bet that those are making in the content creation business,” he said. “High quality means having a narrative, and if you can create that for small amounts of money, I believe it is a model that will start to work on the web with advertisers as partners.” Baur agreed, saying that building content around advertising does work, so it doesn’t feel like an ad anymore. “The interesting thing is that if your Ford Explorer, you’re spending a lot of money on search,” he said. “If you had an episodic site that people come back to, how much would you spend, especially when you’re having so much success with Google and other search engines?”

“It’s all about distribution,” added Grushow. “Content generators need to get in bed with distribution platforms. That’s when brands are going to become interested, because they can show how many people they can deliver. There are all sorts of interesting deals that are going to be made, and advertisers will be able to spend money in a meaningful way.”

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