Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why Should You Choose Virgin Media?

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It’s a great time to be a TV viewer in the United Kingdom. Between Freeview (not to mention it’s + and HD variants), BT, YouView, Sky, EE TV, and NOW TV, there are more than enough options to keep you entertained from the comfort of your own home. There is, however, one final option that I didn’t include earlier, and that’s Virgin Media.

As the second biggest pay TV operator in the UK, it’s tasked with keeping Sky on their toes and improving their service to the point where Sky are no longer the first choice for those looking to get great entertainment in their home. It’s not just TV that these two companies offer, either, because both also supply broadband and home telephony. Put simply, they’re quite similar, so why should you choose Virgin Media?

Let’s begin with their TV offering. Virgin Media’s TV is powered by TiVo, a Sky+ like box which allows you to record and manipulate live TV from the comfort of your sofa. Packing a 500GB hard drive (enough for 500 hours of TV) and three tuners, it allows for neat tricks like recording three programmes simultaneously whilst watching a fourth that you recorded earlier. It’s also got some features that simply can’t be found on Sky’s service, like built in Netflix, YouTube and iPlayer, not to mention a dedicated 10Mbps internet connection, so your normal Internet isn’t slowed by your TV viewing.

Through that box, you can get access to over 230 channels, 47 HD channels, 12 Sky only channels and even some programming in 3D. There are five packages to choose from, going from the basic ‘More TV’ package with 70 channels all the way to the fully loaded ‘TV XL’ which also features BT Sport HD. Even better, you can take Sky Sports and Sky Movies on your Virgin Media subscription too, so you won’t feel the sting of not being with Sky. Indeed, the only channel you do stand to lose by switching to Virgin Media is Sky Atlantic, which is home to the likes of Game of Thrones, The Last Panthers and more. However, if the thought of losing out on that is too much, you could always sign up to NOW TV.

Moving on to Virgin Media’s broadband offering, we can truly begin to see the light between the two companies. Put simply, Virgin Media have the best broadband offering in the entire country, with even their most basic offering beating Sky’s most expensive deal hands down. From their Super 50 Fibre with 50Mbps broadband to their VIVID 200 Fibre with 200Mbps broadband, the company offer lightning fast and stable broadband to huge swathes of the country. They also never throttle or cap your broadband usage, so you can stream as much 4K Netflix as your heart desires without fear of bumping up against arbitrary limitations.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to sign up with Virgin Media though is their quad play deals. Because Virgin Media offer TV, broadband, home phone and mobile telephone contracts, they’re the preferred destination for millions of Brits who don’t want to spend their life dealing with bills from different companies. Those quad play deals are also some of the cheapest around, making them a highly attractive proposition for pretty much anyone, as long as they aren’t part way through a contract with another company.

Virgin Media, then, offer a TV package that’s comparable to the one offered by Sky, broadband that blows everyone else out of the water and quad play deals that no other company can match. So, what are you waiting for?

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Decluttering Blueprint – Step 4 – Organizing Your Family Room

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Is the gathering area (a.k.a. family room, living room, den, great room) in your home chaotic and cluttered? If so, try the following prescription to create a calm, comfortable and orderly space you’ll love to relax in and entertain family and friends.

  1. Pin down the purpose(s) of your room. Is it your intention to use the family room as a place to watch a movie, curl up and read, play with the kids, take a short nap and gather with friends? Whether you have the foregoing functions in mind or something different, move objects unrelated to the purpose of your room (shoes, clothing and the ironing board) to other more appropriate quarters of your home.
  2. Specify the major categories of items to be kept in your family room. For example:
  • Reading – books, magazines and newspapers
  • Media – TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, videos, CD’s, DVD’s and remotes
  • Toys – dolls, action figures and vehicles
  • Games – board games, puzzles and cards
  • Collections – photos, baseball paraphernalia, etc.
  • Sort everything in your family room into piles that represent the major categories identified in step #2. Begin with all surface items, and then move to objects stored in baskets, drawers, and cabinets. Smart tip: If you haven’t edited your belongings for a number of years, you will find it easier to sort large quantities of things by using a large box to hold the contents of each major category; the boxes will ensure your piles don’t spill over and get mixed up.
  • Cut out the clutter and organize what remains. Working with one category at a time, evaluate each item using the following rules: don’t keep anything you don’t love or use; reduce multiples of any single item; recycle all but the current issue of magazines and newspapers; dispose of broken and unwanted items by pitching them, giving them to someone else, selling, or donating them. Then put the remainder of items in order. For example, eliminate: duplicate pictures, out-of-focus pictures, and unflattering pictures. Then arrange the pictures you want to keep by date or theme, such as home, family, school, vacations, etc. Smart tip: As you’re weeding out clutter from each major category, let go of 20% more stuff than you have room for, that way new acquisitions will have a ready made home.
  • Arrange your room for comfort and functionality. When you have one space that serves multiple functions, consider setting up your room in zones – each to accommodate a different activity. For instance:
    • Reading and gaming. Place a game table and chairs where you have a good light source, it makes a great spot for perusing the paper and playing board games. The same table top can also double as a place to set out snacks when you have friends over. Mount shelving or spot a bookcase on an adjacent wall to house books and gaming materials.
    • Watching TV. Pick a good place to locate your TV and hide electronic gear in cabinetry if you don’t want to see it. Coordinate the arrangement of key seating pieces so you can readily see the screen (and take advantage of the view, if applicable). Position a magazine rack nearby and toss a throw over a plush armchair so you can cover up and catch a cat-nap when it’s chilly.
    • Playing. Tuck toys into baskets or storage ottomans that blend with the aforementioned zones. These types of containers offer an ideal way to store distracting clutter and make the family room a welcoming adult space after the kids have drifted off to dreamland.
  • If needed, use containers you have around your home to accessorize and containerize items that are easy to access. Family rooms are a magnet for books, papers, magazines, and supplies that get piled on the floor and table tops. However, you can organize these items with budget friendly solutions you likely have around your home.
    • Shoe boxes of the same size and color can be used to corral photos, letters, CD’s and more. Using multiple containers with the same color and symmetry will elevate the ordinary into an appealing collection.
    • Fruit crates, baskets, and sturdy totes can be used to hold books, magazines and newspapers.
    • Pottery, glass jars, and mugs are good holders for pens, clips, rubber bands, and push pins.
    • Ice cube trays, muffin tins, box lids, and cutlery trays make great drawer organizers.
    • Vintage luggage and picnic baskets stacked on top of each other work well as side tables and make for durable, attractive storage.
  • Slip items you want to confine into their new vessel and place them where they’ll be pretty and practical. That’s it! You now have a family room that’s organized, easy to clean, and makes smart use of your space.
  • Stay tuned-the next addition of the Decluttering Blueprint will be released soon.

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    Western Digital TV – HD Media Player Review

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    These days, everyone wants to be able to watch all their media easily. And of course, why not, with media coming from so many places… digital cameras, video cameras, cell phones and naturally, the Internet. You also don’t want to have to physically swap your DVDs or Blu-Rays discs because that’d be, well, un-North American! 750-something doughnuts a year, we Canadians eat. It’s gotta take a toll somewhere.

    But in all seriousness, playing all the different media you might have is never an easy task. Let’s look at the options some of us might have.

    XBOX 360 – Somewhat capable, but suffers from codec incompatibility, no built-in WiFi, loudness and other issues. Amazingly, the 360 is reported to be able to read HFS+ (Mac) partitions which I like for a number of reasons, while the PS3, a non-Apple competitor company’s product, cannot read HFS+ or NTFS. Even more amazing still, the 360 can’t read NTFS. I’d love to know what happened behind the scenes… was there a disgruntled employee(s) who said,”let’s stick to the MS man baby! HFS but no NTFS!! HAHA! There!” The menu, sorry, Dashboard works pretty well for a console, but not so much in my opinion as a media center. Finally, the 360 just uses too much darn power.

    Sony PlayStation 3 – Considered to be a good media player by many, it doesn’t meet with the same sort of fanfare in my house. It can’t handle MKVs, even though the files within that container are usually OK for the PS3, it can’t take files larger than 4GB, it can’t stream these sorts of videos from a PC (and even if it could, its 802.11g speeds would hold it back). Also can get loud/hot like the 360, and it takes a lot of power. Aside from that, the PS3 having a Blu-Ray player is its saving grace. That, its Blu-Ray boot up speed and the fact that it can decode the lossless formats internally make it a decent player. I even like the XMB to a point where I don’t mind using it for organizing pictures and music, but since it can’t handle my MKV video collection, it too, unfortunately, has to receive a thumbs down.

    Wii – Hah. I’ll discuss the 1080p media center capabilities of my original Game Boy next.

    Popcorn Hour – This was one of the first proper media center thingys that had all the requisite features on paper. Hard drive, included, along with WiFi, RSS Bit Torrenting skills and the ability to play back MKVs and high-bitrate 1080p video. Only problem is, it didn’t do it well. First hand reports abound of the player stuttering, freezing, and generally sucking at playing back 1080p video.

    Various other networked media streamers – These all work decently well for pictures, music and even SD video, but then again, so do the 360 and PS3 with TVersity. Nay, the real test is full-bandwidth 1080p video, and I’m afraid both the players and their skimpy wireless connections are not up to the job.

    HTPC – This would be the only real solution for a long time. I even have posts detailing what they do and how to put them together. Why do these work? Because they’re just computers connected to TVs. Dual-core CPUs, lots of RAM and fancy videos ought to make short work of anything you can throw at them, at least in theory. Having owned HTPCs since I was able to connect an S-video cable to my Radeon 9700 Pro back in the day, I can tell you that the experience is not as smooth as it should be. Why? Because we’re using Windows! XP Media Center Edition was just XP, and Vista has Media Center built in, so that Media Center is just an application that runs on top. BSODs, freezes, slowdowns and other issues will still happen, especially if you use the box for other purposes, such as downloading in the background. That, and the incredibly complex setup procedure was seriously annoying. You have to of course install Vista, but then the codecs, and making sure that things are being upconverted and handled properly, sound is being output through the coax or toslink or HDMI the way it should, and then finally calibrating the video output was a chore and then some. Most of these problems go away when using Plex with a Mac as your HTPC. It’s one of the best media center frontends I’ve seen, and it’s incredibly efficient with its processing, playing video back smoothly that won’t in VLC or Quicktime with Perian. Still, it’s quite an investment (well, it’s actually a depreciating asset, but let’s not split hairs) to buy a whole PC, and that too a Mac. Your only aesthetically-acceptable option would be a Mac Mini, and their price-performance relationship is unheard of (in a bad way).

    WD TV HD Media Player – Finally, that brings us to the object this review is about, the Western Digital TV HD Media Player. No one was expecting this thing, at all, at this price, and certainly not from WD. But none of that is important.

    We’ve been led to believe that good things come in small packages, and it seems that this tiny device may be a proponent of that idea. It’s unbelievably small, at least to my eyes, which are used to seeing acceptable 1080p playback from big boxes that contain massive coolers atop multi-core CPUS breathing hot air, sucking electricity down and adding to the racket and sweltering heat produced by the other components inside that (usually) ugly box. This thing has no fans, is pretty green and gasp… actually does what its supposed to! Setup could not be easier, and I think no AV device in history has been easier to set up, physically. The power cable, the HDMI cable… and you’re done. Yes, this is also the case with many other HDMI devices, but this thing is tiny, and it only has a few jacks, so it’s very hard to mess it up. No physical buttons are on the unit, so it’s switched on by the remote. A more-white-than-blue LED lights up for power, and if you have a USB device plugged in, it’ll flash or light up, depending on whether it’s scanning the drive or is ready to go. I encountered a problem early on. After setting up the easy cabling and getting into the menu, I found that it would not recognize my external 1 TB hard drive. Alarmed, I immediately copied a 720p TV show to my Patriot Xporter flash drive and plugged it in. After a few seconds of inactivity, it started flashing and the videos came up. Still, if it wouldn’t read 1 TB hard drives, it’s not really an effective 1080p media center now, is it? I updated the firmware, and then it finally saw the drive. I noticed speed improvements as well! Hopefully this thing will get better and better with each firmware update.

    This baby will play just about anything digital you can find. From old-school DivX encodings to the latest super-high bitrate 1080p MKVs, this will handle them all. More surprisingly, it seems to have no trouble playing them. They are no signs of a struggle! I put on a specially ripped version of the Godfather, barely compressed from the original, taking up about 20 GB. It started playing right away, faster than my gaming computer could start playing it(and that has a 4 GHz Yorkfield and 8GB of RAM). VLC and other players sometimes have a lot of visual imperfections playing back high-resolution high-bitrate video, but there was no such macroblocking, other than any present from compression. If you haven’t compressed your Blu-Ray rips much, or, you’ve just copied the stream file from a Blu-Ray disc (which it WILL play!), the video will look superb. Sound is as good as standard Dolby Digital or DTS gets (if you’re connected through composite, it won’t decode DTS though), but currently, it doesn’t do DTS-MA or TrueHD as far as I know.

    The interface is a little like a simplified, vertical-scrolling Windows XP-coloured Sony PS3 XMB interface. Sounds a bit like Windows Media Center, right? It’s not unlike it actually. Though the menus are a little simplistic, they get the job done and I can’t complain much. The only issue I have with the interface is that each icon should have the corresponding text near it, not down in the bottom-right corner. A small niggle, really. The device has the ability to create libraries for you, but I disabled this feature as I have my own organizational structure on the drive, and also, it
    seemingly takes forever to index a 1 TB drive. One more caveat here is that it can’t do this for HFS+ formatted drives, and I think it’s because it can read them, but not write to them.

    After using the device for a few hours, I can say that I’m very satisfied with it. It switches between videos easily, resumes videos where you left them off, and never falters during playback, no matter how demanding the video file is. At this point, I have just one niggle… the remote is too small for adult male hands, and the buttons require a lot of effort to push. Sounds like a small issue, which can easily be resolved by using other kinds of remotes (programmable, Harmony etc.). At $139 Canadian, this is a great deal since it can do what HTPCs can’t do as reliably or as quick, for hundreds less. It also trumps every other media solution on the market, including the consoles.

    I give it a 9 out of 10.

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    3 Star Hotels in Barcelona Centre

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    Barcelona, as one of Spain’s most important and largest cities, offers the visitor an abundance of cultural things to see and do. Famous sights include the impressive Sagrada Família, the bustling Ramblas, several outstanding Gaudí buildings and a good selection of museums and galleries. Also, a rather unique characteristic of the city is the fact that it also lies on the coast and offers the rarity of sandy beaches and sunbathing; an ideal situation for those looking for culture as well as a bit of sea-side relaxation.

    Of course accommodation will play a relatively large part in how much you enjoy your visit. A 3-star hotel will usually provide at least the minimum in the services and amenities expected for a comfortable and relaxing stay. Like many major cities, there is a good choice of 3 star hotels in Barcelona. They can be found all over the city, but for convenience it would probably be best to stay in a hotel in or close to the city centre, so that you can easily discover Barcelona on foot, even though the city’s public transport system is both cheap and efficient.

    The centre of Barcelona is quite compact, making it viable to explore on foot. Furthermore, the centre is well connect via the city’s comprehensive metro network. In the centre you will find the Cathedral, Gaudí’s La Pedrera, the main shopping centre, some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes and many of the museums, such as the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, Picasso Museum, the Maritime Museum and much more.

    The following Barcelona hotels are well located in the city centre, one near Plaza Catalonia, one close to the Sagrada Família and the other directly on the Ramblas.

    3-star Hotel Gran Ducat Barcelona: This hotel is a modern place to stay and run by friendly, professional staff. Located just off Plaza Catalonia, you will be close to where the Ramblas begin and where the city’s main shopping area can be found. There are 64 good-sized guest rooms in total, all en suite, air conditioned and well equipped with today’s mod cons.

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    Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket

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    Did you ever have a friend who was a perfectly nice, normal guy most of the time and then as football season approached turned into this in-your-face obnoxious football-loving freak?

    I do.

    Don’t get me wrong, even though baseball is really my thing, I like football as much as the next guy, as long as the next guy isn’t Alan. He and I have been friends since high school and ever since I’ve known him he’s been a huge football fan…no, wait; make that a huge football junkie.

    He can’t seem to get enough. He’s a walking encyclopedia of football trivia and loves to share his knowledge, whether you want it or not.

    So I was more than a little surprised to learn that Alan, of all people, still didn’t have the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket!

    When I asked him why, the poor guy actually looked embarrassed. He said he’d seen where it was over $200 to sign up and he didn’t think he could afford it.

    So he spent a lot of hours on several different occasions trying to find a good deal online, but every time he’d go back to a site he liked, he never could find the same offer he’d seen before.

    I would’ve been inclined to think it was just Alan – that he’d been hit one time too many as a linebacker back in high school, but I knew exactly what he was talking about.

    I’d been there myself a few months earlier. If I hadn’t found one site in particular that keeps track of all the best deals not only on the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket, but also on other satellite deals, including Dish Network, I’d probably still be searching.

    You don’t have to take my word for it. I listed it down at the bottom of this article so you can see for yourself.

    I explained to him what I had learned. First of all, you don’t have to pay the total all at once, Direct TV will let you spread your payments out over several months.

    I actually did the math, and with all that they offer, you’re getting a steal. The package actually works out to about a buck a game!

    No where else can you get up to 14 games each week and have them automatically download to your DVR on Mondays. You can also track the performance of your favorite player, see real-time scores and stats, and hear play strategies straight from the coaches’ mouths.

    But here’s what makes finding the best deals so difficult to do.

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of websites to slog through, most of them poorly designed or full of graphics so obnoxious they make it hard to find what you’re looking for.

    Some of them won’t even be in existence the next time you look for them. And the so-called ‘deals’ they offer seem to change almost daily. That’s why I think you’ll be impressed if you click on the links at the end of this story. Those guys stay right on top of the latest and greatest offers from Direct TV, which of course includes the NFL Sunday Ticket.

    I’m happy to report that Alan finally got his Sunday Ticket and he claims he has me to thank for it.

    I’ve giving you the same advice I gave Alan, so now you can get the Direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket and know you’re getting the best deal.

    Go to the websites listed below. Get the facts. Get the most current offers available. Get your own Sunday Ticket. You know you want it. You deserve it. Just do it. You can thank me later.

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    Visiting Athens

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    Pay homage to Athen’s most impressive legacy- the Acropolis, haggled with

    the merchants in the old Turkish bazaar around Monastiraki Square and Explored the 19th-century quarter of Plaka…all before noon. Now you are ready to drink like Dionysus.

    Where to crash

     Athens ‘ first “hip hotel,” the Semiramis, is located in Kifissia, a wealthy suburb about 10 miles north of the  city   center .

    Styled by trendy designer Karim Rashid, the hotel has such features as a glowing-pink cube in the entrance, a rotating collection of contemporary art in the rooms, and digitally

    programmed door signs.

    NightLife

    What’s a Flagrant without checking out the nightlife?

    Bars are the staple of Greek nightlife, with new establishments opening every week. In summer, many of the most popular spots, especially dance clubs, move to temporary venues along the coast (check with your hotel concierge on seasonal whereabouts of clubs).

    Frequented by the under-30 crowd, these clubs are usually huge, lively, and packed.

    Getting to them can be a nightmare, especially on weekends, when the coastal road, Poseidonos, becomes a kilometers-long traffic jam.

    Most bars stay open at least until 3 AM. Drinks are rather steep (around EUR6) but generous, and often there is a surcharge on weekend nights at the most popular clubs. Foreigners usually get in automatically; large groups of single men may have some trouble on a busy night. Most clubs and bars do not take credit cards for drinks.

    From September to May, Athen’s beautiful people make an appearance at Central to see and be seen in the cool, creamy interior while enjoying cocktails and sushi.

    From May to September, Central is closed in town; it reopens on the coast as Island, which is dreamily decked out in gauzy linens and directly overlooks the Aegean.

    with notes from Fodors and USA Today

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    Make An International Conference Call

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    A lot of technological advancements in communication and broadcasting have paved the way for bringing people from across the globe closer through an international conference call. However, people have been calling internationally without so much the thought of doing it the right way to save costs. If not, their telephone bill could amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars every month.

    On the bright side, thanks to technology and modern times, there are a lot of international calling methods that are existent nowadays than there did many years ago. The humble telephone is not anymore the only means to call someone half a world away, but there is now a new method that relies on new technology like VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP makes phone calls over the Internet possible instead of traditional long distance calls.

    To effectively communicate with other people across the globe without making a hole in your wallet is fairly easy. Just like making a regular conference call, an international conference call follows the same basic principles:

    (1) participants dial in to a conference call access number, (2) they enter the access code or PIN for their conference, and (3) they join the conference.

    International conference calling is unique in a way that international participants need special access numbers to avoid paying expensive international call rates. If you go to the larger services providers you might get an international toll-free number to access the conference. Other providers set up local access numbers in countries where their customers normally call.

    For instance, you want to hold a conference call with clients in England, Japan, and Canada and you’re located in the United States. All you need to do is dial either an international toll-free access number or a local access number. Those who use the local access number are right away connected to the central conference bridge via a global IP network.

    Using a dial-out system rather than a dial-in system is another economical way of making these kinds of calls. In a dial-out system the moderator dials out to each participant individually, thus absorbing the costs of each international call.

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    Delivering Highly Successful Online Video and Viral Campaigns

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    There are many that say that the creation of high traffic viral campaigns is a science and not an art and that luck has little to do with it. There are arguments for and against, although there are some expert providers in this space who may ether agree or disagree with this argument and there are some that actually it is both a science and an art.

    Recent examples of online videos going viral include:

    Konyvideo– This video was clearly designed to go viral, but it is unlikely that the author thought that it would attract an audience of over 75 million viewers across the planet however was this because that it ticked the “Social Controversy” box?

    Anfield Cat – This is a more uplifting online video clip, but I ask myself was the cat let out of the bag by accident or was it a cleverly designed video campaign by an animal lover who knew how to create and design a viral campaign.

    1. Capture the Moment

    There are several events that enable us to Capture the Moment and companies are using these events to project their brands onto the consumer. One example would be Paddy Power’s video campaign “Chav Tranquilizer’s“. This clearly combines humour with the traditional, more commonly viewed stiff upper lip event of the Cheltenham Festival.

    Paddy Power has clearly captured the moment and integrated the content and the Cheltenham event with the brand making use of laughter and light humour.

    2. High Quality and Relevant Content

    Using the same Paddy Power example, the content and setting was clearly relevant in terms of the brand and capturing the audience in a funny way. This campaign was genuinely creative and the content was highly relevant to the target audience. This was clearly meant to be controversial which typically engenders “Social Sharing“;

    3. Social Sharing

    The Paddy Power campaign was clearly designed as a viral marketing tool; hence it was designed with Social Sharing in mind. People use all types of social sharing mechanisms, such as traditional email.

    If you Google Chav Tranquilizer’s“, you will see comments about this campaign being banned on TV. This brings into play the “Social Controversy” approach, which has clearly been integrated into this video ad with a view to creating Social Conversations on a grand scale;

    4. Brands and Products

    It is vital that the content, the campaign theme and the setting are clearly identifiable and relevant to the brand and to the product. This is to ensure the brand and ultimately the end product engages with the target audience. Remember, not to be too commercial, this is generally a consumer put-off and will not engender “Social Sharing”. Viral campaigns are largely used to engender brand awareness; however brands are also now using online video advertising to launch products and services.

    5. Consumer Attention Span

    Content length is vital to get right. Too short and you can lose the message, too long and you can lose the audience. Therefore, it is important to ensure the first ten to fifteen seconds really captivate the viewer and at all costs avoid long load times for videos and games. Rememberevery consumer is just one click away from your competitor. With technology, consumers are becoming increasing impatient; hence their attention span is reducing.

    capture your consumer, draw them into your world and make your message stick in their mind;

    6. Viral Video Seeding

    Unless the content is exposed to high numbers of users it is unlikely that the video advertisement will become a truly viral campaign.

    To improve the likelihood of a truly viral campaign, it is vital that the video ad is properly seeded (geography / brand / product / context / relevance) with relevant distributors as well as with the highly known video viewing sites and blogs.

    Once seeding is properly undertaken the content should take care of itself via “Social Sharing” hence on the basis that that the content works this will lead to a successful viral campaign;

    7. Technical issues and bandwidth

    Bandwidth has been an issue in the past but most providers have overcome this with much more robust technical solutions.

    High volume viral campaigns would usually be viewed from sites like YouTube or similar video sharing sites; once the word spreads you then need to ensure that:

    (i) other distributors have similar levels of bandwidth capabilities and that the quality of the content is not spoiled by bandwidth viewing issues;

    (ii) the video ad formats you provide are used by the large majority of consumers and have minimum resistance to viewing; hence be wary of video formats that require special plug-ins or software upgrades. Use a few of the most common formats and ensure that consumer compatibility remains in the high ninety-nine percentile;

    8. What’s in it for the Consumer?

    The reason commercial radio and TV advertising has been and continues to successful is due to the fact that there is something in it for the consumer.

    Radio stations generally play the latest and most popular music whereas commercial TV content is generally of a high-quality to attract a certain audience, with TV commercials being shown in between TV advertisement breaks. Therefore there is clearly something in it for the consumer with commercial radio and TV media.

    However in the online world this is sometimes amiss as brands prefer their online video ads to be free of “Rewarded Media”.

    Rewarded media has its place and can play an important part in terms of “Social Sharing” (everyone likes to receive and share a bargain with their friends). Whilst Rewarded Media seems to be a taboo in this segment it could play an important part for product launches and film releases especially if “Social Sharing” can be integrated someway with “Rewarded Media”;

    9. Analytics and key metrics

    All viral campaigns should have a campaign distribution plan. This is vital to ensure that the video ad achieves all of the targets and metrics that were initially set-out with the brand.

    To ensure that all viral campaigns stay on plan, they should be properly tracked with continual analytics and using key performance metrics. This will help the advertiser to better understand the consumer audiences, who have interacted with the content, providing data such as times of use, places of use etc. Be wary of gathering too much information on potential consumers (for example email addresses) as this can turn-off your audience and create a barrier for the online video advertisement.

    10. Continual Improvement

    Post campaign evaluation is essential for continued improvement. This will enable you to ascertain important data such as: what has worked and what hasn’t, traffic sources, what consumers were saying in forums and social networking sites.

    Try to understand why the video ad generated the level of traffic it did and this should enable you to identify key tools that can be replicated for a future viral campaign.

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    A Quick History of Stores

    Why Handcrafted Leather Products Remain Unique Individuals no longer consider the price of a product as the only factor on whether they will or will not purchase a given product. While price dominated the traditional market, the modern market is more controlled by the value and uniqueness of a product and not its price. Initially, individuals always wanted to be associated with the most expensive things. Assuming it was purchased by so many people, some people would be willing to forego such a shoe due to the fact that it is a shoe with so many people. A shoe worth ten dollars that look elegant but with few people would be a preferable choice for individuals who love unique things. As a result, the individual considering unique would view the thousand dollar pair of shoe, accept it is elegant but due to the fact that it has been purchased by so many people, he or she would end up foregoing it. Unlike the traditional market where fashion was associated with price, the current market on matters of fashion is purely driven by elegance and quality where the price follows. Some people will dislike being seen with a shoe or a sandal that is too common in the hood. These individuals end up searching far and wide until they find that unique product that is not with as many people. Among the things people in the world have not known about their existence include the handcrafted leather products. It is worth noting that the reason as to why handcrafted leather products remain unique is due to the fact that despite the fact that they are quality and elegant, they are . The good thing about handcrafted leather products is that they can easily be identified as they easily stand out. Among the things handcrafted leather products makers make include sandals. Hand-made scandals come with uniqueness and also tend to be long lasting making them be like by individuals who have had initial interaction with them. Bearing in mind that leather products are durable, the best individuals in the market come to craft them in such a manner that they become unique and differentiate themselves in the market when compared to other sandals. Belts and sandals also have that expensive look a factor that makes them attractive making individuals search for them. With the mention of an expensive look, everyone would wish to possess one of such a belt. Where one is lucky to come across handcrafted leather products whether online or in a shop, he or she should take time and have a look and maybe consider purchasing one as he or she can be assured of quality and elegance.A Quick History of Stores

    If You Read One Article About Stores, Read This One

    Surviving the Threat – How TV Learned to Love the Internet

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    When it comes to “old”   media ,  TV  seems to be the one form of traditional media that has learned how to utilize the net to its advantage. The internet is still a content threat, but the TV world, unlike the worlds of music, film and publishing seems to have more quickly understood the pitfalls and opportunities. Instead of pulling up the drawbridge and preparing for battle, TV joined in and utilized the internet.

    Companies that make their living selling content are reeling. Newspapers have been closing at a record rate. The music business is reeling like never before. ITunes has helped reset the playing field, but it’s nothing like it was before. Book publishing has been hit, particularly the brick and mortar bookstores and for the film industry it could just be a matter of time, before the ability to download free content (legal or otherwise) will make a true dent in their profits.

    When it comes to “old”  media ,  TV  seems to be the one form of traditional media that has learned how to utilize the net to its advantage. Advertising took a huge hit last year, but the economy was also in the throws of the worst recession since the (strangely named) Great Depression. Just about everyone took a huge hit last year, not just TV ad revenues. But apart from basic economic ebbs and flows, TV seems to be the one form of media that has not only been able to weather the internet threat, but to utilize it.

    To quote a recent article in The Economist: “In the final quarter of 2009 the average American spent almost 37 hours a week watching television. Earlier this year 116 million of them saw the Super Bowl-a record for a single program. Far from being cowed by the new  media ,  TV  is colonizing it.” The article goes on to explain how shows like “American Idol” and “Britain’s Got Talent” utilize the net to their advantage. Watchers are constantly messaging one another about such shows on email IM, Facebook or Twitter.

    Plus, TV is a reactive media. It doesn’t require much from the viewer. You turn it on, put on the channel you want and there you are. Although many programs are available online, most viewers are not going to do the work it takes to find their programs through nontraditional outlets. The internet is still a content threat, but the TV world, unlike the worlds of music and publishing seems to have more quickly understood the possible pitfalls and opportunities. Instead of pulling up the drawbridge and preparing for battle, TV joined in creating sites such as Hulu a joint venture of ABC, Fox and NBC; an unlikely partnership, but a smart one.

    Other content providers are beginning to understand that the way to fight the internet is not to fight it at all, but to blend with it and make it an extension of their brand and their information outlets, but the TV world is way ahead of the game

    Copyright © Anthony Mora 2010

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