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What are Latin American users’ favorite sports sites? What were the biggest trends between 2015 and 2016? What impact did the Olympic Games have on the consumption of sports content? The answers to these questions, according to comScore‘s June 2015 and 2016 rankings.

While the quantity of users with access to Internet increased by 11% in June 2016, (in comparison to the same month in 2015), it is interesting to observe how the number of unique visitors in the sports category went down by 6% in the same period. This is no small detail, if we keep in mind that 2016 is the year of the Olympic Games.

Source: comScore Media Metrix, LatAm, Home and Work, PC/Laptop only, 15+, June 2015- June 2016Unique Visitors (000)% Growth
Jun-2015Jun-2016
    Total Internet : Total Audience176.391195.13011%
    Sports71.56166.226-7%
1    Globo Esportes14.95714.352-4%
2    MSN Sports10.1079.931-2%
3    UOL Esporte9.6487.225-25%
4    Yahoo Sports5.2874.034-24%
5    Marca Sites3.7843.9414%
6    ESPN4.5083.737-17%
7    AS.com Sites4.5383.682-19%
8    Futbol Sites – FSN4.6983.608-23%
9    Terra Sports5.4523.391-38%
10    Goal Sites3.0003.2438%

All of the informed sites on the rankings present a negative trend in June 2016 compared to June 2015, except for those of Marca (a Spanish digital media property that specializes in sports content) and Goal (specialized in soccer).

Brazil’s influence is strong: 33% of traffic in the sports category in June 2016 came from Brazil, whose content is produced in Portuguese.

Finally, it is notable that Fox Sports didn’t make the rankings, seeing that it is so popular in the Southern Cone of Latin America.

Latin American publisher-owned multiplatform media company Medula has been managing Microsoft’s commercial representations in LatAm for almost a year now. Portada spoke to Kenneth Andrew, General Manager, Advertising & Online Emerging Markets at Microsoft, and Alejandro Mondrzak, Corporate SVP & CEO of the Digital Business Unit at Grupo Clarin (a Medula shareholder), to discuss why this kind of collaboration is so important in today’s global economy.

Medula Positions Itself as Rep for Premium Global Publishers

Kenneth Andrew, General Manager, Advertising & Online Emerging Markets at Microsoft
Kenneth Andrew, General Manager, Advertising & Online Emerging Markets at Microsoft

Medula offers media buying, content, programmatic, mobile and video services, with a special focus on the premium audiences and content that make Latin America unique. Javier Chanfreau was appointed CEO of Medula in July 2015, and among other deals, he immediately secured a partnership with Microsoft to manage its ad sales in the region. Medula’s properties include Grupo Clarin from Argentina, Grupo Copesa from Chile, Grupo Opsa from Honduras, and PAL (Periodicos Asociados de Latinoamerica).

Gaining Microsoft as a client helped secure the company’s place as a top representative company for premium worldwide publishers.

As Latin America has become increasingly attractive to dynamic businesses looking to expand their global reach, Medula’s goal is to become their go-to media partner in the region, leveraging its local expertise and longstanding relationships with local commercial ventures. Microsoft has its own impressive set of properties and brands (Skype, Bing, MSN and XBox, to name a few), and is ambitiously pursuing opportunities to reach global audiences as it develops its business model.

Microsoft Turns to Medula for Support in New Ad-Driven Revenue Model

One would be hard-pressed to think of a more global or dynamic company than Microsoft. The company has recently switched from a business model focused on selling its products and operating system, Windows, to offering those products for free, working with a revenue model based on advertising to subsidize its users’ free experiences.

Alejandro Mondrzak, Corporate SVP & CEO of the Digital Business Unit at Grupo Clarin
Alejandro Mondrzak, Corporate SVP & CEO of the Digital Business Unit at Grupo Clarin

“Microsoft Advertising has free consumer assets that millions of people use every day, but the principal revenue stream is through advertising. We are constantly evolving how we provide those to agencies and brands, and have a longstanding relationship with Medula in Latin America,” says Kenneth Andrew, General Manager, Advertising & Online Emerging Markets at Microsoft.

Microsoft has been partnering with AppNexus to run its programmatic operations for a year now, and getting Medula in on the action meant that Medula and AppNexus could form a symbiotic relationship, the former making use of its tight relationships with agency trading desks, buying from an audience perspective, and the latter working with big advertisers on sponsorships and branding opportunities in the region to reach mass audiences.

Medula shows and demonstrates the values that are important to Microsoft. We invest in these partnerships and hold them to high standards. Medula is adapting and learning to reinvent their business as programmatic grows as a way of buying, because we need to capture the traditional demand as well as programmatic.

Microsoft is happy to leave this hard work in such capable hands, freeing up its own resources for other aspects of its business in the region that do not require such local expertise.

Medula Eyeing U.S. Hispanic Market

On top of its impressive performance in Latin America, Medula has also a strong focus on the US-Hispanic market, and Alejandro Mondrzak, Corporate SVP & CEO of the Digital Business Unit at Grupo Clarin says that Microsoft is giving the company the scale that it needs to succeed in this venture.

Mondrzak asserts that Medula knows how different Latin American and US Hispanic markets are, and that there are practically two companies, one dedicated to each market. “The US-Hispanic market is truly a huge opportunity, and as much as it is different from Latin America, we have unique abilities and capabilities and a regional reach that we can adapt to the US market,” he says. “It’s a learning process with a curve, but we are doing our best to understand it.”

Microsoft Properties Offer High Visibility, Flexibility

In terms of specific properties, “MSN is seeing a strong level of engagement with the content experience, and Skype is hugely relevant in the communications space. We want to make more native advertising opportunities there to immerse people in advertising while they are reading content,” Andrew says. Bing is also a key property, as search has become “so ubiquitous throughout the user experience, evolving from allowing you to find information to enabling you to take action and gain knowledge at the same time,” says Andrews. Search is also very profitable, and serves as a platform through which many applications can be integrated.

Companies like Microsoft are ultimately looking for “the best in breed, with local insight and knowledge and excellent sales people,” Andrews explains. “Medula shows and demonstrate the values that are important to Microsoft. We invest in these partnerships and hold them to high quality. Medula is adapting and learning to reinvent their business as programmatic grows as a way of buying, because we need to capture the traditional reserve demand as well as programmatic.”

What: Content Discovery Platform Taboola has announced a large deal with MSN to integrate Taboola’s software into MSN digital properties in more than 50 markets, including the U.S. Hispanic market and all major Latin American markets.
Why it matters: The deal is a major partnership in the fast growing content recommendation and native advertising market. This type of advertising is not threatened by the growing trend of ad-blocking. In addition, as Geek reports, MSN choosing to use Taboola, rather than develop their own unique content recommendation system like Google and Yahoo! did, is a vote of confidence for Taboola.

Global Content Discovery Platform Taboola®, announced a strategic business relationship with Microsoft Corp. to further expand content discovery on MSN worldwide. Taboola-powered sponsored content recommendations and native content ads are already seamlessly integrated into MSN’s desktop and mobile sites across 28 global markets with rollout plans to reach a total of 50 international markets fully localized in 24 different languages.
Content recommendation by Taboola are live or will be rolled out live as a result of the Taboola-MSN partnership in the following Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries/regions.

    • U.S.
    • U.S. Español (Spanish)
    • Spain (Spanish)
    • Brazil (Portuguese)
    • Portugal (Portuguese)
    • Argentina (Spanish)
    • Venezuela (Spanish)
    • Mexico (Spanish)
    • Latin America-pan regional (Spanish)
    • Peru (Spanish)
    • Chile (Spanish)
    • Colombia (Spanish)


According to a November 2015 report by digital measurement intelligence firm comScore Media Metrix, MSN content websites currently welcome over 397 million unique visitors every month around the world.

The core aspects of the cross-platform business relationship focus on audience development, engagement, and monetization for MSN.com by leveraging Taboola’s sophisticated predictive technology, and span all page types and placements including homepage, article, video, and photo gallery.

Taboola founder and CEO, Adam Singolda, tells Portada that “sponsored content recommendations are the more common way Taboola is presented on many publishers, at the bottom of articles, where sponsored recommendations from multiple marketers/publishers/brands are suggested to users. In addition, Taboola-Native enables publishers to create premium “specific” locations, as an example on the homepage, and enable a higher price/performance to be achieved that way. Taboola Native also allows the publishers own sales team to go to market and sell those slots similar to historically it was done with DoubleClick for banner advertising.” Both sponsored content recommendations and Native Ads are typically priced on a cost per click basis.”

Native Advertising
Example of Native Advertising

AOL recently closed a deal with MSN to sell into MSN properties. For programmatic MSN struck a deal with AppNexus. Asked whether the MSN-Taboola relationship will be integrated into these other ad sales arrangements. Singolda notes that, “Not as of now, AOL/AppNexus are operating the display and Taboola operates the Native but as of now, separately.”

“MSN is one of the largest global publishers, aggregators and distributors of premium content online, enabling our media partners worldwide to reach hundreds of millions of consumers every month,” said Joe Cepollina, Universal Store Principal Program Manager Lead of Microsoft. “Through our relationship with Taboola, we have built a new pillar of scalable monetization while giving our audiences a more deeply immersive and personalized content experience.”

Video Recommendations

Content Recommendations and Native Ads powered by Taboola on MSN also include videos: “Absolutely, we surface video recommendations to users visiting MSN to help them discover videos they may like and never knew existed”, says Singolda. He adds that “Taboola started as a video company, I started 8 years originally where the first 5 years we were mainly focused on video, so we have a long time experience in driving video growth to publishers in general.”

Fast Growing Market…

Adam Singolda, CEO Taboola
Adam Singolda, CEO Taboola

Content recommendations and Native Ads (sponsored posts) is a fast growing subsector of the overall digital advertising market. “When you think of all dollars going into Native as a category from the demand side, Facebook is probably the largest generating about US $16 billion a year from “sponsored posts” in-feed natively. If you think about all native dollars only on the publisher side, it’s probably few billions, but growing fast.”

Facebook is probably the largest player generating about US $16 billion a year from “sponsored posts” in-feed natively. Only on the publisher side, it’s probably few billions, but growing fast.

…Potential in Spanish-Speaking Markets

According to Taboola”s Singolda content recommendations and native ads have a particularly high growth potential in Spanish-speaking markets in the U.S. and Latin America: “I think Latin America has a massive opportunity while it’s still relatively young.” Singolda thinks Latin America will be huge because of three factors. First, is mobile usage and growth. “There is a big growing mobile population in Latin America where native advertising works the best, providing good experience to consumers as well as publishers and advertisers.” Second, is the high usage of the Internet: “many publishers have hundreds of millions, if not billions of page views a month given high usage of consumers online which creates a meaningful opportunity as well on the revenue side.”

Eventually native advertising at scale will help marketers to not only drive awareness, but also conversion.

The third factor, Singolda cites as boding very well for the growth of content recommendations and native ads in Latin America are “very developed commerce markets”. “I believe eventually native advertising at scale will help marketers to not only drive awareness, but also conversion, and as part of that will absorb bigger and bigger budgets over time — a la ROI drive storytelling”.

How should major online destinations target the Hispanic population? Is it about just curating or also producing content? How should content be integrated into Social Media Platforms? We talked to Rafael Carranza, Head of U.S. Hispanic and Spanish Markets Programming Hub at Microsoft Information’s and Content Experiences Group.

Microsoft recently struck a deal with AOL through which AOL’s sales team will sell advertising into MSN in the U.S. and many other markets (although not so in Spanish-speaking Latin America). Content related matters continue to be the sole responsibility of MSN. We had a conversation with Rafael Carranza, Head of U.S. Hispanic and Spanish Markets Programming Hub at Microsoft Information’s and Content Experiences Group (photo) on his strategy when it comes to target the Hispanic population.

The jury is still out on the financial viability of English-language media targeting the Hispanic population (see for instance Voxxi’s recent demise as well as MTV3rs, Mun2 and NuvoTV, either folding or substantially changing their strategy – e.g. Mun2 turning into NBC Universo). Is this why MSN continues to bet on the on Spanish-language content to target Hispanics? According to Rafael Carranza, “the model is not about creating an independent media offering for English speaking or bilingual Latinos, but about effectively engaging with this segment within the wide scope of the media they consume. Since 2000 the Hispanic population growth has been driven more by births in America than immigration. Ninety three percent of the Hispanic children in the country are native-born citizens and they tend to be bilingual or English dominant as they grow.”
Carranza adds, that “MSN Latino continues to be the Spanish-language product for our Hispanic users in the U.S. If Latino was not set in your favorites, the systems will serve you the version depending on the language you have configured in your computer.”

It is not about creating an independent media offering for English speaking or bilingual Latinos, but about effectively engaging with this segment within the wide scope of the media they consume.
.

Mobile-first, Cloud-first World

MSNIn fact, MSN Latino does not produce original content. Carranza notes that the strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. “When our group reinvented MSN last year we switched from a traditional media approach to becoming a platform where our users could find the content from the media companies they prefer as well as other services and tools they use. Technology has a big role, but relevance and quality is very important, therefore we have MSN team distributed across the world curating the content that is published in our properties.”
MSN Latino is also integrated with other Microsoft properties such as Skype, Messenger, XBox and Bing. “As part of the platform approach mentioned above, MSN includes a search bar and service stripe that helps users to connect with the Microsoft services they need.”

CHECK OUT:
Frank Holland, Global VP, Advertising & Online at Microsoft on the 2014 MSN redesign (Spanish)
Susan Kuchinskas recent piece “Will Ads follow Social Media?”

What:  The International network of online motorsports content Motorsport.com and web portal MSN.com have announced a partnership.
Why it matters: Digital content produced by Motorsport.com will be distributed by MSN in Latin America and in the US Hispanic market.

265164-INFO Motorsport.com, an international network of online motorsports content headquartered in Miami’s Design District, and web portal MSN.com have announced a partnership that will see digital content produced by Motorsport.com distributed by MSN in Latin America and in the U.S. Hispanic market.

Under the content partnership, Motorsport.com news, video and digital images will be published and promoted across the MSN website and apps. With over 2.3 billion average monthly visits, MSN.com is the second largest web portal in the world and features aggregating news, weather, sports, money, and other consumer-related articles.

“As Latin America’s most comprehensive motorsports digital platform, Motorsport.com is the ‘go-to’ source for auto racing content. This agreement strengthens our coverage in the motorsports vertical while providing MSN.com premium content to millions of visitors in native tongue,”said Jorge Taboada, Executive Producer, Prodigy/MSN.

“This partnership with MSN expands Motorsport.com’s potential regional distribution of premium content to over 300 million available internet users in Latin America,” said Gustavo A. Roche, vice president of business development, Motorsport.com.”As the premier international source for online multimedia motorsports coverage, Motorsport.com is dedicated in providing a Spanish-language website featuring up-to-the-minute news, digital images, and video library from more than 100 racing series in the region.”
Microsoft Advertising recently struck a global deal with AOL/Verizon through which AOL/Verizon will be taking over most of the ad-sales into MSN (including those for the U.S. Hispanic market). Most of Spanish-speaking Latin America will continue to be sold by Microsoft Advertising’s in-house advertising sales team as well as by AppNexus for programmatic sales.

What: ProSiebenSat.1 Group has founded Collective Studio71 thanks to the acquisition of a majority interest in leading US MCN Collective Digital Studio (CDS) in which it has been a minority holder since last year. ProSiebenSat.1 will invest US$82.8 million in the new venture and will hold three-quarters of the equity shares in Collective Studio71.
Why it matters: Collective Studio71 will operate globally with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and London. The move highlights the trend towards consolidation in the MCN space (Multichannel Networks/Online Video Networks).

CDSGerman pay-TV giant ProSiebenSat.1 Group has founded Collective Studio71 with plans to internationalise its online video business. Collective Studio71 will operate globally with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and London.

The move was possible thanks to ProSiebenSat.1’s acquisition of a majority interest in leading US MCN Collective Digital Studio (CDS) in which it has been a minority holder since last year. CDS focuses on producing online video content for a young target audience and ranges among the top five networks in the US. It claims a successful track record for delivering entertainment content for numerous brands, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Sony PlayStation

ProSiebenSat.1 will invest US$82.8 million in the new venture and will hold three-quarters of the equity shares in Collective Studio71. The acquisition will also see Studio71, the German-based MCN built up by ProSiebenSat.1, merged into the new umbrella company. CDS will continue to exist for the American market and Studio71 for the European market.

Collective Studio71 will push to build international talent, produce global Web-only formats, and organically expand operations to include additional territories. It will also intensify cooperation with all digital distribution platforms and in the areas of branded entertainment and tool development.

CHECK OUT: One born every Minute: Hispanic YouTube Stars

“ProSiebenSat.1 created and built up its own MCN with Studio71, and it has established itself as the largest and most successful network in the German-speaking world,” said ProSiebenSat.1 executive board member Christian Wegner. “By founding Collective Studio71 we will now instantly be a global player in this attractive growth market.”

“Through our existing ProSiebenSat.1 partnership, we have been able to greatly increase monetisation for our creators in Germany. The combination of our two MCNS, backed by a strong financial foundation, will enable us to leverage opportunities throughout Europe, the Americas and other territories to establish the first truly global MCN. There will also be a strong focus on bringing in broadcast partners for all these territories worldwide,”said CDS CEO Michael Green.

 

What: ProSiebenSat.1 Group has founded Collective Studio71 thanks to the acquisition of a majority interest in leading US MCN Collective Digital Studio (CDS) in which it has been a minority holder since last year. ProSiebenSat.1 will invest US$82.8 million in the new venture and will hold three-quarters of the equity shares in Collective Studio71.
Why it matters: Collective Studio71 will operate globally with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and London. The move highlights the trend towards consolidation in the MCN space (Multichannel Networks/Online Video Networks).

CDSGerman pay-TV giant ProSiebenSat.1 Group has founded Collective Studio71 with plans to internationalise its online video business. Collective Studio71 will operate globally with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Berlin and London.

The move was possible thanks to ProSiebenSat.1’s acquisition of a majority interest in leading US MCN Collective Digital Studio (CDS) in which it has been a minority holder since last year. CDS focuses on producing online video content for a young target audience and ranges among the top five networks in the US. It claims a successful track record for delivering entertainment content for numerous brands, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Sony PlayStation

ProSiebenSat.1 will invest US$82.8 million in the new venture and will hold three-quarters of the equity shares in Collective Studio71. The acquisition will also see Studio71, the German-based MCN built up by ProSiebenSat.1, merged into the new umbrella company. CDS will continue to exist for the American market and Studio71 for the European market.

Collective Studio71 will push to build international talent, produce global Web-only formats, and organically expand operations to include additional territories. It will also intensify cooperation with all digital distribution platforms and in the areas of branded entertainment and tool development.

CHECK OUT: One born every Minute: Hispanic YouTube Stars

“ProSiebenSat.1 created and built up its own MCN with Studio71, and it has established itself as the largest and most successful network in the German-speaking world,” said ProSiebenSat.1 executive board member Christian Wegner. “By founding Collective Studio71 we will now instantly be a global player in this attractive growth market.”

“Through our existing ProSiebenSat.1 partnership, we have been able to greatly increase monetisation for our creators in Germany. The combination of our two MCNS, backed by a strong financial foundation, will enable us to leverage opportunities throughout Europe, the Americas and other territories to establish the first truly global MCN. There will also be a strong focus on bringing in broadcast partners for all these territories worldwide,”said CDS CEO Michael Green.

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