{{ 'Go back' | translate}}
Njus logo

Media news | Njus International

The Dodo is investing in children’s programming with Dodo Kids

Media Digiday

Dodo Kids provides a new way for The Dodo to grow an audience through quality programming, which includes long-form storytelling rather than viral videos.
'The Dodo has flocked to children’s programming.Two years after its launch, The Dodo reached half a billion video views across platforms (particularly Facebook) by creating lighthearted animal content.Now, five years into its history and as a member of Group Nine Media , The Dodo is sticking to animals but launching a new initiative dedicated to a younger audience.Unlike The Dodo of the past, the effort is not leaning Facebook-first.The company’s new foray in children’s programming is focusing on YouTube and Netflix.As teens and tweens will tell you, as they told Digiday at VidCon , that’s where they are — definitely not Facebook.This week, The Dodo announced a Netflix original series titled “Izzy Bee’s Koala World,” which follows 11-year-old Izzy Bee who rescues koalas with her family.The series, to be released in 2020, is produced by Group Nine Studios and The Dodo in partnership with Nomadica Films, which helped produced The Dodo’s Animal Planet show, “Dodo Heroes.” The announcement follows the launch of Dodo Kids, a new division within the company that premiered three series on YouTube last week.The Dodo has seen its monthly video views increase overall, now reaching 2.6 billion video views, according to the company’s internal analytics.Tubular Labs data shows that its video views from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter have fallen on each platform, going from about 1.8 billion overall in July 2018 to 1.11 billion in June 2019.For Facebook, specifically, The Dodo’s video views dropped from 1.49 billion in July 2018 to 866 million in June 2019.However, Tubular Labs data does not include Snapchat, IGTV, stories on Instagram or Facebook or owned and operated.A Group Nine spokesperson said The Dodo has prioritized retention and watch time, where time spent per view has increased 21% over the past year.That’s similar to NowThis’s focus on quality over quantity . Dodo Kids provides a new way for The Dodo to grow an audience through quality programming, which includes long-form storytelling rather than viral videos.Izzie Lerer, The Dodo’s founder and chief creative officer, said she had an aspiration to launch a kid-focused sub-brand when she started the company in 2014. “We really wanted to make Dodo Adult … I don’t know what we call it now, but make it stand on its own. [Dodo Kids] is such a natural brand extension.We were getting so much feedback from our audience that this is natural viewing for kids, that there was co-viewing of the content,” Lerer said.The editorial team for Dodo Kids is led by Dave Glauber, who joined in April after working in children’s programming at Sesame Workshop, Toca Boca and NBCUniversal’s Universal Kids.Glauber oversees a “small and scrappy” team, Lerer said, without naming a specific size of the new department.Last week, Dodo Kids made its debut with three new series on YouTube: “Best Animal Friends,” “Dodo Sing Dodo Dance” and “Rescued!” Some of these were inspired by The Dodo’s previous work. “It’s almost like we thought about [Dodo Kids like] when we launch a new platform.We are obsessed with knowing everything about the audience and converting the core of who we are and optimizing for that platform.It’s almost like kids is the platform,” Lerer said.The show “Best Animal Friends,” which currently has 15 episodes, is a derivative of The Dodo’s series called “Odd Couples,” Glauber said.It profiles friendships between animals, whether unusual or just cute. “The [concept] resonates with a general audience and 100 percent resonates with kids.We took some of that original story, original editorial piece and revoiced the series for kids.It works like The Dodo does, full of heart and treated animals as individuals,” Glauber said.Dodo Kids also was inspired by The Dodo’s previous work in rescue animal content when making “Rescued!” The host Roman McConn was featured on season two of The Dodo’s series on Animal Planet, “Dodo Heroes.” The Dodo team chose YouTube as its first platform for Dodo Kids due to the affinity already from the younger demographic and YouTube’s own investment in children’s programming.As YouTube grapples with brand safety problems across the platform, the company has been seeking more brand-safe content and investing in its separate YouTube Kids app . Dodo Kids launched with an exclusive channel sponsor, Paramount’s “Dora Lost City of Gold.” The exclusivity runs through mid-August, a Dodo spokesperson said. “I’m not surprised [Dodo Kids] launched with an advertiser.Group Nine has always been very advertising friendly and the content is very engaging.That’s in the DNA.But all successful kids’ brands have arms and legs: toys, amusement parks. you name it.Maybe that’s why only some are successful.It’ll be a long road for Dodo Kids,” said Ben Winkler, chief transformation officer at Omnicom.Going forward, Dodo Kids plans to launch more series on YouTube.The team is also planning more long-form pieces like what they’re producing for Netflix.Lerer declined to name specific companies they’re pitching but said they’re thinking more about the right stories rather than the platform, whether it be cable networks or streaming services.Book publishing is also on the roadmap. “We want to be a part of kids’ lives, and we think we have a lot to add and we can make an impact on kids live.The Dodo did it so right by making animal content with incredible heart.In the kids’ space, there’s not a ton that’s there yet.We’re so eager to do more,” Glauber said. . The post The Dodo is investing in children’s programming with Dodo Kids appeared first on Digiday .'

Continuing acquisition spree, Bustle buys Inverse

Media Digiday

The science- and geek culture-focused publisher is the fourth site that Bustle Digital Group has acquired in 2019.
'Bustle Digital Group has made another acquisition in an attempt to grow beyond its female-focused audience.On Tuesday, the venture-backed publisher plans to announce it has acquired Inverse, a science- and geek culture-focused site founded by Dave Nemetz, who co-founded Bleacher Report along with Bryan Goldberg.Nemetz will stay on as evp of Inverse, overseeing its business side.Inverse is the third title that BDG has acquired this year, following The Outline and Nylon.It will be part of a collection of technology and culture brands overseen by Joshua Topolsky, whose site, The Outline, Bustle Digital Group acquired in March.At the outset, the acquisition will not lead to any layoffs, Topolsky said, noting that he intends to keep “most everybody.” Inverse editorial staffers will begin moving over onto Bustle Digital Group’s proprietary CMS, Typeset, immediately. “BDG has some big plans to expand into new areas of coverage, to move into the culture and innovation space, and also really expand the types of advertisers they can work with,” Inverse founder Nemetz said. “The idea is to continue with our mission of taking a scientific approach to covering the world.” Inverse has a lot of traits that align with Bustle’s, including a focus on search traffic.Nearly 80% of its desktop traffic comes from search, according to Similarweb.The site also has established relationships with advertisers that Bustle Digital Group, whose stable is headlined by titles focused mostly on women, have fewer inroads with.In the past year, Inverse worked on direct deals with brands including Microsoft, Mercedes Benz, LG, Shell, Square Enix, and ESPN.Most of Inverse’s revenue comes from display advertising and branded content, though it has made progress with newsletter sponsorship and affiliate commerce . A spokesperson said Inverse’s revenues were up 70% year over year, but declined to share a hard number or say whether it was profitable.Discussions between Goldberg, Nemetz and Topolsky over the prospect of an acquisition began shortly after the Outline deal this spring.Nemetz declined to share details about how much BDG paid.To date, Inverse had raised $6 million in venture capital, according to Crunchbase.Adding Inverse will grow BDG’s audience meaningfully.Inverse averaged more than 9 million monthly unique users through the first half of 2019, according to Comscore.Over that same period, Bustle Digital Group averaged 50 million monthly unique users, also per Comscore.Bustle Digital Group has used acquisitions in the past to augment its capabilities and its offering to the market.The 2017 acquisition of Elite Daily was framed as a way to drive platform video; its acquisition of Flavorpill in late 2018 was styled as an opportunity to gain experience in events and experiential marketing; last year, it acquired and merged a number of Instagram accounts to help triple the size of its Instagram audience . . The post Continuing acquisition spree, Bustle buys Inverse appeared first on Digiday .'

What is a Ranking Factor?

Media Distilled

I decided to write this for a couple of reasons. One is that I’ve seen a lot of potentially misleading Tweets on the subject recently (naming no names!), and the other is that it’s related to another pet peeve of mine, about ranking factor studies
'I decided to write this for a couple of reasons. One is that I’ve seen a lot of potentially misleading Tweets on the subject recently (naming no names!), and the other is that it’s related to another pet peeve of mine, about ranking factor studies . What is a ranking factor? A ranking factor is a variable that a search engine uses to decide the best ordering of relevant, indexed results returned for a search query. Note that I’ve said the decision is between relevant , indexed pages - a good illustration of this distinction is the often absurdly high number shown beneath your query when you perform a Google search, such as the 643 million “ potatoes ”-related pages shown here: Most of these pages are not particularly relevant, but this is the set that ranking factors are seeking to order. Some of the factors used to establish what is relevant to include in this list are also ranking factors (for example, having links with the anchor text “potatoes”), but they are not the same thing. Perhaps the most famous ranking factor is Google’s PageRank - invented at a time when, proportionately, a great deal more web browsing was done by clicking links from popular pages, the role of PageRank was to approximate the popularity, and therefore, by extension, authority, of a page on the internet. How are ranking factors combined? A search algorithm might take ranking factors like PageRank and weight, sum, or multiply them in any way seen fit. The objective is to combine them in a way that achieves the “best” results - for example, presenting the results that users are most likely to click on at the top. According to this CNBC interview from late 2017, metrics Google might optimise for include time to SERP interaction and rate of bouncing back to search results . Amusingly, probably the best insight we’ve had into how Google combines ranking factors came from a question about featured snippets, asked to Google’s Gary Illyes by Jason Barnard earlier this year. I say amusingly because Gary seemingly had no need to give such an in depth answer to this question, but the model he describes is fascinating to explore and extend upon - you can read more about it in Jason’s article here . What ranking factors are there? We don’t know! In fact, we don’t even know how many there are. Probably a great many. (Although, not everything that influences rankings is a ranking factor - more on that below!) Google occasionally explicitly confirms a ranking factor (like HTTPS, or page loading times), but often this is as much as anything to push the SEO industry to change the internet in a direction they’d like.  It’s in their interest to keep actual ranking factors and their relative importance very close to their chest, as their algorithm is part of their advantage over their competitors. Is user experience a ranking factor? Not exactly, no - “user experience” is not a metric. However, we do know (for example, from that CNBC article referenced above) that many of the things Google is looking for correlate with a good user experience. We also know that Google highlights things like slow loading times or excessively small font on mobile devices as SEO issues, which suggests an interest in this kind of factor. There’s an ongoing debate about whether Google tries to measure this directly (for example, by looking at the click through rate of specific search results, compared to what might be expected, and adjusting their ranking on the fly), or whether they merely adjust their algorithm to look for things that correlate with user experience improvements. Many real world experiments suggest the former, but Google’s official line is the latter. It’s in their interest to keep actual ranking factors and their relative importance very close to their chest, as their algorithm is part of their advantage over their competitors. Misconceptions Misconception 1: All metrics that correlate with rankings are ranking factors This misconception is probably in some small part my fault - and also the fault of others who, like me, have published so called ranking factor studies . These are actually correlation studies - we can look at what qualities are typically held by well-ranking pages, but this does not mean that those qualities are necessarily ranking factors. Facebook Likes, for example, correlate well with Google rankings. There are a few possible explanations for this: Sheer coincidence (unlikely - that’s the point of statistical significance thresholds - but possible) Pages that rank well tend to be seen a lot, therefore end up getting a lot of Facebook Likes (i.e. the causation is in the opposite direction to Facebook Likes being a ranking factor) Pages on popular websites receive both many Facebook Likes and strong Google rankings (i.e. there is something else that causes both, rather than one influencing the other) Google assesses the number of Facebook Likes that results have, and takes this into account when ordering them in search results (i.e. Facebook Likes are a ranking factor). Want more posts like this in your inbox? Join the monthly newsletter. Misconception 2: A ranking factors is anything that causally affects rankings If you engage in link building, you are engaging in an activity that is designed to influence a ranking factor - something you believe Google will consider directly in their algorithm. However, there are lots of things you can do to make your site rank better, but which are not in themselves designed to influence ranking factors. Perhaps my ultimate claim to fame is that I used to work at the UK’s busiest Little Chef (a now-defunct chain of roadside grills), where I was a cook. If my boss had sent me on a training course, this may have resulted in a few things that could go on to improve the business’s rankings in Google Search, such as: Glowing coverage in local press, due to the restaurant becoming known locally for its excellent food Bloggers mentioning and linking to the Little Chef website, having been pleasantly surprised at their experience People clicking on the site even when it’s position 8 in the search results, because they know and love the brand, having had so many wonderful meals there Sadly, my boss did not send me on a training course, and Little Chef eventually died, their premises being ignominiously absorbed into the empire of Starbucks. However, that does not mean that “kitchen staff competence level” is a ranking factor. It is not something that Google is attempting to directly measure and include as a variable in its algorithm, therefore it is not a ranking factor. However, if you are running an ailing roadside grill, and you wish to improve your rankings, you could try having competent kitchen staff. The causal link is there, even if the ranking factors are involved only indirectly. Misconception 3: Ranking factors are dead / don’t exist I’d be the first to say that ranking factors may not be a helpful for SEOs anymore. In fact, I’ve written about it on this very blog. Because ranking factors are so many and so unknowable, it’s often better to aim for what Google is optimising for, therefore avoiding the need for any Kremlinology. However, that does not mean that ranking factors are not a thing - they are still a crucial part of how search engines work at a very basic level and understanding the theory gives you a solid foundation to your knowledge. Misconception 4: Bounce rate, time on page, and/or conversion rate are ranking factors These are metrics in analytics, which means Google does not have access to them - even if you use Google Analytics. Furthermore, they’re easily manipulated, and often don’t obviously correlate with good outcomes. For example, Google might be interested in the rate at which I return to search results after clicking on your site - this would indicate I was unhappy with that result. However, they can get this information directly from their own analytics on search results, and the bounce rate in your analytics could be misleading - if I read your page, get the answer I want, and move on in my life, that’s a good search result from Google’s perspective, but probably a bounce in your analytics. Discussion It’s theoretically possible that blog comments are a ranking factor, so please let me know your thoughts in the space below :)'