Stack Media relied on a regional freelance network to reach a few hundred thousand viewers per month when it started its integrated video campaigns in 2008.Within two years, a Stack Studios crew had been assembled and was traveling the country filming for sponsors like Gatorade and Nike. They’re now getting upwards of 15 million views per video and generating 60 percent of the company’s revenue.Stack Magazine, the flagship of the larger media group, was established in 2005 as a training and fitness title centered on professional athletes. Video came in 2008 with the launch of the company’s digital network—a “natural extension” of the content they were already producing, according to Nick Palazzo, the company’s co-founder and CEO.Is It For Your Audience?The demographics worked for Stack. The majority of its audience is comprised of 16 to 24-year-old males—among the most active online video viewers, according to several recent reports. Overall, 18 to 24-year-old men and women with regular access to the Internet spend close to 11 hours watching web videos per month, or nearly one-third of their total time online, says Nielsen’s Cross Platform report from the second quarter of this year. A Pew Research survey from this fall indicates that the group is highly engaged, as well, with nearly a quarter of all adult American males sharing videos.All told, comScore has tallied more than 100 million Americans watching video online each day, up 43 percent from 2010.How Do You Make It?Pricing for the content is highly variable, Palazzo says, with the number of shoots being the key determinant. A single session—requiring travel, equipment, venue, lighting, etc. (along with the personnel to manage it all)—can run up to $10,000. On the low end, a shoot can be arranged for around $1,500. It’s up to the advertiser.The same goes for concept. The project is usually handed off to Stack right from the start, but sponsors can play a larger role.“Sometimes they can be very involved in storyboarding, bringing the concept to life and providing assets,” Palazzo says. In Stack’s case, those “assets” are usually famous athletes, but they can be products, venues, signage, memorabilia, logos, uniforms or anything else they want included.The bigger the asset, the bigger the response. Timing plays a role, but the golden-rule for luring readers to the newsstand applies to attracting viewers online: recognition.“What really drives traffic and engagement is getting the biggest star possible,” Palazzo says.How Do You Sell It?Palazzo estimates that as much as 85 percent of Stack’s content is now video-based, so naturally it’s their lead story to tell potential advertisers. From there it’s a matter of selling the complete distribution and media package.“It’s hard to sell just straight video. You have to package it with other media assets that you already have—that’s really the most important thing,” he says. “In a lot of what we do, you’ll get the video content, the distribution across our platforms, and media—banner and print—all together in one package. It’s much more efficient to buy everything rather than just piecing it out. We make it an offer they can’t refuse.”Integrated Sales Still Difficult To Do With AgenciesIn a divided print and digital world, Stack can run into difficulties trying to manage a deal across the multiple ad agencies running those respective arms. Whenever possible, Palazzo will try to deal directly with the company.“It’s sometimes hard to do integrated ad sales if they have separate agencies for digital and print,” Palazzo says. “One of the most important things to focus on is working directly with the client. They’re going to be the ones that have the ability to do multiplatform deals, as well as the foresight and knowledge base to help make a video program successful.”How Do You Measure It?Stack’s integrated video campaigns don’t feature any product links or buy options—they’re straight branding enterprises—so measuring success can be a challenge. In the absence of conversions, Palazzo relies on engagement metrics like video plays and average time spent with the video to let him know how they performed.“If you get someone to watch a minute or minute-and-a-half of video, that’s a pretty valuable impression,” he says. “If you can get them to click-through, then great, that’s something you can quantify. But that’s not the key metric that we focus on.”
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. File PhotoBNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday termed ‘baseless’ different media reports on their chairperson Khaleda Zia’s release on parole saying that there has been no decision yet in this regard.”Several newspapers have been publishing news with different headlines on the issue (of parole) for a few days. I would like to clearly say Khaleda Zia didn’t give any decision to go (abroad) for treatment on parole,” he said.The BNP leader came up with the remarks while speaking at the annual general meeting of a faction of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) at the National Press Club.About their meeting with Khaleda at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Sunday, he said as prisoners are allowed to meet their relatives and friends on the special occasions like New Year, they took the chance and met their chairperson. “But there’s nothing to invent from such a meeting.”Reacting to a media report on Khaleda’s release on parole for going to the UK, Fakhrul said an English newspaper ran news with specific date and day of their chairperson’s release on parole. “It’s very unfair.””It’s also regrettable that they (the English daily) contacted me for comment, and I said it’s completely baseless and untrue. Even after that, they published it prominently. We urge all to refrain from exercising such yellow journalism and not to confuse people,” he said.The BNP secretary general also called upon journalists to talk to responsible BNP leaders before running any news on important issues relating to their party.He also observed that social media platforms are now being used for the character assassination of people, including the politicians. “It’s a social crisis, and the media people should think about it.”The BNP leader alleged that a ruling party-backed quarter is controlling the media in a planned way and working to build society as per the government’s desire.He said the media is being controlled in such a way by creating an appalling situation that many popular intellectuals now cannot join television talk shows. “Now, it has become difficult to provide authentic information.”Fakhrul said many journalists who tried to present accurate information lost their jobs after the national election. “A section of journalists is now in a good position, but not majority ones while many are jobless.”He called upon all to mobilise public support to change the current situation and protect press freedom and people’s rights.The BNP leader alleged that the law-and-order situation has badly deteriorated in the country as the current government has no accountability to people. “The law enforcers have taken a position against people.”Fakhrul also bemoaned that politics has now got polluted so badly that it is difficult for good people to survive in politics.
To realise his aspiration of becoming a pure “Kalkatta-wallah”, the protagonist of this tale of a fervent, pervading desire for belonging and acceptance is advised to follow four key rules – believe that you know everything, accept rumours are more important than facts, make a grand gesture every now and then and most importantly, have a low enough ambition to be envious of those with higher ones. But can he follow them without irrevocably losing his identity and moorings and will he survive the transition? Also Read – World War I’s forgotten violent aftermath and toxic legacyThis is the premise of acclaimed story-teller Kunal Basu’s latest work – a searing, visceral narrative of the life and aspirations of the under-privileged outsiders in a metropolis and how their success is only a thin line away from disgrace or worse!Jamshed Alam or Jami, who with his parents and polio-affected sister exchanged one limbo – a refugee camp for Bihari Muslims in Dhaka optimistically called “Geneva” – for one marginally better, a chaotically, colourful Kolkata tenement thanks to an uncle who is a ruling Communist Party leader in the city and his zari factory-running mother, has one fixed dream – becoming a pukka Kalkatta-wallah. Also Read – Enid Blyton’s adventures get even more mouth-wateringWith his childhood entanglement with a local gang leading to an unceremonious early exit from school, he becomes an assistant to a passport agent, who is also engaged in some dodgy work. A chance encounter with a lonely, high-society woman during the understaffed Durga Puja holidays at the travel agency where he is working seems to open the door to a world of luxury and privilege and more so after she introduces him to a friend who runs a massage saloon with “other benefits” and he takes to this work with gusto. A world of the rich and famous – and the kinkily dangerous – is now accessible but also heightened is the danger from jealous rivals, police, and most from the world he grew up in.After he meets again and befriends a former co-worker – a single mother with a sick boy, Jami’s various worlds – family, neighbourhood and the gang, massage and other ‘services’ clients, and the world of culture he sought to become part of and succeeded to some extent though at a personal cost – collide after the old familiar things change in 2011, the cat-and-mouse games of terror and security rear their head, and he is at the marked risk of losing all that is dear to him and has painstakingly worked for, and even his very existence. Playing key roles in his chaotic journey are a multitude of well-drawn characters – his ulcer-suffering father, his hard-working but determined mother, his clear-thinking but sarcastic sister Miriam, Uncle Mushtak, the Communist party fixer (who is later dethroned), Jahanara, the local temptress, Rakib, the near psychotic gang-leader, Rajesh Sharma, the travel agent whose apprentice he becomes, Ani Mitra, his first Bengali friend and fount of wisdom for the city, Mrs Goswami who changes his life, Rani, the hijra who manages the massage parlour, and Mandira and Pablo, who not only make an empathetic human but also ultimately endanger him.Basu’s narrative is not a very comforting – in fact, is most unsettling – account of aspirations of migrants to become an anonymous part of a big metropolis where they land up in the hope of sustenance and once managing to climb out of the flotsam and eke out a basic livelihood, not matter how deprived and how filled with small and big acts of treachery towards loved ones and others, to dream to achieve some part of the opulently plush lifestyle they see around them and help to facilitate for the better-off.A key plot is also the basic absurdity of subcontinent’s affairs – farcial had it not been tragic – that runs through the principal protagonist’s origins. His family fled their ancestral home to a nearby part of a new country where they could be safe and prosper, but soon found themselves unwanted and under a new threat when this itself became a new country, and were forced to seek refuge again in the very country they originally fled from – and in a city which is anything but a City of Joy for them.It is a picture of Kolkata at its most unsympathetic and unwelcoming – and from a viewpoint most should thank for being spared – but still necessary viewing. Don’t shirk it! IANS