Vol 2, #33, August 17, 2010
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August 17, 2010


adconion Canada signs agreement with yidio.com
Hostelworld.com has redesigned website
The STL launches new text messaging app
Sun Life Financial enhances online wellness centre
Chris O'Neill named Country Director at Google Canada
Never miss your favourite TV show again
AlertPay enters growth mode in Canada
nextMEDIA Toronto seeks digital trailblazers
Charity leverages new media to help old

Adconion Canada signs agreement with yidio.com

Adconion Media Group, the world’s largest content distribution and monetization platform, today announced an agreement to exclusively represent Yidio.com in Canada. The world’s first social entertainment network will be part of Adconion’s Joost Video Network and further complement Adconion Canada’s expanding portfolio of video solutions for advertisers.

Adconion’s Joost Video Network already reaches more than 61 per cent of the country’s Internet users, and the addition of Yidio.com further extends the network’s online reach to a highly engaged audience. According to comScore Media Metrix, Canadians watch more videos online than any other nation in the world. Currently, Yidio.com attracts 447,000 unique visitors and six-million page views in Canada each month, and its popularity in Canada has grown by more than 147 per cent since June 2009 (comScore, June 2010).

Yidio.com provides Canadians with simply the best way to watch TV and movies online, aggregating TV programming, movies and video content that includes more than 300,000 TV episodes from nearly 5,000 shows including Jersey Shore, The Hills, and Desperate Housewives. As the world’s first social entertainment network, Yidio lets users create highly personalized TV schedules and profiles based on their favourites shows, receive daily reminders about new episodes, and share or discuss shows through Twitter and Facebook in real-time.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to give Canadian advertisers access to the highly engaged audiences on Yidio.com,” said Tina Mooney, director of sales, Adconion Canada. “Canadians are increasingly partnering their online video viewing experience with sharing video content with friends through social networks, and Yidio.com is a leader in giving Canadians what they want when it comes to online entertainment.”

As part of this exclusive agreement, Adconion’s Joost Video Network and Yidio.com will work closely together to bring new creative formats and video capabilities to market to help advertisers reach Canadian audiences via online TV, movies and video. The agreement is in effect from now through to August 2011.

"We are extremely excited about the opportunities available to advertisers through this partnership with Adconion,” said Adam Eatros, co-founder and chief operating officer, Yidio. “Adconion’s Joost Video Network advertisers, paired with our extensive and growing audience, is a natural fit for both in-video advertising and premium rich media display ads.”

In Canada, the Adconion Media Group reaches more than 15.7 million unique monthly visitors. Globally, Adconion reaches nearly 400 million unique users, or one-third of the global Internet population, every month. Top of Page

Hostelworld.com has redesigned website

Hostelworld.com, the world's number one hostel booking website, today announced the launch of its newly redesigned website. The website has undergone a complete transformation, including many aesthetic changes that complement functionality improvements. Some of the key benefits for Hostelworld.com customers are enhanced search functionality, quicker download speeds, and more of Hostelworld.com's unique content.

The new website hosts a wide range of new features:

  • Improved navigation makes it easier to utilize the website
  • Enhanced hostel search and filtering functionality allows customers to find the perfect hostel quickly and easily
  • New page layouts - designed with feedback from users - prioritize the information customers want to see, such as ratings, reviews and photos
  • Enhancement of the "Guides & Info" section of the website, which provides rich information, advice and ideas to help travellers get the most out of their trip
  • Further improvements to Hostelworld.com's travel social network, "MyWorld", gives customers greater control of their bookings by allowing them to cancel and make changes, in addition to allowing them to meet friends and stay connected online while travelling
  • Improved travel services to help with the essential extras needed when travelling, such as travel insurance, guidebooks and a flight metasearch.

To celebrate the launch of the redesigned website, Hostelworld.com has also launched an innovative $25,000 "treasure hunt" competition with a prize of $2,500 cash for ten daily winners ( www.hostelworld.com/treasure-hunt). Each day a video question will be posted on the website by Hostelworld.com's editor, Colm Hanratty. The answers can only be found in the pages of the newly designed website. Those who answer correctly will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win one of the daily $2,500 cash prizes. Furthermore, all entrants will receive no booking fees for four weeks.

"After celebrating our milestone ten year anniversary in 2009, we felt that the time was right to not only give Hostelworld.com a brighter, fresher look, but also to update and improve the functionality, tools and services that we currently offer, enhancing the overall experience for millions of Hostelworld.com customers," said Feargal Mooney, CEO of Hostelworld.com. "The travel industry and the technology underpinning it are constantly changing, and our goal is to be at the forefront of that change so that our users have the very best tools for booking budget travel. We're also very excited to be launching such a large scale giveaway in conjunction with the website redesign launch. The 'treasure hunt' competition will help people to familiarize themselves with the website's new look and new features, while also giving them the opportunity to win a fantastic cash prize, as well as no booking fees for four weeks just by entering." Top of Page

The STL launches new text messaging app

Concerned about making it increasingly easy to organize travelling on its network, the Société de transport de Laval (STL) is launching a text messaging application to further add to its mobile services: From now on, you can receive full information on schedules, detours and delays on your favourite bus routes, right from your cellphone, and all in real time.

The text messaging application offers two services to network users: To begin with, in order to find out the schedule for one or more bus routes at a given stop, just send a message to 511STL (511785), including the stop number (Chronobus) and the route number, if desired. The STL will then send you a message containing the time when the next six buses on that route will be passing by that stop. In addition, you can register for specialized service on MySTL at www.stl.laval.qc.ca in order to receive detour or delay alerts regarding your favourite bus routes directly on your mobile phone.

This new application comes within the STLSynchro service, which consists of such features as electronic displays at stops, an audio and video system aboard the buses, the website, Facebook and Twitter applications, Synchro applications for smart phones as well as registration on MySTL. The information, in all its forms, is announced in real time, in a practical, user-friendly way.

With this new tool that simplifies travelling on its network, the STL is contributing toward improving the use of mass transit, thereby encouraging a sustainable lifestyle on Laval territory. Top of Page

Sun Life Financial enhances online wellness centre

Sun Life Financial has teamed up with Novus Health to offer comprehensive online health navigation and information services to enhance Sun Life's online wellness centre (available to members via password protected site at www.sunlife.ca/member).

Designed with the plan member in mind, this online offering allows members to access tools and resources designed to help them manage their own health as well as navigate and understand health care in Canada. Novus Health navigation tools and resources allow plan members to access reliable health information, enabling them to search for provincial health care services and providers close to where they live.

"Sun Life is committed to offering innovative tools and resources to support employee and organizational health. The complementary information that Novus Health brings to our online wellness centre is easy to navigate and understand and provides a broader and more complete solution," said Lori Casselman, AVP, Health and Productivity Solutions, Group Benefits, Sun Life Financial Canada. "Together, we have created a richer experience for plan members, enabling greater health awareness and disease management, through access to the information they want when they need it most."

"Novus Health is pleased to be working with Sun Life, an organization that puts a strong emphasis on providing comprehensive solutions to help plan sponsors manage organizational health and wellness," says Mira Jelic, Vice President Client Services, Novus Health. "The need for assistance in navigating reliable medical information and the Canadian health care system is very real. Sun Life is offering a valuable resource to help empower plan members to make informed decisions about their health."

About Novus Health

Novus Health, a leader in Canadian Health Navigation, delivers innovative online and telephone support solutions for today's complex health care environment. Novus Health works with benefit providers, employers, financial services firms, and health organizations to provide personalized, knowledgeable and compassionate assistance. Novus Health empowers the member to navigate the health care system and provides the trusted health information that they need to make informed health decisions.

Novus Health has offices in Toronto and Montreal and serves Canadians coast to coast. Top of Page

Chris O'Neill named Country Director at Google Canada

Google Inc. has appointed Chris O'Neill as Country Director for its Canadian operations. Chris, a native of Canada, brings with him over 15 years of expertise in marketing, strategy, and partnership development, working with companies including HSBC and Oliver Wyman (formerly Mercer Management Consulting).

Chris joined Google in 2005 where he has held a variety of sales and operations leadership roles, most recently leading Google's digital strategy as Retail Industry Director in the US. In his new role, Chris will continue to build Google's strong presence in Canada and focus on driving innovation to help fuel growth for Canadian businesses.

"Chris' thought leadership and expertise in online marketing and partnerships clearly make him the right person to lead an already successful team as we continue to grow in Canada," says Dennis Woodside, Vice President, Americas Operations.

Chris began his career working in his family's Canadian Tire store. He studied Economics at Huron University College at Western and earned his MBA at Dartmouth College. He is excited to move back to Canada with his wife and two children.

Google Canada's sales office has been operating since 2002 in Toronto with teams focusing on search and display advertising, and enterprise solutions. Google Canada also has research and innovation centres in the Waterloo Region and Montreal, and a small office in Ottawa. Top of Page

Never miss your favourite TV show again

TELUS has announced the availability of Remote Recording, an enhancement to TELUS' Optik TV service that allows customers to manage Personal Video Recorder (PVR) recordings using the Web or iPhone while on the go.

Starting on Friday, August 6, TELUS Optik TV customers can record, delete, and manage the content on their PVR, as well as view and search the interactive programming guide using any Web connection from any location, or while on the go via an application for the iPhone. The Remote Recording application will be available on additional smartphone platforms like BlackBerry and Android in the near future.

"TELUS is continually pushing the envelope to offer our Optik TV customers unmatched innovation, functionality and convenience," said TELUS President and CEO Darren Entwistle. "With Remote Recording, Optik TV customers can manage their PVR while on the go and never have to miss their favourite shows again."

The Remote Recording application is available for download for free to all Optik TV customers with a PVR, at no additional charge to their monthly package.

TELUS also recently announced that TELUS Optik TV customers are amongst the world's first to be able to use their Xbox 360, a first-class home entertainment and gaming system, as a digital set top box for their Optik TV service.

Optik TV, powered by award-winning Microsoft Mediaroom, offers never before seen functionality, features and over 400 channels, including over 50 in High Definition (HD). Optik TV features the best PVR experience with PVR Anywhere, only from TELUS. Now one PVR is all customers need to watch and record shows on any TV in the home with a digital box, record up to three shows at once, or pause a program in one room and pick it up from the same spot in another room. Optik TV also offers Picture-in-Picture browsing, onscreen Call Display, HD Video On Demand and HD Pay Per View, so customers can order movies and live events from the comfort of their couch.

For more information about TELUS Optik TV please visit telus.com/optiktv or telus.com/record to learn how to set up and access Remote Recording. Top of Page

AlertPay enters growth mode in Canada

Montreal-based AlertPay, which offers individuals and businesses around the world with a full range of online payment solutions, officially launched its revamped Website ( https://www.alertpay.com) to support increased demand for their services. In the last four months only, the Company handled more than 500,000 new sign-ups and had close to 9,000 new Websites that now use AlertPay services. The enhanced portal, available in English and in French, most notably features the following new functionalities:

  • Visa/MasterCard credit card/debit card withdrawal. AlertPay customers can now withdraw money from their AlertPay account directly to their Visa/MasterCard credit/debit card. For example, a vendor may decide to transfer revenues, generated through their Website, directly into their credit card/debit card account. The feature is available in 9 currencies (USD, CAD, EUR, GBP, SEK, DKK, NOK, CHF, HKD) in all 197 countries where AlertPay is available.
  • Redesigned checkout process. AlertPay's checkout process has been optimized to ensure a faster and smoother buying experience. More intuitive, the system will readily identify which account to debit within each customer's personal AlertPay profile depending on where the funds are located (e.g. bank account, AlertPay account or credit card).
  • Email invoicing. A new and free service that enables vendors to create an invoice template and "bill" their customers, directly from within their AlertPay account and without having to use any additional software. Customers, whether or not they have an AlertPay account, receive an email notification from the vendor advising them of their outstanding bill including all other relevant details (based on the chosen template, e.g. number of articles purchased, colour, price per item, etc.). Customers can then pay the vendor either using their AlertPay balance or directly by credit card.

Tools for the Developers' Community
In addition, a series of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are made public to third-party developers. This initiative allows AlertPay partners to use the Company's platform with new and innovative payment solutions that are tailored to their particular needs (ex. managing subscriptions, getting account balances, refunding transactions, sending money and conducting mass payments).

"We are proud to support the needs of the growing number of people around the world who use AlertPay's online payment solutions for an easy, safe, convenient and cost-effective way to pay their bills, send money to a loved one or even run their business," said AlertPay's President and CEO, Firoz Patel.

"When my brother Ferhan and I founded AlertPay in 2004 we started off with just six employees. Six years later, AlertPay now has 75 employees and 4.5 million members in 197 countries! And we both have the passion to keep this company moving forward. With the recent strategic partnership signed with New Parking, a Calgary-based company that uses wireless technologies to automate parking industry operations, AlertPay's future looks bright."

As for Ferhan Patel, AlertPay's COO, the new Website launch was of utmost importance. "Security is a top concern for our customers, as it is for us. When it comes to user data we are PCI-compliant (Payment Card Industry) and use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption; our customers' personal information is protected against interception. In addition to being certified by McAfee SECURE TM (against hackers), our new Website is now enabled with world-trusted VeriSign Extended Validation TM, an additional security measure that goes beyond what is required by the regulatory authorities of the online payment industry. Last but not least, we are proud to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau."

Leading tech expert Marc Saltzman on AlertPay
Leading consumer technology columnist, and AlertPay customer, Marc Saltzman (USA Today, Toronto Star, CanWest, CNN.com) is impressed with the Company's service: "I've spoken or written on several occasions on how online shopping is becoming so mainstream that we sometimes take for granted the need to adopt basic safety tips, like keeping your computer software up to date and never responding to unsolicited requests to update your account info. Another tip is to make sure that payment Websites use encryption. I'm happy to report that AlertPay responds to that criterion.

"I like using AlertPay because it's a fast and secure way to make online payments to friends and colleagues. I have also been referring AlertPay to them mainly because the site is very easy to use - even for those who are not tech-savvy.

"It's great to see a Canadian company do so well - and on a global scale. My geek side is excited to see what AlertPay has in store for mobile payment options."

AlertPay gives back to the community
Firoz Patel added: "We are of course proud of our accomplishments to date, but there is one special project that we are working on right now - a discount initiative for not-for-profit organizations that use AlertPay to process their donations. As a successful and growing company, AlertPay strongly believes that it is also important to think about ways on how to give back to the community in a meaningful way." Top of Page

nextMEDIA Toronto seeks digital trailblazers

Canada’s premier digital media conference - is proud to announce that the third edition of the Digital Hot List is now open for submissions. Taking place November 29 th -30 th at the Design Exchange in Toronto, nextMEDIA’s Digital Hot List has been the launching pad for outstanding cross-platform and online communities, including Bitchin Kitchen, ChickAdvisor and X-Weighted.com. More than just a competition, the Digital Hot List is a partnering program that connects the hottest Canadian digital producers, emerging entertainment brands, mobile applications, games and 360 entertainment properties together with top ad agencies.

“Consumer’s attention is moving towards emerging platforms such as online video, social media networks, mobile and tablet applications and brands are looking for new ways to connect with audiences,” says Mark Greenspan, nextMEDIA's executive producer. “The Digital Hot List allows content creators and application developers the chance to connect with agencies looking for new avenues and tools to get their brands out there. nextMEDIA is thrilled to be able to create these relationships and facilitate the next-generation entertainment marketplace.”

Since its inception in 2007,  nextMEDIA has been the launching pad for the newest products in the digital media industry and is the top networking and business development platform for the next-generation entertainment marketplace. The conference is the place where the highest growth areas of the digital industry can converge, facilitating winning relationships and creating favourable partnerships and opportunities that will help them grow and succeed. 

nextMEDIA Toronto offers networking opportunities, showcases, workshops, and social events for executives working within the digital media space. It’s an intensive two-day event of networking, learning and strategizing with the top minds in the fields of television, advertising, mobile, technology, gaming, music and publishing.

The  Digital Hot List competition focuses on digital properties in the following categories:

  • Hot Website – An innovative digital property that stands out from the rest.
  • Hot Technologies – Developers of the coolest applications, games and digital ad solutions which are in a league with the most popular; providing new, innovative methods of interaction with their audience.
  • Hot Content – Producers of the best new online program or series that entertains Canadian audiences.
  • Hot Ideas – Developers with a solution to the communication needs of Canada’s leading brands.

The deadline for submissions is October 1 st, 2010 at 5 p.m. EST. The online application and rules can be found online at www.nextmediaevents.com/toronto/the-digital-hot-list

Top of Page

Charity leverages new media to help old

In the fall of 2010 jhr (Journalists for Human Rights) is launching MAKE MEDIA MATTER, a new multi dimensional media platform that will redefine the way the world thinks about the media. jhr is spreading the word about MAKE MEDIA MATTER through Pepsi's contest Refresh Everything. Currently ranked 7th out of 51 projects, jhr is hoping to win the highest number of online votes to win $100,000 to fund MAKE MEDIA MATTER.

In response to the growing demand for more meaningful and varied news coverage, MAKE MEDIA MATTER will use new tools to create an online and offline community of people that care about the role of the media and its ability to effect change. Designed to connect and inspire socially conscious media-lovers worldwide, the MMM website will generate discussion on the current state of the media and bring awareness to overlooked issues and events. MMM will act as a central hub where media lovers will inspire change and improve lives by consuming, producing and sharing stories that matter.

"Good Media has the power to shed light on important issues, hold authorities accountable, and inspire change. We need to celebrate and encourage this type of media here and all over the world." -Ben Peterson, Co-Founder and Executive Director of jhr

Through online discussion forums, social media debates, customized media alerts and offline events the MAKE MEDIA MATTER community will inspire traditional media to shift its focus to overlooked stories that people care about; will share important stories with others and will produce media that matters.

jhr is hoping to come out first in the Pepsi Refresh Everything contest. jhr maintains that while the other causes in the running are very worthy - MAKE MEDIA MATTER is aiming to tackle a global issue and connect people all over the world.