LifeStreet Media pays developers more than $125 million in ad revenues

Advertising technology company LifeStreet Media today announced its mobile advertising revenue is growing at an annualized rate in excess of 250 percent, and that to date it has has paid out more than $125 million in ad revenues to publishers and developers. LifeStreet also reported that it has driven 275 million app installs for its advertising customers.

Founded in 2005, the San Carlos-based company is one of the biggest in-app advertising services on Facebook, counting Zynga, Big Fish Games and Classmates among its clients.

In May, the company announced it raised $66 million in new funding from Nautic Ventures in order to help it continue its mobile expansion plans.

Inside Mobile Apps spoke with LifeStreet Media founder and CEO Mitchell Weisman earlier this week to talk about the company’s extremely successful expansion into mobile.

Inside Mobile Apps: LifeStreet came out of stealth when it announced it had received $66 million from Nautic. Can you reveal how much money the company has raised in total?

LifeStreet Media founder and CEO Mitchell Weisman: Previous investment rounds totaled $3.6 million, and frankly we became profitable with less than $2 million. In fact, this fiscal year marks our sixth consecutive year of profit growth.

IMA: Can you reveal what percentage of your business comes from Facebook, and what percentage comes from mobile? Are you seeing more business on iOS or Android?

Weisman: Both our Facebook business and our mobile business continue to grow significantly; however, mobile is growing at a faster rate.

Within the mobile channel, so far iOS has been growing most rapidly, but we’ve recently seen more and more momentum with Android.

IMA: The last set of numbers you released said 160 million unique mobile users and 200 million app downloads to date. Now you’re up to 350 million social and mobile users and 275 million app downloads.  Can you reveal how many mobile users your platform is reaching now?

Weisman: We don’t break down customers by channel. However, I can say that in fiscal 2012 Facebook conversions grew 48 percent year-over-year, and over the last six months mobile conversions grew by over 130 percent.

IMA: Can you share some insight as to how you’ve been able to grow so quickly on mobile? What is driving this level of growth?

Weisman: It all comes down to our RevJet revenue maximization platform and its underlying technology. It makes ad inventory more valuable in LifeStreet’s hands. RevJet is as effective in the mobile channel as it has been on Facebook.

It should also be noted, of course, that the mobile display advertising market is growing rapidly. According to Juniper Research, in-app advertising spend across all mobile devices will reach $7.1 billion by 2015, up from $2.4 billion in 2012. We chose to apply RevJet to the mobile market because the opportunity there is tremendous, but there are many markets within the online advertising ecosystem which could benefit from RevJet’s capabilities, and we’ll be entering some of those additional markets in the coming year.

IMA: There are literally hundreds of options for monetization and advertising. What sets LifeStreet apart from its rivals?

Weisman: RevJet allows us to conduct very high volume testing at extraordinarily high speed, allowing us to optimize revenue in ways others just can’t match. That’s why we’re so different from so many other monetization solutions. [They're] basically just ad networks, or glorified matchmakers between advertisers and publishers who add no value in the middle. Using universal object serving technology, RevJet is able to optimize the many thousands of variables or “objects” that impact display advertising revenue. This includes everything from visual objects like text, images, colors, and layouts, to logical objects like campaigns, placements, and bid prices.

IMA: What are your thoughts on an IPO? Millennial had a successful debut (although it stock hasn’t reached its IPO heights since), and LifeStreet is cash flow positive. In 2010 the company reported revenues of $40.7 million, and I imagine your business has only grown since then.

Weisman: These days people frequently ask us about a future IPO – and we’ll consider this possibility in the future.  But right now we’re focused on growing our business by rolling out our RevJet platform to the channels that we believe will help the largest number of advertisers and publishers achieve their customer acquisition and monetization goals.

Photo credit: Spencer Brown/San Francisco Business Times.

Apple reports Chinese Q4 2012 revenues of $5.7 billion — China now 15 percent of Apple’s sales

During today’s Q4 2012 earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation continues to see strong growth in China, reporting the country now accounts for 15 percent of Apple’s total sales.

Apple made $5.7 billion worth of sales in China during Q4 2012, up 26 percent year-over-year. Interestingly, as a whole, the Asia Pacific region saw its sales decline by 3.4 percent quarter-over-quarter, falling from $7.8 billion in Q3 to $7.52 billion in Q4.

Cook called the country “an extremely exciting market with more and more people wanting Apple products,” reporting iPad sales had increased by 45 percent while iPhone sales had risen by 38 percent.

Cook also revealed that over the 2012 fiscal year, China has been responsible for $23.8 billion in sales, a bump of $10 billion in revenue year-over-year.

Cook also added Apple is expecting to launch the iPhone 5 should launch China during the December quarter, a factor that will likely contribute to the $52 billion the company expects to generate during the period.

In Two Weeks: Inside Network and SmartRecruiters’ Network Get Work happy hour

Come join Inside Network and SmartRecruiters in November for happy hour.

Our “Network, Get Work” event brings together job seekers and companies in the social media and tech industry. Whether you’re interested in joining tech start-ups or global firms in the Bay Area, recruiting for top social media talent, or just someone interested in connecting with like-minded peers, we’ve got drinks for you.

You’ll find us at SmartRecruiter’s San Francisco headquarters on Thursday, November 1. RSVP on Eventbrite and read on for more details:

Inside Network & SmartRecruiters’ Network, Get Work Party

What: Drinks, conversation, networking
Who: Recruiters, job seekers, anyone interested in the social media or technology space
When: Thursday, November 1, 2012 6:00-8:00 pm
Where: The SmartRecruiters Office: 56 Tehama St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Why: To connect great companies with top-notch job candidates, to network, and to have fun!
Complimentary food and drinks

SmartRecruiters is the social recruiting platform that makes hiring easy. Leveraging the latest cloud technologies along with intuitive design, SmartRecruiters gives social enterprises everything they need to post jobs, manage candidates, and make the right hire. The mission of SmartRecruiters is to eradicate unemployment by removing friction in the labor market. Its 20,000+ customers have created over 100,000 jobs.

The Inside Network Job Board, powered by Mediabistro, is the highest-quality recruitment space for positions in social media, gaming, and mobile apps. Leading developers, product managers, marketers, and investors in social and mobile industries rely on Inside Network for expert news, research, and analysis—now they can rely on us for jobs, too! Come discover our hidden pool of top-notch talent at jobs.insidenetwork.com.

Facebook redesigns Facebook Messenger for Android, updates main Android app, too

Facebook has updated both the Messenger and Facebook for Android Apps today, according to an announcement on the company’s newsroom page. The Messenger application has seen an entire redesign while the Facebook for Android app includes many of the same features in addition to security and stability improvements.

The messenger application now allows users to swipe to the left anywhere on the screen to see which friends are online and available to chat. Users can also add friends that they communicate with the most to the top as Favorites.

The redesign also makes messaging look more like SMS messaging instead of like email or how it looks on desktop. This makes it easier to see who has said what, with the user’s messages appearing in speech bubbles aligned to the right and friends’ messages appearing on the left. On select Android devices, users will also be able to text their phone contacts right out of the Messenger. This consolidates all text messages and Facebook messages all in one place. This is only a select few Android devices, but Facebook says more will be supported in the future.

The company also notes that an iOS update for Messenger is coming soon.

The Facebook for Android application has been updated with the same conversation redesign, and there is now a button in the top right corner of News Feed that tells users which of their friends are available to chat. It also tells users which of their friends are active so they can know when to expect a reply. It has also been updated to fix bugs for multi-photo uploads and made more secure and reliable.

According to The Verge, some Facebook for Android users are also seeing a new feature that syncs the photos they take on their phone to their Facebook account. The Verge calls it “a hybrid of Google+’s instant photo-upload feature and Apple’s Photostream, which uploads any picture you take to the cloud and syncs it with your other iOS devices and computers.”

App Annie: Newsstand revenues up 400% since launch

Since launching Newsstand in Oct. 2011, Apple has seen revenues generated through the service grow by more than 407 percent according to app store analytics provider App Annie.

The app analytics company reviewed Newsstand purchase information gathered from from its App Annie Intelligence service. It found that 88 percent percent of all Newsstand apps featured in-app purchases, and that IAPs were were responsible for 99.5 percent of all revenue.

App Annie also found the majority of Newsstand revenue was generated on the iPad. The iPad currently generates three times the amount of Newsstand revenues the iPhone, even though Apple’s tablets have a much smaller total install base. That said however,  iPhone revenues are growing at a faster pace than iPad revenues, increasing by over 3200 percent since Newsstand launched 10 months ago.

The top five countries in terms of raw downloads of Newsstand apps were China, the U.S., the U.K., South Korea and France. China’s reputation for being a hard country to monetize also applied to Newsstand content — although it boasts the most enthusiastic readers, its citizens are not the most enthusiastic buyers. The top five countries in terms of Newsstand revenue generated were the U.S., the U.K., Australia, Canada and Germany, with China making its appearance in the No. 19 spot.

Unsurprisingly, Western countries tended to generate the highest average revenue per download for Newsstand apps, with Norway leading the pack. Every Norwegian download of a Newsstand app generated almost $1.50 in revenue, much higher than the worldwide average of $0.45 per download. Overall the top 10 countries in terms of revenue per download generated $0.97 cents for every Newsstand app downloaded. Interestingly the U.S. was the No. 8 most lucrative country, behind markets like New Zealand and Switzerland.

Finally, App Annie also found there was a disconnect between the most popular Newsstand Apps and the one that generated the most revenue. The five most downloaded publications were The New York Times, Cosmopolitan UK, The New York Times for iPad, women’s magazine LOHAS and Health & Fitness Magazine. The five most profitable Newsstand apps were The New York Times for iPad, The Daily, The New Yorker, the New York Post and The Economist for iPad, all of which make regular appearance on the top grossing iPad app charts. According to our traffic tracking service AppData, The New York Times for iPad is currently the N0. 5 overall top grossing iPad app.

Mobile app news roundup: Tapjoy, GREE and the end of 2G

Kompu gacha ban hurts Komani’s earnings – The ban on the kompu gacha monetization mechanic has hurt Konami’s Q1 2013 performance quite significantly, reports Dr. Serkan Toto. The company’s social game sales dropped 22.5 percent to $102 million, from last quarter’s sales of $130 million.

Peak Android? — Analytics firm Strategy Analytics reports that Google’s Android operating system may have reached peak saturation in the U.S., reporting sales of Android devices have declined by 5 percent year-over-year.

50 layoffs at the Daily — More bad news for pioneering digital newspaper The Daily, as publisher News Corp announced it would lay off 50 full-time employees, and eliminated its Sports and Opinion sections.

Tapjoy secures core team from Viximo to open Boston studio – Mobile advertising and publishing platform Tapjoy as acquired the core team from social games distribution platform Viximo. The newest Tapjoy employees will help establish the company’s Boston studio and focus on developer relations and advertising sales in the Northeast.

Flurry adds targeting by “persona” — Mobile analytics company Flurry now allows developers to segment their audience into 23 interest segments the company is calling “Personas.” Example Personas include: Value Shopper, Bookworm, Personal Finance Geek and Fashionista.

DeNA’s progress in China – DeNA’s aggressive expansion into China appears to be paying off, the company already has 5 million Mobage users spread across 60 games, reports Dr. Serkan Toto.

100 million downloads for Temple Run – Indie hit Temple Run has been downloaded more than 100 million times. 68 percent of the game’s downloads have come from iOS, 30 percent from Google Play and two percent from the Amazon Appstore.

Tapjoy and SK Planet announce partnership – Also in Tapjoy news, the company has entered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SK Telecom affiliate SK Planet, South Korea’s largest telecommunications company. The partnership allows SK Planet to leverage Tapjoy’s monetization platform, and helps Tapjoy expand its global footprint through SK Planet’s T store which has more than 15 million subscribers.

AT&T to shut down 2G network by 2017 — An AT&T Securities and Exchange Commission filing reveals that only 12 percent of AT&T’s postpaid customers are using 2G phones. The company will switch off the entirety of its 2G cellular network by January 1, 2017 in order to deal with “significant spectrum and capacity constraints.”

GREE joins ESA — The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the organization which owns and operates E3 and provides legal services to game publishers, today announced the addition of mobile game company GREE to its membership roster. GREE’s membership follows E3 2012, where GREE had a significant presence.

This is Now shows off Instagram’s API potential — This is Now is a visual composition which uses real-time updates from Instagram. Users pick one of five cities (New York, Sao Paulo, London, Tokyo or Sydney) and are then taken to a page which instantly streams photos uploaded to Instagram from that city. Mark Zuckerberg remained tight-lipped about the lack of progress on Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram during the company’s first earnings call last week.

[Rumor] iPhone 5, iPad Mini set for Sep. 12 debut – iMore reports Apple will unveil the hotly anticipated iPhone 5 on Sept. 12, with the official release to follow on September 21. The site also alleges the Apple will unveil the 7 inch iPad mini on on Sept. 12.


Transmedia entertainment group Saban Brands acquires Zombie Farm developer The Playforge

Saban Brands, a transmedia entertainment management group run by Saban Capital, has acquired mobile game developer The Playforge to build on its current and future free-to-play mobile titles.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The Playforge is best known for Zombie Farm, an early iOS hit that distinguished the developer as one of the few bootstrapped outfits to hold a spot in the upper 25 of the iOS top grossing charts. It’s been almost a year since we’ve profiled the developer — and in that time, Playforge has released Zombie Life, Tree World and Zombie Farm 2 without ever really repeating the success of its first game. Zombie Farm also didn’t seem to make as much of a splash on Android, despite signing onto DeNA’s Android-oriented Mobage platform.

According to the press release, The Playforge will continue to release mobile games under its brand while also assisting Saban Brands in expanding its current licensing, merchandising and media opportunities. Saban Brands bought the rights to the Power Rangers franchise from Disney for $43 million and Paul Frank Industries for an undisclosed sum in 2010. In 2012, Saban Brands partnered with CW Television Network to program its Saturday morning cartoon block, now called “Vortexx.”

Each of these brands and verticals provide plenty of opportunities for The Playforge to develop branded mobile games with recognizable character IP. Given the wording of the press release and the scarcity of mobile game IP jumping to merchandising and entertainment opportunities (with Rovio’s Angry Birds being the notable exception), we don’t anticipate a Zombie Farm cartoon on the CW anytime soon.

Live from Google I/O 2012

We’re at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, waiting for the keynote to Google’s IO 2012 conference to begin. Refresh for updates as they happen.

9:34: We’ve just been informed the keynote is about to start.

9:36: Countdown timer to the keynote just went up on the main displays. We are also being treated to some quality Daft Punk music.

9:37: Countdown just ended. Vic Gundotra, SVP of Engineering just took the stage. He just welcomed everyone, including the 1 million people watching via livestream on YouTube.

9:38: Gundotra says that when this conference series first started, things like Chrome were still in their infancy and he’s thanking developers for their efforts.

9:39: Hugo Barra, Director of Product Management just took the stage.

9:50: We’re back after some technical difficulties with Wi-Fi. Barra has announced Android 4.1 Jellybean. He’s going through new features, like better drag and drop, a better camera, 12 new supported languages and gesture navigation for blind users.

9:53: The Android photo taking and browsing interface has been improved, users can now swipe to delete photos and browse a photostream. Android Beam now allows users to send photos and videos between phones. NFC phones can now pair within a second.

9:55: Users can now make calls and hang up from their Notifications. Notifications in general share much more information. Users can even send canned responses from within notifications. You can +1 items in Google+ from a notification. There is also third party support for Foursquare and apps like TuneIn Radio and Pulse news. Users can also expand and collapse them via swipe gestures.

9:59: New UI involves the power of the knowledge graph in a new way. You can ask it questions that will bring up different cards with the facts you want.

10:00: We’re getting an example of Jelly Bean voice search. Randall just asked who the prime minister of Japan is, as well as the definition of “robot”. It showed the answers. Quickly

10:01: Randall just asked for pictures of Pygmy Marmosets. It brought up a bunch of images.

10:03: “Google now” will “get you just the right information at just the right time.” It uses a person’s search history, as well as their calendar to find relevant information. It’ll use your traffic history to figure out your commute times and offer you better/faster routes depending on traffic. It’ll also include information about public transit, like BART schedules in the Bay Area. As you walk down the street, it’ll show you info/reviews of the nearest restaurants. With your calendar, it’ll alert you when to leave, taking into account how long it’ll take you to walk to the bus stop, as well as the commute time. It’ll update you to flight delays if you’ve already checked in for a flight. When you’re traveling, it’ll offer you exchange rates and translations based on where you are.

10:05: We just got a demo of Google now in action, showing off all these features. We’re told the cards in Google now gets smarter as you spend more time with it.

10:08: Jelly Bean is going to roll out in July, but the SDK is available now at developer.android.com. Google is also announcing the Platform Development Kit for hardware developers. This will be available for hard A beta version of the Jelly Bean PDK has already been available for Android partners for the past few weeks.

10:09: Now onto Google Play. He said there are more than 600,000 apps and games across Google Play and just reached 20 billion app installs.

10:11: Android apps in 190 countries, more than 50% include in-app billing. Google’s expanded carrier building to 5 new countries.

10:13: Google’s introducing app encryption in Jelly Bean. It’ll also involve Smart Updates, this will have users downloading only the parts of the APK that have changed. This is usually about 1/3 the size of a normal update. This feature is supported on Gingerbread and later.

10:14: Google Cloud Messaging was just announced. It’s free for developers and won’t include quota limitations.

10:15: New content for Google Play, including movie and television purchasing. This is all launching today, and involves partnerships with Disney, ABC, NBC, Syfy, and Paramount. Also, magazines and print publications are coming to Google Play.

10:16: “And… speaking of tablets…”

10:17: Google is partnering with Asus to build a new tablet. The tablet is called the Nexus 7. It’ll use Jelly Bean and is a 7-inch tablet. Here are the details.

  • The HD display is 1280 x 800.
  • It has a Tegra 3 chipset, including a 12-core GPU. This will make games fast and smooth.
  • Front-facing camera.
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC.
  • A 9-hour battery for video playback, with 300 hours of standby.
  • Weighs 340 grams.

10:20: We’re now getting a demo of the Nexus 7 in action. If you read a book on your Android phone, the Nexus 7 will pick up where you left off. All text from magazines is custom-fitted to the screen.

10:22: Now they’re showing off the movies and TV app. They’re showing off Parks & Rec on the big screen. “You can see the individual hairs on Ron Swanson’s moustache.”

10: 25: There’s going to be a new recommendation engine, based on your preferences. You can customize the results to suggest content for anything you want, but they’re showing us TV, music, movies, and games. There’s also a “what’s that song” widget that will identify songs and bring you to the music store so you can purchase it.

10: 25: Chrome will ship as the standard browser.

10:27: New maps app will include a function that will let you see inside buildings like restaurants. Users can activate “compass mode” which lets them look around the room from a first-person perspective.

10:29: Google Translate can dynamically translate publications. We were just shown how it can translate The Daily Beast into Arabic.

10:29: Onto gaming. We’re getting a demo of Horn, from Phosphor Games, which was announced yesterday at Zynga Unleashed.

10:30: Now we’re getting a demo of Dead Trigger from Madfinger Games. It’s a first-person shooter with zombies. There’s a lot of dynamic effects like water raining down on the screen and blood spatter.

10:31: The Nexus 7 is going to sell for $199. It’ll also come with $25 for Google Play, a copy of Transformers Dark of the Moon and free digital copies of magazines. The devices will ship in July.

10:37: We’re now getting a trailer for Nexus Q. The words “powerful” and “mysterious” were just used. It’s actually a small computer that lives in your home, streaming content from the cloud. The NExus Q is designed to look like a small black sphere. Here are the details:

  • Uses optical digital audio and HDMI outputs.
  • Dual-band wi-fi and ethernet, NFC and Bluetooth.
  • Micro USB port for devices and to encourage general hackability.
  • Users use their Android devices to control/stream content to their home.

10:39: We’re now getting a demo of the Nexus Q streaming content. You can set up multiple devices around your home and then stream content to all these rooms in synch.

10:40: The Nexus Q is also going to allow people to share their content, even if they’re at someone else’s house and are bringing their own device.”It’s a cloud-connected jukebox where everyone brings their own music to the party.”

10:43: Users can also bring movies to their friends’ Nexus Qs. We just got a demo of this with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Because it’s stored in the cloud, users can pick up at the point they last left off, no matter where they were watching.

10:45: Nexus Q will sell for $299.

That’s it for the Google Play portion of the Keynote. Thanks for reading!

Zynga moves into mobile publishing with Phosphor Games, Clay Jam, Atari and others

Zynga is moving into mobile publishing, announcing today it will be working with Atari, Crash Lab, Fat Pebble, Sava Transmedia, and Phosphor Games to release five mobile games within the coming months.

Zynga’s chief mobile officer David Ko revealed the news during today’s Zynga Unleashed media event. Developers who choose to partner with Zynga will have access to the company’s upcoming Zynga With Friends social network after it launches this summer. Ko also revealed Zynga has 22 million daily active users on mobile, giving the company a formidable cross-promotion network to draw from.
One of the first titles announced under Zynga’s new mobile publishing efforts is Phosphor Game’s upcoming game Horn. We saw an early hands-off demo of Horn today during the media event, showing off the game’s console quality graphics and audio.  The Unreal Engine-based third-person action adventure game is clearly outside of Zynga’s traditional comfort zone of casual games, a smart move as the company looks to diversify its audience and its offerings.  Our readers may remember Phosphor Games for its previous game The Dark Meadow, another Unreal Engine-based title that garnered a Mobile Game of the Year nomination from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences.
“We don’t have the PR and marketing experience that Zynga brings. They’re the best in the business. We make the game, they give us creative control, and they are the experts at bringing it to social markets and getting it out there to millions of millions of people,” explained Phosphor Games CEO Justin Corcoran when asked why his company choose to publish with Zynga. Although he didn’t reveal any financial details about a publishing deal or what the potential revenue share would be, he did say the deal with Zynga was “a new model of partnership” that was unlike what other potential publishing partners had offered Phosphor Games.
Developers interested in working with Zynga can learn more information here.

 

New this week on the Inside Network Job Board: High 5, King.com, Machine Zone and more

The Inside Network Job Board is dedicated to providing you with the best social media job opportunities across social and mobile application platforms. Here are this week’s highlights from the Inside Network Job Board, including positions at: High 5, King.com, Machine Zone and more.

Abundance

International Development Group (IDG)

Mixr, Inc.

PT Gaming

ReachLocal

Listings on the Inside Network Job Board are distributed to readers of Inside Social Games, Inside Facebook and Inside Mobile Apps through regular posts and widgets on the sites. Your open positions are being seen by the leading developers, product managers, marketers, designers and executives in the Facebook Platform, mobile and social gaming industry today.

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