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Piano Playing Cat Youtube.com

Next time you're watching a cat play the piano on YouTube, you may be prompted to choose an ad to watch.

The popular video-sharing site began an experiment this week allowing viewers to choose whether they want to watch one lengthier promoted ad before their video begins or a few shorter ads throughout. "Users who choose the promoted video will also get to decide which video to watch," product manager Phil Farhi wrote on a YouTube blog.

Google bought YouTube three years ago and is working on ways to make money from the site. So, will it be Whiskas or Meow Mix?



Star treatment

The raccoons of Vancouver's Stanley Park have a starring role in the rebranding of Theatre Under The Stars, which has performed family theatre at the park's Malkin Bowl for more than 60 years.

The non-profit theatre has just won a $50,000 brand makeover courtesy of Karo Group, a Vancouver-based branding agency. To create a brand that emphasized the connection between the theatre and the park, a raccoon was selected to serve as mascot.

Theatre president James Cronk says the raccoon was an appropriate choice given that they have been known to run across the stage during performances.



Digital dollars

Advertising dollars are going digital in the next five years.

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates Canadian entertainment and media spending will increase at a 2.2-per-cent compound annual growth rate to $41.6-billion by 2013.

Digital will see big gains. While magazine print advertising is forecast to increase 2.3 per cent, magazine Internet advertising will see 29.6-per-cent growth, the researchers say.

The majority of advertising is projected to come from the mobile Internet advertising segment, which will increase 34 per cent by 2013 from $35-billion in 2008 to $152-billion.



Collective wisdom



Ever had an idea for a product and wondered if anyone would buy it?

The Protean Prediction Collective Wisdom Engine, launched this week by Toronto-based Bay Charles Consulting Group, predicts the success of a particular idea, product or ad, much like how politicians predict voter behaviour. In simplest terms, consumers are asked to bet on the product, so it's a fast and efficient way to get consumer feedback, the company says.

If only the Bay Charles folks had asked consumers what they thought of the name "Protean Prediction Collective Wisdom Engine" - yikes.

Spamalot

More spam is heading for your inbox.

A Forrester Research study suggests spending on e-mail marketing in the United States will balloon to $2-billion (U.S.) by 2014 - a nearly 11-per-cent annual compound growth rate. That means about 9,000 e-mails annually for each of us, the researchers say. More than one-third of those messages will be "retention" e-mails that recipients have granted permission to receive. As for the rest, well, Viagra, anyone?

Spending on ad-sponsored newsletters is expected to double as traditional print publishers face falling circulation and ad revenue.

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