Rdio launches Vdio for TV and movies on demand

Vdio

Music streaming service Rdio has launched a new Vdio site for streaming TV shows and movies on demand. Unlike Rdio, Vdio adopt a pay-per-item approach rather than a monthly subscription model, with content available to buy or rent. The service is currently only available to existing Rdio Unlimited subscribers, or those who sign up in the next 60 days, who each receive £20 worth of credit to spend on Vdio. A more widespread roll-out is expected in the near future, though an exact date has yet to be specified.

It’s been a busy couple of years for on-demand video in the UK. Netflix jumped over the Atlantic at the start of 2012, while the Tesco-owned BlinkBox has been busy expanding its catalogue of content for those who prefer to pay as they go. Long-standing DVD rental firm Lovefilm, now run by Amazon, also offers a comprehensive collection of television shows and films to stream to your computer or mobile device, and on top of all this are the services offered by the traditional channels (Sky, the BBC, ITV) and the big players (Apple’s iTunes and Google Play).

As with Rdio, there are aspects to Vdio to help you manage your favourite films and programmes, and discover new material easily. “It’s not just that we’ve got amazing content,” wrote the Rdio team in a blog post, “but that the experience is now geared to get you from searching to watching faster. We’re introducing the notion of Sets — playlists for TV shows and movies — so anyone can make and share lists of their favourites, making it easier than ever to discover new stuff. Or, you can just check out what your friends are watching in the moment and jump in.”

Vdio is Web and iPad-only for the time being, though there is the promise of support for more platforms down the line. Log into the site at www.vdio.com and you’ll find some big headliners, including Argo, Skyfall, Breaking Bad, Doctor Who and The West Wing, though the catalogue currently lacks depth — only seasons 1 and 4 of Mad Men are available, for example. As with Rdio, the Web app is slick, well-designed and intuitive, and if Vdio can get the right content in place it could be a serious challenger in an increasingly crowded field.

Roamler: Real life RPG adventure + cash

More and more companies are trying to take advantage of the fact that growing numbers of consumers are wandering hither and thither with location-aware, internet connection super computers in their pockets all the time.

One such app is the free-to-download Roamler, which enables anyone with an iPhone the chance to perform small tasks for brands with their iPhone in exchange for experience points and in most instances small sums of cash. Assignments include simple home-based tasks such as taking a photo of your coffee machine or location based such as reviewing a product’s presentation.

Roamler-app

The two main problem I had with Roamler are similar to the problems I have with most social networks: apathy and uptake. Whilst you can rack up small sums of cash it was still pretty hard to motivate myself to fire up the app and get going – even though I “had” to for this review. And as with all minor social networks there is a limited number of opportunities and fellow users. However, once you do overcome the first hurdle of actually using the app it’s very easy to “get into” using it and if you have a bit of free time on your hands, or are simply bored. And once you get “hooked” it can be an engaging way to spend your time – especially if you’ve used RPGs before.

A recent upgrade to the app now also encourages more social interaction between Roamlers, so there is the opportunity to ‘love’ or comment upon a challenge performed by a friend. Those with a competitive streak can race one another to be the first to complete a task, and progressing through the levels offers an increased number and variety of new tasks. Like I said, it’s handy if you’re into RPGs.

“There is a huge appetite at the moment among iPhone users to play games competitively and we saw an opportunity for brands to capitalise on this. Roamler has been a huge hit in the Netherlands, with 150,000 tasks undertaken so far and many fans commenting on the addictive nature of the app. UK consumers now have a chance to join in the fun, share and network with new and old friends via Roamler, and earn money while providing useful insight on behalf of brands.”

Co-founder of Roamler, Wiggert de Haan

Interest piqued? Visit roamler.co.uk.

Vidioh: The magic of video hits direct marketing

It’s really hard to grab people’s attention these days. You’re probably a little distracted reading this. I know I am. If I asked what the advert on the side of this page was, would you know without looking? I wouldn’t, even though it pays for my sandwiches. Marketing bods are always on the lookout for fresh and interesting ways to grab people’s attention – but as we’ve seen people are harder and harder to reach. Well Vidioh have brought an eye-catching new tool to the UK direct mail market.

Vidioh

How? Well they’ve combined the power of high resolution video with the targeted personalisation of direct mail. The Vidioh screens are the latest ultra-thin LCD screen technology, which can be built into just about any traditional marketing media, including brochures, direct mail pieces, point of sale and invitations.

Prototypes of the Vidioh have been floating around since November 2011 but they’ve now launched a variety of cards each with an embedded video screen. I remember when a video screen was a modern marvel (I grew up without a TV). Now they are literally sending them out in the mail. This is the first time that a fully customisable video capability has been embedded in a card to be used as a marketing tool for businesses. And one day regular Joes.

Nothing looks worse than poorly shot video footage, something Tim & Eric have made a career of. To prevent video cards from going viral for the wrong reasons, Vidioh also has its own in-house video production studios to create content on behalf of companies and the capability to design and brand the video brochures. Or if they are confident, companies can provide existing artwork and video content to be incorporated into their bespoke direct mail.

“Vidioh exploits the power of the moving image with the precision of direct mail,” said Russell Lawley Gibbs, director at Vidioh, “so you can deliver highly impactful marketing campaigns that get your message in front of key customers in a way that is powerful and easy to assimilate. The LCD screens are primed to auto start when opened in order to instantly deliver your message”.

Vidioh cards have a capacity of between 512MB and 4GB, storing 45 mins – 8 hours of video, so you could really go to town with what you send people. Or send them a full length version of The Town. The screen is a 480p x 272p, 4.3″ touch screen, with twin stereo speakers and you can get 2 hours run time off each card. They can even be recharged.

Prices start at £35 for a single card, but volume discounts are available on request. That should hopefully come down to the point where they can be useful for the regular consumer. Imagine being able to send out mass wedding invitations. Or Valentines Cards if you are some sort of polyamourous Lothario.

Vidioh is available direct from Enigma Marketing Services.

ON VoiceFeed: Visual Group iPhone Voicemail

ON VoiceFeed, the visual, group-customising voicemail service for the iPhone has just gone social. Before the update, the app brought visual voicemail to your iPhone and let you set personalised answer phone messages for different people. Now, it integrates Twitter and Facebook to offer an even more useful service.

ON-Voicefeed

If you’ve never used ON VoiceFeed before, here’s a quick run-down of the service. After an easy (but slightly strange) install, the app takes charge of your voicemail – for free. It’ll save your voicemail into sequential order, saving the name of the contact that called you with the message in-app. It’s exactly like the visual voicemail promised by Apple, but which only reached O2 users.

The app goes a step further, however, by adding in voicemail groupings. After separating your contacts into separate groups (three groups on the free version), you can then create a unique greeting for each group.

Either record a message yourself, or type in a quick update – “In a meeting, back in 30” – and the app will read your note to them, in a computer voice of your choosing. There are three free English voices to choose from, with three more available to buy (£0.69). You’ll also find French and Spanish options.

The new social update allows you to enter a Status VoiceTag into your read-out messages, so your latest Tweet or status update can drop into your greeting message. You’ll also be able to add in a Locaisation VoiceTag, which will read out your current address, city or country in the voicemail message. This location updates whenever you boot-up the app.

ON Voicefeed can also receive your contacts Facebook and Twitter messages, using Twitter’s location updates to let you know where your pals are.

While the basic package is free, a year’s subscription (featuring unlimited personalised greeting messages) will set you back £5.99.