Monday, March 31, 2014

RetailMeNot, Circuit of The Americas ink promotional coupon, ad deal

Digital Online Deals company RetailMeNot Inc. has inked a partnership deal with Circuit of The Americas racetrack to peddle special offers for events at the Austin circuit, the companies said Monday.

The agreement will also give Austin-based RetailMeNot (Nasdaq: SALE) advertising exposure at more than 20 COTA events, reaching potentially more than 1 million track attendees annually.

The deal kicked off with RetailMeNot offering a 20 percent discount on a family ticket package for the upcoming MotoGP race in April.

"We value partnerships with burgeoning Austin institutions like the Circuit of The Americas who - like RetailMeNot - are helping to change the landscape of our hometown," said Jill Balis, senior vice president of marketing for RetailMeNot in a statement.

"We believe COTA is an opportunity to grow awareness of our services with an international audience of consumers and potential brand partners who value the power of our marketing platform and mobile capabilities that help drive sales."

Michael Theis is the Austin Business Journal's digital editor.

Friday, March 28, 2014

'David', a Minimalist Platform Shooter Inspired by 'Shadow of the Colossus', Heading to the App Store Soon

<Price Comparep>Fermenter Games have recently released a new game called on Windows and Mac, and are readying a release for iOS. David is a minimalist action platformer, and like its inspiration Shadow of the Colossus, features a series of nine increasingly difficult battles against massive bosses. To combat those bosses, your tiny, abstract character will use a slingshotting mechanic inspired by Angry Birds. That might sound strange, but it totally works. Check out this brief trailer for David.

As mentioned, the game is out on PC, and I went ahead and TOFTT'd the desktop version to get an idea of what David is like. Long story short: it's really awesome. The physics in the game make for a fluid experience, and although each boss is simply a mass of different shapes, their animation and movement give them a lot of personality. You can actually sense their aggression as they come after you, it's really neat. The attacking has you holding down on your character to "charge up" a shot, then trying to fire it in the direction of each boss. It works incredibly well, but feels a bit cumbersome using a mouse and keyboard. This game will definitely shine on the touchscreen.

If any of this has captured your interest, then keep an eye out for David to hit iOS "soon" and be sure to keep tabs on the thread in our forums. Or, you can grab the desktop version on Fermenter's website for a dollar right now and get an early glimpse of what's in store for the mobile release.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coupon inserts expected on Sunday, March 30

How many Coupon inserts will we receive on Sunday? There should be 2 inserts including 1 SmartSource and 1 P&G insert! I am sure there will be a number of additional Harris Teeter Super Doubles deals with these coupons (especially the P&G ones matched with ZVR's) and I will have a list of deals up on the blog Sunday.

You can see the coupon preview at HERE for a list of many of the P&G coupons we should receive this Sunday. This list is not exactly what we will get here, but many will be the same.

If you buy the paper at a store on Sunday (instead of getting a subscription), make sure you buy it INSIDE the store, not from the paper boxes. You want to make sure your paper has the coupons in it before you pay, which you can't do if you are buying from the paper box.

Happy shopping everyone!

This post contains affiliate links and I appreciate your using them!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

After Disney's Maker Buy, More Deals In Store for Multichannel Networks

With Disney's blockbuster $500 million-plus deal to buy Maker Studios, look for dealmaking activity in the Promotional Code multichannel network space to continue apace.

MCNs are "now top-of-mind for all the major studios," said Peter Csathy, CEO of Manatt Digital Media Ventures. "There will certainly be a flurry of M&A activity in the next 12-18 months."

Fullscreen, another big MCN operator like Maker, is not publicly entertaining major studio suitors, according to CEO George Strompolos. However, he said, Fullscreen does see value in combining with a large, well-heeled entertainment company like Disney.

"A company getting acquired would benefit from deeper access to capital," Strompolos said in an interview just prior to Disney announcing the Maker acquisition. "There is something to be said for 'upstreaming' the best creators, the best intellectual property into more of the avenues that traditional media (offers). We see a lot of promise there in years to come."

SEE ALSO: Disney Buys Maker Studios In Deal Worth At Least $500 Million

Fullscreen's investors include Peter Chernin's Chernin Group, Comcast Ventures and global ad agency WPP. "We do get a lot of interest in third parties, and we do take that seriously," Strompolos added. "But as of right now, we are planning on staying independent, and growing a strong business the way we know how."

Stephanie Horbaczewski, president and co-founder and CEO of StyleHaul - an MCN focused on young female audiences with fashion and other programming - called the Disney-Maker deal "a breakthrough in the evolution of the online video ecosystem."

Disney's acquisition "clearly shows that online video content is an integral and essential part of the future of media and is strong validation for emerging leaders in the category," she said. L.A.-based StyleHaul has raised $17 million in funding from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, European broadcaster RTL Group and RezVen Partners.

Studios have already been forming closer ties with the MCN players.

Earlier this month, Warner Bros. led an $18 million investment in Machinima, a struggling YouTube MCN focused on videogamers. The studio's goal with that stake is to tap into the large - and growing - digital audiences for original online video. In particular, Warners sees potential for taking its DC Comics properties to the Machinima audience, said Craig Hunegs, president of business and strategy for Warner Bros. Television Group.

"We are looking for ways to grow and expand our business, and there's a large, appealing audience on YouTube that is gravitating to MCNs like Maker and Machinima," Hunegs said. "If the audiences are there, and we stay authentic to what attracted the fan base, a business opportunity will emerge."

In addition to Hollywood studios, other potential MCN acquirers are Internet-media firms like Yahoo and AOL, which have been looking to expand their video content. Yahoo, for one - which launched unsuccessful bids for Hulu and Dailymotion - stands to rake in billions in cash through the impending IPO of Chinese e-commerce player Alibaba Group. Yahoo, which holds a 24% stake in Alibaba, is obligated to sell half that after Alibaba's IPO, which values the company at more than $100 billion.

As for which MCNs may be attracting interest from large media companies, Manatt's Csathy pointed to vertically focused companies such as StyleHaul, DanceOn, Crunchyroll - the anime MCN in which Chernin Group bought a majority stake - and Indie Music Network, a division of Troytown Entertainment.

"MCNs have a limited ability to monetize what they've been able to build," Csathy said. With studio owners or partners, they have "the ability to take those eyeballs and strategically take those properties upstream to the more traditional world of motion pictures, TV, gaming and merchandise."

Through MCN partnerships or acquisitions, he added, big media congloms "now can sell a much broader package (of advertising for audiences) that are outside the traditional media ecosystem."

Kevin Mayer, Disney's exec VP of corporate strategy and business development, said the company will be able to enhance Maker Studios' ability to make the MCN model profitable while also expanding Disney's digital reach. But, he said, the MCNs don't necessarily need a marriage with a large studio to survive.

"In the fullness of time, as these MCNs continue to grow, they can be profitable even in the standalone model," Mayer said.

Susanne Ault contributed to this report.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Flint native chose homelessness to kick-start his music career, scoring reality shows, major label placement

FLINT, MI -- Flint musician Joe Ryan III wakes up to sun shining into his Los Angeles apartment and begins brainstorming song ideas before driving to a studio to write, produce and record music for Rex Rideout, vice president of A&R for Motown Records.

Recent sessions have resulted in placements for eight-time Grammy nominee Ledisi, and a collaboration between Grammy-nominated singer Kem and iconic rap star Snoop Dogg. His songs have appeared on TV shows and he did the musical score for a reality television series.

But the big time didn't come easy for the 28-year-old former church musician who slept in his car in Los Angeles until a little over a year ago while toiling his way toward the top.

"Joe Ryan is an extremely rare talent," said MC Lyte said in an email. "Multi-faceted, creating original works as an artist/producer/engineer, he's an anomaly to this industry and exactly what the business needs. He's definitely headed to the top."

Ryan began to develop his musical chops while handling piano, drums and organ duties at True Light Holiness Church on Clio Road, started by his grandfather and passed down to his father. The Flint native moved to Madison Heights at age 15, where his basketball skills earned him a spot in the Junior Olympics and a scholarship at Tiffin University.

But less than a semester into college, he was skipping class and basketball games to focus on perfecting his songwriting and production skills. He dropped out of college to pursue music and got a job in Wisconsin, where he met the mother of his children. Recording under the name J Rilla, he won a three-month contest conducted by Milwaukee's 103.7, a radio station owned by KISS FM.

After responding to a Twitter call by Lyte for new producers and writers, he began to compose for her company, Dubose Entertainment. He landed songs in "My Moment," a reality show starring Grammy-nominated R&B artist Trey Songz, and he later handled all of the scoring for the BET reality show "Toya: A Family Affair."

In 2012, Ryan won a contest with U Rock that was scheduled to send him on tour with stars such as T.I., Big Sean, Wale and Soulja Boy. But the contest fell through, and his production deal with Eddie Galan's Mark 1 label died because of differing musical philosophies. His musical career was losing momentum quickly.

After weeks of deliberation and a sleepless night, Ryan decided there was one way to resolve his career drought: send his wife and children to stay with her parents in Wisconsin, and make the 1,879-mile drive to Los Angeles to take another shot at music.

"I told her, 'We should sell everything we've got, you stay with your parents, and I'm going to go out there and make it happen," Ryan remembered. "She knows I never make decisions on other than how I feel in my spirit. Any situation I've been in musically where we have to take a loss, I've shown her ... it's to take 10 steps forward."

He reached out to Rideout, who Lyte had introduced him to a year earlier while Ryan was writing choruses for the late rap legend Heavy D in Rideout's studio. Rideout had just gotten a job at Motown as the VP of A&R, and he said he was hoping to hear back from him soon.

Ryan made the drive across the country from Wisconsin to California, and met with Rideout at the Motown offices in Santa Monica, Calif.

"'I don't have a place for you to stay,'" Ryan remembers Rideout saying, "'but I've got a studio you can work out of when you want to.'"

That was all Ryan needed. For eight months, he spent his days in the studio, working on his own music while grabbing inspiration from award-winning stars such as Pharrell and Hit-Boy, who recorded only rooms away in the same building. At night, he lived in his car, and used free seven-day passes at a variety of gyms to take showers. To sleep, he parked in the lots of McDonald's restaurants, fitness centers -- or, if he was lucky, the gated parking lot of a Hollywood studio where friends would let him in at midnight.

Rideout took notice of Ryan's vast skill set -- not only did he write and make beats, but he also had the know-how to engineer studio sessions for other artists, and to mix down the sounds of their productions to make sure they sound of music do re mi right together. He initially tasked Ryan to just work on the artists' drums, but Ryan wanted more.

"It got to a point where I'm like, 'I'm not sharpening all my skills if I'm only doing drums. I can play keys, I can write, I can do melody,'" Ryan said. He played something for Ledisi that ended up being "Missy Doubt" from her album "The Truth." He later produced fan favorite "Lose Control" from the album.

He also connected with Kem, who had his own bouts with homelessness in Detroit before becoming a Grammy-nominated singer. Kem admired Ryan's persistence, and he went to the studio one day to give him an envelope with a note and some cash -- just enough to help Ryan make his car payment that day. He also asked Ryan for production on a song, which he ended up using for an upcoming song with Snoop Dogg.

Ryan's TV scoring is also continuing. In recent weeks, he completed the scoring for "Hip Hop Sisters," an upcoming BET reality show that will star MC Lyte, Lady of Rage, Lil Mama, and other female rappers' careers. Ryan said the show is going through editing.

The process for this was different from his previous work, since this show contrasts with his other projects.

"This show is less drama-based, so it's situational and has less points of aggression. With the Toya show, they specifically needed somebody who does movie scores," he said. "With this one, it's more cue-driven -- a lot of hip-hop beats -- and I can be a little bit more free with the format."

For Ryan's birthday in February 2013, Rideout offered him a gift for his hard work: He told him to go find a place to live, and that he would take care of it.

"When he said that, I just started crying," Ryan said. "It's not comfortable sleeping in that car. Your back is hurting, and feel like you're losing your mind."

Ryan eventually finished his own album, "1879" - -named after the miles he drove from Wisconsin to Los Angeles. He released the album around his birthday in February. He wants to use the number to describe anyone's hard journey toward reaching their dreams.

"We all have goals we're trying to reach: I want 1879 to be the representation of the grind and whatever you have to do that it takes," he said.

In California, he also connected with fellow Flint native Terry Crews, who shot a video praising the record.

"It's classic, and classy--but it still got that bump, because that's what I've got to have," Crews said in the video. "You're going to enjoy it. You're going to love it."

The TouchArcade Show - 147 - A Quick GDC Wrap Up

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As we mentioned last week, things were going to be a little weird with this week's episode of the podcast. Jared and I actually recorded this in our hotel room. The audio quality isn't great, but we figured you guys needed something in your podcast feeds. We chat about our favorite games of the week, what we're looking forward to, why Seabeard is so awesome, and my personal highlight: Meeting Flappy Bird creator Dong Nguyen.

Don't forget to shoot us emails with any questions, feedback, or anything else relevant or irrelevant to We read 'em all, even if they don't make it into the podcast. As always, you can listen to us with the links below... And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and/or drop us a review in iTunes. Much appreciated!

iTunes Link: The TouchArcade Show
Zune Marketplace: Podcasts
RSS Feed: The TouchArcade Show
Direct Link: TouchArcadeShow-147.mp3, 47.2MB

We'll be back with a full episode next week, so be sure to stick around for that.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Shop online smarter with the Compare Hatke browser extension

E-commerce has gained a lot of attention in India and portals like Ebay, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have taken the market by storm. With so many portals, one has to jump onto every portal to check the lowest Deal Today of every product.To make things simpler, one can visit Buy Hatke, which is a very useful price comparison website that helps you compare prices from all the Indian online shopping portals.

The people behind Buy Hatke have also launched a neat browser extension called Compare Hatke which works both on Chrome and Firefox and it makes online shopping a real treat.

The extension can be simply installed from here and you are good to go. After installing, when you are shopping online and land on a product page, the extension will automatically search for the same product on every shopping portal to give you the lowest price in a tab right above your page. You can also compare the prices from all the portals by simply hitting the 'Compare prices' option in the tab.

There is also an option called 'Watch item', where Compare Hatke automatically sends you alerts when there is a price drop in a particular product. Along with that every product page includes a graph showing the rise and fall of the price of a product in the past few days. The graph also suggests whether you should buy the product in the coming few days, in a week or in a month by taking an average of the ups and downs of the price.
It is definitely a recommended extension and if you love online shopping, then Compare Hatke is a must.

Nokia presents idea to app contest: Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820, reward points to be won... Come Get Yours