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CES 2014: a look back at what mattered


Innovation certainly was on display at CES 2014—4K HDTV hardware reached affordable prices, there was a tsunami of wearable fitness and health tech, 3D printers popped up everywhere, and smart cars made their mark, just to name a few of the major trends we spotted.

Our team patrolled the International CES show floor all week at searching for the devices and services you need to know about. In the process, we chose 10 winners for our Best of CES awards.

We also had our usual fun selecting other gear, trends, and innovations that caught our interest, which we showed you in our Picks slideshow. And we poked some gentle fun at some of the weird items displayed at this giant trade show in our Pans slideshow.

Here are some of our comprehensive slideshows about International CES 2014…

Content Marketing World Tech Summit 2013

 Content Marketing World Tech Summit 2013

IDG Global Solutions, IDG Enterprise, IDG TechNetwork and IDG Consumer & SMB are sponsors of this year’s Content Marketing World Tech Summit taking place on Thursday September 12, 2013. It is the only content marketing event dedicated to technology marketers.  CMW Technology Summit brings together leading tech brand marketers from around the world to talk about how valuable and compelling content strategies can attract and retain customers.

For more information on the event and registration details, click here

IDG Calls On ‘Hero’ Display Ad Units To Save The Banner


In the two months since tech publisher IDG finished a major redesign of its PCWorld, Macworld and TechHivesites, the company is ready to expand the centerpiece of that effort: the “Homepage Hero” box.

The box is intended to serve as a front door for each site, displaying a large slot called the “Content Hero,” where editors display the biggest stories for each day, with one section saved for sponsorships sold by the IDG Consumer & SMB division, which operates the sites. The Hero units seems like yet another bid by a publisher to “go beyond” the 728×90 banner ad to attract lucrative brand awareness dollars. But IDG Consumer & SMB CRO Brian Gleason is quick to tell AdExchanger that while the redesign does reduce the number of ad units on a page in favor of the larger, higher priced Hero unit, the format is ultimately being used to complement regular ad spots, not replace them.

“There’s certainly a place for a banner, even today,” Gleason said. “There’s just not a place for nine units on a page. Otherwise, it starts to look like Nascar – a logo placed everywhere. That’s part of the reason we did this — there’s more breathing room for both consumers and advertisers.” Within the past few weeks Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Brother and TrendMicro have tried out the Hero units, which IDG has claimed to have yielded average click rates of between 2 and 4%

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IDG Consumer & SMB Sees Ad Performance Rise With Redesigned HTML5/Responsive Sites

Business Wire

PCWorld, Macworld, and TechHive, get a big boost in click-through rates with high-impact ad placements

SAN FRANCISCO—   Two months after the launch of redesigned HTML5/responsive websites, IDG Consumer & SMB is seeing encouraging results from its changes to PCWorld.com and Macworld.com, along with newly launched site TechHive.com. Overall, ad placements are delivering an average click-through rate (CTR) around 80% higher than pre-redesign levels.

IDG Consumer & SMB’s sites are also performing well against industry benchmarks. Ad units scheduled as run-of-site are delivering an average 0.38% click-through rate, compared to the tech industry average of 0.11% (MediaMind Global Benchmarks 2012). All three sites have better than average click performance with content and user targeting as well.

“We’re very pleased with these metrics,” notes IDG Consumer & SMB Chief Revenue Officer Brian Gleason. “We focused our redesign efforts on giving users visually-rich and intuitive websites that work across devices. We also wanted to make sure our advertising partners had a prominent place among our content. We’ve hit the mark for both readers and marketers.”

InCaseHero Macworld 0912 300x281 IDG Consumer & SMB Sees Ad Performance Rise With Redesigned HTML5/Responsive Sites         SamsungHero TechHive 0912 300x285 IDG Consumer & SMB Sees Ad Performance Rise With Redesigned HTML5/Responsive Sites

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IDG’s Stab at the ‘Premium’ Banner Ad


Banners aren’t going anywhere, but publishers are busy trying to remake them into something more interesting — and that advertisers will pay more for them than the rock-bottom rates available in programmatic ad buying.

For some sites, that means rethinking the page. Gannett, for example, eliminated 47 percent of its ad slots in its September 2012 redesign of USAToday.com. At the same time, IDG Consumer & SMB took a “less is more” approach, removing two to three standard display ads per page. It instead rolled out what it’s calling “the content hero” on TechHive, PCWorld and Macworld. The oddly sized unit, which is 1130 x 500, takes over the site on the homepage and highlights the advertiser’s offering. The unit sits on top of editorial content for the first eight seconds of the user’s visit. It then reduces in size and leaves the brand logo on the site.

“By taking fewer ads, we thought it was risky because eliminating ads means we may lose money,” said Brian Gleason, chief revenue officer at IDG TechNetwork and IDG Consumer & SMB. “But [this] proves larger units, more impactful units that can fit in with the design of a page without taking away from the user experience is being welcomed on both sides.”

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CMS overhaul: Rebuilding a ‘rickety house’

eMedia Vitals

Publishing systems are becoming increasingly complex as the digital marketplace evolves. Keeping pace with rapidly changing audience and advertiser demands is forcing many publishers to ask a tough question: Can our existing databases and content management system carry us into the future?

For IDG’s Consumer & SMB group, the answer was no. “Our systems were not built to anticipate recent changes in the marketplace and in the technology,” said Aaron Jones, the group’s chief technology officer and vice president of product development. In response, the IDG unit has spent the past six months building a new publishing system that leverages HTML5,responsive design and a host of new back-end components to accommodate shifts in the digital publishing landscape.


Making a case for HTML5 investment

eMedia Vitals

HTML5 promises to get publishers closer to digital media’s Promised Land: create once, deliver everywhere. As deployments increase and the standard evolves, media companies are finding it. At last week’s MPA Digital: Technology conference in New York, media executives and vendors discussed HTML5’s potential and some of the early lessons they’re learning from their HTML5 projects. The consensus: HTML5 enables publishers to maximize resources as content distribution expands across an ever-expanding variety of tablets and smartphones. HTML5 also provides investment protection against future devices in a mobile market that is still forming.

Some publishers are already re-building their digital foundations around HTML5, having justified that responsive design and web apps are more cost-effective than native, device-specific apps. “Finding iOS programmers can be expensive,” said Don Peschke, CEO of August Home Publishing, which is transitioning its portfolio of woodworking, garden, cooking and home improvement websites to HTML5.

Executives added several other reasons to begin making the transition to HTML5, including:

Less code. A common code base for web and mobile environments will reduce the amount of code that developers need to maintain, thereby decreasing the chances of errors that lead to broken links or other negative user experiences. IDG’s Consumer & SMB group, for example, is consolidating its PCWorld.com,Macworld.com and new TechHive.com websites around a common HTML5 code base – which Chief Technology Officer Aaron Jones estimates will be about 20% the size of the existing code base just for PCWorld.com.

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PCWorld and Macworld Rebuilding Publishing Platform to Optimize Content Delivery and Presentation

Publishing Executive & Media Minute

Q3 Redesign to Feature HTML5, CSS 3, and Responsive-Design Approach

San Francisco—With the continued increase in content consumption across many devices, IDG Consumer & SMB, publisher of PCWorld  and Macworld , is transforming its publishing platform and its web sites to solve workflow challenges, provide a richer reading experience, and deliver the right content regardless of screen size. The IDG Consumer & SMB technology team has spent the last six months building a proprietary content management system. This now boasts a unified, flexible code base that allows content creators to post once and publish across all IDG Consumer & SMB media brands and to all devices. “We are building a powerful digital publishing system that allows us to efficiently meet the needs of our readers and advertisers today and be able to respond to media and device changes in the future,” said Aaron Jones, chief technology officer, IDG Consumer & SMB.

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IDG’s new CMS incorporates HTML5, CSS 3

Media Business

IDG Consumer & SMB, which publishes PCWorld, Macworld and the TechHive blog, is in the process of reworking its content management system. The new CMS—officially launching in the third quarter—uses HTML5 and CSS 3, which enable the website to automatically adapt to whatever device is being used to access it. Digital Directions discussed the approach to the new CMS with Aaron Jones, CTO at IDG Consumer & SMB.

Digital Directions: What is the previous system used at IDG Consumer & SMB?

Aaron Jones: We are on top of a homegrown system that has evolved over the years in various iterations. Right now we’re running on top of a Java Struts II stack and a bunch of other custom stuff and open-source packages.

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