Press Coverage

How We Got Funded: Visual Revenue

Christine Lagorio, April 10, 2013

Dennis Mortensen and Charlie Holbech are something of an anomaly in the tech world: serial entrepreneurs with an aversion to raising outside funds. “We are, perhaps naively, huge fans of bootstrapping,” says Mortensen. They launched IndexTools, a Web-analytics company they sold to Yahoo in 2008, without any outside investment. They didn’t have that luxury for their latest venture, Visual Revenue, which makes predictive analytics software for media companies. Mortensen took the lead in their…

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Outbrain, Inc. Acquires Visual Revenue; coverage highlights

March 7, 2013

The Wall Street Journal — by Matthew Lynley

Ad Exchanger — by David Kaplan

VentureBeat — by Devindra Hardawar

BetaKit — by Erin Bury

MediaPost — by Gavin O’Malley

Globes — by Roy Goldenberg

Beet TV — by Andy Plesser

Outbrain Blog — by Yaron Galai, CEO

Visual Revenue Blog — by Dennis R. Mortensen, CEO

Visual Revenue Lets Editors Use Audience Data Like Publishers

David Kaplan, February 14, 2013

Add “holistic yield management” to the list of terms content companies are sorting through in trying to determine what’s real and what’s hype when it comes to building audiences and ad revenue. Over the past few weeks, Visual Revenue, which bills itself as the operator of a “Bloomberg terminal” for editors, has expanded into social media recommendations. The company’s software tells editors the best time to distribute certain kinds of content, and predicts how well content can perform from a traffic and engagement standpoint at…

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New social media tool strives to balance algorithms with human editors

Emma Gardner, February 7, 2013

Any community editor knows that there’s an art to the perfect tweet–a tweet composed so intriguingly and pushed out at just the right time that your followers go wild with clicks, retweets and comments. To complement this art, several new platforms have sprung up to provide hard data on what’s most and least effective. One of the newest on the market is from Visual Revenue, a company that already provides an analytics solution that helps publishers determine which stories to feature on their websites’ homepage…

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Editors: Do you have a robot deputy? How an algorithm could change your newsroom’s social publishing strategy

Adrienne LaFrance, February 5, 2013

It was only about a year ago that Liz Heron — then a social media editor at The New York Times, now in a similar role at The Wall Street Journal — predicted her job title wouldn’t exist in five years. The job has already changed a lot, “some in ways I predicted, some not,” Heron wrote in a recent Digital First Media chat. “The most significant change is that an editor has to focus a lot less on evangelizing and training — convincing people that social media is worth incorporating into the news,” Heron wrote. “We also have more people in newsrooms who can…”

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Visual Revenue launches social dashboard, gives editors recommendations on when a post will best resonate with, and engage, the audience

Sarah Marshall, February 5, 2013

Predictive analytics platform Visual Revenue has today announced the launch of a dashboard to help journalists and social media editors time tweets and other posts. The new ‘social editorial suite’ works in a predictive way, suggesting what stories will resonate best on different platforms and channels at which times. The social suite is integrated into Visual Revenue’s real-time analytics platform that launched in 2011 and is used in more than 250 newsrooms around the world, including News International…

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Visual Revenue Adds Facebook & Twitter Tools to Help Editors Optimize Social Sharing

Andrea Ozretic, February 5, 2013

Today New York City-based startup Visual Revenue, which helps online publications understand where to place their stories for maximum traffic, launched a new feature that suggests when news organizations should promote their breaking stories on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. This new feature builds on Visual Revenue’s platform, which tells publishers what stories should be placed on their homepage, and for how long. The new feature works by learning about the website and…

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SIIA Announces 2013 Winners: Top Early Stage Companies

Kathy Greenler Sexton, January 16, 2013

SIIA today announced 11 winners of its “Previews” competition, which annually selects the country’s most innovative early stage content or content technology companies. Winners will be showcased at the 12th annual Information Industry Summit in New York City, January 30-31. The SIIA Previews Program selects and then spotlights the most innovative new content creators, aggregators and technology vendors that are transforming the information industry. A panel of judges from the SIIA membership reviewed and judged a field of innovative companies to select the 11 Previews winners.

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Can software replace an editor’s eye?

Jonathan Blum, December 5th, 2012

Dennis Mortensen knows the business problem with big data is not getting the information, but figuring out how to use it. “Data is now a commodity,” he said. “You can get it free of charge. The difficult thing to do is to something smart with it.” Mr. Mortensen is founder and owner of Visual Revenue, a Manhattan-based data analytics company creating a new generation of information analysis tools for media companies. His is one of a handful of firms growing in New York City, the media capital of the world—and at times generating controversy because of fears that their analytics might one day replace journalists’ judgment about the news.

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Forget the electoral college: What if each click was a vote?

Meghan Kelly, November 6th, 2012

Visual Revenue helps those in digital media look at what stories and features of their homepage are being used and how (disclosure VentureBeat has used Visual Revenue). It watched a number of outlets to see what kinds of headlines got the highest click-through-rates and asked how the election would turn out if each of those clicks was actually a vote for the candidate features in that article. The team looked at clicks in just the United States and then the world overall. Based on headlines clicked in just the U.S., Obama comes out on top at 51 percent. If you add Europe into the mix, however, Romney edges the current president out with 53 percent.

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How Web Analytics Are Shaping Advertising Dollars And The Newsroom

Nu Yang, October 10th, 2012

Toronto’s Globe and Mail has worked with Visual Revenue for about seven months. Deputy editor of digital operations Chris Boutet said that partnering with Visual Revenue gave the Globe and Mail the chance to finally see the click-through rates on the website’s homepage. “It shed some light on some dark corners of user activity,” he said. Homepage editors are now able to get insight on the page and take immediate action. “We can evaluate designs, test different headlines, hone in on our performance, and drive traffic overall,” Boutet said. He said newspapers have always had that data, but it was on a slower cycle. “Now we have the feedback right away.”

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Data & dollars: The death of the printing press doesn’t mean the death of the ‘press’

Paul Sawers - TheNextWeb, August 16th, 2012

It’s a pretty neat feature, in that it lets Editors see which part of a story resonates most with the audience, or whether the audience is familiar with an athlete’s name or pseudonym. After all, it’s easy to make assumptions about readers’ knowledge. Using VR, USA Today tweaked a slew of its headlines – ones that perhaps weren’t performing quite as well as they should’ve been. And here’s how the title tweaks panned out…

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How USA Today used headline testing to boost Olympics traffic

Sarah Marshall, August 16th, 2012

According to the blog, the USA Today sports team ran approximately 150 individual headline tests during the London 2012 Olympics. It found on average one headline resulted in 57 per cent more click-throughs than the alternative headline. Visual Revenue states that headline testing gives editorial teams "an opportunity, in real-time, to see which different aspects of a story resonate best with their audience…

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Dennis Mortensen on what current data reveal about our digital reading habits

Emma Gardner, August 3rd, 2012

Today’s digital disruptor is Dennis Mortensen, founder and chief executive of Visual Revenue, a start-up that provides “a predictive analytics solution” to help online publishers create a better front page. There has long been an art to the front page. Based on years of experience and some well-honed gut instincts, editors pick which news story to place front and center. Now, Visual Revenue wants to turn that art into a science.

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News:rewired – state of the union

Martin Belam, July 16th, 2012

Perhaps the one trend that seemed to emerge on the day was the growing emergence of the use of real-time data in making decisions. Dennis Mortensen of Visual Revenue and Tony Haile of Chartbeat gave impressive talks about how you could grow traffic by responding quickly to what is happening on the web. It harkened to Frédéric Filloux’s recent point about news organisations not making the best job of packaging and marketing their content.

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Inside Forbes: The 5 Reasons Behind Our Bold New Home Page

Lewis DVorkin, June 28th, 2012

Obviously, we have editorial as well as business needs. These four stacks — and a number of others — serve both. We combined news experience and data analysis to develop them. Visual Revenue, a startup, helped us determine how best to group links to maximize clickthrough. Knowing this, editors can program the top news stack and video and features stacks based on instinct, contributor data and usage numbers.

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Analytics tool Visual Revenue launches headline testing

Sarah Marshall, May 22nd, 2012

The analytics software used by large news organisations including NBC, CNN Money and the Globe and Mail, is designed to provide users with real-time recommendations on what content to place where on their homepage and for how long. Visual Revenue describes itself as a "predictive analytics engine" and has a vision of becoming the the "Bloomberg terminal of the newsroom", Dennis Mortensen, CEO and founder of the company told The company is promising the launch of the new headline testing feature will allow digital editors to see the first results within 15 seconds.

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Killer Headline: algorithms help in choosing the best title (Translated from German)

Jürgen Meier, May 23rd, 2012

The headline above would probably failed – even though it has at least attracted you. But seriously: A good title is very important in online journalism. She thrilled repels them, they will often read – and therefore also the text below. Because it is just a drop in your daily flood of information. It is that which one has to sell the text that is not read when the incentive is missing. Everything that comes after that is only worth half, if the title is wrong. And just because the headline is so important, will the web analytics company Visual Revenue facilitate the work of journalists.

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New York's Visual Revenue to Beef Up Tech Staff

Joseph Walker, February 22nd, 2012

After raising $1.7 million in new financing last month from IA Ventures and SoftBank Capital, New York-based Visual Revenue Inc. plans to hire at least 10 new employees this year. The 16-person company was founded in 2010 by Dennis R. Mortensen, the former director of data insights at Yahoo. Visual Revenue makes software for news and content publishers that recommends where and when to place stories on their websites and mobile apps. The company's algorithms analyze a publication's audience viewing habits in real-time to deliver precise recommendations for each client, Mortensen said. The company's customers include the New York Daily News and Fast Company.

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Did Visual Revenue Predict This Headline?

Gavin O'Malley, February 21st, 2012

Probably upsetting every editor in the room, Visual Revenue CEO Dennis Mortensen is stirring up OMMA Metrics with talk of his headline predicting technology. The company’s “Bloomberg terminal of the newsroom,” so-called, has been gathering steam over the past year. Having recently raised $1.7 million, Visual Revenue now boasts an impressive client list, including Forbes,, NBC, CNN Money, and Cox Media. Visual Revenue offers media companies a “Front Page Decision Support System” for their online editors.

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Visual Revenue Envisioning The Bloomberg Terminal Of The Newsroom Says CEO Mortensen

John Ebbert, February 17th, 2012

AdExchanger: What has been the big highlight for Visual Revenue in the past year? DM: We haven't pivoted into anything else so the vision with which we set up the company a year ago is exactly the same today. In the space that we're in now, where we spend all our time speaking to editors, the thing that matters the most is NOT an increased revenue opportunity or lift. They want to make sure that if they're at the FT (Financial Times), the FT stays the FT and doesn't turn into the New York Post, or vice versa.

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How Long Should This Article Stay on the Front Page? Visual Revenue Can Predict

Erin Bury, February 15th, 2012

The company is trying to become the “Bloomberg terminal of the online newsroom” through their Front Page Decision Support System. The company promises increased visitor engagement, content relevancy and revenue from using the tool, which probably looks like an oasis in the desert to online publishers struggling to maintain advertising revenues. Launched in January 2011, the company’s client list reads like a who’s-who of the media industry: CNNMoney, Forbes, and FastCompany to name a few of the 45 they currently have on board. The investors list also reflects how people are flocking to big data, with prolific angel Ron Conway on board, as well as big VC firms.

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Data & dollars: The death of the printing press doesn’t mean the death of the ‘press’

Paul Sawers - TheNextWeb, January 27th, 2012

Data is the name of the game, and the media industry – including newspapers – must sit up and take note. A few months ago, we reported on a company called Visual Revenue, a US-based firm that’s seeking to enable data-driven decisions in every newsroom. The company has just announced big expansion plans too, which could prove to be a major boost for the media industry.

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Is It Possible to Predict Pageviews 15 Minutes Into the Future? $1.7 M. for Visual Revenue Says Yes

Adrianne Jeffries - BetaBeat, January 26th, 2012

IA Ventures and Softbank Capital are invested. “We’ve done REALLY well, since we spoke last,” Mr. Mortensen said in an email, pointing us to the company’s long list of customers: Forbes, Time, De Telegraaf, NBC, CNN Money, and Cox Media, among others. Visual Revenue appears to be doing exactly what it was doing in January of last year, we noted. “We are pretty proud of that,” he said. “No ‘pivot’ for us!” A year, a roster of more than 35 global media partners, and an endorsement from big data mogul Roger Ehrenberg? We’re starting to worry this company may be able to predict the future or something.

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Online Publishers Can Benefit From Predictive Analytics Platform

Pierre DeBois - All Analytics, January 18th, 2012

The interesting aspect of the platform is that it focuses on the decision, rather than metrics. The recent changes in Web analytics dashboards, like those for Omniture SiteCatalyst 15 and Google Analytics v5, promise better flexibility in labels, improved visuals, and customization. However, the Visual Revenue platform offers no graphs based on average time on site or bounce rate. Instead, it concentrates on the decision to publish or not publish certain content.

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How Visual Revenue plans to enable data-driven decisions in every newsroom

Paul Sawers – The Next Web, December 10th, 2011

So there’s two challenges facing publishers: How to fulfill demand, and how to promote. Visual Revenue focuses on the latter. Where will they be 12 months from now? “I want to make sure that any editor is fully aware of the opportunity of being more data-driven”, says Dennis. “So I want them all to know that we exist. At some point, I want to be fully embedded into every newsroom. This whole notion that no trader on Wall Street is without a Bloomberg terminal? I don’t want any editor without a Visual Revenue terminal.

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Remaining Agile While Using Analytics

Pierre DeBois - Business Agility, December 6th, 2011

One paper operated for years, programming its front page carousel of varied articles based on the belief such decisions encouraged reader engagement. The platform instead revealed that a second position in a secondary listing near the carousel was the most valuable in attracting and retaining readers. The position, and the solution, proves that attention does not have to be splashy to truly garner a reader's attention. A number of publications have noted the overflow of data, but more than likely we'll read and hear more about decision making through 2012. Better decisions lead to better flexibility and faster capability to meet an increasingly shortening decision window.

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Foresight Is 20/20: Predictive Analytics And The Business Of Certainty

David Zax - Fast Company Inc., September 29th, 2011

"Scott Cohen, Digital Executive Editor of the New York Daily News, who has been programming front pages of websites for seven years, says of Visual Revenue that "we rarely make a move without consulting it." Over the years, he encountered editors who were skeptical that some algorithm could help with editorial decisions: "'That's Big Brother. That's my job. I don't need something like that to tell me what's working,'" they'd say. "Well you know what, you do," he counters. He finds himself more trusting of VR's real-time analytics, but says its predictive suggestions are more often right than wrong, calling it "radical to have a predictive engine as successful as it is." (Disclosure: Fast Company uses Visual Revenue, among other analytics services.)"

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And the winner is …

Stacey Cowley - CNNMoney Blog, September 23rd, 2011

"You can get a playback of the event through Twitter on #StartupCNNMoney thanks to @julpepitone’s tweet play-by-play and the steady stream of commentary our audience offered up. And the judges’ choice was … Visual Revenue! Which looks to me like Chartbeat on crack (I mean that in a good way): It throws a whole bunch of metrics into its secret sauce blender and spits out optimization recommendations for how, where and when to highlight stories on a news site to maximize reader engagement…"

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Ron Conway In A New York State Of Mind

Lizette Chapman - WSJ Blogs, September 22nd, 2011

"Now he’s hot on New York start-ups. Conway said that since 2009, the percentage of SV Angel investments in New York-based start-ups have increased from 2% to 20% and he expects that figure to only continue to grow. He said Los Angeles and Chicago were also emerging as top tech markets. SV Angel’s recent investments in New York start-ups include: Visual Revenue, which makes a predicative Web analytics tool for media companies…"

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CNNMoney Startup event tomorrow — here are the finalists!

CNNMoney Blog, September 21st, 2011

"For the past few weeks, we’ve been working on something new and different for us. Tomorrow CNNMoney will host its first startup event, at which three entrepreneurs will pitch their ventures — and talk up how their companies will help our brand. We received more than 100 submissions, and winnowed it down to three finalists: Qwanz, Roboinvest and Visual Revenue. They’ll face a panel of CNNMoney experts, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, who will shoot off questions a la the Spanish Inquisition."

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How to Predict (And Improve!) Your Future Traffic

David StromReadWriteWeb Cloud, September 7th, 2011

"Second is a nifty service that is focused on the editorial content (rather than the keyword and ad side of things) by Visual Revenue. They have developed some analytics that look at what the traffic on your home page (or other prime site real estate) will be a few minutes into the future. They told me that for sites like ours that post oodles of content all day long, figuring out the placement of that content isn't really for the present but for the visitor that is coming in the near future. Visual Revenue were the folks behind the technology later sold to Yahoo Analytics…"

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New generation of Web analytics applies ‘big data’ to newsroom decisions

Jeff SondermanPoynter, August 19th, 2011

"Visual Revenue also makes its recommendations “within a framework of editorial instructions,” Mortensen said. So each news organization can give it detailed guidelines, such as specifying a blend of local, regional and national stories, no more than 20 percent from wire sources or all less than 18 hours old. Implementing a system like this forces newsrooms to be strategic about what exactly their home page should be."

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Visual Revenue adds science to editorial decisions

Ellie BehlingeMediaVitals, July 28, 2011

"Visual Revenue predicts the performance of stories on the front page in order to help editors make decisions about story placement. It can also operate independently on pages without editors, but founder Dennis Mortensen said most news organizations prefer to use it as a tool to inform decisions. He compares it to how the Bloomberg Terminal is used by stock traders. “We want to be that Bloomberg terminal of the newsroom,” he said in a recent interview."

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Newspapers and Social Media: From Monologue to Dialogue

Dawn McMullan, May 13, 2011

INMA"Consider a company like Visual Revenue. The New York based company “provides editors with actionable, real-time recommendations on what content to place in what position right now and for how long, using predictive analytics that allow media organisations to proactively manage the cost of exposing a piece of content on a front page, whilst maximising the return they expect from promoting it,” the company’s Web site touts. The company launched in early 2011. Its analytics tell editors what people are most interested in at the moment, by the minute or by the hour, giving them the knowledge they need to make decisions about moving content around."

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New York's lean, mean startup machine


"In New York, the lean startup movement is the result of a confluence of recent trends: the emergence of a more “virtual” work force, the rising cost of office space and, most important, the availability of cloud technology, creating a host of free or nearly free Web-based applications for accounting, meeting and project collaboration."

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Dennis Mortensen: Are news orgs worrying too much about search and not enough about the front page?

Dennis Mortensen – for, March 2, 2011

"The front page is indeed still an enormously powerful engine of traffic. We now know that about half of your article views can be attributed to the primary front page or the section front pages — and with it a huge chunk of any news organization’s online revenue. The question, then, is what kind of processes and optimization methodologies have you applied to take advantage of this fact?"

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Data Driven Editorial

Rich Young – for, March 2, 2011

"So why is this a game changing analytic tool for editorial professionals? It augments one of the most important skill sets required of a top-notch editor – having a nose for news. After all, news organizations are using algorithms to create story ideas, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that despite the heat they’re receiving. So, why wouldn’t editors and content producers use predictive analytics to devise the most effective online news page?"

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Setting the Perfect Front Page – an interview with Dennis Mortensen (Visual Revenue), February 3, 2011

- "What’s the business case when working with your solution, how does this earn money for your clients? - Revenue opportunity; we generate this opportunity through e.g. an increase in page views. See how we get to $1,300,000 revenue opportunity in this post of mine. Cost saving opportunity;we provide an opportunity for the Editor to do the same task faster (to the point of full Automation) at a fraction of the cost. – On top of this, we are able to move the organization towards being slightly more data driven, as we have an ability to illuminate true performers and honest but unavoidable failures as well – NOT on page views!."

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CEO Mortensen Says Visual Revenue Is Optimizing Front Page Performance For Publishers, January 31, 2011

"Looking at your startup, what problem is Visual Revenue solving? We increase the Front Page performance for online media destinations like the NY Daily News, Telegraaf and similar. The increase comes from Editors using our predictive analytics platform to recommend what story goes where on the front page and for how long – in a manual or automated setting."

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Analytics for News Editors: Visual Revenue Launches

Rich YoungLewis PR, January 7, 2011

"…building a platform that ultimately serves readers and not solely search engines (obviously there’s a significant financial value proposition for publishers). So why is this a game changing analytic tool for editorial professionals, in my opinion? It augments one of the most important skill sets required of a top-notch editor – having a nose for news."

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Predict your pageviews?

Christine, January 7, 2011

"Leagues of bloggers and SEO scavengers are about to make a New York City start-up very successful. The New York Observer reports that Visual Revenue has developed software that can tell you which articles to place on your homepage in order maximize traffic to your site. According to CEO Dennis Mortensen, the recommendations provided by Visual Revenue via their Front Page Automation Platform resulted in a 29 percent traffic boost for its beta publishers in November."

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Forget Real-Time, NY Startup Predicts Pageviews 15 Min Into the Future

Adrianne, January 6, 2011

"…apparently the New York Daily News and eight other publishers are testing something edgier. Visual Revenue, a New York-based startup, claims it can predict how well a story will do on the front page 15 minutes in advance. Visual Revenue then recommends where to place the story on the page and for how long, and calculates the dollar value per hour for each item."

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A Crystal Ball to Boost Page Views?

Ellie BehlingeMediaVitals, January 5, 2011

"The new platform is most useful for news-oriented, larger publishers, from blogs to newspapers. Visual Revenue has tested the product with a handful of clients (including the New York Daily News), all of which agreed to follow the recommendation engine for story placement. Mortensen said the platform results in a 29 percent lift in front-page traffic. On a micro scale, that means the average reader visiting a front page went from reading three articles to four articles."

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