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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sneak Peak: Creating Comics with Bitstrips

Toronto-based Bitstrips.com is a user generated online comic builder, but the tool and its application has potential way beyond geeky comic strip enthusiasts.

I had a chance to test out Bitstrips.com and chatted with Shahan Panth from Bitstrips on June 22. Here's a sneak peak into our Q&A:

Q: How is Bitstrips disrupting the market?
A: Bitstrips is designed to be easy to use and provides a wide breadth of visual variety in terms of characters, poses, emotions and backgrounds, letting users create really unique, personalized comics. The Web-based tool is intended to be social, encouraging comic collaboration, sharing, and interaction between users.

Q: How have customers used it?
A: The Ministry of Education in Ontario licensed a special educational version of Bitstrips beginning in September 2009, making it available to any publicly funded school in the Province. Over 25,000 Ontario teachers have now registered their classrooms with
Bitstrips for Schools to engage students in reading and writing using comics as the medium in a private and secure virtual classroom. Close to 440,000 students are now using it across over 80% of the Province's schools.

Q: What's next for Bitstrips?
A: While we're looking to expand Bitstrips for Schools beyond Ontario - we already have hundreds of teachers using it around the world - there's also an opportunity to partner or collaborate with major brands on Bitstrips.com, particularly those that are eager to engage audiences with their products in new ways.

Sneak Peak: Enabling Audience Interaction with Chatroll

Engaging with audiences online and through mobile devices in real time is still relatively new, but quickly becoming a must for broadcasters, live event planners, big brands, and others that are looking to create more engaging audience conversations and experiences.

Toronto-based Chatroll is looking to address this opportunity with its platform for real-time social interaction. I had a chance to chat with Jonathan McGee and Francis Ma from Chatroll June 21, 2010. Here's a sneak peak into our Q&A:

Q: How do you differentiate Chatroll?
A: Chatroll allows broadcasters to quickly engage large audiences on a PC or a mobile device in real time. It allows the audience members to engage with one another, and the broadcaster, by commenting or asking questions. The conversation remains private (unlike a public forum like Twitter), providing an intimate conversation, but users can still sign in with their social media profiles so that other audience members can find and connect with them. We provide publishers with analytic data and insight around who is participating and where they are located, what kind of conversation is taking place, and topics that are being discussed, giving them powerful information to better engage with and monetize their audience.

Q: How have customers used the solution?
A: Chatroll was used at the Tribeca film festival in Manhattan, where we powered live Q&A, enabling real-time audience interaction in a single, private online space. Chatroll was also used by Joel Osteen, an American best-selling author and senior pastor in Texas. His ministry reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers weekly in over 100 nations around the world. During one of his live broadcasts from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, Chatroll was used to expand reach and engagement by enabling live social interaction between thousands of audience members in-attendance at the event and thousands of new, previously untapped online audience members.

Q: What are your plans for the solution moving forward?
A: We will continue to scale the solution to work with new platforms, and are looking for partners who can complement the social experience though video, photos or audio to further enable broadcasters to reach, engage, monetize and analyze their audiences in exciting new ways.