All posts by Fletcher Maffett

Stay Informed: 14 Events in January to Maximize Engagement

As always, Inform is here to help you prep for your event coverage with our massive library of content. From local and trending to national and breaking news –- we have it all.

Check out the events to keep an eye on for January.

Wednesday, 1/6

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, kicks off in Las Vegas and runs through Saturday, 1/9. Here’s what to look out for at the biggest tech show of the year.

A press event ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show offered an early glimpse into what could be the biggest trends of the four-day event, which will attract around 170,000 people. A gaming chair for virtual reality and a four-wheeled robot driven by a sm

Here’s what else to look out for at CES — Inform! If you’re at CES, definitely get in touch with an Inform team member.

Saturday, 1/9

Get into Super Bowl fever early with the NFL Wildcard Playoffs through Sunday, 1/10.

Sunday, 1/10

Host Ricky Gervais won’t be holding back with the jokes at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards, airing live at 5PM PST and 8PM EST on NBC.

Ricky Gervais addresses who he may or may not roast on stage at the Golden Globes, discusses his preemptive apology and more upon arriving in Los Angeles to host the award show.

Tuesday, 1/12

President Obama will be giving his final State of the Union address at 9 PM EST. Until then, revisit Bloomberg’s roundup of the good, the bad, and the ugly of from the 2015 State of the Union.

Jan. 21 -- Bloomberg's Trish Regan recaps President Barack Obama's annual State of the Union address. She speaks with Bloomberg's Mark Crumpton on "Bottom Line." (Source: Bloomberg)

Thursday, 1/14

Rise and shine! The 88th Academy Awards Nominations will be announced at 5:30am PST and 8:30am EST.

Meanwhile, Fox Business will be hosting the sixth Republican Presidential Debate in South Carolina.

Sunday, 1/17

The next Democratic Presidential Debate will be hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, and moderated by NBC news anchor Lester Holt.

Awards show season continues with the 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards airing at 8 PM EST and 5 PM PST on A&E.

Monday, 1/18

The Australian Open Tennis Championships begins and runs through the end of the month.

Thursday, 1/21

The Sundance Film Festival starts rolling in Park City, Utah until January 31. As though movies weren’t enough, VR experiences will also be available.

Two years ago, virtual reality was the awkward new kid at the Sundance Film Festival. There were less than a half-dozen VR experiences in 2014. All that will change in January, when more 30 VR experiences descend on Park City, Utah. The influx of VR ex

Sunday, 1/24

The Conference Championships begin at 3:05 PM EST on CBS with AFC lower seed at AFC higher seed, and NFC lower seed at NFC higher seed at 6:40 PM EST on FOX.

Saturday, 1/30

The 22nd Annual SAG Awards Ceremony will be simulcast live on both TNT and TBS.

Sunday, 1/31

Super Bowl week officially kicks off with the NFL Pro Bowl broadcast live on ESPN from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Les Shapiro and Woody Paige discuss free agents the Broncos should consider, on The Sports Show on Jan. 23, 2015.

Is the Pro Bowl a joke? You decide.

You can also catch the NHL All-Star Game airing from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.

And as always, reach out to the Inform Content Team with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Get Informed at CES 2016


Happy New Year from Inform! We had fun celebrating 2015 and are diving right into 2016. The first order of business? CES 2016.

CES is arguably the biggest tech event of the year, and Inform will be there talking about our technology and how it can help potential publisher, content, and advertising partners increase audience engagement, video views, and revenue.

We’re excited to have several Inform colleagues in attendance, including CEO Greg Peters and members of the advertising, business development, and publisher teams — and they are all excited to share with attendees all that Inform has to offer.

Whether it’s the latest in online video products; our vast library of brand-safe, pre-monetized stellar content from top partners; or our industry expertise, Inform can help potential partners increase ad opportunities, unlock new premium video dollars, find relevant video content, and much more — all at no cost.

Interested in talking with Inform at CES? Please email to schedule a meeting.

Inform Dynamic Placement: Increasing Video Ad Opportunities

We at Inform believe in the power of technology and people working together to improve efficiency, increase revenue, and create a better overall experience for audiences. Our Dynamic Placement market-leading technology helps to do just that.

Inform Dynamic Placement_12-15Working in both desktop and mobile environments, Inform’s Dynamic Placement enables the active placement of engaging videos on publisher story pages without the constant manual efforts by editors, allowing a significant increase in video pre-roll ad opportunities on publishers’ sites.

At the same time, editors retain full editorial control, choosing where on the site to place the videos and having the ability to remove or change videos at any time.

So how does Dynamic Placement work?

  • First,  Inform’s Perfect Pixel would be implemented to connect publisher site templates and stories with Dynamic Placement technology.
  • Next, our semantic matching algorithm reads the text and automatically identifies from our vast library of high-quality, pre-monetized videos the most relevant and appropriate ones to place on the page.
  • All that’s left to for the publisher to do is to select the stories for which they’d like Dynamic Placement.

Interested in letting Dynamic Placement do some of your work for you? Reach out to your account manager at

Inform Year-Ender: A Look Ahead to 2016

Happy New Year from Inform!

We’ve been celebrating 2015 with our Year-Ender series, from the top news stories of the year, to top sports moments, to the biggest in entertainment. Today we kick off 2016 with an informative look at the year ahead.

2016 Summer Olympics: 1 year to Rio

In August, Olympic contenders from all over the world will be swimming, cycling, and gymnastic-ing for a place on the podium.

Katie Nolan chats with Randy Moss.

Will the Patriots win the Super Bowl again? Former wide receiver Randy Moss thinks so.

Donald Trump is ratcheting up his battle against Hillary Clinton by accusing her of playing "the woman card." Trump also went after Bill Clinton, pointing to his history of cheating and White House scandal with Monica Lewinski. This comes after Clinton's

The Presidential election will only ramp up in 2016. Inside Edition takes a look at how the Donald will be ratcheting up his attacks.

At a town hall event in Fairfield, Iowa on Tuesday, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton took a moment to caution voters against becoming disillusioned during the campaign season, even as she said Republicans propelled negative advertising. (Dec. 22)

Meanwhile at AP, Hillary Clinton encouraged voters not to become discouraged.

2016 promises to be the year of the superheroes, with no less than 8 big budget franchise tentpoles coming to theaters. The movies range from familiar franchises such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Captain America, X Men and the Batman/Superman crossove

Need a break from politics?  Decide if these big budget superhero movies coming out in 2016 are worth all the hype.

From John Legend and Chrissy Teigen to Kelly Clarkson and a One Direction singer -- these celebs are all set to welcome newborns to the world next year!

Entertainment Tonight delivers on seven celebrity babies to expect this year.

We're rooting for these relationships to stand the test of time.

Gwen and Blake, Zayn and Gigi, and more celebrity couples E! hopes stays together through in 2016.

Want more video? Reach out to the Content Team at to learn more about Inform’s vast library of high-quality, monetized videos.

Inform Year-Ender: Top News Stories of 2015

Happy almost New Year, and welcome to the latest installment of our Playlist Year-Ender series!

We’ve been spending all of December celebrating the last days of 2015 with special weekly emails to our partners. We’ve also been giving you a taste of those emails right here on the Inform blog.

We’ve already highlighted the top moments in sports and the biggest stories in entertainment. Today we take a look at some of the Top News Stories of the year.

Donald Trump has courted controversy during his campaign to become the Republican presidential candidate. Here are his 'worst' moments.

The Donald on Muslims, Mexicans, Syrians, and the disabled.

In wake of the shooting deaths of nine people inside a historic South Carolina church, some major department stores announced they would stop carrying the controversial Confederate Flag. Buzz60's Leig

In the aftermath of the deadly shooting at a historical African American church in South Carolina church, Walmart and Sears ban Confederate Flag products.

Social justice movements aren't supposed to look, sound and function like the status quo. Not when their very purpose is to upset it.

Comic and social commentator Felonious Munk speaks on the Black Lives Matter movement.

June 26 -- President Barack Obama calls Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the same-sex marriage case, after the ruling.

“Oh, you know, just the POTUS calling me on my cell phone.”

Pope Francis is in the middle of his first visit to the United States, meeting President Barack Obama, and even addressing Congress. While he isnt the first Pope to visit the U.S., how have previous Popes spent their visits? Watch to find out!

The history of Popes visiting America. Pope Francis was the only the fourth to do so.

Want more video? Contact the Content Team at

Inform Year-Ender: Top Entertainment Stories of 2015

Earlier in December we kicked off a month-long celebration of 2015 with our weekly Year-Ender Video Playlists, rounding up for our partners the top moments in sports, news, and more. And here on the Inform blog, we’re giving you a taste of those playlists.

Yesterday we looked at the top moments in sports. Today we’re rounding up the biggest stories in entertainment.

It's not a good summer for romance. We counted 16 celebrity breakups that have happened in the past few months, from Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani to Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick and more! Let's check out which Hollywood duos called it quits.

From Jen and Ben to Gwen and Gavin, It was the summer of the celebrity breakup.

Caitlyn Jenner accepted a "Woman of the Year" award from Glamour magazine on Monday night. The magazine honored Jenner for being a "Transgender Champion."

Caitlyn Jenner was honored as Glamour’s “Woman Of the Year.”

It looks like One Direction are about to become four individual directions as the band announce they are taking an extended hiatus.The boyband babes have reportedly decided to split for at least a year to focus on solo projects. So sorry fans, they will n

British boy band One Direction splits to focus on solo projects.

Khloe Kardashian's ex-husband was found unconscious in a room in Nevada after partying for days.

Ex-Laker Lamar Odom was found unconscious and was hospitalized.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced their little girl's name Monday morning.

Prince George gets a baby sister and her name is — drumroll please — Charlotte Elizabeth Diana!

E! sources confirm the actor's heath news ahead of his 'revealing personal announcement' scheduled on 'Today.'

Charlie Sheen announces he’s HIV-positive.

Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown's only child was laid to rest next to her mother in New Jersey.

Bobbi Kristina Brown is buried in New Jersey beside her mother, Whitney Houston.

Bill Cosby will once again be deposed under oath in a second case where a woman is accusing him of sexual assault.

Bill Cosby is ordered to testify.

If you’re interested in learning more about Inform’s vast library of high-quality, monetized videos, reach out to the Content Team at

Inform Year-Ender: Top Sports Moments of 2015

What the heck happened in sports this year? Inform partners who have been receiving our weekly Playlist Year-Ender emails are already in the know. But don’t worry. Today we’re giving you some highlights from the top sports moments.

Watch the last moments of the Royals' victory.

The Kansas City Royals win the World Series, their first in 30 years.

The Miami Hurricanes executed an 8-lateral last second play on a kickoff return to defeat Duke 30-27 in the wildest ending you'll ever see. Miami's Corn Elder took the the ball into the endzone but it was a full team-effort on the play that helped the Hu

The Miami Hurricanes executed an 8-lateral last second play on a kickoff return to defeat Duke 30-27 in the wildest ending you’ll ever see.

Riley Curry joins Stephen at podium, steals the show

Riley Curry joins dad Stephen at the podium, and promptly steals the show.

Floyd Mayweather was named the winner by unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao in Saturday night's highly anticipated boxing match in Las Vegas. The match went all 12 rounds with both fighters

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. named winner in highly anticipated boxing match against Manny Pacquiao.

Is Ronda Rousey's loss good for the UFC?

Is Ronda Rousey’s loss good for the UFC?

If you’re interested in learning more about Inform’s vast library of high-quality, monetized videos, reach out to the Content Team at

Data Tells a Story: train delays, medical decisions, snacking smartly


We at Inform believe that data tells a story, across all industries, and every week we round up the most interesting ones. This week: predicting train delays; making wise medical decisions; and snacking smartly.

How big data predicts and helps prevent train delays in Sweden

The commuter rail operator in Stockholm is using big data to forecast and prevent delays.

Using historic data to look two hours into the future, their prediction model anticipates and acts on disruptions that have yet to happen. For example, the model may predict that a train will be 10 minutes late to a certain station. To avoid this, another train is sent to that station on time, avoiding a “ripple effect” of delays that will grow exponentially.

Big Data reveals the surprising profile of an ISIS recruit

In the light of the attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, one data scientist decided he wanted to do more than “pray and condemn the violence.”

Zeeshan ul-hassan Usmani poured over “data on ISIS recruits the way he normally analyzes data on consumers for major brands,” including social media posts and the cases of accused terrorists.

He came away with several findings. One is that there are over 70,000 people in North America, Australia, and Europe “ready to radicalize.” Another is that recruits are mostly young and male; more likely to be educated; and from middle or upper middle class families. They also don’t necessarily have a devoutly religious background but are more likely to have been secular and become radicalized.

In addition, he discovered what could be a connection between number of those ready to be radicalized and the prevalence of Islamophobia. For instance, he estimated that France has over 27,000 potential recruits (as opposed to little over 1,500 in the UK). France also has the largest Muslim prison population and has had 26 mosques vandalized since the attack at Charlie Hebdo earlier this year.

Using Big Data to Make Wiser Medical Decisions

In this article, a physician explores the different ways data can help patients better manage their health care. One way is through patient-generated data. Using data collected from a wearable device, Dr. Halamka tracked his own blood pressure levels and the possible causes, finding that his high blood pressure was most likely genetic and not caused by external factors.

Data can also help with precision medicine. When his wife diagnosed with breast cancer, Dr. Halamka was able to use open source software to assess the treatment of 10,000 women who fit his wife’s criteria and determine the best course of treatment (his wife is now cancer free).

Cruz campaign credits psychological data and analytics for its rising success

While Ted Cruz has spoken out against excessive government data collection, his presidential campaign has been actively collecting and analyzing data from supporters and potential voters to personalize messages, calls, and visits.

The data comes from a variety of sources including Facebook posts, buying habits, an app that keeps supporters “in touch” with the campaign while scraping their contacts, surveys of more than 150,000 households, and geo-fencing, geographically tracking people through their mobile devices.

From the collected data, the Cruz campaign, working with a data analytics firm, built several profiles, such as the “stoic traditionalist,” a conservative voter mainly concerned about immigration, and tailored messaging to those profiles ( “confident and warm,”  “straight to the point”).

Missives were also designed according to how people scored on certain attributes. Those who scored high on “neuroticism” would receive pro-gun messages emphasizing the use of weapons in terms of personal safety, while those who scored high for “openness” would receive a pitch on the idea of hunting as a family activity.

How Gousto is using data to change the way we shop for food online

UK-based startup Gousto makes cooking easier by delivering ingredients in a box. But they don’t just take orders: they ingest data to learn more about what their customers like.

The company built a data engine “to tag every ingredient and recipe to build up a network understanding” of their customers’ preferences. Their recommendation engine, dubbed “Laura,” analyzes millions of data points to predict what people like to eat and when.

Gousto’s tactic is similar to that of Naturebox, a U.S. startup that delivers healthy snacks and recommends snacks tailored to individual tastes based on an algorithm they developed.

Get Informed: The 5th GOP Presidential Debate

Inform continues its coverage of the 2016 Presidential Elections with the top videos from Tuesday’s Republican debate, broadcast live on CNN from Las Vegas.

The last debate of the year focused on national security and the threat of ISIS. In the meantime, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz jostled for power while Donald Trump assured the Grand Old Party he’s not going anywhere.

Check out the most notable moments from the event.

Trump defended his immigration policy, including his proposal to indefinitely ban all Muslims from entering the country, during the GOP debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday. He also repeated his plan for a wall at the Mexican border. (Dec. 15)

Trump defends his call for a ban on Muslims in the U.S.

Cruz, Rubio tangle over Islamic State strategy

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio clash on national security and immigration.

Paul: Gov. Christie would bring World War 3

Rand Paul asserts that Chris Christie would bring World War 3.

Four Republican presidential candidates ranking at the bottom of national polls squared off for their final debate of the year Tuesday night in Las Vegas. Topics focused on national security and the threat from the Islamic State group. (Dec. 15)

And let’s not forget the undercard candidates.

Trump won't run as an Independent

Trump assures us he won’t be running as an Independent.

That’s just a taste of Inform’s massive library of high-quality, pre-monetized content.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to the Inform Content Team at

Data Tells a Story: catching lies; fighting the flu; Chinese shopping trends

The Golden Week has begun, Ladies and Gentlemen

We at Inform believe that data tells a story, across all industries, and every week we round up the most interesting ones. This week: catching lies, fighting the flu, and what the Chinese are buying.

Lie-detecting software uses real court case data

How do you catch a liar? Humans are bad at it, say researchers at the University of Michigan, and perform only slightly better than a coin-flip. That’s why the team is using real-world data to build a better way.

The researchers’ lie-detecting software is based on data from a set of 120 video clips from “high-stakes court cases,” half of which had been deemed to be deceptive. To obtain the data, the audio was transcribed and the frequency and types of words were analyzed, as well as the number and types of gestures.

The software was found to be up to 75 percent accurate in identifying who was lying while humans were right only a little more than half the time. The software also discovered several “tells.” For example, liars were  more likely to scowl or grimace; look directly at the questioner (perhaps as a way of overcompensating); gesture with both hands; and use speech fillers such as “um.”

Scientists use big data to fight flu

Flu season can be deadly. In Switzerland, the flu virus results in as many as 5,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 deaths every year. So Swiss researchers, along with those from Germany and the U.S., are looking for a way to decrease those numbers.

After analyzing datasets from publications on the host molecules that flu viruses rely upon to replicate, the team “discovered 20 previously unknown host molecules that promote the growth of influenza A viruses.”

One of those host molecules is known as UBR4, which can help a flu virus replicate as many as 20,000 new viruses. The scientists discovered that blocking UBR4 prevents that virus replication and therefore “is feasible as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of influenza.”

FBI to start tracking animal cruelty in 2016

While animal cruelty cases were previously placed in a general category in FBI’s National Incident Based Reporting System, starting in January they will be placed in their own specific categories, including neglect and intentional abuse, and will be classified as “crimes against society.”

Such a change is important not only to prevent cruelty to animals, but to predict escalating acts of violence. Previous research has found links between animal cruelty, domestic violence, and other criminal acts. Most recently, this pattern was found in the case of Robert Lewis Dear, alleged shooter at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, who has been accused of both animal cruelty and domestic violence in the past.

How IBM Is Using Big Data To Battle Air Pollution In Cities

Beijing recently issued its first red alert for pollution, and IBM is trying to use big data to remedy the problem very unhealthy air in China’s capital and other cities.

Using machine learning, data scientists will analyze the quality and accuracy of previous weather forecasts, and build improved forecasting models from there. In the past, when a city knew the source and amount of pollution in the air, the more likely it was to take action, resulting in lowered pollution levels and improved public health.

Ideally, as a result of such number crunching and analyses, cities like Beijing will have issued their first and last red alert.

Alibaba’s Consumer Behavior Data Reveals Trends in China

E-commerce behemoth Alibaba recently released its latest big data report on consumer habits.

Analyzing data based on the behavior of 300 million shoppers from 2011 to this past September, Alibaba came away with a several findings. For instance, they found that consumers were buying healthier, investing much more in purchases such as organic foods, healthcare products, and sports equipment.

They also found that those born in 1980s and ‘90s were the biggest shoppers, and, most surprisingly, that people shop much more during the Magpie Festival, or Qi Xi, a sort of Chinese version of Valentine’s Day that falls in August, than on Western Valentine’s Day, showing perhaps that “young Chinese people have started to value their own tradition.”