Ortsbo partners with Daughtry, Fan Talk platform delivers a realtime community portal in 66 languages

By Michael Carney , written on October 10, 2012

From The News Desk

As much as any other vertical, the global consumption of entertainment content demonstrates the degree to which the world is shrinking. One of the last barriers in building truly flat, global fan communities is language. Having common language is important not only concerning the content itself, but in terms of social media, fan websites, and other forums for artists and fans to interact with one another and share common interests.

Real-time, global communication platform startup Ortsbo is solving this problem by creating what it calls Fan Talk, a system of social engagement hubs that dynamically translate into 66 different languages. A month ago, mega-rock band KISS was the first to launch on the platform, and today the company is announcing a partnership with Grammy-nominated and AMA-winning pop band Daughtry, which features "American Idol" alum Chris Daughtry.

Ortsbo combines multimedia, chat, and ecommerce, allowing users to share photos, video, text, Tweets, and links, as well as purchase merchandise within a single portal, in the language of their choice. The platform pulls in and translates tagged content and feeds from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google +, Flickr, Vevo, and more to create a single destination where fans can engage with one another around their favorite artists.

To see the power of such a platform, imagine fans in Europe, for example, reading reactions to a concert tour in America, before buying tickets for an upcoming date. In the same way, a personal message from an artist like Chris Daughtry, can immediately reach a massive audience without any limitations due to language. For KISS, the company close captioned the band’s “Hell or High Water” music video in 13 languages, offering fans more nuanced real-time understanding.

"Ortsbo and its global fan programs are giving our firm and clients the ability to accelerate worldwide communication and business opportunities creating greater awareness for our artists,” says Pearl Group Entertainment CEO Stirling Mcllwaine. “This is what artists need to create global opportunities and generate revenue in today’s world.”

Unlike Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social platforms where artists currently aggregate massive followings, on Ortsbo, they can own the relationship and the data that is generated. Artists will gain truly valuable insights into the interests and behaviors of their fans which they can then use to better engage them.

For artists and consumers alike, the idea of another social aggregation platform is long since played out. It's no longer enough to simply mash up various content sources. To succeed in this vertical, companies must add new value that is not otherwise available. It would appear at first glance that Ortsbo does this with its multi-language support, but that's certainly no guarantee of mass adoption.

The key to Ortsbo’s language solution is its ability to build in specific topical lexicons around “music” or in the case of future implementations, “movies” or “sports.” In casual conversation, the service achieves the same 70 to 80 percent accuracy as traditional machine translators, but on an artists site it is seeing “mid-nineties” percent accuracy, according to founder and CEO David Lucatch.

To explain this phenomenon, Lucatch offered the example of the statement “Kobe Bryant is traveling.” Outside of the context of a basketball fan page, that could have dual meanings, with one involving a plane and another involving a rules infraction. Adding in topical lexicons, has proven to dramatically increase translation accuracy.

Toronto-based Ortsbo, which is a subsidiary of technology incubator Intertainment Media, offers similar language translation technologies currently used by MSN, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo and has served “over 212 million unique users in over 170 countries and territories.” With each interaction, its language solutions improve incrementally.

Currently, Ortsbo is offering Fan Talk to artists on a free-of-charge, invitation-only basis, monetizing only on a share of ticket and merchandise sales. In the future, the company will likely offer a self-serve, SaaS based model to a wider range of musical acts and other entertainers.

“We want to dynamically globalize and change the music industry by creating a viable destination that fans can go to and engage however they want once they get there,” says Lucatch. “We’re thrilled to start by working with top artists, but it won’t stop here.”

[Illustration by Hallie Bateman]