Both the Heat and the Pacers Have Time to Rebound

As they approach the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat should be worried about their recent slumps, but probably no more than if these rough patches had arrived earlier in the season.In their last February game, the Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks — their third consecutive win — to improve to 44-13. They were a game and a half in front of Miami in the East, after the Heat’s sixth straight win that same night over the New York Knicks. Since then, Miami is 12-11, which is mediocre but better than Indiana’s weak 10-12 run, which the Pacers reached after beating the Bucks, again, Wednesday night. Indiana coach Frank Vogel had benched his starters, and his reserves pulled out a two-point win over the team with the worst record in the NBA.Up next for Indiana and Miami: each other. They play Friday in a game that two months ago looked like a preview of the Eastern Conference finals. Now it must feel more like a reprieve, a chance to face a struggling opponent.How far the East’s titans have fallen. But the historical record suggests that bad play in March and April, the last two months of the season, hurts teams’ playoff chances no more than earlier slumps do.Using Basketball-Reference.com’s Play Index, I searched for playoff teams that played an 82-game schedule since 1983-84, when the postseason expanded to 16 teams. That left me with 446 teams. (That’s 16 teams for each of the 28 seasons with a full schedule, except for two teams last year — the Boston Celtics and the Pacers — that missed one game.)I broke down these playoff teams’ regular seasons into two parts: the games through February and those in March and April. Then I ran a linear regression, seeking the relationship between each team’s playoff results and two variables: its overall regular-season performance, and whether it improved or declined in the last two months of the season. The result: Teams’ regular-season winning percentage was a highly significant indicator of postseason success. Every increase of one percentage point in regular-season winning percentage boosted postseason winning percentage by 1.4 percentage points (p<10^-15).But the timing of teams’ regular-season wins didn’t matter. There was no statistically significant relationship between a team’s winning percentage before March subtracted from its winning percentage in March and April, and how the team did in the playoffs (p>0.8).In other words, while the slumps aren’t yet distant memories for Indiana and Miami fans, they’re no more damaging to the teams’ playoff hopes than if the slumps had occurred in the season’s first 22 or 23 games.The basketball stats site Hickory-High.com similarly found no particular importance for the playoffs for a team’s March performance relative to its results the rest of the season.This doesn’t mean the East leaders’ slumps are irrelevant. If either team had won more games, it would have a big lead for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and a better chance at home-court advantage in the finals.Their late slumps also are unusual for teams as good as they are. Miami and Indiana have 53 and 54 wins, respectively, with a handful of games remaining. Just one playoff team in our sample with more than 50 wins had a losing record in March and April: the 54-win Detroit Pistons in 1996-97, who lost in the first round of the postseason. And just two teams with more than 50 wins were outscored in March and April. (Each one, the 2003-04 Sacramento Kings and the 2004-05 Seattle SuperSonics, won one playoff series.)It’s also notable that Miami and Indiana have slumped differently. Miami has been unlucky, losing close games while otherwise winning by big margins: The Heat have outscored opponents by about four points per game in March and April, not far off their season mark of 5.45.But Indiana has been lucky to win 10 of its last 22 games: The Pacers have been outscored by nearly five points per game, thanks to offensive woes outlined by my Grantland colleague Zach Lowe last week. That’s by far the biggest scoring deficit this late in the season for a 50-win playoff team in our sample. Perhaps the encouraging results of prior playoff teams don’t apply as far down the charts as Indiana has fallen.The table below shows the 50-win teams in 82-game seasons with the worst winning percentages in March and April, and how they did in the regular season and the playoffs. read more

Folio Show Coverage CMO Keynote Panel Discusses Strategies in a Changing World

first_imgNEW YORK—The final day of the Folio: Show here at the Marriott Marquis began with a breakfast keynote panel discussion featuring four magazine publishing CMOs. The ever-present changes in the ways readers access and perceive magazines—and in the readers themselves—continually necessitates creativity and flexibility among marketers, publishers and editors alike. One thing that is clear, though, is that a magazine’s most powerful leveraging tool is the intimate knowledge of and constant reach to an engaged audience whose trust has not only been earned, but carefully maintained. “Clients look to us to create branded content because we know our audience, we have a trusted voice and we’ve been speaking to that audience for years,” said Murphy. The discussion then turned from ways of generating audience and data analysis to ways of using it to position brands as powerful connections between advertisers and readers. “Many clients came looking for specific brands to advertise with,” Rhee continued. “The solution we found as we went deeper into those conversations was that we can actually sell across a number of brands.” While attendees numbering in the hundreds finished breakfast in the Westside Ballroom, Hunt described the way Vox analyzes and organizes audience data. “Highlighting audiences has become critical, shining a light on our reader base and allowing us to segment our brands into like-minded groups,” added Murphy. “A big area taking off in client services is customer research,” said Rhee. “We have the audience. We have an understanding of how to speak to them. That conversation feeds on itself and really builds a powerful relationship with clients.” “For a long time, brands were told, ‘Think like a media company,’” Hunt added, “We can be that solution.”center_img “Services can go anywhere from social media, to events, to media planning,” said Murphy, adding, “Recently, we’ve seen tremendous growth in brand licensing, such as our Outdoor Life clothing line.” “We over-index for purchase power and factors like readers with higher education,” Hunt said. “Data ops allows us to find specific audiences, wherever they live in our portfolio of brands.” Diversity in services, too, is rapidly becoming a major component of marketing and building a client-publisher connection. “We have increasingly been asked to take over content from a nuts and bolts standpoint,” said Monroe. “What we did was bring formerly separate teams together and created a formal internal studio—a full service offering. This started new conversations with clients about our capabilities.” As marketing managers in a rapidly changing industry, Jonathan Hunt, global marketing VP at Vox Media, Elizabeth Burnham Murphy, CMO of Bonnier Corp., Minna Rhee, CMO at SourceMedia and Michael Monroe, VP of advertising at Forbes collectively shed light on what’s worked for them when attempting to reach new audiences on multiple platforms, and by extension sell those audiences to advertisers. Another service magazine publishers can offer is live events, said Hunt. Monroe agreed, stating that it was one of the areas in which Forbes has seen considerable growth, along with an increasing international presence which, in turn, has opened even more event possibilities. Rhee echoed those sentiments, explaining how standardizing experiences across SourceMedia’s various B2B brands and targeting audiences across different sites opened up a number of new sales opportunities.last_img read more

Google looks to leave passwords behind for a billion Android devices

first_imgThe change will affect devices running Android 7 and up, which accounts for half of all Android users.  James Martin/CNET Your Android passwords could one day go the way of the floppy disk. Google and the Fast Identity Online Alliance said Monday that Android is now FIDO2-certified, meaning its devices can use fingerprints and security keys for logging in to accounts instead of passwords. The certification was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.The change will only affect devices running Android 7 and up, which accounts for half of all Android users. Nothing is needed for the billion Android devices to get the added security. It’ll be available out of the box or with an automatic Google Play Services update, the FIDO Alliance said.Using fingerprints or security keys as passwords was already available for a handful of apps on Android, primarily for banking and other financial services. The change opens security features to any Android developer, allowing for password-less logins on the operating system’s mobile browser and apps.Passwords are the keys to your digital lives, allowing access to accounts managing your finances, your social life and more. The problem is, they aren’t very secure gatekeeper because hackers can easily steal your credentials and sell them in data dumps. They’re even more ineffective if you use the same password for multiple accounts, as highlighted by reports that TurboTax account information was accessed using passwords from other accounts. The Best Password Managers of 2019 Comments Mobile World Congress 2019 Jun 1 • The Nubia Alpha looks like either a house arrest bracelet or Batman’s phone Jun 29 • Galaxy S10 5G, OnePlus 7 Pro LG V50 ThinQ 5G: Why you shouldn’t rush to buy a 5G phone May 13 • Galaxy S10E vs. iPhone XR: Every spec compared Tags Here’s how to use Google’s Password Checkup tool Jul 9 • Killer cameras and battery life might meet their match in the Note 10 Google Computers have also become so powerful that they can easily guess complicated passwords within a matter of hours by entering every possible combination.That’s why security industry professionals want to move past passwords, using tools like biometrics and security keys instead. Unlike passwords, fingerprints and security keys are much harder to steal online, and with the FIDO2 standard, they’re protected against phishing attacks. “With this news from Google, the number of users with FIDO Authentication capabilities has grown dramatically and decisively,” Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance, said in a statement. “Together with the leading web browsers that are already FIDO2 compliant, now is the time for website developers to free their users from the risk and hassle of passwords and integrate FIDO Authentication today.”Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox already support the FIDO2 standard.The security standard checks when you log in to make sure it’s the real page and not a fake site designed to fool you. Hackers frequently spoof pages as Google showcased several fake support pages that looked identical to the real ones. In a 2016 survey from TeleSign, the security company found that 72 percent of companies plan to stop using passwords in the next 10 years, moving to biometrics and two-factor authentication. It’s the same vision for Google, which created its own security key in July, and experts believe fingerprints are the most popular replacement for passwords.  center_img Now playing: Watch this: Mobile Security Related Content Share your voice • See All 52 Mobile World Congress 2019 reading • Google looks to leave passwords behind for a billion Android devices 1:15last_img read more

Zomato secures 210 million from Alibabas payment affiliate Ant Financial

first_imgZomatoFacebookThe battle for supremacy in the food delivery platform in India is going to get stiffer as Zomato has secured a fresh funding of $210 million from Alibaba’s payment affiliate Ant Financial.The company plans to take its rival Swiggy head on to have a larger chunk of the pie in the Indian food delivery marketplace. In a stock filing on Friday, Info Edge submitted that its stakes in Zomato will decrease from 30.91% to 27.68% after the latest fund infusion from Alipay Singapore Holding Pte. Ltd or other affiliates of Ant Financial.The filing said that “We would like to bring to your knowledge that Zomato has signed a definitive agreement to undertake a primary fundraise of approximately USD 210 million from Alipay Singapore.”The Economic Times reports that if the estimates are to be believed, the investment will more than 10 percent stake which will take the valuation of Zomato to approximately $2 billion. Earlier this year, the food delivery platform had raised $150 million from Ant Financial, which was valued at $1.1 billion.Last month, as a part of the investment round, Ant financials secured the right to become the largest stakeholder in one of India’s biggest food delivery platform, Zomato. The fresh investment is expected to make Ant Financial the largest shareholder, or close to Info Edge’s 27.68 percent stake post-dilution. Before the current round of investment, it held around 20-22 percent stake in Zomato.The search for future investment in Zomato is likely to continue as its rival Swiggy is under discussion to secure $500-700 million from Alibaba rival and WeChat application owner Tencent besides existing backer Naspers at a valuation of $2.5-3 billion.Zomato is aggressively looking for the investors as last month it held talks with China’s online travel agency Ctrip for an approximate $400 million in the company. Besides that Zomato as well as Swiggy held discussions with Japanese Softbank Vision Fund.Zomato claimed to have received 21 million monthly order run rate in its operations based out of India in the month of September. It also witnessed the highest daily order volume during last month at 7,00,000 orders each day of the week.last_img read more