KISS-frontman talks evolution of Internet language at Variety event

Music is supposed to be the universal language, but Kiss frontman Gene Simmons wants to take things one step further and translate the Internet.

During a keynote interview at the L.A. Mobile Entertainment Summit, moderated by Variety Group president Neil Stiles, Simmons discussed the need to speak to Internet users around the world in their own language.

“The world is no longer English dominated,” Simmons stressed to attendees inside Hollywood & Highland’s ballroom Tuesday.

Simmons cited the growth of Spanish-language networks like Telemundo and Univision in California as an example. “If you do not speak Spanish, you are not able to communicate with 50% of the California population,” noted Simmons, who is fluent in four languages, including Hungarian.

Simmons used the keynote to focus on language since he serves as celebrity spokesman of Ortsbo.com, which launched in July 2010, and translates live Twitter feeds, as well as emails and other electronic messages into 50 languages.

During the first half of September, Ortsbo claimed 17 million uniques, according to Ortsbo president David Lucatch.

Lucatch said that while the Internet used to be dominated by English, it is now just 25% in English.

While Ortsbo generates revenue from advertising and sponsorships, Lucatch and Simmons have been targeting the Hollywood community to use the service as they send their entertainment around the world.

Lucatch said the company has inked deals with most of the major studios in town. He also cited a videogame publisher as a client that uses Ortsbo as part of its customer support center operations.

Simmons touted Ortsbo as a way for Kiss to communicate with its global fans as “our main goal is to spread the brand around the world” and to sell the 3,000 licensed Kiss products the band offers, which includes everything from condoms to caskets, Simmons said.

Taking advantage of all forms of media and distribution platforms, including mobile, is key to success, he said. Otherwise, “you will leave a lot of checks on the table.”

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