01/12/18: TiVo files new lawsuits against Comcast over its X1 platform

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Friday January 12, 2018 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing. 
 
 
As the media world evolves, so does Cynopsis. With the line between linear and digital increasingly indistinct, we are folding our daily digital news and updates into our flagship edition – you can subscribe here: http://www.cynopsis.com/subscribe/.
 
Replacing the daily will be a new series of special reports designed to be a thorough examinations of the digital world on topics ranging from monetization and addressable TV, to the NewFronts and more. For more info, go here.
 
 
TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
Metaphoric Interface: When an object on a screen represents something in real life – for example a printer icon that suggests “click on me and I will print” – it’s referred to as a Metaphoric Interface.
 

JUST IN
 
The battle between Comcast and TiVo continues. TiVo says it’s filed a new round of lawsuits in California and Massachusetts involving features and capabilities of Comcast’s X1 platform. They include the ability to pause and resume shows on different devices and advanced search and voice functionality. TiVo is investing heavily in content discovery/recommendation based on viewer habits and has new advertising offerings associated with those offerings. Comcast recently disabled a feature from its Stream app for mobile devices and web browsers that enabled customers to schedule DVR recordings remotely.
 
Go global, think local seems to be Facebook’s current mantra. It’s just begun to test a feature in its app titled “Today in,” beginning in six U.S. markets. Facebook is seeking input from its potential competitors – regional newsrooms and local journalists – to help shape the new feature. It’s available in one city in Arkansas, Illinois, Montana, New Orleans, New York and Washington State.
 
It’s always interesting to see how Google responds to the latest controversy over distasteful user-generated content. Take the case of ultra popular “vlogger” Logan Paul, who this week Google removed from Google Preferred lineup, which represents the top 5% of its creators’ videos that can be accompanied by ads. Paul has been in hot water since posting a video on Dec. 31 that appeared to show the body of a suicide victim. Google has also removed Paul from the fourth season of its “Foursome” YouTube Red program. Yet he can still continue to make money from his YouTube videos via its wider ad program. Meanwhile, the search for “brand safety” continues.
 
We’re looking for feedback to better serve you with the digital content you want and need. To thank you for your time, you’ll have the opportunity to enter to win a $75 Amazon gift card. Take the quick survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XS2J7FP
 

AT CES
 
In a bit of technology irony, the lights literally went out at two halls within the Las Vegas Convention Center on Wednesday—possibly the effect of rain-induced condensation on a transformer. Michelle Valberg was 25 minutes into a visual presentation for Nikon Corp. called “Wild Creatures Extreme Conditions” when the room went dark.

DISH revealed that it has been working on integrating Google Home and Google Assistant into its TV service, with the goal of controlling television sets by voice activation. It would mark the first time that DISH customers with a Hopper, Joey or Wally can use voice to control their TV in multiple languages, including English and Spanish. The Google Assistant will be able to help navigate, play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and search TV content based on channel, title, actor and genre.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Does your company offer maternity/paternity packages?
What about flexible scheduling?
Are your meals/snacks free (and delicious)?
 
How does your company’s fringe benefits compare to others in the industry?
 
Check our Salary Survey to find out.
 

PROGRAMMING
 
Streaming service BritBox from BBC Worldwide and ITV announced an ambitious 2018 programming slate featuring its first original drama series, Bletchley Circle: San Francisco. It’s produced by Omnifilm Entertainment in association with BritBox and World Productions, the original producers of The Bletchley Circle and the U.S. debut of Rowan Atkinson’s first lead role in a drama, Maigret. Additionally, BritBox unveiled a broad mix of new and returning critically-acclaimed and star-studded series, several of which will be presented in the platform’s “Now” vertical, which brings U.K. shows to the U.S. within hours following their U.K. premieres.
 
In anticipation of next week’s exclusive season two premiere of JORDSKOTT, AMC Networks’ Shudder made all season 1 episodes of the critically-acclaimed thriller available to stream for starting yesterday. Season 2 of JORDSKOTT will premiere on Shudder with all eight episodes at once on January 18. Only on Shudder will viewers in the U.S. and Canada be able to binge all of season 1 without a login through Wednesday, January 17.

 

MEASURING UP
 
Every week, millions of viewers around the world use TV Time to track the shows they’re watching. TV Time uses this data to determine the Most Binged shows of the week. Below, check out the Binge Report for January 1-7.


 
Canvs, the emotion measurement company, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from January 3-9 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Check out their findings below.
 

 
The Julius Influencer Ranking, from influencer marketing platform Julius, is based on an influencer’s Average Engagement (the daily sum of engagements over the past 60 days) on an individual social platform or overall social presence. Below, check out the Top 10 kid-focused influencers from November to December 2017.


Here’s a snapshot of Group Nine Media based on Nielsen Digital Content Ratings Monthly (Tagged Data, P13+, U.S., October 2017).
 
Group Nine, one of the largest digital media companies and parent of NowThis, The Dodo, Seeker and Thrillist, formed less than a year ago and is already a powerful player in the world of social video. Group Nine attracts audiences from devoted animal lovers to lifestyle enthusiasts to avid news and information junkies. Group Nine has a highly engaged audience, boasting almost 1 billion minutes of content consumed across its four brands. Group Nine’s content performs incredibly well among young adults—reaching 81% of Americans in their 20’s. The company’s network of channels is a powerful means to connect young consumers with advertising partners.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL

 
With all the ongoing refinements to header bidding for desktop digital ad buys, in-app ads have sort of been left behind. Mobile ad network InMobi wants to change that, so it’s acquired mobile video monetization platform AerServe for a reported $90 million. InMobi says the pairing will give publishers more control over ad bid pricing than the widespread waterfall system.
 

RESEARCH
 
Roughly half (55%) of all U.S. consumers report that they understand the issue of Net Neutrality, regardless of whether they are following the neutrality debate closely, according to global research firm GfK. Among those who say they do understand Net Neutrality, 72% favor it, which is 8 points higher than the figure (64%) among those who feel they do not understand the issue. From a political perspective, eight in 10 (82%) Democrats who understand it favor it, as well as 70% of Independents and those in other parties. A majority (56%) of Republican understanders also express support for maintaining Net Neutrality.  
 
How much cellular data do people with unlimited plans use compared with those who have data caps? According to The NPD Group, unlimited plans result in 67% higher data usage. This, in turn, means those people relay far less on WiFi. According to NPD, the average smartphone user consumes a total of 31.4 GB of data (both WiFi and cellular) a month, up 25% from a year ago (which averaged 25.2 GB per user).
 

EXECUTIVE MOVES
 
Pele Cortizo-Burgess has been recruited to fill the new position of U.S. Chief Strategy Officer for media agency Initiative. He most recently was Global Chief Creative Officer and President, Strategy & Communications Planning, for GroupM’s MEC.
 
Digital Media company RAZE appointed Mari Urdaneta to the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer. Urdaneta has been RAZE’s content partner through her production house Dhana Media.
 

TRIVIA

Our Last Trivia Question: Who won the Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film about figure skater Tonya Harding that airs tonight on ABC? Answer: Allison Janney. Kudos to Stephen Kelley-9 Story Distribution International Ltd./Ire, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/CA, Sonie Guseh-Comcast NBCUniversal/NY, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Lorrie Shilling/CA, Dan Haberer-Creo Entertainment/CA, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Stephanie Ann-Inside Lacrosse/MD, Jocelyn De Gracia-Warner Bros. Entertainment/CA, Aaron Paquette-Screen Engine/ASI/TX.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
“I was honored to be named as one of the inaugural Cynopsis Top Women in Digital and privileged to be side-by-side with the most forward-thinking, innovative and game-changing women in their industry.”
 – Kristin F | Viacom Music & Logo Group
 
The 4th Annual Cynopsis Top Women in Digital Awards
 

SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
Parents will like this app, which disables kids’ smartphones when they are operating a vehicle while keeping it under the stated speed limit wherever they happen to be.
 
 
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