01/19/16: Vimeo greenlights new Miranda Sings series; two Snapchat execs get more responsibilities; Netflix pushes back on viewership claims


Good morning. It’s Tuesday January 19, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for January 18-24:
People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include actress Olivia Munn (Ride Along 2), entrepreneur and TV personality Daymond John (ABC’s Shark Tank), and actress Eva Longoria (NBC’s Telenovela)
Netflix: The docu-series Chelsea Does, starring comedian Chelsea Handler, debuts January 22
Amazon Prime: The comedy/drama Mad Dogs, EP’d by Shawn Ryan and Chris Cole, debuts January 22


First Vimeo, now Netflix: It seems that fictional YouTube star Miranda Sings is conquering the digital landscape despite an utter lack of talent. (It’s lucky for her that Colleen Ballinger-Evans, the digital star who created the character, is actually quite talented.) Netflix announced that it will release Haters Back Off, a new scripted series centering on Miranda.
Snapchat is growing in influence by the day, and it stands to reason that its execs would take more onto their plates. Peter Hamby, the former CNN reporter who took over Snapchat’s news efforts last year, will begin overseeing Local Stories, a new variation on Live Stories (Snapchat’s curated short video feature). Local Stories will focus on specific regions, and will be available only to users in those areas. (Hamby will also continue on as Snapchat’s presidential campaign correspondent.) Meanwhile, Sean Mills, Snapchat’s original content chief, will focus on non-local Live Stories (for instance, awards ceremony coverage).


Action Movie Kid
, the alter-ego of four-year-old YouTube sensation James Hashimoto, is coming to the big screen. Hashimoto, who has wielded lightsabers and dodged sharks thanks to the technical wizardry of his Dreamworks animator father, will serve as the inspiration for a new feature film, to be produced by Temple Hill and distributed by Fox 2000. Andrew Dodge, the writer behind Jason Bateman’s 2013 comedy Bad Words, will pen the script. No word yet on the release date. The project was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Just FYI: The communication technology company Ericsson announced that it has acquired FYI Television, an entertainment metadata and rich media content supplier. FYI accumulates and distributes TV entertainment content and linear scheduling data from TV networks, and aggregates the information into customized formats for digital, media, content, analytics and print clients for use on phones tablets, desktops, Internet portals and gaming consoles. According to FYI, the company handles data for over 9,000 TV networks.
Thanks to a new deal, short-form doc producer Barcroft Media will be bringing content to Sky Q, the upcoming OTT service from British telco Sky. Under the deal, 400 Barcroft-produced docs – both new and old – will be available on Sky Q. Barcroft, which specializes in factual, news-style content, already produces five or more docs per week. The Sky Q OTT service will debut early this year.
Chonda Pierce has partnered with the OTT service Dove Channel. The Christian comedian will star in Chonda Pierce Presents: Stand-Up For Families, a three-part series of one-hour stand-up specials that premiere in late March. The faith- and family-friendly Dove Channel was launched last year by the multi-platform distributor Cinedigm, in partnership with the family-oriented Dove Foundation.
Yum. Netflix has set a February 19 premiere date for Cooked, its new docu-series. The series, from doc filmmaker Alex Gibney and author Michael Pollan, takes a historical and multi-cultural look people’s cooking efforts. You can learn more about the series here


Measurement & Metrics Mash-Up
Nielsen uses panels to produce its ratings, but many media companies are demanding data from set top boxes be included to create accurate measurement. Our presenters will explain how sellers are handling data to level the playing field.
– The flaws in Nielsen & set top box data
– The positive & negative effects of dynamic ad insertion
– How to handle client concern about streaming services that strip watermarks, compromising verifiable measurement


also announced several other 2016 premiere dates. Those include an April 15 premiere for season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a June 17 premiere for season 4 of Orange is the New Black, and an August 12 premiere for The Get Down, the new music-focused drama series from Baz Luhrmann. You can learn about the rest of the premieres here.
According to a report from TVLine, Netflix is close to greenlighting The Punisher, a spinoff of its Daredevil series. Jon Bernthal, who played the famed antihero in the latter Netflix series, would be the new series’ lead. The Punisher would be one in an increasingly long line of Marvel properties to come to Netflix; those titles include Daredevil and Jessica Jones, as well the upcoming projects Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders.


And here comes the pushback. Last week during a presentation to reporters, NBCUniversal exec Alan Wurtzel said streaming services like Netflix and Amazon don’t pose a true existential threat to linear TV. He cited viewership data from research firm Symphony Advanced Media to demonstrate that the services’ top series garnered decent but not off-the-charts viewership numbers. (In an email to Cynopsis Digital, Symphony confirmed that Wurtzel had accurately cited their research.) Now, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has forcefully responded, claiming that the figures were flawed. The data “doesn’t reflect any sense of reality of anything that we keep track of,” Sarandos said. Of course, since. Netflix doesn’t provide precise viewership data, it’s impossible to say who’s right and who’s wrong. But you can learn more about Sarandos’ rebuttal here.


Elisabeth Glass
has made the shortlist. Glass will serve as SVP and Head of Content Acquisition at Tribeca Shortlist, the movie SVOD service launched by Tribeca Enterprises and Lionsgate last year. Glass most recently served as Principal of the entertainment consulting firm EFG Media. She has a long history in cable, including acquisitions positions at HBO Cinemax and Starz Encore.

Fusion announced that it has hired Chad Boettcher as its new Senior Vice President of Social Impact and Managing Director of RiseUp, the company’s social impact division. The company says that RiseUp will collaborate with Univision News, Univision Digital, The Root, and other partners. Boettcher will oversee social impact strategy across all platforms. Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President of Advocacy and Social Impact at Participant Media.


Did you know that budgets for programmatic TV buying are expected to surge to a whopping $10 billion* by 2019?

With dollars steadily shifting to audience-based ad buying and technology ramping up, you can’t afford not to get up to speed on this fast-changing ecosystem. By joining Cynopsis on Thursday, January 28, for the webinar, Programmatic TV 2016: The Keys to Mining Data and Measurement, your team will get the tools they need to understand the opportunities and challenges of unprecedented behavioral targeting.
*Source: Magna Global


Jimmy Fallon
does a heck of a Bob Dylan impression.  In case you missed it, behold the Tonight Show Host’s supremely convincing impersonation – here

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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