02/05/16: Univision adds digital stars to Creator Network; Altspace VR debuts for Gear VR; Apple, Amazon, Google, Verizon vie for NFL streaming rights



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
02.05.16

Good morning. It’s Friday February 5, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TOP NEWS

 
As Cynopsis Digital recently noted, the NFL is looking to sell off the streaming rights to next season’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts. And according to sources who spoke to Variety, some of the usual suspects are in on the action. Apple, Amazon.com, Google, and Verizon (which recently launched its Go90 streaming platform) are all expected to put in bids. None of the companies commented on Variety’s reporting, and neither did the NFL. We’ll just have to wait and see.

 
 
NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
Awesomeness Films
, the film production arm of digital network AwesomenessTV, is getting into the world of YA fiction. Or at least, it’s adapting a YA book into a movie or two. The studio has acquired the film rights to Replica, the first of two upcoming sci-fi novels from Lauren Oliver. Published by HarperCollins, the books will form a duology. (Like a trilogy, only with two entries instead of three. Yes, there’s apparently a word for that.) The duology, like the first of the two novels, will be called Replica. The first book will be released October 4.
 
Kid-oriented VOD network Kabillion announced that it has partnered with the video tech and distribution company Future Today to launch a new Kabillion app for Roku. Kabillion features children’s programming, including new ad classic animated series. The Roku app will enable viewing on smart TVs and streaming media devices.
 
 

CONTENT PROGRAMMING

 
Well at least he’s giving us warning this time. After suddenly releasing the premiere episode of a new web series without any prior announcement, Louis C.K. announced that episode two of Horace and Pete will be available this Saturday, February 13. The news came in an email to his website subscribers. He also announced a pricing change. “I’m leaving the first episode at 5 dollars,” he wrote.  “I’m lowering the next episode to 2 dollars and the rest will be 3 dollars after that. I hope you feel that’s fair. If you don’t, please tell everyone in the world.” That’s our Louis.
 
 

DIGITAL CONTENT CREATORS

 
Univision Creator Network
, Univision Communications’ multi-channel-network of millennial-friendly content creators, added two new digital celebs to its stable of talent. YouTube comedian Josh Leyva and Instagram model/singer Val Mercado will now be added to UCN’s network of content producers. “Our ability to secure hugely popular, highly influential digital talent is yet another proof point for the success we’ve had in fostering authentic, meaningful and engaging relationships with multicultural millennials,” wrote Univision exec Steven Benanav in an email to Cynopsis Digital. (Benanav serves as VP of Content Partnerships & General Manager for Flama, Univision’s consumer-facing digital media network aimed for U.S.-born Hispanic millennials.) “Josh and Val are tremendous talents,” Benanav continued. “Adding them to the Univision Creator Network helps fuel the growth of our footprint as a destination for this group and a catalyst for brands to connect with this increasingly important audience. Our growing group of talent, along with our prior digital strategic endeavors, only serve to solidify Univision Digital’s position as the destination for diverse millennials.”
 
 

PLATFORMS + TECH

 
From the beginning, STX Entertainment has painted itself as a different kind of motion picture company. Here’s some evidence to back that up: The trailer for Hardcore Henry, STX’s new sci-fi actioner, will debut exclusively on the live-streaming platform Twitch. It’s the first time a major movie studio has debuted a trailer on Twitch. The trailer will debut February 10, during a two-hour live event on the summit1g Twitch channel. The film itself will premiere at the South by Southwest festival this March.
 
Welcome to Facebook, where wildly unrealistic-sounding numbers are most likely accurate. At a recent company event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told reporters that he expects the social network to have 5 billion users by 2030. “We want to finish connecting everyone,” he said, according to USA Today. “We’re going to do it in partnership with governments and different companies all over the world.” Sounds about right.
 
Acorn TV
, the streaming service specializing in bringing U.K. programming to North American audiences, is now available for the Apple TV, and as an iOS app for the iPhone and iPad. The launch comes as part of a partnership between Acorn TV parent company RLJ Entertainment and OTT provider Qello.
 
The Israel-based kids’ entertainment platform Kidoz recently announced that it has partnered with KD Group, the makers of the line of kid-friendly Kurio devices. The Kidoz App, which specializes in helping kids (and parents) with content discovery, will now come pre-loaded on all Kurio Xtreme 2 (U.S.) and Kurio Tab 2 for Android (Europe) tablets. “These platforms allow users to browse through thousands of hours of kid-friendly content, including videos and online games,” a company spokesperson explained.
 


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VIRTUAL REALITY

 
Sometime in the future, will virtual reality eliminate the need for physical human interaction? Perhaps, but maybe it’s cool enough to be worth it. AltspaceVR, a company specializing in interactive virtual reality, has launched its app on the Samsung Gear VR headset. The app allows users to meet and interact in virtual spaces, whether to play Dungeons & Dragons, watch TV together, or just talk. The app went live yesterday.
 

 
RESEARCH

 
Super Bowl 50
will be played this Sunday. (As if you didn’t know.) Now, what are you looking forward to more, the big game or the ads? For some, that’s not as easy to answer as you might think. In fact, some people can’t even wait until the big game to see the ads.
 
Courtesy of the ad tech company Unruly, here are the most-viewed Super Bowl ads of 2016. (And as a reminder, the Super Bowl hasn’t aired yet.)
 
1.
DoritosUltrasound
Total Shares – 887,958
January 19th
2. Pokemon#Pokemon20: Pokémon Super Bowl Commercial
Total shares: 272,723
January 25th
3. HeinzWeiner Stampede
Total Shares – 140,561
January 31st
4. T-MobileRestricted Bling
Total Shares – 115,168
February 2nd
Celebrity: Drake
5.
Axe – Find Your Magic
Total Shares: 68,620
January 12th
6. QuickBooks (Intuit) – Death Wish Coffee
Total Shares: 54,588
January 28th
7. HyundaiRyanville
Total shares: 49,215
February 1st
Celebrity: Ryan Reynolds
8.
Amazon.comCheese Footballs #BaldwinBowl
Total shares: 47,448
January 29th
Celebrity: Alec Baldwin
9.
Acura#DriveAcuraNSXContest
Total shares: 43,538
January 29th
10. PepsiThe Rumors Are True: Coldplay is our first #PepsiHalfTime Artist
Total shares: 40,535
December 2rd 2015
Celebrity: Chris Martin
 
More from Unruly: the company released its list of the most shared brands for January 2016. Here it is:
 
1. Android
Shares: 271,076
Most successful video: Unlikely friends! - 271,076 shares
2. Pokemon
Shares: 248,582
Most successful video: #Pokemon20: Pokémon Super Bowl Commercial - 231,544 shares
3. Ikea
Shares: 117,844
Most successful video: IKEA The Other Letter – 113,631 shares
4. Geico
Shares: 97,519
Most successful video: Spy: It’s What You Do – GEICO - 38,872 shares
5. NBA
Shares: 75,830
Most successful video: For the special moments that touch our FANS and "HANDS" everyday.. - 69,987 shares
6. Coca-Cola
Shares: 72,558
Most successful video: C nhà selfie, T t thêm g n k t – 22,561 shares
7. Ubisoft
Shares: 66,946
Most successful video: Smurfs Epic Run — Launch Trailer - 38,567 shares
8. Warner Brothers Entertainment 
Shares: 58,987
Most successful video: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – TV Spot 1 [HD] – 33,824 shares
9. Budweiser
Shares: 55,145
Most successful video: Budweiser Commercial "Horses in Love - 33,415 shares
10. Amazon
Shares: 48,600
Most successful video: New Amazon Prime TV Advert Featuring A Lonely Little Horse - 48,600 shares
 
BroadbandTV
now tops the list of global multi-channel networks, according to comScore data cited by the company. BBTV had about 319 million worldwide unique viewers in December 2015, placing it ahead of Disney’s Maker Studios. The data comes from comScore’s worldwide desktop report for December. Total views for BBTV grew 152% year-over-year. A couple of notes, though: As Variety points out, the comScore figures exclude mobile and connected-TV viewing. And Vevo still sits far ahead of BBTV in terms of total views, according to comScore. Still, it’s safe to say it was a pretty decent December for BroadbandTV.

 

Q4 wasn’t GoPro’s best moment. During an earnings call, the company announced that it had generated $436 million in revenue for Q4 2015, down from $633.9 million in Q4 2015, and saw a net loss of $44.5 million in the quarter. Of late, the company has been investing in digital content production, recently hiring execs from Hulu and HBO. During the call, execs reaffirmed their conviction that content production would eventually lead to revenue.

 
EXECUTIVE MOVES

 
Fullscreen
, the multi-channel media company owned by AT&T and The Chernin Group, has hired Jeni Mulein as its VP of Scripted Development. Previously, Mulein served as VP of Event Series at Fox Broadcasting.
 
The video ad marketplace Tremor Video announced that Jonathan Penn has joined the company’s Buyer Platform as National Director of Automotive. Penn will be responsible for driving agency relationships (driving, get it?). He’ll also be managing existing business, and liaising with clients. Penn previously served as the Senior Director of Sales for the data-driven advertising DSP Turn.
 
The recently formed entertainment media company Boatrocker Media has named Gia DeLaney as its new Vice President of Global Sales and Licensing for Boat Rocker Rights. DeLaney will be overseeing licensing sales and third-party acquisitons. Previously, she sold and marketed children’s entertainment as Vice President of Program Sales at American Greetings Properties (now Entertainment). Boatrocker Media, an expansion and rebranding of Temple Street Productions, includes a division specializing in original digital content, games, apps, virtual reality, and YouTube video.
 
Jim Pavia, previously the Senior Editor-At-Large overseeing CNBC’s Financial Advisor Hub, has been promoted to Money Editor of CNBC Digital. He will oversee coverage focused on financial advisors and personal finance.


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT

 
Liam Neeson
and Super Bowl ads go together like pie and ice cream. He brings the usual intensity to a nifty new LG ad. You can watch it during the big game this Sunday – or you can watch it here.

See you Monday,
David Teich
02.05.16

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