02.08.16 Good morning. It’s Monday February 8, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for February 8-14:
– People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include actor Liam Hemsworth (Independence Day: Resurgence), Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton, and actor Cuba Gooding Jr. (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)
– Acorn TV: Liberty of London, the Channel 4 U.K. docu-series, debuts on the streaming service today, February 8
– YouTube Red: The subscription service will release its first original programming February 10. The programming includes the reality-adventure series Scare PewDiePie, as well as three original films: A Trip to Unicorn Island (a documentary about YouTube star Lilly Singh, aka IISuperwomanII), Lazer Team (a sci-fi action comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films), and Dance Camp (a musical teen drama from AwesomenessTV)
This seems like good news, until you consider the poor characters who have to spend that much more time in prison. Netflix has renewed Orange Is the New Black for a fifth, sixth, and seventh season. (Season 4 premieres June 17.) The announcement came from Netflix and Lionsgate, which produces the series.
Following a limited theatrical release in December, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq is now available to stream on Amazon Prime. The film, a Chicago-set reimagining of the Aristophanes comedy Lysistrata, is available to subscribers at no additional cost. Chi-Raq is Amazon Studios’ first original film. It certainly won’t be its last.
Ahead of Super Bowl 50, AOL released a three-part video series starring Denver Broncos tight end Vernon Davis. Called The Ultimate Crossover, the series follows Davis during off-the-field activities, including an art gallery tour and a yoga session. The series was created by AOL’s Partner Studio, Lexus, and Davis. It has been syndicated on Xbox, as well as in Lexus dealerships and on Lexus’s Tumblr page.
Fandango Movieclips managed to take advantage of two major TV events at the same time. Ahead of yesterday’s Super Bowl broadcast (and also head of the February 28 Academy Awards), correspondent Dan Perrault challenged Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers players on their movie knowledge and fielded their Oscar predics. There are three short videos total. You can find them on the Fandango Movieclips YouTube page – just look for the videos with “MOVIECLIPS @ The Big Game” in their titles.
Netflix is rockin’ the hashtag. The streaming service has greenlit #Girlboss, a new comedy series based on Sophia Amoruso’s best-selling memoir. Christian Ditter (How to Be Single) has been tapped to direct the first episode. The series will be EP’d by Charlize Theron and Kay Cannon. Cannon, best known for scripting the Pitch Perfect movie franchise, will write the pilot episode and serve as showrunner. News of the new series was first reported by Variety.
We don’t have final numbers yet, but judging by viewers’ stated intentions, a lot of people watched Super Bowl 50 on connected TVs. According to a pre-broadcast survey by Adobe Digital Index, about 35% of millennial consumers intended to watch the big game on Internet-connected TV device. The number was significantly lower for Gen X’ers (15%) and Baby Boomers (13%). CBS’s live-stream of the game was compatible with numerous connected TV devices, including Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast.
As Cynopsis Digital has recently noted – and as you’re no doubt aware – brands these days often release previews of their Super Bowl ads well ahead of linear broadcast. The ad metrics measurement company iSpot.tv measured those spots by earned online engagement, looking at search, social and online video views. The company then ranked the top ten spots by engagement. Pokemon, Hyundai, and Heinz Ketchup took the top three spots, respectively. (You can see the complete list, and more detailed metrics, here.) According to iSpot.tv, there were over 1.3 million social actions explicitly related to Super Bowl 50 ads and teasers – as well as over 322 million views – ahead of the Super Bowl broadcast.
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So why is CBS live-streaming the Super Bowl on mobile, the web, and connected TV devices? And why are Super Bowl advertisers taking advantage of digital platforms in such a big way? Maybe because they’re smart enough to keep up with the times. “What’s important to take away for marketers is that…silos don’t make sense anymore,” said Devra Prywes, Vice President of Marketing and Insight at the ad tech company Unruly, in a conversation with Cynopsis Digital. “Consumers are not differentiating between the big screen in their living room and the little screen in their pocket. People will watch ads and TV content on both. So if you want to be everywhere your audience is, you need to make your content discoverable – in the way that they want to reach it. People are not going to change their habits because you’ve made a great ad.”
Instagram recently got twice as friendly to advertisers. Facebook’s image and video sharing app is now letting brands run video ads of up to sixty seconds. Ads were previously capped at 30 seconds. The first brands to test the new format include T-Mobile and Warner Brothers.
VR may be mere simulation, but the money pouring into it is very real. The virtual reality startup Wevr has raised $25 million in a new funding round. Investors included HTC, Orange, Samsung Ventures, and others. The company intends to use the funds to launch Transport, a new platform (currently being tested with a select number of users) designed to deliver cinematic virtual reality experiences to headsets and on the web. The company is also known for producing its own VR experiences.
On Ice, a virtual reality short from Google Spotlight Stories, fell short in its quest take home the prize for best animated short at the 2016 Annie Awards. Still, it’s an honor just to be nominated – especially if you represent an emerging medium. The film, directed by Shannon Tindle, was the first VR short ever to be submitted to the Annies via mobile phone. Spotlight Stories, specifically geared toward mobile viewing, are designed to give viewers full control over the angles of an experience: Just move the phone, and the view changes accordingly. Google recently released the trailer – available here.
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For any platform that wants to be major player in the digital ad space, app-install ads are crucial: They give advertisers invaluable data, helping them to gauge just how responsive consumers are to ads running on a given platform. Enter Snapchat. iHeartRadio’s Snapchat Discover channel has begun running an ad for the mobile game Cookie Jam, marking the first time that Snapchat has run an app-download ad. It’s a shortened version of a spot starring actor/comedian Ken Jeong. (Jeong is dressed up as a giant cookie, but he’s anything but sweet.) You can check out the original 30-second spot here.
See you tomorrow,
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