02/23/16: Conde Nast Entertainment to launch scripted VR series; China cracks down on foreign media; Yahoo courting potential buyers


Good morning. It’s Tuesday February 23, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


They’re getting closer. Yesterday, Cynopsis Digital noted that Yahoo had formed a designated advisory board to explore the sale of the company. Now there are reports of intrigued potential buyers: Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are among the interested parties, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg. Buyout firms including Bain Capital Partners, KKR & Co., and TPG are also reportedly in the mix. This much is clear: There are interested bidders, and this sale is happening, probably pretty soon.
China has begun cracking down on foreign media operations, setting a rule that neither foreign-owned media nor joint ventures in China will be allowed to publish online without approval from government regulatory agencies. The restrictions cover video, text content, digital books, art, maps, games, and even literature. They will take effect on March 10. The moves are a new obstacle to many foreign media companies – especially a globally ambitious company like Netflix, which has made no secret of its desire to break into the world’s most populous market.


This is a bit of a pattern: At points throughout its history, Facebook has been seen as overly resistant to accommodating advertisers…but inevitably, when the company does accommodate them, it outdoes the competition. Now a new barrier has fallen: Digiday reports that Facebook is starting to allow select brands to post video ads and sponsored videos on their pages – a no-no until a few weeks ago. So far, Facebook isn’t taking a cut of the ad revenue – but don’t be surprised if that changes. Facebook declined to comment on Digiday’s story.
While some have expressed concern that Foursquare’s user-name hasn’t grown quickly enough, the company hasn’t been sweating criticism – partly, it would seem, because they had something big in the works. As reported by Adweek, the company is beginning to roll out Attribution Powered by Foursquare, a (very cool) new offering for brand marketers. The tool relies on a 1.3 million-person army of nonincentivized Foursquare users who allow the company to track their location at all times. If a segment of those users see, say, an add for a fast food joint, and then go to said joint within a few days, Foursquare will be able to track that info. (They would also refer to a control group of users who didn’t see the ad.) When all’s said and done, Foursquare hopes that the new product will provide brands with an accurate picture of just how their ads are driving foot traffic. You can learn more about the product from Adweek’s article, here.
Plain and simple: programmatic is the future. Magna Global estimates that the global programmatic market will increase to $61.9 billion by 2018, up from $29.3 billion in 2015. The question is, what are the best ways to take advantage of the programmatic marketplace? Hear from AOL, Dentsu Aegis Network, DISH Media, Turner, TiVo and more on March 24th at our Programmatic TV Summit. Register by March 4th and save: cynopsis.com/event/march-programmatic-tv-summit.



Over the weekend, DEFY Media launched Clevver Now, a new web series available on Verizon’s Go90 streaming service. The series is hosted by Joslyn Davis and Erin Robinson (CBS’s The Amazing Race). “Our culture-obsessed hosts bring it every episode,” wrote DEFY in a release, “with on-point countdowns, outrageous original games, the latest beauty trends, and all the relatable #realtalk you can handle.” The series is the first of three planned collaborations between DEFY and Go90.


Derek Belch, Founder/CEO – STRIVR Labs Inc.
"VR has been around for decades, but is just now picking up speed. Sports is one of the most natural fits for VR, with new companies popping up every day, claiming to be the next big thing.  During this webinar, we’ll discuss what’s realistic, what’s fictional, & what’s just plain silly in VR & sports."

Join us tomorrow at 1:30PM to learn how to leverage your content into this transformative technology. Register Now.



Between its purchase of Oculus and its increasingly widespread use of 360-degree video, it’s been clear for some time that Facebook intends to be a key driver in the virtual reality revolution. The company has now launched a new Social VR team to explore the ways in which future users can use virtual reality to interact with one another. “This team will explore how people can connect and share using today’s VR technology, as well as long-term possibilities as VR evolves into an increasingly important computing platform,” the company wrote in a blog post. Facebook says that users have already watched more than one million hours of video on the Samsung Gear VR headset, which was launched by Oculus and Samsung in November.


When mainstream filmmakers start taking on VR projects, it’s a good sign that the technology is on its way to the mainstream. That’s why this is significant: Doug Liman, director of big-budget Hollywood films such as The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow, is collaborating with Conde Nast Entertainment and the virtual reality company Jaunt VR on a new VR project. Liman and his production partner Julina Tatlock, along with screenwriter Melisa Wallack, will produce Invisible, a scripted six-part VR action-adventure series. The episodes, which will roll out later in 2016, will be directed by Liman, Jerome Sable, and Michael Litwak. The series will first premiere on the Samsung Milk VR, and then become available on Jaunt’s VR apps and CNE’s digital video platform The Scene.


The ListenFirst Television Interest (TVI) Rating (TM) is a standardized measurement of the most buzzed-about TV programs on linear TV and streaming services. A complement to ListenFirst’s other syndicated data products (such as the ListenFirst Digital Audience Rating – TV), the metrics included in the rating are the purest form of showing interest digitally, since they’re organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
All Series (2/15/16 – 2/21/16)
Source: ListenFirst. The TVI Rating aggregates metrics that measure organically generated activity by fans of the TV show. The metric includes total volume of official hashtag mentions on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, along with Wikipedia page views (as a proxy for organic search volume) for a show as a percentage of the total volume of the same activities for all shows.
OpenSlate Engagement Data for the Sports Vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending 2/21.
Channel (Engagement) / Monthly Views / Total Subs / SlateScore
desimpedidos (9.3) / 23,519,670/ 1,726,051/ 708
WWEFanNation (9.0) / 593,950,620/ 9,847,225 / 766
NBA (8.8) / 82,015,410/ 6,744,458 / 755
NFL (8.7) / 57,673,950 / 890,188 / 667
f2freestylers (8.7) / 40,905,060 / 2,920,274 / 664
UFC (8.7) / 27,202,980 / 2,623,951 / 723
AK Productions (8.5) / 4,620 / 568 / 336
GiiaaTV Medellín (8.5) / 86,400 / 2,875 / 356
TNAwrestling (8.5) / 15,107,880 / 686,084 / 615
zwheels10 (8.5) / 10,770 / 2,644 / 385
Source: The Engagement metric is one of OpenSlate’s component scores, and is a measure of a producer’s ability to evoke meaningful interaction with their audience. It is calculated on a scale of 1-10 with higher being better. The OpenSlate Engagement score uses a subset of the data incorporated in the SlateScore to perform a set of unique calculations. It factors in views, comments, likes, and more.
On the heels of the Super Bowl and in the middle of a major awards season, Nielsen looked at two different ad campaigns to get a sense of how consumers respond to television advertisements, and how these ads can additionally drive earned media on Twitter. Some of their key findings:
– For a personal care brand with ads in sports events from one professional league, fans Tweeting about the games sent 165% more Tweets about this personal care brand than they did in the time period before the campaign started.
– For an auto manufacturer, an integration with a broadcast drama series led to a 352% lift in brand-related Tweets from the TV program’s Tweeting fans, compared to brand activity during the show’s mid-season break.
“In an increasingly digital and cross-platform media landscape,” Nielsen concludes, “understanding the underlying affinity between programs and brands and the social effect of advertising campaigns presents an opportunity to maximize the overall effectiveness of TV campaigns in building buzz among consumers.”
You can check out the full study here.
Source: Nielsen.
Shareablee is out with its Social Scorecard of the Top Ten TV Networks for January 2016. To arrive at its ranking, Shareablee measured total social actions (likes, shares, comments, retweets, dislikes, reblogs) across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube (excluding views). You can check out the full list below.



The social TV sentiment platform Canvs took a look at the first two episodes (Season 6, episodes 9 and 10) of the mid-season return of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Canvs detected 410,864 specific Emotional Reactions (ERs) out of the 1,207,513 tweets about the episodes captured by Nielsen. Top emotions fell in the "love," "crazy" and "good" categories, accounting for 69.3% of all ERs for episode 9, and 63.8% of all ERs for episode 10.


’s got a new communications chief. Natalie Kerris has been named as the company’s new VP of Global Communications. She previously served for 14 years as Apple’s Senior Director of Worldwide Corporate Communications.
may have lost some talent, but they’ve gained some as well. The company has hired Bernadette Simpao to its PR team. She’ll handle PR efforts for content and apps related to the Apple TV, as well as for iTunes TV and movies, podcasts, books, and apps. Previously, she served as VP of Corporate Communications for AMC Networks. Apple’s hiring of a top-shelf PR talent – whose sole focus will be the company’s digital media platforms – makes one thing clear: The company sees those platforms as an increasingly crucial component of its business.
As its upcoming dive into virtual reality would indicate, Conde Nast Entertainment is on a mission to bulk up its digital initiatives. Some new hires drive the point home: Brooke Ellis, formerly the Creative Director of the design and strategy firm frog, will now serve as CNE’s Executive Director of Digital Design and UX. Stephanie Fried, formerly the VP of Digital Insights and Marketing at Discovery Communications, will now serve as CNE’s SVP of Research and Analytics. And Matthew Starker, formerly CNE’s VP of Digital Strategy, has been promoted to General Manager of Digital Strategy and Initiatives. The moves come on the heels of last week’s announcement that Evan Adlman, previously a VP at PubMatic, would serve as CNE’s first Head of Programmatic.



Join CYNOPSIS and your peers on THURSDAY, APRIL 7 in New York City at our 2nd Annual SOCIAL GOOD AWARDS BREAKFAST as we honor everything from sustainability partnerships and PSA’s, to diversity campaigns, environmental initiatives, and more. Last year’s event sold out, so book your company’s table today!



has announced the next iteration of NextUp. The program, conceived in 2011, provides up-and-coming content creators with training and funding. You can check out the program’s new promo here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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