Good morning. It’s Wednesday February 24, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
We’re in the homestretch. For the past several days, news has emerged about Yahoo’s ramped-up efforts to sell off its core business. Reports suggested that AT&T, Verizon and Comcast were among the interested potential buyers. Now, Bloomberg reports that Yahoo has been in talks with a slightly smaller (but still very large) fish: Time Inc. The media company has heard a pitch from Citigroup bankers representing Yahoo, proposing a deal to merge with the troubled Internet company. It’s a move that would make quite a bit of sense for Time Inc., which has been steadily building up its digital properties in recent years. The deal would bring Yahoo’s vast user-base – over 200 million monthly uniques in the U.S. – to said properties. You can check out Bloomberg’s report here.
Warner Bros. has acquired DramaFever, the SVOD service geared toward international (particularly Korean) TV and movies. The financial terms weren’t disclosed. WB acquired the service from SoftBank Group, its previous owner. Warner Bros. exec Craig Hunegs said that WB “will rapidly enhance and grow the DramaFever channel,” and create and build additional OTT services to boot. “We’re thrilled to be joining the Warner Bros. family and look forward to growing the DramaFever brand as well as developing new OTT properties,” DramaFever co-Founder and CEO Seung Bak told Cynopsis Digital.
Fifth Journey, the Hong Kong-based gaming company, has inked deals with MGM, Universal, and Lionsgate. The startup will develop mobile games, virtual reality content, and interactive entertainment based on the studios’ movies. Each studio will also take an equity stake in the company.
He’ll never leave us. Unbound: A Blackstar InstaMiniSeries, a visual representation of the late David Bowie’s recently-released final album, is coming to Instagram. (InstaMiniSeries is a startup that creates episodic content exclusively for Instagram.) According to Unbound’s producers, the miniseries is “a journey of evocative images inspired by the moods suggested in the album’s music, lyrics and artwork.” The first episode premieres tomorrow, February 25. There are sixteen eps total – each only about fifteen seconds long.
AOL announced that it is expanding its premium ad formats on MSN.com, and scaling up programmatic access to premium formats to tens of thousands of mobile applications. Included in the expansion are:
– MSN: Halo, Devil, Billboard, Loft, and Devil Full-Page Flex ad formats are now available on MSN’s sites in the US, Canada, Japan and Spain, and will be available in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Brazil in March. AOL’s linear video premium formats will also be available in these markets later in Q1.
– Millennial Media: The Devil Full-Page Flex ad format will be available on more than 65,000 mobile apps globally by the end of February.
– ONE by AOL: Display: Devil Full-Page Flex and Mobile Interstitial ad formats are now available to be purchased programmatically, and will get increased mobile in-app scale in early Q2 through integrations with MoPub and Nexage.
“Our mission is to build and provide the best ad experiences overall, whether it is desktop, mobile, TV or video,” Gianluca Milano, AOL’s Senior Director, Premium Formats Product, told Cynopsis Digital. “We are scaling programmatic access further for our premium formats…delivering best in-class ad experiences with more relevant brand messages to users. This leads to better performance for our advertising partners. Beyond relevancy, though, these ad formats are beautiful and engaging, providing greater all-around brand-to-consumer engagement that both parties appreciate.” So in 2016, just how important is it to get onboard with programmatic and mobile-centric ad strategies? “Programmatic access to premium, high-end ad experiences, with real scale across channels, whether they be desktop, mobile or video, are necessary for advertisers to connect with consumers,” Milano said. “You have to be onboard or risk getting left behind.”
Never underestimate the value of a good education. MasterClass, a startup specializing in adult education videos featuring big-name talents like Kevin Spacey and Christina Aguilera, announced that it raised $15 million in a Series B funding round. New Enterprise Associates led the round, with participation from Bloomberg Beta, Novel TMT Ventures, WME Ventures, and others.
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Also focused on education: PBS, set to launch PBS Kids, a 24-hour television channel for children, later this year. The channel’s content will be live-streamed across numerous digital platforms, including Roku, AppleTV, and other OTT platforms, as well as the PBS Kids website and mobile app. “Given that 54 percent of all children nationwide do not have the opportunity to attend preschool, providing access is a critical element of our public service mission,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kreuger in a statement.
BuzzFeed has long been a video behemoth, racking daunting view counts across platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Facebook. Now, it looks like the company wants to move some of those views in-house. The company has launched new BuzzFeed Video apps for iOS and Android. The apps will initially launch without ad support, though the company says that will eventually change.
The last several months have seen Vimeo dramatically ramp up its TVOD ambitions, including its first big push into original content. Now, the video-posting platform has added this year’s Oscar nominees for Live Action Short Film to its VOD library. The shorts will be compiled into an anthology, available for $4.99. You can get it here.
The sports-focused MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor) fuboTV has debuted on the Amazon Fire TV. The company has content partnerships with networks including Pivot, Revolt, and Univision. Fubo’s sports programming is mostly focused on soccer, and its audience is largely Hispanic. Before debuting for Amazon Fire TV, fuboTV had already launched for Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, Google‘s Chromecast, iPhone and iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, Roku, and T-Mobile’s Binge On.
The video marketing company Pixability has launched Pixability v4, a new video ad-buying tool for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. According to a release, Pixability v4 provides advertisers with “normalized video ad metrics that account for each premium video platform’s distinct specifications, reducing complexity and enabling greater levels of accuracy and insight.” “Video consumption is shifting in-app, and advertisers know they need to be in walled gardens like YouTube and Facebook,” Pixability CEO Bettina Hein told Cynopsis Digital. “But disparate ad formats, view definitions, and metrics make cohesive campaign management and measurement a significant challenge. Pixability’s unified solution with normalized metrics makes comparative measurement clear, fast and actionable, empowering advertisers to deliver high performing video ad campaigns across walled gardens.”
Don’t miss out on the likes of STRIVR Labs Founder/CEO Derek Belch, FOX Sports SVP of Field & Technical Ops Michael Davies, Gatorade’s Director of Digital Marketing Jeff Miller, and LiveLike VR Founder/CEO Andre Lorenceau as Cynopsis Sports presents its latest webinar about the future of VR and Sports. Hear from the drivers who are changing the game today at 1:30PM ET. Register here.
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).
Streaming Only (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.
The video analytics company Tubular Labs released its rankings of the top video brands and influencers for January 2016. Some of their findings:
- Overall: The top 100 video brands and influencers together generated 42 billion total cross-platform views in January, up 12% from December 2015.
– Facebook: Food content dominated Facebook rankings with Tasty (a Buzzfeed
property), Tastemade, Tip Hero, Buzzfeed Proper Tasty (the UK equivalent to
Tasty) and Buzzfeed Food in the top 6 spots. At #10, the NBA was new to
Facebook rankings with 351 million views and a 3.42% engagement rate.
- Instagram: Justin Bieber and the NBA climbed 8 places and Black Jaguar-
White Tiger climbed 9 places to take the #1, #2 and #3 spots respectively.
Instagram’s own brand channel was new to the Instagram rankings this month with
53 million views and 8.2 million new followers.
– YouTube: Justin Bieber maintained its #1 spot from last month, while WWE fell to
the #3 spot, giving its #2 spot to Ryan Toys Review. Overall, family and children’s
content dominated YouTube rankings this month.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Yeah, we know you do. That’s why you should sign up for the Cynopsis Programmatic TV Summit on Thursday, March 24th at Yale Club in New York City. You’ll get up to speed on the latest thinking in data, inventory, measurement, and more.
Check out our Agenda & Speakers here and sign up today.
Sponsored by The Trade Desk
If you’re wondering how an adult education startup like MasterClass raised $15 million, look no further than an awesome MasterClass video of Kevin Spacey coaching some aspiring actors. Check it out here.
See you tomorrow,
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