03/03/16: Verizon and Hearst partner for digital video venture; YouTube launches initiative to help female creators; Netflix orders more Fuller House

CYNOPSISDIGITAL
03.03.16

Good morning. It’s Thursday March 3, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TOP NEWS


It’s not all gloom and doom at Yahoo. As a possible sale or merger lurks on the horizon, the company is demonstrating that it’s still up for new efforts. The company has launched Yahoo Esports, a new vertical featuring gaming-related news and video. It’s a fascinating development, and an instructive one – last year, Yahoo lost tens of millions of dollars on video content, and the company shuttered several verticals just last month. Suffice to say, Yahoo certainly doesn’t want to get burned – and yet the company is confident in this particular space. The takeaway: There’s a growing consensus among media companies that eSports content is a safe bet. (Turner, ESPN and others have already hitched their hopes to the eSports bandwagon.) Yahoo may be betting that the new vertical will only make the company more appealing to its prospective buyers.

Verizon and Hearst have formed a 50-50 partnership on a new digital video initiative.  Under the new venture, called Verizon Hearst Media Partners, the companies will release two new video channels in the spring: RatedRed.com, a lifestyle brand aimed at red-state millennials, and Seriously.TV, a news-comedy channel. Content from the venture will be distributed over YouTube and other platforms, and possibly even TV networks. Content will also be distributed through Verizon’s Go90 mobile streaming service, which launched in October. Until now, Verizon has been acquiring Go90 content from other media companies, likely at high cost. Now the company will have to play a bigger role in producing mobile video for the service.

It seems that Turner had big things in mind when it revived Super Deluxe last year. (The unit began as a comedy video hub in 2007, was folded into Adult Swim two years later, and was revived last October as an online media producer.)  Variety reports that the Super Deluxe team is preparing to launch Surf.co, an upcoming media aggregation site that will allow users to manually collect videos and GIFs from YouTube, Facebook, Giphy and elsewhere, organizing them into collections – or “boards.” Turner declined to comment on Variety’s story.

NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS


Speaking of which, Verizon has acquired new music, modeling, and sports-related content from the studio IMG, all for the Go90 streaming service. You can learn more about the content here.

In an effort to empower female creators, YouTube is financing over fifty new videos, shot at YouTube Spaces studios around the world, showcasing women’s perspectives. And YouTube has some very interesting partners on-board: In a year-long partnership, the United Nations has enlisted seven female YouTube creators to serve as “change ambassadors,” creating videos that promote gender equality and tolerance. Meanwhile, YouTube has partnered with the actress Geena Davis and her Institute on Gender in Media, a nonprofit devoted to improving gender depictions onscreen and creating equal opportunities. The Institute provided consulting to creators as part of the program. Videos from the program began rolling out yesterday on the YouTube Spaces channel.

While Netflix went on a tear at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, snatching up the streaming rights to eight titles (and counting?), it seems that it’s not the only streamer getting in on the act. Hulu has teamed with Lionsgate to acquire the North American rights to the Sundance dark comedy Joshy, written and directed by Jeff Baena. The film, about a man who follows through on his bachelor party plans even after his fiancee’s suicide, will be released by the Lionsgate Premiere label, and will be available to stream exclusively on Hulu following its run in theaters. In the past, Hulu has lagged far behind other streamers in picking up original feature films; if the acquisition of Joshy is an indicator, Hulu may start trying to pick up the pace.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


They say the early bird catches the worm, but in this instance a $100 discount!

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CONTENT PROGRAMMING


Apparently the house wasn’t full enough. Netflix has renewed Fuller House, its sequel series to the classic ABC sitcom Full House, for a second season. The series debuted on February 26. The premiere date of the second season hasn’t been announced.

DIGITAL CONTENT CREATORS


Pretty soon, you may not have to turn to niche ceremonies to see digital stars get awards. The Television Academy has added several new short-form categories for this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards. The upshot: the PewDiePies of the world can now hope for an Emmy statuette of their very own.


PLATFORMS + TECH


Facebook is diving whole hog into this live video thing. Right after announcing that its new News Feed algorithm would favor live video, the company has set to work recruiting media companies and celebrities to participate in Facebook live video broadcasts. This week, COO Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook execs will be visiting Hollywood agencies to pitch them on Facebook Live, according to Re/code.

Sony
is in a giving mood. The company is dropping prices for its PlayStation Vue Internet TV service, reducing its three plans by $10 per month. Meanwhile, the service has added ESPN, along with several other Disney networks. There’s a very simple motivation here: Sony needs more subscribers. Since launching in March of 2015, Vue has encountered significant difficulty when it comes to attracting new customers. One of the primary reasons is likely Vue’s competition: Dish Network’s Sling TV has always been cheaper than Vue (and has always included ESPN).

This week, Cynopsis Digital noted the March 30 release of the developer-friendly Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset – and its $3,000 price tag. But apparently Microsoft has accounted for the developers who aren’t spectacularly wealthy. Ahead of March 30, Microsoft will also be releasing a HoloLens “emulator,” which will allow developers to test their apps in simulated rooms, making use of keyboard commands, a mouse, and an Xbox controller.

RESEARCH

According to a new study from Turner and the media tech company 4C, television advertising significantly prompts consumers to interact with brands on social media. The findings:
- One out of every 5 social media brand engagements is driven by television advertising.
For the 26 brands studied, 4C found that 19.5% of their public social media engagement on Facebook and Twitter was attributed to television advertising (18% from TV plus half of 3% from TV + Social).
- When the two largest drivers of social brand engagement are compared, television drives one in three engagements.
A direct comparison of television versus social advertising finds that 1 out of every 3 brand engagements is influenced by television. In addition, the cross-screen effect of television and social ads running simultaneously contributed to 5%of social media brand engagement when all other factors were removed.
- Television advertising during premium programming drives 4.5x higher social brand engagement than during non-premium programming.
The data also shows that advertising during premium programming delivers greater social brand engagement than during non-premium programming.

 

EXECUTIVE MOVES


The virtual reality studio Felix & Paul has named Ryan Horrigan as its new Chief Content Officer. Horrigan previously served as a development and production executive at New Regency, where he worked on projects such as 12 Years a Slave and Assassin’s Creed. At Felix & Paul, Horrigan will oversee content development, strategy, and partnerships for the studio’s L.A. office.

The app-based mobile audience platform PushSpring announced the opening of a new New York City office. Patrick Callinan has been brought on to run the new office as Director of Sales, East Coast. Previously, he served as Global Content Partnerships Lead at Mozilla.


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


TOP WOMEN IN DIGITAL AWARDS EVENT
Thursday, March 24 // 8:15-10:30a.m. // New York City
Join us as we celebrate honorees from the following companies and more!

AT&T, Comcast Cable, Crown Media Family Networks, Deutsch, DigitasLBi, Dunkin’ Brands, Fox Sports, Hasbro, Horizon Media, Hulu, Maker Studios, Mindshare, MTV, NBCUniversal, Octagon, PBS Kids, Scripps Networks Interactive, Showtime Networks, Starcom MediaVest, TiVO, Xaxis.

Book your company’s table today: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2016-twd-event/.


DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT


What if Shark Tank was set in a retirement facility? Writer/Producer/Performer Steve Goldbloom, the mind behind the Everything But the News spoof of PBS NewsHour, cooked up this scenario in episode three of his new series On the Brink of Greatness for AOL‘s Engadget. Goldbloom arranged for some of the hottest Bay Area entrepreneurs to pitch their startups before a panel of 90-year-olds, who took no mercy. Watch the segment here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
03.03.16

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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