03/10/16: YouTube and StyleHaul ink branded ad partnership; YouTube co-founder launches foodie live-streaming site; Vimeo announces original content



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Good morning. It’s Thursday March 10, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


The fashion-and-beauty oriented YouTube network StyleHaul is teaming up with Time Inc. in a new multi-year advertising partnership. The companies will create branded projects, and play them across multiple platforms. They’ll also target marketers – particularly those with a focus on fashion or beauty – in instances when the StyleHaul’s and TimeInc.’s combined reach are deemed to be of value to brands. It’s easy to see how Time Inc. and StyleHaul complement each other in the partnership: Time Inc., for its part, operates over two dozen magazine brands, and is increasingly escalating its digital content ambitions. StyleHaul, meanwhile, has a sizable partner network. 


YouTube co-founder Steve Chen is launching Nom, a new digital platform that Chen is calling a “Twitch for food.” Like the video game-streaming platform, Nom features heavily interactive live-streamed broadcasts. But unlike Twitch, it’s very, very tasty. That is to say, it centers on food and cooking. “If you have a food blog and want to connect with a bigger audience, Nom is for you,” said Chen in a press release. As of yet, Nom has raised $4.7 million in Series A funding. You can check out the site here.


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has acquired Masquerade (aka MSQRD), a popular app that allows users to overlay video selfies with “masks” making them look like anyone ranging from a famous movie star to a goofball with abnormally large eyes. It makes sense that Facebook would want to get its hands on Masquerade’s technology: No social media company has embraced video more strongly than Facebook. And Masquerade will, in all likelihood, become popular in Facebook Messenger video chats, and in Facebook’s increasingly widespread live video streams.


Studio71, the multichannel network owned by ProSiebenSat.1 Group, announced a new global partnership with Just For Laughs Group. Studio71 and Just for Laughs will work together to secure advertising brand deals, and to develop digital content initiatives for the Just For Laughs brand. The news shouldn’t come as a surprise: Just For Laughs, best known for its prestigious comedy festival, signaled its intention to build up its digital content ambitions last month, when the company hired Martin Tremblay, the former President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, is its new EVP of Strategy and Development.


The stock-media provider Shutterstock is stocking up on a lot more content. In a three-year deal with the Associated Press, Shutterstock’s U.S. clients will be able to license over 2 million video clips and 30 million photos from news service’s daily and archived collections. The AP photo assets are expected to be available next month, while the video assets will be available later in the year.


Gunpowder & Sky, the newly formed digital studio focused on both short content and feature length films, has inked a development partnership with Shareability, a startup devoted to viral branded videos. With funding from G&S, Shareability intends to develop long-form content, invest in distribution platforms, and hire execs. The companies are also exploring co-productions. Gunpowder & Sky was co-founded Van Toffler, the former CEO of Viacom Media Networks Music Group, with backing from Otter Media, a joint venture between AT&T & The Chernin Group.
Shareability was formed by digital media veteran Tim Staples and Oscar-winning producer Nick Reed.
Today at South by Southwest, Vimeo will announce its new slate of original content. That includes Wizard Mode, the platform’s first original feature-length doc, Lonely and Horny, a new series from CollegeHumor’s Jake and Amir, a concert film featuring Toro y Moi, and Garfunkel and Oates: Trying to Be Special, a new comedy special. Vimeo will also announce a March 30 premiere date for The Outs, its upcoming original series. Vimeo hasn’t always been known as a home for original content, but as it’s heavily ramped up that area of its operation over the last several months, it’s often selected content with an indie feel. That’s no mistake, according to Sam Toles, Vimeo’s Head of Global Content Acquisitions and Distribution. “The mistake YouTube made when they first invested in content was one that I was determined not to make,” he said in a phone conversation with Cynopsis Digital. “They went out and did the big Hollywood thing, they did a deal with Madonna and a bunch of others, and their community felt very much ignored. We didn’t want to go that route – we didn’t want to go major studio, major television. We’re going to continue to experiment,” he added. “And when we put the Vimeo brand on something, the company has to be passionate that it’s a high quality piece of programming, that we would feel comfortable as an organization saying, ‘Yes, this is what Vimeo represents to the world.’”
has announced a new partnership with Hershey’s in advance of this year’s MTV Woodies/10 for 16, the network’s annual music ceremony for emerging artists. As part of the deal, one of Hershey’s’ brands – Reese’s – will take control of MTV’s recently-launched US Snapchat Discover channel on March 16, the day of the ceremony. The dedicated Woodies Edition Takeover will include MTV content highlighting the Woodies, its performers, and other relevant stories. An on-the-ground activation, co-hosted by MTV and Reese’s and heavily featuring fans, will also be integrated into MTV’s Snapchat Brand Story. “MTV has been a pioneer in the use of Snapchat since the platform’s launch, and has grown a legion of highly engaged followers who now regularly check out our new Snapchat Discover channel for the latest in pop culture news and must-have content,” Dario Spina, Executive Vice President of Viacom Velocity, told Cynopsis Digital. “By collaborating with brands on organic and creative Snapchat partnerships, our partners can connect with MTV’s passionate fans while serving them the craveable content they want.”


As a slew of companies get into the VR game this year, pay close attention to how they differentiate themselves on the market. The HTC Vive and the Sony Playstation VR headsets, for instance, will be particularly gamer friendly. Oculus, on the other hand, will likely be the most seamlessly synched into the social media ecosystem. It’s pretty clear why: Oculus is owned by Facebook. And now that relationship is beginning to heavily manifest itself: Starting next week, the Samsung Gear VR – which is powered by Oculus – will enable users to connect their Facebook profiles to the oculus video app that plays Facebook 360 videos. Also starting next week, Facebook users will be able to customize videos being recommended to them within the app. And within the coming weeks, users will be able to like those videos without taking off their headsets, and share the videos with Facebook friends – even if their friends don’t have a headset. Once the Oculus Rift headset begins to ship late this month, you can expect these types of features to get more and more sophisticated.


The mobile advertising and marketing platform Opera Mediaworks announced that it has partnered with Immersion Corporation, a developer of haptic technology, on a new mobile ad campaign promoting the new Lexus GS F. Launched in partnership with the agency Team One, the campaign will run on Opera Mediaworks-enabled Android mobile apps in the United States. “Haptics technology brings sight, sound, motion and feeling to the mobile user,” explained Team One exec Jennifer Bolt. “Users will feel the power of the GS F as the phone vibrates during action moments while the video plays.”    
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This is really saying something, given how many options there were. Google Chromecast was the most popular streaming device of 2015, beating out other streaming players in last year’s shipment charts. Chromecast accounted for 35 percent of the 42 million streamers shipped last year, according to data from the research company Strategy Analytics. (Over the lifetime of the devices, Apple TV still leads the pack with 37 million shipped units, but Google is closing ground fast, up to 27 million.) One major reason for the numbers seems clear: At $34.99, Chromecast is a relatively inexpensive option, costing over $100 less than many of its competing devices.


Chinese electronics and online video company LeEco (formerly LeTV) is set to hire Todd Pendelton, Chief Marketing Officer of Samsung, according to The Information. According to the report, LeEco is also hiring Shawn Williams, formerly Samsung’s SVP of HR. LeEco, which recently leased 86,000 square feet worth of Silicon Valley office space, is looking to execute a major U.S. expansion this year, bringing TV sets, phones, and other electronics and services to American consumers on a wide scale. Neither LeEco nor Samsung commented on The Information’s report.



Join Cynopsis Digital on March 24 at the Top Women in Digital Awards Breakfast from 8:15  10:30AM to celebrate this year’s talented honorees from companies such as DigitasLBi, Dunkin’ Brands, Google, Hasbro, Horizon Media, Hulu, Maker Studios and more. The awards presentation will be followed by a mimosa networking session with your top industry peers.

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Just in time for South by Southwest, Netflix will be using a “takeover” of the Austin-Bergstrom Airport to promote the upcoming season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on the Boingo Media platform. The takeover is designed to reach thought leaders and influencers who attend the conference. The takeover’s central video, featuring series stars Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess, is pretty hilarious – you can check it out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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