03/16/16: Meredith partners with Unconventional Studios; Flama launches doc-series starring Eric Ochoa; Fullscreen’s VP of unscripted exits company



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
03.16.16

Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 16, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TOP NEWS

 
As Meredith Corp. prepares to ramp up its digital offerings, conventional thinking simply won’t do. The media company, which owns brands ranging from Martha Stewart Living to Family Circle, has teamed up with Unconventional Studios, a production company specializing in advertiser-sponsored video. Under the deal, The Reelz TV series OK! TV – which is produced by Unconventional Studios – will be renamed Celebrity Page, and feature Unconventional Studios-produced lifestyle content from numerous Meredith brands. In addition to airing linearly, Celebrity Page will run on Meredith’s digital platforms.  

 

 

NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
The Korean mobile platform Kakao has partnered with Chinese film and TV company Huace Group. Huace will adapt five of Kakao’s web cartoons into TV series, web dramas, and movies. It should be noted that the deal might be reflective of some troubling trends in China’s entertainment landscape. The country, increasingly, has been banning content produced in foreign countries. And while Korean content is extremely popular in China, the Middle Kingdom’s insular regulatory policies make a straightforward content licensing partnership nigh impossible in a situation like this – hence the adaptation route.
 
If you like wrestlers in bizarre colored masks, it’s your lucky day. Flama, Univision’s digital media network for U.S.-born Hispanic millennials, is rolling out Becoming a Luchador, a new online docu-series starring YouTube celeb Eric Ochoa. The six-part series was developed by Flama and the Univision Creator Network, Univision’s network of content producers.  It follows Ochoa’s efforts to train in “lucha libre” wrestling. The series, to be released this spring on Flama.com, YouTube, and Facebook, is the latest in Univision’s growing list of efforts to reach millennial audiences, Hispanic and otherwise.
 


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PLATFORMS + TECH
 

Between its voice activation and its motion-sensitivity, the fourth gen Apple TV’s remote is a pretty nifty contraption. And one of these days you might just throw it in the garbage. It sounds like sci-fi, but Apple has patented an invention that would allow users to control objects on-screen simply by looking in the right direction, or making hand gestures. The patent, titled Gaze Detection In A 3D Mapping Environment, was acquired in 2013 when Apple purchased the Israeli company PrimeSense. No word on when – or if – Apple will bring the technology out of the patent office and into the real world.
 
As part of its environmentally friendly Picture This campaign, Sony Pictures Television Networks has launched a free app allowing users to capture and post images of picturesque urban and rural landscapes. The app, developed by the development company REDspace, is available for both iOS and Android. The Picture This campaign, launched in September 2015, is a global effort, active in 30 languages and across forty-five participating networks, making use of on-air and social media campaigns, as well as community events, to bring attention to both global and regional environmental issues. As for the new app? “It gives us a give-and-take – the local and the global,” said Paula Askanas, Executive Vice President of Communications at Sony Pictures Television, in a phone conversation with Cynopsis Digital. “[Picture This] is engaging all of these networks and viewers with things that are resonating with them locally. And [the app] is a really convenient and easy way for people to share those stories all around the world.”
 
In support of the upcoming MTV Woodies/10 for 16, MTV’s annual emerging artists showcase at South by Southwest, MTV will premiere a new Snapchat-exclusive live “documentary” featuring hip hop artist A$AP Ferg. The documentary, titled MTV Snapchat Docs: Art/Life/A$AP, will roll out over the course of March 16, following A$AP Ferg throughout the day leading up to his Woodies performance. The Woodies are shaping up to be a bit of a Snapchat laboratory for MTV: In addition to the upcoming doc, MTV will be covering the Woodies through a partnership with Hershey’s, as Cynopsis Digital recently noted.
 
 

DIGITAL CONTENT CREATORS
 

Awestruck, AwesomenessTV’s digital lifestyle network geared toward millennial moms, has added YouTube star Kandee Johnson to its team of creators. Johnson, one of YouTube’s best-known beauty and makeup experts, boasts 3.6 million YouTube subs. (Appropriately for Awestruck, she also happens to have four children.) As part of her new multi-year deal with Awestruck, Johnson will produce and star in a series about her life as a millennial mom. She’ll also appear in episodes of other AwesomenessTV shows.
 
 

CYNOPSIS TOP WOMEN IN DIGITAL AWARDS

 
"The unique challenges we face as women makes success that much sweeter. Thank you for giving us a platform to be celebrated and recognized” – Asmau Ahmed, Founder & CEO of Plum Perfect. Hear from more from our talented Top Women in Digital on March 24th in New York City. Register here: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2016-twd-event
 
 

RESEARCH
 

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 (3/7/16 – 3/13/16)

[]  
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 Wikipediapage 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.
 
 

EXECUTIVE MOVES
 

The interactive tech and video firm Interlude has made a new hire. Sam Barlow will now serve as the company’s Executive Creative Director, conceiving and directing new interactive experiences. He’ll also oversee the development of new series for eko network, Interlude’s upcoming video entertainment platform. Barlow is an acclaimed video game director and developer; his interactive movie Her Story won for Best Narrative at the 2015 Game Awards.
 
Fullscreen, the multi-channel network owned by a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group, is parting ways with Katy Chen, the company’s VP of Unscripted Development. Chen’s hiring was initially announced in September 2015. According to sources who spoke with VideoInk, both Fullscreen and The Chernin Group were unsatisfied with the products emerging from the unscripted department. In the interim, Lisa Anderson, Manager of Unscripted, and Taylor Paul, Coordinator of Unscripted, will pick up the slack caused by the new vacancy as Fullscreen sets about finding a replacement.
 
The ad tech company S4M (Success for Mobile), announced that it has hired Pierre Gauthier as Head of Publisher Management and Development, a newly created position. In the role, Gauthier will help to reinforce the company’s programmatic offerings, overseeing deals and partnerships with publishers and ad networks. Previously, he launched the French subsidiary of the ad tech company Widespace, serving as as co-Director and Director of Partnerships. “Hiring Pierre is a strategic step in moving from traditional programmatic to premium programmatic,” Christophe Collet, CEO of S4M, told Cynopsis Digital. “With Pierre helping us to establish deals with premium publishers worldwide, we can combat some of the most relevant programmatic challenges like fraud and bot traffic, which are now rampant in mobile marketing. Partnerships with premium publishers can provide assurances for brands that their mobile campaigns truly reach and engage with their intended audience and uphold the programmatic promise.”
 


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT

 
What do you do when a stormtrooper fires a laser blaster at you? Ideally, you block it with lightsaber. And Trials on Tatooine, an upcoming VR experiment from the Industrial Light and Magic Experience Lab, will put your reflexes to the test. The experience was built for the yet-to-ship HTC Vive headset, but a preview video is available now. Just remember to duck. Check it out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
03.16.16

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

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