03.25.16 Good morning. It’s Friday March 25, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Yahoo has a new headache to deal with. Starboard Value, a New York hedge fund that owns 1.7% of Yahoo’s outstanding shares, has gone full activist. Starboard has nominated nine candidates (including its own CEO) for election to Yahoo’s Board of Directors – in effect, an attempt to depose the current nine-member Board, and quite possibly Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. “The board’s nominating and governance committee will review Starboard’s proposed director nominees and respond in due course,” Yahoo said in a statement.
Is Rovi acquiring TiVo? It’s by no means set in stone, but the companies are in “advanced negotiations,” according to sources who spoke to The New York Times. Rovi, a tech and software company that owns innumerable patents for digital entertainment devices, would offer TiVo shareholders a combination of cash and stock. When all’s said and done, TiVo shareholders would own about 30% of the combined company. The Times reports that the most influential proponent of he merger was activist investor Glenn W. Welling, whose company, Engaged Capital, won two seats on Rovi’s board last year. TiVo had no comment.
Talk about playing in your own wheelhouse. Apple has greenlit its first original production – an unscripted series about app developers. Produced by Ben Silverman and Howard Owens, the series was developed in partnership with musician will.i.am, the New York Times has reported. Additional details about the project are still scant. Apple exec Eddy Cue insisted to the Times that the series doesn’t reflect a broader intention to ramp up digital content production.
Facebook is trying to take some of the guesswork out of advertising. Over the next few weeks, the social media giant will globally roll out Delivery Insights, a new tool that lets Facebook marketers see which of their ads are under-delivering, enabling them to adjust individual ads to reach the intended audience. Facebook will also introduce new insights in Ads Manager, which will offer specific suggestions and optimization recommendations to help advertisers improve ad deliverability and achieve better overall results. The company detailed the new tools in a blog post, which you can check out here.
May awesomeness proliferate the world over. Through a partnership with Endemol Shine Beyond, local versions of the MCN and media company AwesomenessTV will be launching in the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, and Brazil. The new platforms will feature local-language content and local social media stars.
Production houses New Form Digital and Above Average announced a deal to co-produce Algorhythm, an original series from YouTube star Craig Benzine (aka WheezyWaiter). Developed as part of New Form Digital’s Incubator Series, Algorhythm will premiere with six episodes on Verizon’s Go90 mobile streaming service later this year. Benzine wrote, directed, and EP’s the series.
In a new multi-year deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Hulu has nabbed exclusive streaming rights to NBC drama Blindspot and Fox series Lucifer. Episodes will debut on Hulu following their linear airings. As part of the deal, Hulu also acquired the streaming rights to all past seasons of TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles, as well as the full series runs of The O.C., Smallville, and Southland.
The marketing software and data company Oracle has partnered with Drawbridge, a device identity firm. The partnership will improve the accuracy and reach of Oracle’s consumer identification capabilities. The deal comes on the heels of Adobe’s recent move to shore up identification capabilities; the company introduced its new Cross-Device Cooperative earlier this week. The co-op, available in beta later in 2016, will enable Adobe clients to help one another determine when a consumer is associated with multiple linked devices. You can learn more about both the Cross-Device Cooperative and the Oracle/Drawbridge partnership here.
The Chinese streaming giant iQIYI has struck a content deal with the British Film Institute. BFI will curate a selection of films for iQIYI, all of which have screened at the BFI London Film Festival. (Some of the titles have been licensed by iQIYI rights owners, while others were supplied by BFI itself.) iQIYI will be BFI’s exclusive Chinese VOD partner for the collection. The collection, which features films such as Captain Phillips and Philomena, will include 20 titles to start, but is expected to grow.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Primetime Emmy Awards: Before the Ballot Special eReports
A multi-part series publishing from May – June Cynopsis handicaps the major Categories before Nominees are determined.
Actor/Actress, Non-Fiction Specials & Series, Reality Host/Competition/Program, Comedy, Drama, PLUS the new Short Form category.
Space is limited
And then there was YouTube. VentureBeat reports that YouTube is building a new mobile live-streaming app. Dubbed YouTube Connect, the app promises to compete directly with Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope. And given that Meerkat recently abandoned individual live-streaming, it’s only fair that a new third player enter the arena.
“Clarity – the ability to look at television on a level playing field with what is already going on on the digital side – is exactly what brands want to do.” Incisive words from Mark Risis, TiVo Research’s Head of Strategy, Business Development, and Marketing, at Cynopsis Media’s Programmatic TV Summit. (Yesterday was a busy day indeed.) Thanks to everyone who was in attendance. Be sure keep your eye on the programmatic marketplace – we know we will.
In 2016 and beyond, is it possible for a business to get by on DVD rentals alone? Redbox doesn’t want to find out. Variety reports that the company is preparing to launch Redbox Digital, a new streaming service. This isn’t the first time that Redbox has tried its hand at digital. The SVOD service Redbox Instant was shuttered in 2014 after a mere 18 months in operation. But concept screenshots obtained by Variety indicate that the new service will be more iTunes than Netflix – a digital VOD store where users can buy or rent movies. According to Variety’s sources, a closed beta test of the service may be available soon.
The live-streaming startup Streamup has launched a new Los Angeles creator studio. The company’s talent will have free access to the space, which will contain live-streaming cameras, software equipment, lighting, and projection screens. As part of the studio’s launch, Streamup President Will Keenan is promising to do something rather unusual: He’ll be broadcasting himself live, 24 hours a day, starting Easter Sunday – just as Streamup is heading into a new Series A funding round.
The best advice that Kendra Johnson, Head of Distribution & Strategic Partnerships at Maker Studios, ever received? "Take the job that scares you. It leads to a challenging and invigorating path." Sage advice indeed. Cynopsis Media’s Top Women in Digital awards were held yesterday in NYC. Learn about all of our inspiring honorees here.
Gone are the days when Conde Nast’s print magazines accounted for the sum of its efforts. And as the company oversees exponential growth in its digital properties and production output, it’s intent on helping ad buyers keep pace. In a pitch to about 190 ad buyers, the company unveiled a slate of new programmatic capabilities. Evan Adlman, the company’s recently-hired programmatic chief, tells Ad Age that the new offerings will give media buyers a more expansive view of Condé Nast’s inventory. Among other new offerings, the company will segment and package first-party data on its own visitors, which programmatic buyers will then be able to use for targeting. You can learn more here.
As Fullscreen accelerates its evolution from MCN to multi-platform digital giant, it stands to reason that the company would want to beef up its marketing team with high-profile talent from the linear arena. The company, owned by Otter Media (itself a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group), has hired Carryl Pierre-Drews as its new VP of Sales Marketing. Between 2007 and 2014, Pierre-Drews served as VP (and then SVP) of Strategic Marketing at NBCU’s USA Network.
Performics, the global performance marketing network of Publicis Media, announced some new moves. Amy Krauss and Josh Dwiggins have been promoted to EVP, Client Solutions, while Mary Matyas and Sue McDonnell have been appointed to the positions of SVP, Client Solutions, for the east and central regions, respectively.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
For its new ad-campaign, Carlsberg decided to ditch brewing and try its hand at chocolatiering. Perhaps unsurprisingly, its new sweets shop looked suspiciously like a bar. Check out the company’s clever new spot here.
See you Monday,
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