Good morning. It’s Tuesday March 29, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Augmented Reality: While virtual reality creates a wholly simulated environment for the user, augmented reality, or AR, creates computer-generated sensory information – images, videos, sounds, graphics, etc. – within a real-world environment. Imagine, for instance, that you’re staring at a very real couch, and it’s suddenly infested with holographic robot scorpions. (You can thank the Microsoft HoloLens headset for that example.) At the moment, both press and industry figures seem a tad more interested in VR than AR. Still, the latter technology is highly promising.
For a service that’s been heavily ramping up its original content ambitions of late, this is a logical next step. Vimeo has debuted a new app for Roku, making its On Demand videos available for rent and purchase on the device. At the moment, Vimeo users are most active on mobile and video. And if you want to know why a connected device app is a big deal for Vimeo, just ask any Netflix user how nice it is to watch House of Cards or Daredevil on a TV screen. “On the programming side, the lines between TV and online video continue to blur as more and more users are looking to streaming services as primary methods of content consumption,” Will True, Vimeo’s Senior Product Manager, TV Apps, told Cynopsis Digital. “Vimeo is establishing itself as the home for high quality content direct from creators, and we see reaching viewers on their televisions as a key step in growing the Vimeo On Demand platform.”
Google announced that, through 2016 and 2017, it will redesign the user interface for AdWords, its online service for advertisers. According to a post from Google exec Jerry Dischler, changes will include simplified navigation, additional data, and significantly less clutter. AdWords has been around for 15 years without undergoing any major redesigns. That hasn’t stopped it from becoming the chief revenue generator for one of the most successful companies on the planet, but still, advertisers are bound to appreciate the changes.
Periscope is just killing it. Yesterday, right in time for the Twitter-owned live streaming service’s first birthday, the service released some stats – and they’re mighty impressive. Periscope has been used for over 200 million broadcasts since its March 2015 launch. (That number has doubled since January, when Periscope streams were added to Twitter timelines.) Users of Periscope’s iOS and Android apps watch about one million hours worth of live-streams (which equals about 110 years) daily. Live streaming is an increasingly crowded space: Facebook is dramatically upping its live video efforts, and YouTube is reported to be developing a live-streaming tool as well. But in the meantime, Periscope has something to celebrate – so happy birthday.
Digiday reports that, during Facebook’s April 12-13 F8 developers conference, the company will unveil new live video capabilities. Publishers will no longer be reliant on smartphones and tablets; instead, they’ll be able to integrate Facebook’s live-streaming tech directly into their control rooms. That will allow for more sophisticated productions: Remote segments will be possible, as will multi-camera videos. In theory, publishers will be able to do away with live-streaming’s DIY feel, creating polished live videos. That gives Facebook a significant competitive edge over other live-streaming platforms: Publishers that want their live-streams to look like honest-to-god TV shows will know who to turn to first.
Broadway theater is 100% live – and that’s one of the things that makes it so compelling. That may be why BroadwayHD, the streaming service launched last year as a sort of Netflix for Broadway shows, will be live-streaming an Off Broadway production of the 1979 Sam Shepard drama Buried Child, starring Ed Harris and Taissa Farmiga. It will stream live at BroadwayHD.com on Wednesday, March 30.
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Acorn TV, the streaming service that specializes in bringing U.K. content to North American audiences, announced two new acquisitions: Season 9 of the period mystery Murdoch Mysteries (aka The Artful Detective) debuts on the service April 25, while the Guy Pearce-starring detective series Jack Irish will come to the service May 2.
Yahoo will be holding a notably subdued NewFronts event in 2016, especially compared to last year’s Lincoln Center affair. The May 14 gathering, during which Yahoo will present its video programming, will be held at Yahoo’s New York sales office, and will be open only to brand and agency partners. Yahoo has had a tumultuous go of things since the 2015 NewFronts event: The company’s original video unit was shuttered, many of its digital magazines folded, and a fight for control of its Board currently rages. Meanwhile, the company is actively seeking to sell off its core business. It stands to reason that, in 2016, Yahoo would try for a quiet, business-minded event.
Tech fans rejoice: The Oculus Rift VR headset has debuted. (Be warned, it costs $599.) The Facebook-owned Oculus is the first of three companies to ship a much-anticipated VR headset this year. The HTC Vive will ship next month, while the PlayStation VR will launch in October. For the nascent VR industry, 2016 promises to be an interesting – and competitive – year.
Digiday has a fascinating look at how beauty companies are using augmented reality to drive sales conversions. According to a study from Demandware, 72 percent of U.S. beauty brands have been testing “guided selling,” including AR tools. From lipstick to botox, new mobile apps are letting cosmetics-shoppers use their phone screens to see what they would look like wearing a product. “In augmented reality, what may have been gimmicky five years ago is now believable,” said Zach Paradis of the agency Sapient Nitro. “It can manifest into meaningful decision support in the path to purchase that can differentiate a retailer.”
SHAREABLEE SOCIAL TV RATINGS: Top U.S. Streaming Shows Overall by Engagement for the week of March 21
Program, Date, Total Actions (000), Total Content, Actions per Post (000), Fans/Followers (000)
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix) 478, 15, 32, 7135
Trailer Park Boys (Netflix) 242, 16, 15, 1748
House of Cards (Netflix) 57, 19, 3, 3528
Fuller House (Netflix) 40, 14, 3, 931
The Mindy Project (Hulu) 40, 15, 3, 749
Grace and Frankie (Netflix) 21, 5, 4, 139
Daredevil (Netflix) 19, 5, 3, 2524
BoJack Horseman (Netflix) 13, 12, 1, 589
Arrested Development (Netflix) 11, 8, 1, 2313
Bosch (Amazon Studios) 10, 25, 0, 167
Source: Shareablee Inc. The total actions metric includes the total volume of post-level likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments. Total content includes all posts, tweets and media posted by each TV property across all platforms. Actions per post metric notes the average e number of actions garnered by each property. Total fans/followers includes Facebook and Twitter and Instagram followers.
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).
All Series (3/21/16 – 3/27/16)
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.
OpenSlate Engagement Data for the News & Politics Vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending 3/27.
Channel (Engagement) / Monthly Views / Total Subs / SlateScore
TheYoungTurks (9.4) / 94,385,760 / 2,760,404 / 769
DramaAlert (9.1) / 18,546,690 / 1,209,421 / 669
justkiddingnews (9) / 37,565,280 / 1,490,704 / 716
TheAlexJonesChannel (8.8) / 28,253,340 / 1,307,786 / 691
RussiaToday (8.6) / 24,771,390 / 1,760,005 / 699
rtrussian (8.5) / 19,794,090 / 598,115 / 649
msnbcleanforward (8.5) / 4,249,350 / 70,788 / 535
(8.5) / 26,590,440 / 363,084 / 535
thairathonline (8.5) / 24,768,240 / 572,030 / 511
thisisfusion (8.5) / 6,075,900 / 89,162 / 562
Source: The Engagement metric is one of OpenSlate’s component scores, and is a measure of a producer’s ability to evoke meaningful interaction with their audience. It is calculated on a scale of 1-10 with higher being better. The OpenSlate Engagement score uses a subset of the data incorporated in the SlateScore to perform a set of unique calculations. It factors in views, comments, likes, and more.
There’s been a bit of reshuffling in Pandora’s box. Brian McAndrews will be departing as Chairman, President and CEO of the streaming music service. That’s a lot of titles for one exec, and they’ll now be split amongst multiple people. Tim Westergren, the company’s Founder, will take over as CEO. Meanwhile, independent board member Jim Feuille will take over as Chairman of the Board, while CFO Mike Herring will assume the additional title of President. The changes come at a sensitive time; Pandora plans to launch a subscription music service to compete with Spotify later this year.
Turner has hired Natasha Hritzuk as its new Vice President of Client Insights and Content Partnerships Research. Hritzuk will oversee research strategy and data analysis for Turner Incite, Turner’s intelligence platform for ad sales. Hritzuk previously served as Global Head of Research and Insights for Microsoft Advertising.
YouTube may be an all-pervasive cultural juggernaut, but when it opened for business in 2005, it started small. So – what was the title of the first YouTube video? You can find the answer here.
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With the official release of the Oculus Rift headset, the new age of virtual reality has kicked into high gear. If you want to learn more about the Rift, The Verge’s new review of the device provides a terrific overview. Check it out here.
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