04/09/14: Webby Awards nominees announced: Conde Nast Entertainment, the Big Winner


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, April 9, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


The 18th Annual Webby Awards nominees were announced yesterday, with Conde Nast Entertainment leading the trail across all video categories with 14 noms. Vice Media tallied up 11 nominations, The New York Times earned ten, Google, BBC and PBS came in with nine each and Funny or Die scored eight. Viral ad nominees include Jean-Claude Van Damme and The Epic Split (71 million YouTube views) and Devil Baby Attack (44 million YT views). The Webby ceremony will take place on April 29th in New York City, hosted by comedian Patton Oswalt for the third year in a row.

CW Seed‘s Backpackers is transitioning from web series to the CW network  the digital studio’s first product to do so. CW will integrate the current online eps into the first four half-hour shows out of the ten ordered, according to Hollywood Reporter. The series focuses on two friends backpacking across Europe after one is dumped. The show will premiere sometime this summer.

Netflix has officially crossed over to 4K/Ultra HD streaming. Those subscribers with 4K TV’s can watch House of Cards‘ second season and multiple nature documentaries in the new high-resolution tech. Samsung and LG showed multiple 4K TVs equipped with the Netflix app at CES in January, and Sony and Vizio are supposedly not far behind.

Big Bird and friends are flying into the digital space, with a new video subscription platform called Sesame Go. CMO Today reports that the platform will cost $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year, and offer current season episodes, past episodes and shortened 30-minute episodes for parents looking to limit how much a child watches. Although some of the show’s eps are on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and the PBS Kids app, Worldwide Media Distribution for Sesame Workshop SVP Scott Chambers said the platform is not a precursor to becoming a stand-alone online cable channel.


The latest study from video-delivery firm Qwilt shows that Amazon’s Instant Video is the third largest video site in March, behind Netflix (57.5 percent) and YouTube (16.9 percent). Although it’s sitting at a modest 3%, Amazon is still beating out Hulu (2.8 percent). This number may rise considerably, since this data was collected before the Fire TV set-top box hit the market last week.

Netflix‘s upcoming original drama Marco Polo finally has a star: Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy will play the merchant traveller. Also cast: Benedict Wong (Prometheus), Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas), Tom Wu (Skyfall), Aussie Remy Hii (Treading water and Rick Yune (Olympus Has Fallen). The series will include ten episodes created by John Fusco and Harvey Weinstein, and will debut later this year.

Crackle‘s third season of its original series Chosen will premiere a sneak-peek exclusively on PlayStation. Owners of PS4, PS3 and PS Vita devices will have access to the season’s six eps a week before it officially premieres on the Sony entertainment network.


Comcast AdDelivery service digital advertising distribution Adstream will offer a global ad delivery platform that allows brands to distribute and track ads in real-time internationally. "We’ll now be able to assist our global clients in managing their assets in the U.S., as well as helping to expand American brands to international markets," Adstream CEO Gerry Sutton said.

Mobile ad network AdTheorent, Inc. and media monetizing solution Civolution have partnered to create a TV-monitoring network providing real-time data on ad performance across digital, social, mobile and TV screens. As a result, the two launched a Media Mix Correlation Study showing higher CTR when TV spots ran on the same day.


Rentrak‘s "State of VOD Report" shows that the total time spent viewing free on-demand TV content in primetime increased 24 percent versus the prior year – and 66 percent of viewing occurred after the third day of its original airing.

Ericsson‘s "Media Vision 2020" study predicts that on-demand access of content will account for 50 percent of media consumption in six years, with 8 billion mobile broadband subscriptions and 1.5 billion homes with digital television.


BrightRoll named Beth Steinberg as Vice President of People (talent acquisition, employee development). Previously, Steinberg was Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development at SunRun.

James D. Fielding has joined Awesomeness TV as Global Head of Consumer Products and Retail. He recently served as CEO of Claire’s and President of Disney Stores Worldwide.

Digital Trends appointed Jeremy Kaplan as Editor-in-Chief. Previously, Kaplan was the former Science & Technology editor at FoxNews.com.

Centro appointed Matt Davis as National Vice president of Platform Sales. He has spent eight years with the company, and was most recently Regional Vice President, West. Mike Olson has been promoted to Regional Vice President, West.

Michelle Strong has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Distribution, National Accounts for A+E Networks. Previously, Strong was Vice President, National Accounts for the network.


Fuse‘s Billy on the Street is running around New York City sidewalks once again, but this time approaching strangers with actor Paul Rudd. Billy’s hilarious clips have been blowing up on the web since their debut, and have included guest stars like Amy Poehler, Neil Patrick Harris and Lindsay Lohan. Check out the latest installment, Would You Have Sex With Paul Rudd for a Dollar? at www.cynopsis.com.


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