04/19/16: Disney-ABC to help affiliates launch digital offerings; Amazon launches stand-alone Prime Video plan; Crackle teams with Xfinity on Demand



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
04.19.16

Good morning. It’s Tuesday April 19, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER

 
Out-stream video advertising
: Out-stream video placements are video ad units that aren’t tied to content. An out-stream ad can run between paragraphs of text, on the side of a page, etc. (By comparison, in-stream video ads appear before, after, or in the middle of a piece of video content). For advertisers, one appealing aspect of out-stream ads is that they can guarantee 100% viewability.

 
 
TOP NEWS
 

Adapt or die. In the wake of Mashable’s mass layoffs and BuzzFeed’s (reportedly) underwhelming revenue numbers, many online news outlets have been left in a full-on panic as to how they can monetize in a media landscape increasingly dominated by mobile apps and the Facebook newsfeed. Over the weekend, The New York Times did yeoman’s work reporting on the online news industry’s travails. So it’s not surprising that the same news outlet is taking steps to up its digital reach. The Times announced that it will invest over $50 million over the next three years to expand its international digital presence, forming a designated team – dubbed NYT Global – to spearhead the effort. Top brass at the Times explained to employees in an internal memo that the publication’s current digital offerings are still designed primarily for a U.S. audience, and therefore exclude an enormous potential audience.
 
Following through on an announcement from February, YouTube will begin supporting 360 degree live streaming, as well as spatial audio. (Spatial audio is audio that exhibits direction-based characteristics, and sound intensity levels, that are directly related to how a viewer’s head is positioned. At launch, YouTube’s spatial audio will only be available for on-demand videos.) YouTube’s 360-degree live-streaming tool will kick off this month with the music event Coachella, where select performances will be live-streamed in the 360-degree format. 360-degree video is one of the major emerging consumer platforms of 2016. Ditto live video. It’s notable that YouTube is combining them.
 
For the first time, Sony’s Crackle has cut a content deal with a cable distribution partner. Starting tomorrow, April 20 (the same day as Crackle’s Upfront), Crackle’s original long-form content will be available via Comcast’s Xfinity on Demand platform, as well as the Xfinity TV TV Everywhere app and website.
 
Amazon launched a standalone Prime Video subscription plan. Priced at $8.99-per-month, the plan excludes the free two-day shipping included in Prime’s standard $99-per-year package. Speaking of which, Amazon has introduced a $10.99-per-month option for the standard Prime plan. (That’s actually 33% more per year than the $99-per-year plan, but Amazon says many customers want a month-to-month option.) Just this month, Netflix announced that all subscribers to its most popular plan would soon be paying $9.99 per month – up as much as $2 for some subs. Amazon’s new plan has Netflix beat by a dollar. That’s probably not a coincidence. 
 
Can a network really achieve “TV Everywhere” status if its affiliates aren’t dipping their toes in the digital waters? Maybe not, and that’s why Disney-ABC Television Group is launching Clearinghouse, a new initiative designed to heft its affiliates onto the digital bandwagon. Announced at NAB by Disney-ABC honcho Ben Sherwood, Clearinghouse will offer station partners “turnkey opportunities,” allowing them to opt in to digital distribution agreements pre-negotiated by ABC. ABC is trying to nudge its affiliates toward the live-streaming of linear feeds and, eventually, on-demand streaming of current series. Sherwood says 14 ABC affiliates in Hearst’s TV station group will lead the initiative’s pilot program, hopping on board a technological and administrative template that ABC negotiated with DirecTV for the Watch ABC app. Sherwood says that ABC has also created a template agreement with PlayStation Vue.
 


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


It’s time to SHOWCASE YOUR !MAGINATION

Entries are open for the 2016 Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards. With new categories to choose from such as:

Best Guest Appearance on a Kids Show
Best Kids Sports-Related Series or Special
Best Kids Tech Activation
Best Use of Music in a K6-11, Preschool or Tween Show
and more!
What are you waiting for? Enter by 5/18.



 
DEALS + PARTNERSHIPS
 

Verizon and Hearst are close to acquiring the young male-oriented media company Complex Media. The acquisition comes as part of Verizon Hearst Media Partners, a joint digital video venture formed between the two companies last month. The deal values Complex Media at $250 million to $300 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hearst had already taken an undisclosed minority stake in Complex Media, investing $21 million in late 2015.
 
 

OTT + VIDEO SERVICES
 

IBM is putting its cloud video acquisitions to use. At NAB, the tech giant announced a series of partnerships and new developments. AOL, the Canadian Broadcast Corp., Mazda, and the streaming service Comic-Con HQ have signed on (in different capacities) as customers of IBM’s cloud video unit. The company began building the unit in January following the strategic acquisitions of multiple companies, including the cloud video provider Clearleap and the video streaming and hosting service Ustream. Along with its recent acquisition of The Weather Company, IBM’s aggressive moves to ramp up its cloud video partnerships reflect an escalating push to partner with broadcasters and other media companies.

 
 
PLATFORMS + DEVICES

 
Get ready to go undefeated. ESPN is set to launch The Undefeated, a new digital destination, on May 17 – the same day as the ESPN Upfront. According to the site’s homepage, The Undefeated will be “exploring the intersections of race, sports and culture [through] storytelling, original reporting and provocative commentary.” ESPN SVP Kevin Merida, a Washington Post Managing Editor before joining ESPN, will helm The Undefeated. The new hub has been in limbo for some time; ESPN even ousted Merida’s predecessor Jason Whitlock, the site’s founding editor, due to disagreements. The announcement of a concrete launch date has left some observers pleasantly surprised.  
 
 

PROGRAMMING

 
MTV has launched The Racket, a new short-form digital series starring MTV News correspondent Jamil Smith. The millennial-oriented series focuses on the political climate in the run-up to the 2016 elections. Episode one is available on the MTV News YouTube page. 
 
 

VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 

Got $5,000? Great – because that’s how much you’ll need to buy GoPro’s new Omni VR camera kit. The kit, initially unveiled last week, comes equipped with six Hero4 Black Cameras, as well as other necessary hardware and software. Pre-orders for the Omni are now available. Coming on the heels of a dismal Q4 earnings report, the powers that be at GoPro have made a clear bet that VR hardware will be a shot in the arm for the company. Just in time for NAB, GoPro is also introducing other VR products, including GoPro VR (a platform for web, mobile, and VR headsets), as well as the Odyssey, a professionals-only VR camera kit costing $15,000.
 
 

CYNOPSIS SPORTS AWARDS

 
We have 5 tickets left for the
Cynopsis Sports Awards on April 21 – don’t let someone else claim your spot. Get your tickets here: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/16-sma-event/
 
 

AD TECH
 

The video ad tech company Unruly has partnered with the demand-side platform The Trade Desk. Unruly will now make its out-stream video ad placements available to The Trade Desk’s clients via UnrulyX™, Unruly’s supply-side platform for viewable video. Through UnrulyX, The Trade Desk’s clients will be able to access over a billion monthly viewable video impressions, according to Unruly.
 
 

EARNINGS + REVENUE

 
Netflix
has released its Q1 numbers, and there was plenty of good news – but investors still got a little spooked. The streaming giant reported $1.96 billion in revenue for the three months ending March 31, and added 2.23 million U.S. subscribers, as well as 4.51 million international subs. Still, Neflix shares fell by as much as 12% in after-hours trading, largely because the company’s Q2 projections weren’t as robust as expected. For the second quarter – historically a weak one for Netflix – the company projects that it will add 500,000 subscribers in the U.S., and 2 million internationally. Analysts had projected 600,000 for the former, and 2.9 million for the latter.
 
 

AUDIO
 

In a blog post, Google’s Android team announced that Google Play Music has begun offering podcasts. It’s been some time coming: The company initially announced that it intended to add a podcasts section in October 2015. The move helps to even the playing field between Google Play Music and Spotify, which added its own podcasts section this past January.
 
 

LIVE VIDEO
 

So how, exactly, will Facebook Live make money? If you’re a publisher or broadcaster thinking of using the platform, it’s a rather vital question. And, according to Re/code, there may be a surprisingly simple answer: Interstitial video ads. In other words, the exact same type of advertising model you see on linear TV. Facebook execs seem convinced that this monetization strategy will not merely work, but work spectacularly. It’s worth reading Re/code’s article – you can find it here
 
 

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 toListenFirst’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 (4/11/16 – 4/17/16)
 
[] 
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 Auto & Vehicles, based on the engagement metric for the week ending 4/17.
Channel (Engagement) / Monthly Views / Total Subs / SlateScore
Bando909 (8.5) / 18,660 / 6,167/ 347
skaraudio (8.5) / 21,000/ 6,828/ 377
ATV.com (8.5) / 45,690/ 9,318/ 411
vgittin (8.5) / 7,800/ 15,168 / 392
JoeGo101 (8.5) / 8,359,530/ 273,041/ 553
uRaceIfilm.com (8.5) / 88,440/ 6,204/ 382
JayLenosGarage (8.5) / 5,521,410/ 1,575,815/ 631
Heavy Truck Photos (8.5) / 84,450/ 6,601/ 366
stopxam78 (8.5) / 4,793,190/ 462,497/ 559
mazda6b6 (8.4) / 48,930/ 5,566/ 365
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 OpenSlateEngagement 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.
 
Don’t neglect APAC, folks. According to a report from Media Partners Asia, the online video sector in the Asia Pacific region is in for big-time expansion, with projected growth of 22%. If accurate, that would account for a $35 billion market by 2021, up from an estimated $13 billion market today. You can learn more about the study here.
 
 

TRIVIA
 

The first-ever Super Bowl ads to be purchased programmatically advertised which two snack foods? You can find the answer here.
 


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


*****************************************************************
CYNOPSIS SPORTS MEDIA AWARDS
View the impressive list of finalists that will be honored
THURSDAY at the Yale Club in NYC!

2016 SPORTS LUMINARIES
LEGACY AWARD — Eric Shanks, President, COO & EP – Fox Sports
VISION AWARD — Don Garber, Commissioner – MLS
NAVIGATOR AWARD — Rob McGlarry, President – MLB Network
GEM AWARD — Mike O’Brien, VP, Corp. & Prod. Planning  Hyundai
************ Reserve one of the last tickets today! *************



 
DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT
 

As NAB 2016 heats up, take a minute to appreciate the show’s snappy, deceptively effective official promo vid. You can check that out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
04.19.16

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

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