04.22.16 Good morning. It’s Friday April 22, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Dynamic Ad Insertion: Dynamic Ad Insertion technology allows advertisers to remove the ads that aired during initial broadcast, replacing them with new ads. The technology can theoretically be used across all VOD platforms, both cable and digital. Many networks and tech companies have touted DAI’s potential ability to let advertisers precisely target different households based on specific characteristics – a concept known as ‘addressability.’
Univision has purchased Disney–ABC’s equity in the millennial-oriented media company Fusion, taking an outright stake in the company. (Fusion had previously been a joint venture between Disney-ABC and Univision.) Univision will now be creating the Fusion Media Group, a unit composed of other Univision properties such as The Onion, Flama, The Root, El Rey, Univision Music, and Univision Digital. Some of these units are very recent acquisitions and initiatives, indicative of Univision’s increasingly robust efforts to reach millennial audiences. But never before have those efforts been unified like this. Isaac lee, CEO of Fusion and Chief News and Digital Officer at Univision, is set to oversee the new group. Fusion execs Boris Gartner and Daniel Eilemberg will become Fusion’s co-Presidents. Eilemberg will serve as Chief Content Officer, while Gartner will serve as Chief Operating Officer.
We’ll soon find out just how easy it is to fully take in the scope of a multi-million dollar mansion through a smartphone screen. MTV Cribs – the show where celebrities used real estate to make you feel bad about your own life – will be returning as a short-form series on Snapchat. In the new version, celebs will take Snapchat users on tours of their homes by speaking to the camera. The series will air weekly, beginning in June. Meanwhile, MTV says it has also greenlit Pants Off, an eight-episode Snapchat series in which host Laci Green discusses relationships and sex.
If you want a sense of why Verizon is (reportedly) trying to buy Yahoo, look no further than its other recent web-based media acquisition. In an earnings call, the telco revealed that AOL raked in $669 million in Q1 2016, marking AOL’s best Q1 revenue in five years. All told, Verizon’s $32.2 billion in revenue fell a bit short of the $32.5 billion analysts had expected; without AOL, the numbers might have been alarming rather than mildly disappointing. Many publications have reported that Verizon is more likely than any other bidder to land Yahoo’s Internet business. Here’s perhaps the biggest indicator of all: It just makes so much sense. Since last year, Verizon has been making an increasingly furious push to incorporate online and digital platforms into its advertising and overall monetization strategy, with initiatives ranging from the AOL acquisition to the launch of the Go90 streaming service. Yahoo would feel right at home.
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Baidu Video, an affiliate of the search giant Baidu (essentially China’s Google), has raised in an eye-popping $155 million. The investments hailed from the Shanghai New Media Culture fund, as well as the venture capital fund SAIF Partners. The company says that Baidu Video will focus on TV content and movies. Baidu exec Hu Hao will serve as CEO.
HBO Now, HBO’s SVOD service, has launched for the Xbox One and 2016 Samsung Smart TVs. (The service will come to 2015 models soon.) We’re now over a year into HBO’s grand a la carte experiment. At the start, many observers doubted that the service could aid in HBO’s overall business plan. And yet here we are: HBO Now continues to expand to new devices, and even has imitators (paging Showtime). Looks like the experiment is chugging along just fine.
Is dynamic ad insertion finally ascendant? In any event, it’s got a powerful new backer. Among several announcements during his NAB keynote address, Google exec Daniel Alegre said that the tech giant will be rolling out dynamic ad insertion features via its DoubleClick ad platform, making cross-screen addressable ad-serving capabilities available to TV broadcasters. Broadcasters will be able to swap out ads in streamed content, replacing the original broadcast ads, in order to more precisely target audiences using programmatic tools. Roku and Cablevision will be Google’s first two partners in the space. (Alegre says that Google already tested the addressable advertising features during the Rugby World Cup finals on France’s TF1, and during the GOP Republican presidential debates on Fox News.) Alegre also announced that Google will soon add TV listings, detailing when and where a show can be viewed digitally or on cable, to Google Search. He gave no precise timeline as to when the feature would roll out.
LiveRamp, the Acxiom-owned company specializing in data onboarding and connectivity, has partnered with marketing and technology agency DigitasLBi. DigitasLBi said that it will use LiveRamp’s data connectivity services on its analytics platform, IDIOM. IDIOM, which is still being rolled out, uses behavioral data to help guide the planning of campaigns; the new integration with LiveRamp will help DigitasLBi to become less reliant on panel and survey data, which is known to be less than 100% reliable. The integration, then, should help Digitas LBi to accelerate its segmentation abilities, and to target its campaigns more precisely.
The Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion has partnered with ad tech company SourceKnowledge. DMX, DailyMotion’s programmatic ad exchange, has integrated with Engage, SourceKnowledge’s demand-side platform. DailyMotion’s in-stream ad inventory will now be available for purchase directly through Engage in over 180 countries. One of Engage’s specialties lies in analyzing post-click user behavior. “It’s critical for advertisers to place an emphasis on post-click metrics as traditional digital advertising metrics such as click-through rate or completion rate aren’t necessarily correlated with real business outcomes,” Hector Pantazopoulos, SourceKnowledge’s Chief Revenue Officer, told Cynopsis Digital. “In order to measure the real value of a campaign’s budget and maximize its effectiveness, it’s essential to analyze deeper values like average conversion value and time to conversion within new users generated by the campaign.”
All Def Digital, the digital media company from Russell Simmons, has launched its own in-house ad agency. Dubbed ADHD (get it?), the agency’s brand partners will be tasked with appealing to urban youth. Marketing veteran Josh Mandel will oversee the unit.
U.S. digital ad revenue reached $60 billion in 2015, according the 2015 Internet Advertising Revenue Report. The report, prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers and released by the IAB, found that mobile grew 66%, from $13 billion in 2014 to $21 billion last year. Almost half of mobile revenue came form display-related formats, including video. Meanwhile, non-mobile digital video revenue rose to $4 billion, a 30% increase from 2014. And social ads hit $11 billion in revenue, an increase of 55% from 2014. There’s plenty more data to be found in the full report, which you can read here. The biggest overall takeaway is this: Year by year, industry-wide digital ad revenue is exploding at a rate that’s some combination of startling, ridiculous, and amazing. The question isn’t whether you should aggressively work online, mobile, and social platforms into your ad strategy; it’s how.
BitTorrent has made a couple of major hires, and there are many tealeaves to be read. Jeremy Johnson and Robert Delamar have been installed as co-CEOS, while longtime CEO Eric Klinker will take on a more technical role at the company. A key point to take note of here: Johnson (Sony Online Entertainment) and Delamar (Mexico-based SVOD service Totalmovie) both have backgrounds in entertainment. That fact, in conjunction with new revelations that BitTorrent has plans to launch a multi-channel live-streaming app, indicates The P2P technology company is likely to make a dramatic move toward content distribution, operating in the same space as companies like Vimeo and VHX.
As you’ve no doubt learned, Prince – that ultra-influential and ultra-cool music legend – died yesterday at the criminally young age of 57. By sheer coincidence, the writer of this newsletter was in BET’s NYC office, speaking with the network’s digital team, at the moment the news was reaching them. Their emotion was palpable. “It’s right up there with MJ passing,” said Jermaine Hall, BET’s Vice President and Managing Editor of Digital. “Complete icon. He was such a self-contained artist who pushed the boundaries, and has influenced so many artists after him. It’s a huge loss.” “There are people in the executive team who know him personally,” added Kay Madati, BET’s EVP and Chief Digital Officer. “He’s been at all of our events. This is a big loss…He’s somebody’s who’s had such an impact not just on black culture, but on culture in general.”
And, of course, the team now had a job to do. The conversation made for a fascinating look at the creative thought processes of digital execs now tasked with covering the death of someone near and dear to their audience. “[We’ll be] starting with the initial story, investigating, figuring out what happened, getting that out as quickly as possible,” said Hall. “And then we’ll follow up with a bunch of op-ed pieces. Luckily for me I know a ton of Prince fans that are amazing writers…You’re about to see a complete wave of Prince think-pieces.”
“We also have talent who has worked with us who are going to want to speak out about this,” added Madati. “We could do a slew of ‘tell us how you feel about this’ stuff, and hear from a wide swath of people, from the President to some emergent artist who feels like they were influenced by his music. I think we’ll find a fitting way to show how BET respects and remembers Prince.”
Can you sit down and play video games all day, and still make an impact on the world? If you can get millions of people to watch you, then yes. So sayeth Time Magazine. Which digital megastar just made Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People? You can find the answer here.
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“How would you describe your music?” That’s Larry King in 1999. His interview subject? None other than the artist formerly, currently, and forever known as Prince. Courtesy of CNN’s YouTube channel, check out his fantastic answer – here.
See you Monday,
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