04/27/16: YouTube redesigns app and launches new ad format; China shutters DisneyLife service; Netflix to enable in-app billing on Android devices



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
04.27.16

Good morning. It’s Wednesday April 27, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 

Data onboarding: Data onboarding – sometimes called ‘data on-ramping’ – is the process of transferring offline data into actionable digital data. Vendors specializing in data onboarding will use a company’s offline data – such as customer email addresses, phone numbers, or sales transaction data – to gather digital information about those customers, such as their Facebook profiles or their Twitter handles. An effective onboarding campaign would also yield customer data such as interests, tweets, and social media statuses. The end result: digitally addressable consumers, and a richer array of data about them.
 
 

TOP NEWS
 

Note to American media companies: Test China’s digital waters at your own peril. Days after Chinese regulators shuttered two major Apple services, it’s been reported that DisneyLife, a digital content venture between Disney and Alibaba Digital Entertainment, has also been shut down. (The closure initially took place in March, but users were told that the service was merely offline for repair.) It’s well known that China has been heightening its efforts to limit foreign content in the streaming space – especially in the wake of tighter regulations passed this month – but what’s so striking about this is that Alibaba is a Chinese company. Disney was licensing branded content to Alibaba, which then distributed it. The shuttering sends a discouraging message not just to Western companies hoping to operate in China, but to Chinese companies hoping to partner with them.
 
Netflix will soon roll out in-app billing through Android devices. The move will enable users to pay for their subscription fees through the Google Play store. In-app billing was already made available for iOS back in September. The moves actually come at a cost for Netflix, as both Google and Apple take a hefty cut (generally 30%) of subscription fees paid for in-app. A Netflix spokesperson told Variety that Android’s in-app billing feature will roll out “over the next several weeks.”
 
Any expert can tell you that an ever-growing number of millennials and Gen Z’ers are opting to watch videos on mobile platforms. So it stands to reason that YouTube, a video juggernaut with hordes of young users, would spruce up its mobile app. Launched yesterday, the redesigned YouTube app features larger images, and an icon highlighting a video’s creator. The company is also debuting a reconfigured recommendation engine, which is designed to be better at making recommendations based on a user’s specific tastes. The app is available for both iOS and Android.
 


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AD TECH
 

Speaking of YouTube’s mobile efforts: The company is set to launch a new unskippable six-second ad format that will run in some shorter “snackable” videos on mobile devices. In a blog post, Google said that the ads help to increase brand awareness and recall among users, especially when used in conjunction with the company’s skippable TrueView ads. The format will debut next month.
 
LiveRamp, the Acxiom-owned company specializing in data onboarding and connectivity, announced that it has launched its data onboarding service in the United Kingdom, France, and Canada. “Marketers are faced with overwhelming complexity created by an explosion of data, devices, and applications,” said Travis May, LiveRamp’s President and General Manager. “Data onboarding simplifies omni-channel engagement and dramatically reduces waste by enabling everything in the marketing stack to work together.”
 
In a noteworthy bit of reporting, Digiday found that many publishers and media companies believe Twitter to be a more lucrative source of ad revenue sharing than Facebook – at least for the moment. Digiday reports that, while Twitter has less reach, its embrace of pre-roll video has given it an early advantage over Facebook, which has resisted the format and is still in the process of fleshing out its video ad revenue model.
 
 

PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING
 

PushSpring, an app-based mobile audience targeting platform, has partnered with the demand-side platform (DSP) MediaMath. PushSpring’s mobile app data will be integrated into Terminal One, MediaMath’s programmatic platform. “Our partnership provides MediaMath’s customers with greater access to PushSpring’s mobile data assets,” said Tyler Davidson, PushSpring’s co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer. PushSpring can now count MediaMath as its twentieth data partner; others include The Trade Desk and Google’s DoubleClick.
 
 

OTT + SVOD
 

Turner announced that it will launch FilmStruck, an ad-free streaming movie service. The service is a partnership between Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection. Turner says that FilmStruck will feature a mix of art house, indie, foreign, and cult films. It will also be the exclusive streaming home to the Criterion Collection’s licensed films. (The Criterion Channel, a service-within-a service curated by Criterion, will live on FilmStruck.) No pricing info has been announced; the service will launch this fall.
 
 

PROGRAMMING + CONTENT ACQUISITIONS
 

Even after signing up for an upcoming Amazon show, James May, Richard Hammond, and Jeremy Clarkson have some gas left in the tank. The Top Gear hosts are preparing to launch a digital media platform for auto enthusiasts. Called DriveTribe, the platform will feature stars, bloggers, videographers, and writers (including Hammond, May, and Clarkson themselves) who will create and curate content for fans. Clarkson, Hammond, and May cofounded the platform along with tech entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt and former Top Gear EP Andy Wilman. Schmitt will serve as CEO, while Jonathan Morris will serve as CTO – the same position he formerly held at Financial Times online and Thompson Reuters. The platform is set to launch in the fall.
 
 

VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 

Samsung launched the Milk VR app – its VR content hub – in December 2014. For some time, the app seemed wholly designed to drive consumers to Samsung hardware: The Gear VR headset (whose developer friendly-version finally gave way to a consumer-oriented product in November 2015), and, more importantly, Samsung smartphones, which are needed to operate the headset. Things are changing. Samsung recently launched Milk VR on the web and on Android phones. Now Samsung is preparing to launch a program that will enable other VR camera makers to directly upload videos to Milk VR on their own platforms. It would seem that Samsung is anticipating new ways to monetize Milk VR, even if that means letting the app stray from its own hardware. Indeed, the company recently put out a job listing for Director of Monetization (Mobile Virtual Reality). While advertising and subscription models are in their infancy when it comes to VR, it’s safe to say that Samsung will be looking into them.  
 
 

MEASUREMENT
 

Last May, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau dissolved, and was replaced by the Video Advertising Bureau, a larger and more formidable organization composed of the 11 largest MVPDs and 110 broadcast and cable nets. Their mission: Promote video advertising. And the bureau, apparently, has been hard at work. The VAB has settled on a cross-platform ratings formula that it says will provide an apples-to-apples picture of the number of people watching TV versus those using Internet platforms like Facebook and YouTube. The VAB’s new preferred metric is average audience per minute, which considers reach, time spent, and frequency. The bureau multiplies average minutes viewed per visitor by unique audience, arriving at total minutes viewed. The VAB then divides by total minutes in the given time period, and voila: an average audience metric. Using the new metric, the VAB’s latest report concludes that audience preference for Internet content over TV is overstated, with TV accounting for 95% of video consumption among all adults during any given minute.   
 
 

RESEARCH
 

SHAREABLEE SOCIAL TV RATINGS: Top U.S. Streaming Shows Overall by Engagement for the week of April 18
Program, Date, Total Actions (000), Total Content, Actions per Post (000), Fans/Followers (000)
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix) 224, 13, 17, 7399
Trailer Park Boys (Netflix) 90, 17, 5, 1797
House of Cards (Netflix) 73, 19, 4, 3639
Daredevil (Netflix) 72, 15, 5, 2795
The Mindy Project (Hulu) 54, 33, 2, 762
Arrested Development (Netflix) 43, 14, 3, 2315
Jessica Jones (Netflix) 42, 19, 2, 1229
Grace and Frankie (Netflix) 17, 7, 2, 153
Lost & Found Music Studios (Netflix) 16, 81, 0, 21
Bloodline (Netflix) 13, 5, 3, 165
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 (4/19/16 – 4/25/16)
[] 

Streaming Series (4/19/16 – 4/25/16)
[] 
 
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 Wikipedia page 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.

In a new report, the cross-media research firm Symphony Advanced Media found that streaming viewership of previous seasons of TV shows may boost viewership of current seasons. Among other data points, Symphony found that an average of 38% of viewers who watched a back season across any platform during the weeks leading up to a season premiere also watched the current season. Symphony also found that  – to nobody’s great surprise – Netflix is the primary source of most previous-season viewing. According to the study, drama shows are the most likely to receive back season viewing.
 

TRIVIA
 

Later this year, Amazon is set to debut a new series helmed by a celebrated American filmmaker. Not too long after agreeing to the series, the filmmaker in question publicly stated that the project was more difficult than he expected. “I have regretted every second since I said OK,” he told Deadline. But not to worry – the project is still on. Who’s the filmmaker in question? Find the answer in tomorrow’s edition.


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT
 

Snapchat is an app like no other. Having trouble wrapping your head around how to use its messaging features? CNET’s got a succinct video rundown. Check it out here.
 
 

CYNOPSIS DIGITAL WEBINAR: SNAPCHAT

Of course, Snapchat isn’t merely a quirky personal messaging app – it’s also a high-powered marketing tool. There’s still time to join us for today’s webinar, What Programmers & Marketers Need to Know About Snapchat. Huge, Innovid, National Geographic Partners and Viacom’s Music & Entertainment Group will discuss the best strategies and tactics to achieve your marketing goals through Snapchat. The webinar begins at 1:30PM ET. To register, visit: cynopsis.com/webinar/programmers-marketers-need-know-snapchat.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
04.27.16

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

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