04/30/14: AOL rolls out 16 new shows; Conde Nast Entertainment Adds 3 New Channels; Is Vevo for Sale?



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Good morning. It’s Wednesday, April 30, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Conde Nast Entertainment played tongue-in-cheek at its second NewFront event in New York City yesterday by starting off the presentation with a "How to Survive the NewFronts" animated video that resulted in appreciative laughs from the hard-to-please crowd. CRO Lisa Valentino (formerly of ESPN) said the publisher was "the insurgent in the video marketplace," adding that in just a year CNE will feature 14 channels, more than 100 digital series, and reach one billion views in May. Headlines included:

  • The Scene – a platform for curated premium digital-first video content – will launch in July with content from CNE and partners including ABC News, Buzzfeed, Major League Soccer, Variety, Weather Channel Films and Jash. "The addition of The Scene will increase our reach to entirely new audiences," said CNE President Dawn Ostroff.
  • Three new channels will get their own digital video networks  Bon Appetit, The New Yorker and Lucky.

New Series:

  • Glamour: 30 Things: From executive producers Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, the must-haves and must-knows for women on the cusp of, and beyond, the age of 30.
  • GQ: Most Expensive Sh*t: the most outrageously decadent toys of the rich and famous.
  • SELF: Treat Yourself: how to indulge without porking up.
  • Vanity Fair: @VF Scandal: the most salacious, scandalous and intriguing tales.
  • Vogue: 73 Questions: This format takes viewers inside a celebrity’s home, where they’ll answer 73 very personal questions – on the spot.
  • Wired: Retro Grade: A gadget lab for antiquated and obsolete technology, this comic series offers tech demonstrations that viewers won’t believe were once possible.
  • Renewed Series: Glamour’s Dressed to Kill, Elevator Makeover, The Single Life, Why Do Guys?, My Glamour Do; GQ’s America’s Bartender; SELF’s Girl vs. Sweat, Which is Worse?; Teen Vogue’s Besties, Breakfast with Bevan, Get the Look, My Room Makeover: College Edition, Outfit of the Day; Vanity Fair’s Vanity Code; Vogue’s Vogue Weddings: The Dress, The Fashion Fund; WIRED’s Angry Nerd, Codefellas, Design FX, The Window, What’s Inside.

At its Brooklyn event, AOL announced sixteen original shows that will premiere throughout the year on The AOL On Network. AOL and Nielsen also revealed that AOL has signed on to participate in a beta that will provide TV-comparable audience measurement across all of AOL’s new series. The Nielsen beta will deliver GRPs (gross ratings points) that reflect the audience reach by age and gender for AOL’s new programming as an extension of Nielsen Digital Program Ratings, which currently measures TV-originated content viewed online. In addition to measuring content, AOL will be tagging associated advertising using Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings; the combination of audience measurement across ‘digital-first’ content and related advertising will make it possible for complete audience comparisons to TV for the first time.

"We are fully committed to producing premium content at scale," said Ran Harnevo, President of AOL Video. "Premium content is premium content, regardless of screen, delivery, length, or format, and our relationship with Nielsen signifies that understanding. As TV and digital continue to merge into one ecosystem, we believe in one standard form of measurement, and we’re proud to be the first digital client to work with Nielsen to make this vision a reality."
New Series include:

  • Making a Scene with James Franco: the actor recreates favorite film scenes, with a twist. Produced by Rabbit Bandini Productions and Trium Entertainment.
  • Kevin Nealon’s Laugh Lessons: Nealon teaches comedy to kids. Executive producers Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Nealon, Jeff Kleeman, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Mary Connelly for Telepictures.
  • That’s Racist: Jews and Money. Asian Drivers. Polish IQ. Actor and comedian Mike Epps explores stereotypes and how history and fact often distorts into a snide shorthand. Produced by Andrew Fried for Boardwalk Pictures.
  • Connected: AOL’s first long-form video series chronicles the lives of five seemingly disconnected New Yorkers as they explore the concept of family in New York City. Produced by Koda Communications inassociation with Warrior Poets.
  • Park Bench: Steve Buscemi and AOL have teamed-up to take over the streets of New York in this new original series  a local’s take on the special people, places and spirit of The Big Apple. Produced by Olive Productions and RadicalMedia.

Go to Cynopsis.com/Upfronts for more coverage.


Netflix and Verizon have made a deal so the former’s users that use the latter’s services will get faster and higher-quality content streamed to them. Netflix made a similar deal with Comcast two months ago. Since Netflix is responsible for about a third of the streaming content in America, it’s doing what it can to ensure solid connectivity.

The word from Bloomberg is that Vevo is exploring the idea of putting itself up for sale. Vevo LLC’s four owners are said to be "close to hiring Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to explore sale options." The company currently has offers from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., Liberty Media Group, and a joint venture between AT&T and Chernin Group, Bloomberg notes. Current owners are Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Google, and Abu Dhabi Media Co.

Two of Vine‘s stars, 16-year-old Nash Grier and 19-year-old Cameron Dallas, have been signed to the AwesomenessTV network. Combined, the pair has more than 12 million Vine followers and as part of the deal, they will make a feature film with AwesomenessTV founder and CEO Brian Robbins.

Comcast‘s X1 triple-play customers will soon be able to live stream personal video from their mobile devices, over the Internet, directly to the television.The new feature, which will be part of Xfinity Voice, is expected to be available to customers by the beginning of 2015.

IFC is bringing back comedian Marc Maron for a second season of "Maron" that will launch on May 8. Before then, though, the network debuted a web series, "Inside Maron’s Garage," to help build buzz. It explores such things as the fine fan art Maron receives, what the real Marc thinks of the TV Marc, and what Maron actually has in his garage, among other subjects.

UpwaveTurner Broadcasting System, Inc.’s (TBS, Inc.) fairly new digital entertainment brand — is launching five original health-andwellness series, featuring such folks as Shaquille O’Neal, Dave Lingwood of MTV‘s "The Buried Life" and Esquire editor-at-large A.J. Jacobs. The shows — #KnowIt, We are Champions, What’s In My Fridge, How We Work, and upList — are all available at upwave.com and on YouTube.


If you are a TV binge watcher, you are not alone. A new survey from Miner & Co. Studio shows that seven in 10 U.S. TV viewers consider themselves binge watchers, which is defined as watching three or more episodes of the same series in a single sitting. That same percentage of respondents says that binge watching is "addictive." Other findings from the survey include:
* 17 percent of binge-viewers do so on a daily basis, 63 percent weekly and 90 percent on a monthly basis.
* Frequent Binge-Viewers (those who binge three or more times a week) skew younger (61 percent are Millennials) and more ethnically diverse (34 percent being non-white) than Infrequent Binge-Viewers (19 percent).
* Frequent Binge-Viewers are two times more likely than Infrequent Binge-Viewers to have skipped showering or bathing because they were binge-viewing.

Eonline had more than 30 million multi platform unique visitors in March, comScore reports. This is the seventh straight quarter that Eonline has seen growth. Mobile has grown more than three times from the same time period last year, earning more than 20 million uniques in March.


Joss Whedon, the man famous for creating such cult faces as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is releasing his new film straight to Vimeo with each showing costing $5. "In Your Eyes," a "paranormal love story," is the second film that Whedon has released online; the first, 2008’s "Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog," came out in installments.

Siri may be coming to Apple TV. No, she won’t get her own show, but her voice may be part of Apple TV’s next version. The word from 9to5Mac is that Siri may be integrated into the remote. "With Apple targeting voice commands for the Apple TV, the company is also looking to pull some market share from Amazon’s Fire TV," which already includes voice commands, Fansided.com reports.

Craig Ferguson’s announcement that he’s leaving CBS at year’s end triggered soaring interest in him online. There was 41% as much consumption about him online as there was about Stephen Colbert on April 10 when he was named the new host of the Late Show, Kontera reports. It’s been a busy year for late-night hosts, but Colbert’s switch still leads the year for information consumption. David Letterman had 77% as much consumption as Colbert when he decided to retire and Jimmy Fallon had 67% as much consumption the day after his first Tonight Show back in February. Jay Leno pulled in 57% as much consumption the day of his final Tonight Show. When Jimmy Kimmel had Rob Ford on as a guest on March 4, his consumption peaked at 31% as much consumption. Seth Meyers picked up 15% as much consumption on the day after his first Late Show in February and John Oliver brought in 9% as much consumption just this week after his new HBO show premiered on Sunday.


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Evolve Media LLC will now offer Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings data on all social video campaigns, making it the first publisher in the digital space to do so. Streamlined access to Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings reporting will be made available through Evolve Media’s in-house video platform, SpringBoard Video. "While Nielsen is the market leader in providing advanced analytics and data for digital campaigns, Evolve Media serves as the market leader in providing an enthusiast audience that reaches both males and females," Fabien Ricard, Vice President of operations for SpringBoard Video told Cynopsis. "Through this partnership, our clients will experience the best of both worlds by reaching our passionate audience with Nielsen data."

NBCUniversal has expanded its partnership with FreeWheel, the advertising technology and services provider for the digital television industry, to automate its video-on-demand inventory via dynamic ad insertion. "This integration with FreeWheel gives our clients more flexibility and accuracy in delivering their campaigns across online, mobile and video-on-demand programming," said Krishan Bhatia, digital atrategy & operations, ad sales, NBCUniversal. "It further enables our Total Audience approach, which gives advertisers access to all of our audiences wherever they experience our content."

YouTube marketing software company Octoly has launched a beta of its Suite 360 Dashboard and ContextID tools. The software is aimed at giving marketers a holistic overview of a brand’s owned, earned, and paid media footprint on YouTube.


Vince Zampella, the co-creator of Titanfall and the Call of Duty games, and Larry Pacey, the former product head of slot machine maker WMS, have launched a new mobile-game startup, Nuclear Division. According to VentureBeat, they "are forming a new mobile gaming platform company in order to test the waters for some new ideas in game development."

Israel’s Nextpeer is adding 1.5 million users a day to its Android multiplayer mobile-gaming network, VentureBeat reports. The platform "can convert both iOS and Android games into multiplayer titles," the site reports. "Since multiplayer is social, it makes games more engaging and enables them to retain players for longer periods." It is growing 15 times faster on Android than it did when it launched on iOS last year. More than 70 million users are now using Nextpeer-enabled games.

Amazon acquired digital-comics company Comixology less than a month ago but it has now angered a few of its fans by removing the ability to make in-app purchases on the company’s iOS app, Mashable reports. Amazon would rather users make purchases from the company’s web-based storefront.


Steven Swain, formerly a vice president of Dish’s corporate finance group, has been promoted to senior vice president in charge of the network’s programming group.

Marci Hughes has been hired to be executive producer of CelebTV. Hughes previously worked as a producer for the The Oprah Winfrey Show.

David Jacobs of AOL Networks will join the Board of Directors of online video platform Playwire.

Canaan Schladale-Zink has been promoted to VP sales at Sizmek, the ad management company. The company has also added Patrick Meehan as RVP Sales, West. He was previously the head of platform sales at Google. Tony Lane is the new RVP sales, central, for the company. He has previously worked for PointRoll, USAToday.com, and RadiumOne.



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He was born McKinley Morganfield way back in 1913, but he was known as Muddy Waters. He was the "father of modern Chicago blues," but he gave birth to a lot more than that. His influence helped shape rock ‘n’ roll for decades and no matter how many blues songs he had written and performed, they weren’t enough to express the sadness felt by fans when he died in his sleep on April 30, 1983. See it at www.cynopsis.com.

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