05.07.15 Good morning. It’s Thursday May 7, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Whistle Sports made its NewFront debut Wednesday. It took place at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square and aimed to not just inform agencies about its successes since its January 2014 launch, but also to introduce new communities aimed at fitness and soccer that it plans to develop this year. Short-form video shows in the pipeline include Faceoff, an ongoing head-to-head competition against digital superstars Dude Perfect; The Ultimate Tour, which features Ultimate Frisbee star Brodie Smith as he travels the world; Challenge Accepted, which has pro athletes such as the NBA’s Jeremy Lin and lacrosse champ Paul Rabil competing in contests; and Next Trick Shot, in which the company leverages its reach of 72 million to find the next great trick-shot artist. Whistle says that its reach grows by 2 million each week, its YouTube subscribers currently stand at 16.8 million and its more than 75,000 videos have been seen more than 3.1 billion times.
One in four U.S. adults watches original digital video programming at least once a month, according to new data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s “2015 Original Digital Video Study.” That’s a 13% increase over last year. Digital video is also able to attract the 18-34 year old market of 17 million cord-cutters and cord-nevers. Fifty-three percent of cord-cutters and 63 percent of cord-nevers see original digital video as “very” or “somewhat” important in their decision not to have pay TV. Connected TVs (56%), smartphones (56%), and tablets (48%) are being used to stream original digital video more than twice as often as two years ago, while computer viewing of original digital video (72%) remains steady. Two-thirds (65%) of those who stream original digital video to connected TVs state that they typically watch during primetime and half (53%) of them report they are doing so more than they did a year ago
StyleHaul announced at its NewFronts event Tuesday that it will launch its first scripted series, Vanity, on June 11. The show will be sponsored by Maybelline and feature Denise Richards, Karrueche Tran, and Alex Frnka in 12 11-minute weekly episodes. StyleHaul also has a documentary, Fresh Dressed, coming to theaters, CNN, and on Vimeo On Demand. It tells the story of fashion in hip-hop culture and premiered at Sundance earlier this year and features Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and Vogue’s André Leon Talley. Also look for a new project that follows a clothing line-in-the-making that was partially inspired by Instagram.
HealthiNation held its first-ever NewFronts presentation Tuesday night, which consisted of a seven-minute video showing off the brand’s health, fitness, and cooking content. HealthiNation also reported that its short videos that are designed to be watched from mobile devices average more than one million views per day. Close to one third of the audience is between 35-49 and another 35% are between 13-34. HealthiNation introduced 14 new cooking and fitness series, such as Diabetes Bites, Healthy Comfort Food, and Foam Rolling and Stretching. Returning shows include Gluten Free Tasty, HealthiHolidays, and Eating by Heart.
Amazon and JetBlue have joined forces to offer up free video streaming to in-flight entertainment. The effort will launch later this year and mark the first time a mainstream video service has been added as a service to in-flight entertainment.
Netflix would like the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to put the kibosh on the potential $48 billion merger between DirecTV and AT&T until certain questions are addressed. According to Reuters, Netflix reps met on April 30 with more than 20 FCC officials recently to discuss those concerns. That meeting came only a few days after the FCC helped put an end to the potential Comcast Corp./Time Warner Cable merge.
Hulu has landed Myst, a drama series based on the 1990s video game. The project will be produced by Matt Tolmach (The Amazing Spider-Man, Sinister Six) and written by Evan Daugherty (Divergent).
IBM and Facebook have teamed up on a new ad platform that will track users across multiple platforms. The goal is to create more targeted ads. Facebook has also signed on as the first partner in IBM Commerce’s new THINKLab, which aims to accelerate customer experience tech and development.
Apple TV has two new channels: CBS Sports and USA NOW. CBS Sports offers up free sports clips while USA NOW will require a U.S. cable subscription to access most content. The word from Macrumors is that this comes “less than six weeks before Apple is expected to announce its next-generation Apple TV alongside a full-fledged streaming TV service at WWDC in June.”
Local broadcasters from across the country will converge on Las Vegas June 23-26 for TV and video marketing association PromaxBDA’s fifth annual Station Summit. Jonathan Kite, star of Warner Bros. Television’s 2 Broke Girls hosts the 2015 PromaxBDA Local Awards and Just Cause Awards on June 25.
FCC chair Tom Wheeler’s talk of regulators and the cable industry finding common ground on the open Internet primarily fell on deaf ears among yesterday at INTX. “I know this industry does not support the recent open Internet [aka net neutrality] order. But I also believe that we can note where we agree, not only where we disagree… Maintaining, improving and protecting broadband transmission is the right thing to do. America depends on it.” Well, not so fast… “I’m baffled by the chairman’s remarks. I’ll say it because he doesn’t regulate my business,” said Michael Fries, president/CEO of Liberty Global. “There’s a presumption of guilt and punishment of the success this industry has achieved that I’ve never witnessed before. I’ll say what these guys are probably thinking… We’re happy to be abroad, let’s put it that way.” “These guys,” by the way, refer to Cablevision CEO James Dolan, Cox president Pat Esser, Time Warner Cable chief Rob Marcus and Charter president/CEO Tom Rutledge, who joined Fries on stage. Not one of them disagreed with his assessment.
Comcast will launch a 4K ultra high-definition set-top box later this year, which will bring the Xfinity in UHD catalog to the X1 platform. Called the Xi4, the new set-top will deliver Xfinity TV customers 4K UHD content directly to the television.
TiVo released findings of a survey of Over The Air (OTA) TV consumers that found a materially higher percentage of cord cutters are coming from former satellite TV service subscribers. The survey polled more than 500 recent TiVo Roamio OTA DVR purchasers; 32 percent of pay TV cord cutters were formerly satellite DVR users. Additionally, the majority of OTA converts cited the cost of their monthly bill and dissatisfaction with overall features as their primary motivations for making the switch.
Dan Ackerman, Programmatic SVP for AOL’s Adap.tv spoke to Cynopsis about the remaining obstacles to acceptance of programmatic on linear TV. “You don’t have the same connectivity you have in the digital space, he said. “There are no standards for the machine-to-machine connection between buy and sell-side systems, so there’s a lot of opportunity for efficiencies to clean up a very manual, laborious process. To get to true programmatic in terms of automated trading, there’s probably a long road, five years or so – but it will never be real-time bidding; it will never be what it is in digital. What’s happening now is the application of data to understand the value of media beyond age-gender metrics. But even there, there aren’t clear standards. Yet.” More good news is in the fact that “there’s inventory that previously may not have been valued by an advertiser but is now because you’re not constrained by daypart or context. It’s looking at the nature of the audience and how well-aligned it is with who you’re trying to reach so it’s a big discovery opportunity.”
TVE growth is all about big live events, said Greg Weinstein, VP, audience development, at Univision. “If we TVE marketers were retailers, events would be our black Friday.”
— Cathy Applefeld Olson
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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App Annie has acquired app-usage firm Mobidia, which will allow the company to combine its download and revenue numbers with actual app-usage data.
Apple has opened up its new App Analytics service for beta testing. It will allow app developers to see how often customers visit an app’s page on the App Store, understand how many users launch an app, check apps and in-app purchase sales, create custom marketing campaign links that can be later tracked, and find out which websites refer the most users.
More search requests on Google are being made from mobile devices than from personal computers for the first time ever. The search giant redid its search-recommendation system so websites that are easier to see on mobile devices have moved into more favorable spots.
Nielsen has temporarily stopped an advertising campaign on Twitter because some of its Promoted Tweets were appearing on the same profile pages that featured pornographic material. Some type of bug within Twitter had allowed the content to appear on such pages and Nielsen is waiting for the problem to be worked out. According to Adweek, Promoted Tweets from Duane Reade, NBCUniversal, and Gatorade also showed up on those pages.
Sharp is now offering two TV sets with Roku built in. It is the first household name to join the list of TV manufacturers featuring Roku as part of its new models. The others are TCL, Hisense, Haier, and Insignia. The two Sharp models are 43-inch that goes for $379.99 and a 50-inch that sells for $499.99; they are currently only being sold by Best Buy.
Creative agency Code and Theory has promoted Dotty Giordano to partner. Giordano was the company’s Director of Client Services. Code and Theory now has 10 partners.
Source Support Services has named Todd Gresham as CEO. Gresham was previously executive vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Storage Division of Xyratex, which was acquired in April 2014 by Seagate Technology.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.
Another first has been passed in the web-series world: The soon-to-launch L.A. Beer is being filmed in front of a live studio audience. Web series generally take advantage of the fact that they don’t need sets or have to be tied down to a particular space. L.A. Beer, though, embraces it and has a live laugh track to boot. The show will debut on May 11 in conjunction with American Craft Beer Week. www.cynopsis.com/#video.
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