05/15/15: Amazon to drop select reality TV series; CBS adds 13 affiliate partners to streaming service; Believe Entertainment Group launches new studio with former Yahoo exec



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
05.15.15

Good morning. It’s Friday May 15, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TODAY’S TOP NEWS

 
Amazon is expected to drop Viacom series, Teen Mom and Mob Wives, along with other A+E reality shows such as Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. Amazon Prime Instant Video’s plan is related to evidence of reality show viewer fatigue, according to AdAge. Instead, Amazon’s video service will spend more on original programming and buy shows from other networks. Amazon acquired rights to the shows in June 2013, shortly after Netflix allowed its own deal with Viacom to expire.
 
CBS
’ digital subscription live streaming service, CBS All Access, reached agreement with 13 additional affiliate partners. Announced at its Upfront this week, the affiliate partners include Bahakel Communications, Block Communications, Capitol Broadcasting, Cox Media Group, Draper Holdings, Ft. Myers Broadcasting, Griffin Communications LLC, Meridian Media, Midwest Television, Mt. Mansfield Television, News-Press & Gazette Company, Schurz Communications and West Virginia Media Holdings. The new affiliates will join the 12 that signed on to CBS All Access since April, and the 14 owned-and-operated CBS stations that participated in the service’s October launch. The live feed coverage of CBS All Access will now reach 64 percent of U.S. households. In addition, CBS All Access also landed on the Google’s Chromecast device.
 
 

DEALS + NEW PROGRAMMING

 
Believe Entertainment Group is launching a new studio division, with former Yahoo Originals exec behind Burning Love, Brian Hunt, as the new Executive Vice President, Head of Development. The studio division is launching with eight new partnerships, including Maker Studios, Mashable, Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Time Inc., New York Post and Haven Home Media (Reader’s Digest Association), as well as an original animated series with Marriott International.
 
Vessel
, the new creator-focused video venture from former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar, will pay AwesomnessTV $2.6 million over the next three years to bring on top creators and content from the DreamWorks’ owned multi-channel network. ATV will also get the additional revenue per Vessel’s set-up, which is based on advertising income that leans toward the creators at a 70/30 split. Also worth nothing, Kilar is part of the Board of Directors at DreamWorks. The video platform landed a total of $57 million for a round of Series B funding in April.
 
In less than two weeks, Cynopsis will host the May 28th webinar on the latest strategies for monetizing OTT. Register to learn what the market leaders are doing, why it’s working, and how content owners can apply it to their businesses. Expert speakers from Hulu, Frank N. Magid Associates, and SeaChange International will not only present, but will also be on-hand to answer your questions!
 
 

CONTENT MEDIA

 
ULive
’s The Girls With Glasses returned today for the fifth installment of the web series. Available at ULIVE.com, Brooke White and Summer Bellessa share their expertise on how to entertain with style. The Scripps’ video platform also announced the new series, The Bandwagon, set to premiere on May 21. The series will follow Mindy Gledhill, who is an indie singer, songwriter and mom who brings her kids along for the ride.
 
The 2015 Hangout Music Festival hit the Gulf Shores of Alabama today, and MTV, VH1 and Palladia is giving fans a front row seat. For those checking in online, on TV, on mobile devices and on social media, they can access performances, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes coverage. MTV’s Sway Calloway, Morgan Evans and VH1’s Ellie Lee will be interviewing artists, such as Paramore, Joey Bada$$, Phantogram, MisterWives and Elle King.
 
In more VH1 news… wedding bells are ringing for Love + Hip Hop’s Yandy Smith and Mendeecees Harris, who will tie the knot in the franchise’s first-ever live wedding on May 25. To keep things social, VH1 will live stream the red carpet arrivals on Twitter’s Periscope. Starting at 7 p ET on May 25 before the on-air event on VH1 at 8p ET, fans can watch guests join the wedding through the @LoveHipHopVH1 Twitter handle.


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VC FUNDING + INVESTORS
 

XAPPmedia, interactive audio content and advertising service, received $3.8 million in funding, bringing the total amount invested in the company to $6.8 million. The private investors who participated in the seed round also led the A1 funding round, which was used to launch the National Public Radio interactive ad service. "Internet radio is growing fast and now reaches 170 million Americans monthly, but 79 percent of listening is done while the screen is dark and in a pocket or purse or out of view,” Chief Marketing Officer Bret Kinsella told Cynopsis. “This has led to low engagement for app features, content and brand advertising on Internet radio apps that rely on touch for engagement. XAPPmedia’s Interactive Audio Services allows these consumers to engage by speaking and is driving four-to-five times higher engagement rates for content, artists and brands. We look forward to growing the team and activating XAPP in more audio publisher apps in 2015.”
 
Tapad raised $18.5 million in a B-2 round of funding. Led by Blue Cloud Ventures, others investors included Avalon Ventures, FirstMark Capital, G&H Partners, KnightEnterprise Fund, LLC, Silicon Valley Bank and Zanadu Capital Partners LP. Tapad will use a portion of the funds to expand its licensing. Partners include Datalogix (Oracle), Magnetic and eXelate (Nielsen), among others.
 
Data provider RealMassive closed its Series A round, with an $8 million investment from RHS Investments. Other participating investors, include Hurt Family Investments, Capital Factory and from firms such as HPI Real Estate Services, Aquila Commercial, Avison Young and InSite Realty. The company is now worth $20 million.
 

 
ADVERTISING
 

National CineMedia (NCM) is bringing Rocket Fuel on board to utilize the Audience Accelerator to power the new Cinema Accelerator. The platform will use first-party data from movie ticket purchases, geo-local mobile audiences, cross-device delivery and audience modeling to reach NCM moviegoers. In addition, NCM Digital will connect awareness to purchase information to provide in-theatre audiences with mobile offers.
 
Sizmek, an open ad management platform company for multiscreen campaigns, jumped into programmatic and acquired Mobile DSP StrikeAd for $11.7 million. The StrikeAd platform will remain separate from Sizmek MDX, but it will now offer a mobile end-to-end solution: building ads, managing & activating data, targeting ads, buying media, managing campaign and evaluating performance.
 
 

EXECUTIVE MOVES
 

Discovery Digital Networks (DDN) announced Australian media personality, Maude Garrett, joined Discovery Communications’ web-native video arm as a host of SourceFedNERD. Garrett’s career includes a range of experiences, from interviewing celebrities for The Hot Hits Live from LA to hosting Nickelodeon Australia shows Sarvo and Camp Orange.
 


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT OF THE DAY

 
Netflix continues to beef up its comedy line-up, and it just debuted the trailer for the next stand-up show to hit the streaming service. Starring Jen Kirkman and titled I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine) the special will premiere on May 22. Take a peek at www.cynopsis.com/#video.

See you Monday,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese
05.15.15

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

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