A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM WGN AMERICA
AMC USA TNT TBS FX WGN America?? Only one – WGN AMERICA With Original Series Outsiders and Underground –
Hit Dramas and Blockbuster Movies,
WGN America is up 19% in A25-54 year-over-year (Source) WGN AMERICA – DEFY EXPECTATIONS
CYNOPSISMEDIA Presents: Upfronts/NewFronts Wrap-up Upfronts/NewFronts Wrap-up
It was a busy two weeks for the media industry, with advertisers and other guests criss-crossing NYC for events large and small that touted new programming, new partnerships and – last but certainly not least – exciting new ways to connect brands with consumers.
May 12Telemundo Upfront/NewFront
Ahead of mother ship NBCUniversal’s Upfront presentation at Radio City Music Hall, Telemundo and NBC Universo announced a lineup of new programming for the 2016-2017 season that includes over 1100 hours of new formats and multiplatform content.
Telemundo’s new lineup includes four Super Series, including El Chema, a spin-off of El Senor do los Cielos; Hugo Chavez, El Comandante, inspired by the life of the Latin American leader; season five of El Senor d los Cielos and a third installment of the Senora Acero franchise. A Sunday primetime programming block features a kids talent show, a wildlife show featuring exotic animals, two mini-series, and a celeb-filled late show hosted by Don Francisco.
Next month, the net launches “El Poder En Ti,” a company-wide community initiative aimed at empowering viewers in the areas of education, health, and finance. The multi-platform initiative is supported by a specialized website, digital tools and resources, and PSAs starring network talent, including Don Francisco as the narrative voice of the campaign.
NBC Universo’s lineup features The Riveras, a celeb-reality series following the family of the late Mexican music legend Jenni Rivera, Zapata Justice, an action-packed reality series set in a Texas border town, and the return of The Walking Dead for season three.
Noting a “tectonic change in Hispanic media,” Cesar Conde, chairman NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, said, “The U.S. Hispanic market continues to be the biggest growth opportunity for any business. We are redefining Hispanic media by investing in the most innovative original content, a $250 million state-of-the-art facility and the best talent, in front of and behind the cameras.”
On the digital front, Telemundo’s formula for success is its laser-life focus on U.S. Hispanics, said Peter E. Blacker, EVP of digital media and emerging businesses for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, announcing digital initiatives and original content designed to reach Generation M mobile, multicultural millennials. “Our audiences crave immersive experiences across all screens that speak to their unique multicultural identity,” said Blacker. “We’ve teamed up with the biggest names in digital media to introduce original opportunities for our clients to connect with the demographic that is driving the U.S. consumer market, spending more than anybody else across major categories.”
In addition to two feature films from its Fluency Productions, comedy Fat Camp and a co-production with Wise Entertainment (East Los High), Telemundo is partnering with Tastemade for food-centric digital and social experience DELI, featuring recipes and series in English and Spanish that should appeal to advertisers’ increasing hunger for branded and native content.
NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises is also expanding its tech chatter-focused El Pulso vertical, introduced in 2014, with Mashable to include a weekly Facebook Live show. And it was announced at Vox’s NewFront that NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and the Vox-owned sports property SB Nation will be launching a new partnership aimed at millennial Hispanic lovers of soccer, mixed martial arts, boxing, and more; Telemendo revealed that the early editorial content will focus on Russia 2018, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, upcoming Liga MX and NFL seasons, UFC Fight night and more.
Also on deck: Buzzfeed collaboration Much Ado About Nada, a short-form series that combines Telemundo’s telenovela storytelling background and Buzzfeed’s expertise in insights-based publishing and distribution. The English-language series will focus on reaching Hispanic millennials who consume media on mobile devices and within social platforms.
Last but not least – especially for Telemundo content consumers interested in rubbing elbows with social media celebs – the third annual Hispanic Influencer Summit from Miami, FL will be open to the public for the first time. The event, a partnership with LatinWE that will lead up to the 2016 iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina festival in November, will connect social media stars with brands to generate ideas for how to authentically reach U.S. Hispanics.
The theme of Screenvision Media’s Upfront event, held at NYC’s Skylight at Moynihan Station on May 12, was “Impact Like No Other.” The national cinema ad company announced the roll-out of its “Connected Cinema” experience – via alliances with MovieTickets.com, Timeplay, Shazam, EdisonX and Branded Entertainment Network, Screenvision Media promises to engage with consumers before, during and after their movie-going experience, starting at the point they search for a ticket. Brands will also be able to extend the reach of on-screen campaigns to the digital platforms of MovieTickets.com and Hollywood.com; MovieTickets.com will be able provide aggregate front-end insights by connecting moviegoers and specific movies to purchase behavior, as well as back-end analytics to elevate campaign success measurement.
An alliance with Timeplay will allow moviegoers to control and impact the action on the screen through their mobile device; brands will be able to integrate into Screenvision Media’s Front & Center preshow with interactive experiences such as branching video and multi-player gaming with leaderboards and prizes. The platform will be rolled out in 1,000 screens by January 2017.
Brands will also be able to integrate into 2017 blockbuster films themselves through an exclusive alliance with interactive platform Branded Entertainment Network. The relationship enables brands to find branded integration opportunities based on budget, demographic and other variables within Hollywood film and premium videos, and to integrate into films in a meaningful way.
Screenvision Media will be working exclusively with Shazam on the creation of branded Shazam Sessions, segments aimed at giving brands the opportunity to align themselves with top musical artists for creation of on-screen content. And, of course, no Upfront event would be complete without a measurement mention: comScore has developed a product enabling Screenvision Media to better perform targeted programming for advertisers, and provide attribution regarding product purchases following moviegoing.
May 11IAB NewFront with YuMe, Unruly, Millward Brown and Sharethrough
At its Manhattan offices, the IAB hosted presenters from the digital video advertising company YuMe, the News Corp-owned ad tech company Unruly, the digital marketing consultancy Millward Brown Digital, and the supply-side platform Sharethrough.
During the afternoon’s first presentation, Paul Neto, YuMe’s Director of Research, said that there’s really no such thing as an ideal ad-length; instead, it depends on the brand, and what it’s trying to accomplish. He acknowledged that, the longer an ad is, the harder it is to get consumers to watch it to its conclusion. On the other hand, he said that newer brands benefit from longer ads; if the brand isn’t already firmly entrenched in a viewer’s consciousness, it needs more time to communicate information. In the end, he said, successful video advertising boils down to getting consumers’ “attention and interest.” “Consumers really do enjoy that storytelling,” he said.
Devra Prywes, VP of Marketing and Insight at Unruly, had a core message for attendees: “Emotions are the secret sauce in getting people to lean in and pay attention to things,” she said. Prywes focused much of her attention on millennials – a group that commands 2.45 trillion dollars worth of global spending power, she said. She noted that, according to Unruly’s data, millennials are about 12% more likely than other demographics to be “highly likely” to consider using ad blockers. Prywes also noted the importance of “not just bucketing all millennials together.” “Testing and targeting becomes crucial,” she said. “Use smart targeting to deliver [an ad] to the people more likely to enjoy it.” People don’t hate ads, she said they hate bad ads.
Joline McGoldrick, VP of Insights at Millward Brown Digital, noted an unpleasant fact that advertisers would be wise to grapple with: On the whole, people don’t enjoy digital advertising. Whether on mobile phones, tablets, or other devices, less than 20% of people report liking digital ads, according to research cited by McGoldrick. However, she also said that it’s important to dive deeper into the numbers: Certain types of digital ads, she said, get much more favorable marks. Mobile app rewards, for example, garner a 54% positive reaction, compared to 18% negative.
Frank Maguire, Head of Market Development at Sharethrough, said that native is the predominant ad strategy on social, and that publishers are beginning to follow suit. He also noted that, according to research from Sharethrough, 91% of millennials discover content from some sort of social page and that often, they read headlines without clicking to read the articles. In other words, headlines alone can play a major role in driving brand awareness amongst millennials.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM WGN AMERICA
in WGN America History UNDERGROUND 5.9 million viewers
OUTSIDERS 5.3 million viewers
across premiere week (Source) Both coming back for Season 2 in 2017 WGN AMERICA – DEFY EXPECTATIONS
May 10 Studio 71 NewFront
Studio71 held its NewFront event at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Studio71, an MCN and multi-platform media company, used to be Collective Digital Studio; last year, the German media giant ProSiebenSat.1 Group acquired the company and merged it with another ProSiebenSat.1 property, the MCN Studio71.
What’s next for the company, whose partners include digital stars like YouTube comedian Lilly Singh and YouTube channel Epic Meal Time? The biggest news out of the NewFront was the impending launch of Seven Bucks Digital Studios, an upcoming YouTube channel created in partnership with Seven Bucks Productions, the production company founded by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia. The channel will feature Johnson’s own videos, as well as other video projects from Seven Bucks Productions. The channel will also feature monthly collaborations with digital-native talent, as well as an action-heavy scripted web series.
Other new projects include the Matthew Espinosa-starring Text Committee, about a secret team devoted to saving people from social media disasters; Family Fun Day, a behind-the-scenes look at the family behind the popular Family Fun Pack YouTube channel, and Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Made, a weekly series hosted by YouTuber Matthew Santoro about backyard inventors, creators, and makers. But Studio71 wasn’t just focused on the future. The company, whose business strategy relies in large part on pairing brands with its influencers, spent a good deal of its presentation highlighting past case studies. (Examples included Coca-Cola Canada’s sponsorship of Lilly Singh’s A Trip to Unicorn Island tour stop in Toronto, and Vine star Logan Paul’s promotion of the Dunkin’ Donuts app and gift card.)StyleHaul NewFront
StyleHaul was the latest company to show off its newest virtual reality efforts. The company announced that it will be adapting the Lauren Miller-penned young adult sci-fi novel Free to Fall into a 360-degree video series. The company also announced that, this July, it will launch a docu-series about Pia Mia, a singer who serves as creative director of Madonna’s fashion line for Macy’s.
May 9National Geographic NewFront
National Geographic is more than just a print magazine and a linear TV channel; it’s also a thriving digital media brand, and has been for a while. The brand is a dominant presence on Instagram; it’s by far the most popular non-celebrity brand on the app, with over 49 million followers. It was also one of the first publishers on Snapchat’s Discover platform, and garners 780,000 Snapchat views daily. Plus, it was an early arriver to virtual reality. “Marketers might still have a slight misconception about us not being a digital/social-first brand, but consumers do not have that misconception,” said John Campbell, Nat Geo’s SVP of Global Media, told Cynopsis Digital. That’s why this year’s NewFront, held at Manhattan’s Morgan Library & Museum, was so important: The company is trying to disabuse marketers of that misconception once and for all.
Coming up: 10 new short-form digital series, a VR platform, and the first Nat Geo Instagram video series. The 10 short-form series will focus on travel, adventure, and science. Among those series is Before Mars, a prequel to the six-part series Mars, which debuts on National Geographic Channel in November. The company also spotlighted Wild Life with Bertie Gregory, wherein the titular host tracks down and interacts with unique animals in the Pacific Northwest. And Nat Geo’s new weekly Instagram series, MoviNG Pictures, will focus on photographers on assignment all over the world. As for virtual reality, the company will be launching NG VR Studio, its own production arm. "There’s a lot of folks launching VR, but what makes National Geographic VR different is that this is going to be in the hands of the folks in the field,” said Malley during the company’s presentation. In addition, this fall Nat Geo will launch The Moment, which Nat Geo describes as “an initiative in which Nat Geo photographers and social ambassadors will be enlisted to focus their lens and storytelling on a singular subject.”
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM WGN AMERICA
do not watch original scripted dramas on other networks.
WGN America viewers are also 52% MORE LIKELY
to buy products seen on WGN America. That’s one of the
strongest numbers across ad-supported cable. (Source) WGN AMERICA – DEFY EXPECTATIONS
Fullscreen Media NewFront
Fullscreen is now Fullscreen Media – The company announced the change at its NYC NewFront. The company, owned by Otter Media (a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group), will be divided into three divisions:
Fullscreen Creator Network will consist of Fullscreen’s foundational business its network of content creators.
Fullscreen Entertainment will consist of content from Fullscreen Live, as well as content from Fullscreen Productions, from the Fullscreen-owned studio Rooster Teeth, and from Fullscreen’s SVOD service (which is simply called Fullscreen).
Finally there’s Fullscreen Brandworks, which will consist of a team of content creators and marketing experts that will partners with brands. The unit, which Fullscreen says will help advertisers “tap into the power of the new social ecosystem,” will be helmed by Pete Stein, formerly the CEO of Razorfish. As part of the Brandworks division, Fullscreen Media highlighted a new partnership with Mattel, which will promote the Hot Wheels Network. The company said that Brandworks will use Nielsen data to guarantee the number of target customers that advertisers will reach.
The company also announced the creation of HerScreen, which combines female oriented digital channels into demographically targeted packages for brands, and HisScreen which does the same thing for male-oriented channels. The HerScreen and HisScreen packages will be guaranteed against comScore’s vCE measurement and Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings.
Fullscreen has also announced that it has acquired new content from the digital studios Wildseed Studios and Abominable Pictures.
May 6Machinima NewFront
At its NewFront event, the gaming-centric digital media company Machinima announced the upcoming launch of Mach 1, a new agency designed to help brands connect with gaming and eSports audiences. And, like other NewFront presenters this year, Machinima announced a data-driven advertising initiative: Machinima Preferred, a new programmatic network, will use the company’s Fan Segmentation models, along with quality and brand safety data from the analytics firm OpenSlate, to target gamers.
The company also produced stats from a study it commissioned from SuperData, a gaming-oriented market research company: Over 188 million people will watch competitive gaming this year. Worldwide revenue for eSports is projected to total $892.8M in 2016, up 19% year-over-year. And the total worldwide market for eSports will be $910M this year, and is projected to grow to $1.3 billion by the end of 2019.
May 5Great Big Story NewFront
Great Big Story, the CNN-funded digital video startup geared toward highly-produced non-fiction content, is only six months old. Nonetheless, it’s already earned a Great Big Millennial Audience, according to CNN president Jeff Zucker: 6.2 million multi-platform fans, an 80% mobile audience share, an average of twenty-two thousand social actions per video, and forty million monthly multi-platform views. But there was one number he lingered on more than any other: 27. That, he said, is the age of the average GBS viewer.
GBS held its NewFront event at Houston Hall, an expansive beer hall in NYC’s West Village, where it announced several new initiatives, including a deal with The Weather Channel: The Weather Channel will linearly air That’s Amazing, a new eight-part series from Great Big Story. (GBS will then bring it to digital platforms in short form.) GBS, in partnership with CNN Films, will also roll out Really Great Big Stories, a six-part series of film shorts about “tales of genius, exploration, magic and wild determination.” In addition, a new partnership with TIFF will see GBS working with well-known filmmakers on upcoming projects. Musicians Willie Nelson and Chris Funk will also appear in GBS video content. And, though it may be young, GBS already has the luxury of renewing a project: The Philippe Cousteau-starring series Aquatic World will be coming back for season two.
While Great Big Story’s content is available through its website, via iOS and Android apps, and across social platforms, most of its traffic comes from Facebook (over two-thirds of its 40 million monthly video views, according to the video analytics firm Tubular Labs). But within the next six months, GBS will launch via Snapchat, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and Verizon’s Go90.YouTube NewFront
YouTube’s NewFront, held at NYC’s Javits Center North, was a massive gala attended by thousands of YouTube celebs, advertisers, fans, and yes, a handful of media types. Presenters included YouTube comedian Lilly Singh, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver (who touted the advertising value of making content available through YouTube), and even Big Bird. YouTube dubbed the event Brandcast, which made sense given the company’s bold pitch to brands: Spend much less on linear TV advertising, and much more on YouTube advertising
The company had some announcements: It will be launching Google Breakout Videos, a product allowing advertisers to insert spots into the “hottest and fastest-rising” viral videos on YouTube. Google Preferred advertising will soon be available programmatically through Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager. The NBA will be launching two virtual reality series on YouTube. And Sesame Street will now have its own channel on YouTube Kids, which the company said receives over 10 billion views annually.Time Inc. NewFront
At its NewFront presentation, Time Inc. announced that it will launch a new OTT service around its People and Entertainment Weekly properties. Called the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, the service will feature coverage of live events and original long-form content. Rich Battista, Time Inc.’s President, Entertainment & Sports Group and Video, said the upcoming service will be devoted to “original programming specifically designed for the lean-back, long-form environment.” Along with original long-form content, the service will feature coverage of live events. The service slated to launch this fall will be entirely ad-supported.
The company also announced plans to launch Life VR, a virtual reality offering for iOS and Android, featuring content from some of the company’s best-known publications, including Time, People, and Sports Illustrated, and a new deal with Believe Entertainment Group and newly-retired NBA star Kobe Bryant. Under the deal, a new production company, Kobe Studios, will develop multi-platform videos for Time Inc. Among those will be Dear Basketball, an animated short narrated by Bryant and made in partnership with Time Inc. property Sports Illustrated. The short, directed by veteran animator Glen Keane and scored by John Williams, will debut exclusively on SI’s digital properties. Other new programming will be tied to Time Inc. staples such as People’s Sexiest Man Alive and SI’s Swimsuit Edition.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM WGN AMERICA
with "A Real Shot at the Emmy" – Indiewire
It’s also up+885% vs. Primetime Average (A25-54 Live + 7) (Source) Underground Season 2 premieres in 2017 WGN AMERICA – DEFY EXPECTATIONS
May 4 Hulu New/Upfront
A presentation at Madison Square Garden featured celebs including Hugh Laurie, Amy Poehler, and Aaron Paul, and was billed as an Upfront rather than a NewFront. Among other news, CEO Mike Hopkins confirmed recent reports that, come 2017, Hulu will launch a live-TV package that will compete with the likes of Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Hopkins also said that Hulu will hit 12 million U.S. subs by the end of this month, which amounts to year-over-year growth of 30%.
In other news, Hulu has announced that it’s bringing The Mindy Project back for season five, and renewing its drama The Path for a second season. The service also announced an upcoming push into the documentary space with the launch of Hulu Documentary Films. HDF’s first major acquisition is a new Ron Howard-directed doc about the early days of The Beatles, tentatively titled Eight Days a Week, which will debut this fall on Hulu and in theaters. In addition, Hulu will be debuting a second election special starring Robert Smigel’s Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
In a partnership with Live Nation Entertainment, the company will make select concert performances available to VR users. Hulu has already made other VR content available. Its virtual reality app, said SVP of Advertising Peter Naylor, commands an average user time of 12 minutes – ten minutes more than the average for VR.
Hulu announced a new partnership with Nielsen: The service will use Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings product to measure OTT viewing in the living room. In other news, Hulu is partnering with Havas Media and the ad tech firm BrightLine on a new interactive advertising format. And the research firm Millward Brown will help provide marketers and advertisers with studies and statistics related to OTT and living room viewership. Hulu announced Magna Global is a beta partner in that initiative.
Like Conde Nast and Time Inc., the Hearst Corporation is keeping up with changing times by exploring investment opportunities in digital content. Top of their list: Facebook Live. Hearst’s plan is launch 200 live broadcasts per month on the social network. One such broadcast will be Esquire’s game show/interview series Who’s That Guy?, which will examine the fashion and style of notable men, and a show inspired by the Channing Tatum film Magic Mike.
May 3Conde Nast Entertainment Newfront
At its NewFront event in NYC’s Financial District, Conde Nast Entertainment announced plans to expand its digital video efforts with three new incubator programs. The first two incubators were already launched by the studio Indigenous Media; CNE will join the fun as a production and distribution partner. Those two incubators will now be called Project: Her and Big Script. The former will focus on female filmmakers and their mentors, following their journeys together through social videos, then culminating in a finished project that will premiere on CNE’s digital video network. Big Script, meanwhile, was launched in partnership with both Indigenous and Turkeyfoot Productions, a studio helmed by Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson and his mother Michelle Hutcherson. The incubator will pair young filmmakers with scripts submitted to the Black List. CNE will distribute the resulting shorts, one of which will be directed by Hutcherson. The third incubator, a Creators In Residence program, will be aimed at helping millennial filmmakers produce content outside the traditional system. The first project from the Creators In Residence program will be That’s What She Said, a scripted comedy created by Samantha Ressler (Modern Family). CNE also announced that it has launched the second iteration of The Scene, its mobile-first video network, with a new mobile app and social features. The NBA and CNN’s Great Big Story will join 17 existing content partners on the network. As part of the partnership, the NBA will co-create multiple new lifestyle series for The Scene, including one focusing on the lives of NBA stars.
CNE also announced a partnership with the measurement firm SimpleReach. SimpleReach will now create a new dashboard – slated to launch this Fall – designed to analyze the performance of branded video across all platforms.Defy Media NewFront
The Gen Z- and millennial-oriented Defy Media announced plans to produce 30 new shows over the next year, bringing the company’s slate to more than 100 shows total. Among other programming, Defy’s Smosh brand will be introducing These 5 People, a new sketch series, while the sub-brands Smosh Games and Smosh Cast will launch the comedy-and-competition series Smosh Summer Games 2: Camp. Meanwhile, Defy’s AweMe brand will bring on Danny Trejo as new host of Man At Arms, its series focused on weapons-creation. Other Defy brands include Screen Junkies (known for the Honest Trailers series), Made Man, Break, and Clevver. To Defy, a wealth of content in its case, 72 existing shows is a very useful resource for a company that’s set to launch even more content. “[T]hese shows have…big install bases that we can market to when we launch new programming,” said Keith Richman, Defy’s President.
The company also announced Z Blocks, a new ad product allowing a single brand to buy in-video advertising across one of one of the company’s four verticals (entertainment, lifestyle, comedy, and gaming). The product allows for one brand to become the only advertiser on a group of shows. Amazon is one of the first ZBlock partners, said CEO Matt Diamond.AOL NewFront
“There’s a consumer sprint to quality. We’re seeing it in our numbers.” AOL’s NewFront billed as “AOL Access: A New Kind of NewFront” was an open-air event, which spanned about four blocks worth of real estate at NYC’s South Street Seaport. The company announced that it will relocate the studio for AOL BUILD, its live interview series, to a new location near its existing Manhattan offices. The new studio will be designed for VR and 360-degree video shoots in addition to live video. As for live video, CEO Tim Armstrong told the media that, between all of its global partners, AOL is already streaming 100 million hours of live video daily. Armstrong also said that AOL’s audience is now 70% mobile, and that the company has plans to launch 20 new video series across its portfolio. And, echoing a theme that has reverberated throughout the NewFronts, Armstrong championed the importance of data. “Data is the oil of this economy,” he said, noting that companies rely on brands and content to build programming, and to distribute it to the right people at the right time. Brian Angiolet, Verizon’s SVP of Consumer Products, also spoke, noting that the content of go90, Verizon’s mobile video service, will be migrating to AOL’s tech stack in Q3 of this year. At that point, he said, AOL properties will be able to write editorial surrounding go90 programming. And companies will also be able to use AOL’s programmatic ad tech to buy ads across all of Verizon’s content.Vox Media NewFront
At its NewFront event, Vox Media announced that its Snapchat partnership will expand to feature “major cultural moments” from all eight of the Vox Media properties that are showcased on its Snapchat Discover platform. (Until now, only the flagship Vox property had a presence on Discover.) The company is also creating what it’s calling a “Snapchat Studio” for new content, and has forged a new deal between Telemundo and the Vox-owned sports property SB Nation. The new partnership is designed to fulfill the wants and needs of millennial Hispanic lovers of soccer, mixed martial arts, boxing, and more. And Vox Media also announced that it will join forces with NBC Sports to create, as Vox put it, “the most comprehensive Sunday Night Football coverage.”
May 2Refinery29 Newfront
At its event in NYC’s Chelsea district, Refinery29 announced several new content initiatives, spanning multiple platforms and genres. An expansive new slate of R29 Originals will feature social-first, scripted, and unscripted content. That will include the new ShatterBox Anthology, a series of 12 short-form original scripted films created by female directors, writers, and animators. Women at Sundance and Killer Films founders Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler will provide creative and advisory support to ShatterBox creators. And a selection of the ShatterBox Anthology films will also be distributed through ad-supported short-form digital video service Comcast Watchable, in addition to running monthly on Refinery29 this summer. Shatterbox directors will include the actresses Kristen Stewart and Gabourey Sidibe.
Refinery29 also announced the launch of two new YouTube channels loaded with original content: Brawlers, dedicated to women in sports, and Riot, dedicated to women in comedy. In addition to comedy and sports, R29’s hefty slate of new originals will delve into topics such as pop culture, sex, and global social issues.
New R29 partners include Smartwater, which is attached to the Brawlers channel, and Clinique, which will partner with Short Cuts, R29’s Facebook channel focused on DIY beauty tips. The company also announced The Empathy Lab, a new focus group-heavy data mining program launching in partnership with the Columbia Digital Storytelling Lab. The program is designed to help inform future creative choices and programming decisions.
R29’s upcoming 2016 content slate includes Strangers, a long-form scripted comedy EP’d by Girls director Jesse Peretz, What We Teach Girls, a long-form docu-series co-EP’d by Morgan Spurlock, and numerous other originals.
Refinery29 was initially launched as an editorial-heavy site; only in recent times has its video operation exploded. But 43 million video views on, and the company is diving with fervor into new video content and formats.
Speaking of new formats: The company is also launching VR29 Studios, a virtual-reality and 360-video focused programming and production studio.Buzzfeed Newfront
At BuzzFeed’s NewFront event in NYC, the company announced new projects including The Try Kids, a spinoff series from BuzzFeed’s popular comedy troupe The Try Guys. Like their grownup mentors, the kiddos in The Try Kids will be filmed trying various experiences for the first time. BuzzFeed will also be debuting Broke, a 12-episode sitcom from Quinta Brunson, based on her experience of moving from Philadelphia to L.A. And popular BuzzFeed creator Ashley Perez will star in seasons two and three of You Do You, a comedic soap opera directed at female millennials.
BuzzFeed heavily emphasized its efforts in the branded content space, including an initiative with NBCU, which invested $200 million in the company last year. NBCU will help BuzzFeed to produce video content for brand partners; among other branded partnerships, the company highlighted the video content it produced for Google Photos.
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