08/17/17: Report: Apple set to spend as much as $1 billion on original shows

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Thursday August 17, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing!

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER

Link Farm: A link farm is a set of webpages solely designed to link to a target page, generally with the goal of improving that page’s SEO ranking. Link farms are usually discredited by major search engines; a site’s engagement with a link farm can even lead to search engine ranking penalties.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
Apple has been publicly mum on its plan to dive into TV-quality original content, but that hasn’t stopped the press from reporting on it. Sources now tell the Wall Street Journal that the tech giant plans to acquire as many as 10 new series – and will spend about $1 billion in the process. (That sounds like a lot until you realize that Apple is sitting on more than $260 billion in cash and long-term investments.) Apple’s ambitions in the original content space have been apparent for a while. In June, the company hired Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht away from Sony Pictures Television, where they’d long served as the unit’s co-presidents, and just grabbed former WGN America president Matt Cherniss.
 
Roku is getting a lot less friendly toward private channels. In theory, Roku’s private channel feature has always been geared toward developers who wanted to test their products. But in practice, it’s also been a gateway to posting pirated content. And sometime this week, the company started displaying warning messages to users who install private channels on their Roku devices. (Sites including Cord Cutter News, TorrentFreak, and TechCrunch reported on the development.) The displayed message tells users that Roku may, without any prior notice, remove channels that contain illegal content. The move may spur uploaders to steer clear of Roku, or to withdraw existing channels. iStreamItAll, a well known piracy channel, has already announced that it will exit Roku by 2019 – though Roku may well force it off the platform before then.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Mimosas, music and recognition
Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards
Tuesday, September 19 | 8:15am – 10:30am |The Yale Club, NYC
 
It’s been an exciting year in the kids media industry and Cynopsis is saluting the accomplishments with our annual awards breakfast and mimosa networking reception. Share insights with dozens of category finalist, including Hasbro, Animal Planet, Netflix, NBCUniversal, Roblox, Amazon, Discovery Family, Nickelodeon, Mattel, Sprout, Litton Entertainment, Saban Brands, Cartoon Network and many more!
 
 

ADVERTISING
 
Well that sure took a while. Verizon has resumed advertising on YouTube after a five-month absence. Like hundreds of other advertisers, Verizon froze its YouTube spend in March, when it was revealed that ads from many brands had been appearing on extremist videos. YouTube has since implemented a number of new safeguards to appease advertisers; Verizon is one of the last holdouts to return to the fold. 
 
 
INFLUENCERS
 
Facebook added some new tools for marketers. Brands and marketers can now authorize which creators are allowed to tag them in branded content posts, and can directly boost a branded post as it appears on a creator’s Facebook page. Beforehand, marketers could only boost a creator’s post by first sharing it. Facebook says that target audiences will see that a post originated with a creator, even if it was a marketer that boosted it.
 
While Facebook’s new moves seem designed to make it easier for advertisers to run paid promotions, Digiday reports that the changes have some executives worried. Specifically, they fret that Facebook’s algorithm will begin to suppress influencer posts that aren’t boosted by brands. And were that to happen, influencer marketing campaigns on Facebook could become a lot more expensive. You can check out the story here.
 
 
PROGRAMMING
 
Hello Lab, AT&T’s social media entertainment unit, just brought on a group of digital media stars to star in a new interactive series. Called Guilty Party, the show will focus on high-school bullying. Guilty Party will feature a combination of daily character vlogs and weekly episodes. It’ll star Tiffany Alvord, Kian Lawley, Manolo Vergara. Jessie Paege, Teala Dunn, Miles McKenna, and Alexis G. Zall. (Between them, the stars have over 38 million social media fans.) The series will debut on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms on August 29. It’ll also be available on DirecTV Now, AT&T’s OTT TV service. 
 
Digital media brand What’s Trending announced that it’s producing new videos for Watchable, an online video network that curates digital-first programming. The new videos, which will run weekly, will highlight popular and trending videos from the previous week. What’s Trending/Clevver News host Ava Gordy will host the series. What’s Trending was already a partner of Watchable; its content was syndicated daily across the network.
 
Sling TV, the OTT TV service from Dish Network, will offer the much anticipated  Floyd MayweatherConor McGregor boxing match in pay-per-view. The fight is scheduled for August 26; Sling TV is already accepting pre-orders. The fight doesn’t exactly come cheap: Viewers will have to shell out $99.99, plus taxes.
 
 
APPS + PLATFORMS
 
ESPN apparently doesn’t think its viewers are susceptible to sensory overload. The cabler is out with an update to its new Apple TV app, which lets users view up to four live-streams simultaneously. The new feature is called MultiCast. ESPN thinks it’ll be especially popular with programming that consists of multiple events, like tennis’s U.S. Open or college football Saturdays. In addition to the new Apple TV feature, ESPN is rolling out version 5.10 of its iOS and Android apps. The update features a new “Watch” tab, which lets users view shows and live-streamed events based on their favorite sports teams. And the update lets viewers add ESPN3 replays to the app’s current highlights and long-form video content.
 
Pinterest added a new update. App users can now “pinch” a photo to zoom in and out. A number of other services, including Instagram, have similar features.
 
 
MEASURING UP
 
SHAREABLEE SOCIAL TV RATINGS: Top 10 U.S. Primetime and Streaming Shows for August 7 – August 13. Based on Shareablee’s Video Power Index (VPI), which combines viewing, consumer interactions and audience scale across all active platforms, and includes the video performance of primetime and streaming shows.
  


Source: Shareablee Inc. The total actions metric includes the total volume of post-level likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments across social platforms.
 
Tweet of the week: @tokenbrotha: Smackdown was wild
Canvs, the emotion analytics company, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from Aug. 9-15 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Insights from the 2,050,583 tweets expressing a specific Emotional Reaction (ER) include:
– The Teen Choice Awards on Fox did something pretty remarkable: the telecast actually overshadowed HBO’s powerhouse Game of Thrones in terms of generating the most viewer expressions of love over the seven days measured, with fans giving major social shoutouts to honorees and performers including One Direction member Louis Tomlinson.
– Meanwhile, GoT overdelivered in terms of both not only love and excitement, but viewers talking about how crazy the latest episode was.
– Fans came out in force on Twitter to say how much they enjoyed the latest WWE SmackDown on USA.
– Tops in laughs: Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood, followed closely by a Basketball Wives reunion show (both on VH1) – more evidence that fans tune into some reality TV shows as much for the (inadvertent) comedy as the drama.
– Canvs
 
 
EXECUTIVE MOVES
 
Cross-device marketing technology company Tapad has named Todd Benedict as its new Chief Revenue Officer for North America. In the newly created role, Benedict will oversee all revenue and sales operations for Tapad’s North American business. He joins Tapad from PlaceIQ, where he most recently served as EVP of Sales.
 
 
TRIVIA
 
Our Last Trivia Question: Who plays Wendy Byrde, the wife of Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde, on the Netflix series Ozark? Answer: Laura Linney. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Aaron Paquette-Screen Engine/ASI/TX, Louis Lewow-Lewow Media Group/GA, Joel Dearing-Virtual News Center/IN, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/CA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Hunter Bradley-Intersport/IL, and Susan Nessanbaum Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA
 
Here’s a tough one: Laura Linney’s first television credit came in a made-for-TV movie about the American civil war. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, it aired on ABC in 1993. What was it called? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
 
It’s crucial to understand the largest, most diverse group of media users, that make up 40% of all consumers. Register for Cynopsis Digital’s September 26 live online event: How to Connect and Engage with Gen Z, and learn from experts at Sweety High, Awesomeness TV, Nielsen and Fluent as they address the potential within this demographic and the strategy your team needs to reach them.
 
 

DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT
 
At Cynopsis‘s Measurement & Data Conference, we caught up with Jeff Boehme, comScore’s SVP of TV Research. Boehme talked us through comScore’s efforts to match viewership data with real-life purchasing behavior. Check out the exclusive interview here.  
 
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