09.10.14 Good morning. It’s Wednesday, September 10, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Apple held a major product unveil event yesterday, showcasing two new versions of its smartphones with the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, the long-awaited smartwatch called the Apple Watch, and the mobile payment system Apple Pay. The new iPhones tout a higher resolution display, better camera capabilities, and a glass that curves around the sides. The iPhone 6 Plus has the largest screen yet, at 5.5 inches. The Apple Watch marked the company’s first major new product since the iPad in 2010; the $349 device will feature a sensor device, apps, interface touch screen, two versions of wristbands and will work with the iPhone 5 as well as the new iPhones. "Apple Watch is the most personal device we’ve ever created," CEO Tim Cook said at the event at Apple’s home base in Cupertino, California. "It will redefine what people expect from a watch." The mobile payment system purports to solve the issue of privacy and payment information leaks: consumers can make purchases without sharing credit card, address and other personal information with merchants. To end the event, the band U2 (known for its early collaborations on Apple commercials) released an entirely new album – Songs of Innocence - for free on iTunes. All the new products will be available next year, but Apple will be taking orders over the holiday season.
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Netflix is diving into its first original documentary series with the help of Jiro Dreams of Sushi filmmaker David Gelb. The six-part series, called Chef’s Table, will feature six chefs and premieres on Netflix in 2015.
More Netflix news: the streaming service acquired the French animation and video game cartoon series Wakfu from Ankama yesterday. The first two seasons of the fantasy-adventure series, or 52 half-hour episodes, have been a hit on French broadcast networks, and will hit the streaming service on Sept. 14.
ESPN and Nate Silver’s stats-based journalism blog FiveThirtyEight will roll out two new documentary shorts this fall. The Signals docu-series finds stories within data across a variety of topics; the first episode, The Man vs. The Machine, is about the 17-minute chess match between the IBM Deep Blue computer and chess champ Gary Kasparov. It will premiere on the FiveThirtyEight site Oct. 22. The second series, called The Collectors, will feature ten episodes about professional statisticians, to debut on Dec. 10. ESPN bought FiveThirtyEight from the New York Times Co. last year.
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DoubleVerify launched a new fraud solution for video ads called Video+. The new tech will authenticate the quality and impression of a video regarding brand safety, fraud protection, video viewability and engagement. “Just like TV, advertisers expect their digital video ads to run in a high quality environment and completely visible to a real person,” DoubleVerify CEO Wayne Gattinella said. “Unfortunately, on the internet today, that occurs less than 60% of the time.”
MediaMath partnered with DataXpand to further expand its ability to target global audiences in Latin America, Europe and the U.S. MediaMath clients can access the DataXpand audiences through the TerminalOne platform.
Subscription VOD services like Amazon and Netflix brought in a whopping $1.9 billion in the U.S., or a 26.17 percent increase in the first half of the year over the year before, according eMarketer. With this form of programming consumption booming, other ways to watch content, including brick and mortar, is down 32.68 percent, rental (without VOD) down 14.55 percent, rental (with VOD) decreased by 11.4 percent and traditional VOD down 5.63 percent.
BET Networks hired Kay Madati as Chief Digital Officer. Madati most recently served as Facebook’s Head of Entertainment and Media.
Sports digital network The Whistle appointed Deirdre Lester as Vice President, Advertising and Sponsorships. Lester was previously the Head of Football at YouTube.
If you’ve got happy news, weddings, babies, engagements you’d like shared with your industry colleagues for a new feature going up soon on our web site, send to Jessica@Cynopsis.com.
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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT OF THE DAY
As social media declared today “Apple Day” in light of the much-anticipated reveal of the company’s new line of products, check out the iPhone 6’s first commercial. Late night host Jimmy Fallon and artist Justin Timberlake star in the new spot, but it may be hard to recognize them since only their voices are featured. The two sing the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and ends with tagline “bigger than bigger.” Take a look at www.cynopsis.com#video.
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