09.16.15 Good morning. It’s Wednesday September 16, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Snapchat’s getting a little less snappy, so long as you’re willing to pay. The app introduced a paid replay feature, allowing users to resurrect photos and videos that have vanished into the Snapchattian ether. It’s 99 cents for three replays, and they can be used anytime (though users can’t replay the same snap repeatedly). Previously, the app allowed users to replay only one snap per day. Snapchat also launched two other new features: Lenses, which allows users to distort selfies with sounds and animated effects. (The potential distortions range from funny to nightmare-inducing.) Finally, the app introduced Trophies, which allows users to earn digital stickers and awards.
As if PewDiePie needed further triumphs. Ahead of the live Streamy Awards broadcast on September 17, 35 awards were distributed at the official nominees reception on September 14. The aforementioned gamer/most viewed YouTuber in history snagged a win in the gaming category. Other winners included online stars GloZell Green and Chelsea Briggs. Many more awards will be announced during the live ceremony, which will air on VH1 – both its digital platforms and, for the first time, on linear TV.
It’s not all about the theater anymore. Online ticketing app Fandango released a mobile app, complete with film clips and trailers. The app even features original content, including the two web series Movieclips Mini Movies and I Love Movies. Fandango Movieclips, is available on iOS and Android.
Project Morpheus is dead; all hail Playstation VR. That’s how Sony’s rebranding its upcoming virtual reality headset, according to a company spokesperson. The device will ship in the first half of 2016.
Even a powerful federal judge can succumb to the charms of an adorable dancing baby. Stephanie Lenz won her eight-year legal battle with Universal Music Group. The case centered on a 2007 YouTube video of her young son dancing to a Prince song; Universal owned the music rights, and immediately insisted that she remove her video. Ninth Circuit Judge Richard Tallman ruled that Universal erred in sending Lenz a takedown notice; instead, Tallman ruled, Universal should have evaluated the video to determine whether it constituted fair use. The case sets a potentially significant precedent in digital copyright law.
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A group of powerful TV companies have formed an advocacy group aimed at preserving the value of their content in the face of increasing digital and programmatic advertising. The Council for Premium Video was organized by ad-tech firm FreeWheel (owned by Comcast, but operating independently.) The Council will advocate on content-related issues, including programmatic buying and the value of premium content. So far, member companies include ABC, A+E Networks, Comcast, Discovery Communications, ESPN, Fox, NBCUniversal, Turner Broadcasting and Univision Communications.
And then there was Epix. Starting later this month, the premium movie network will let subscribers download titles to their mobile devices for offline viewing. Amazon did the same thing last week. Netflix, meanwhile, has staunchly resisted the move. Epix will extend offline viewing capabilities to users of iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Kindle Fire users.
Family-oriented nonprofit The Dove Foundation has partnered with independent content distributor Cinedigm to release the Dove Channel, a faith-and-family-friendly film and TV OTT service. The service includes over 900 hours of curated and original content, all of it branded with The Dove Foundation’s seal of approval. Users can access a free ad-supported version, or pay $4.99 a month for a subscription. Dove Channel can be streamed on Android, iOS, Roku, and Samsung Smart TV devices.
CBS announced that its subscription VOD service CBS All Access is now available on Android TV, Google’s smart TV platform. The service, which costs $5.99 a month, offers access to thousands of episodes of current and former seasons of CBS shows, as well as the ability to livestream CBS in more than 85 U.S. markets. The service can also be used on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Chromecast and Roku devices.
Malaysian entertainment network HTV announced the launch of its new OTT platform, supported by New York-based video tech provider Muvi Studio. The ad-supported service, called HTVFun, features content including animation, documentaries, dramas, and kids’ series. Alas, it’s only available in Malaysia.
Black&Sexy TV is going linear. BET will be airing three web series from the digital network. Currently, Black&Sexy TV charges seven dollars a month for its subscription VHX VOD service, and also places episodes on its YouTube channel. The network’s first project for BET, the scripted drama RoomieLoverFriends, debuts today, September 16 at 11 pm EST.
Ad-supported VOD service Viewster has partnered with digital production company Defy Media to create a new branded gaming and animation channel. The channel will be populated by Defy’s programming, including Smosh Babies, from Defy’s Shut Up! Cartoons channel. Defy’s content is largely targeted toward the 13 to 34-year-old demo. As of yet, the channel is unnamed.
Awesomeness Films, the movie division of the Gen Z-oriented multichannel network AwesomenessTV, announced its newest upcoming film. Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy) will star in Before I Fall, an adaptation of Laurence Oliver’s YA novel.
What do people want from Live-broadcasting app Periscope, and how can you capitalize on this new technology to reach new audiences, promote programming and build your brand? Cynopsis will bring together industry experts for the Social Media Webinar: Harnessing the Power of Periscope to provide the answers on Tuesday, September 22. Register here: http://cynopsis.com/?p=44072
Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures, created by YouTube star PJ Liguori (AKA KickThePJ), has arrived. The wacky six-episode series, which is teeming with surreal costumes and makeup, stars well-known YouTube celebs such as Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart. It’s available for purchase on Vimeo.
YouTube Space LA, Skybound Entertainment and comic book creator Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) have joined forces to deliver Halloween-themed content to YouTube. From now until October 29, YouTube creators at YouTube Space LA will write and shoot videos inspired by Kirkman’s works. The videos will begin to go live on October 26.
Every week, Tumblr’s Fandometrics blog tracks which topics Tumblr users reference the most by weighing the overall number of original posts, searches, reblogs and likes on subjects including TV Shows, Movies, Musical Acts, Celebrities, Video Games, and Web Celebs. Below are the top 10 results for TV shows and Web Celebs for the week ending September 14. (You can find the results for the other categories here.)
1. danisnotonfire (YouTube) (no change from last week)
2. AmazingPhil (YouTube) (no change from last week)
3. Carmilla (Vervegirl TV) (+1 from last week)
4. Markiplier (YouTube) (-1 from last week)
5. Troye Sivan (YouTube) (+1 from last week)
6. PewDiePie (YouTube) (no change from last week)
7. Jacksepticeye (YouTube) (+3 from last week)
8. Red vs. Blue (Rooster Teeth)
9. Homestuck (MS Paint Adventures) (-4 from last week)
10. Nicole Arbour (YouTube) (no change from last week)
1. Steven Universe (Cartoon Network) (+1 from last week)
2. Gravity Falls (Disney XD) (+2 from last week)
3. Supernatural (CW) (+3 from last week)
4. 2015 MTV Video Music Awards (MTV) (-3 from last week)
5. Big Brother 17 (CBS) (no change from last week)
6. Hannibal (NBC) (-3 from last week)
7. Teen Wolf (MTV) (no change from last week)
8. Rick and Morty (Adult Swim) (no change from last week
9. Once Upon a Time (ABC) (+4 from last week)
10. Doctor Who (BBC America) (+2 from last week)
In other Snapchat news, it looks like the company will have to find someone new to head up its West Coast ad team. Shannon Petranoff will be leaving the company for Paramount Pictures. Petranoff has worked at Paramount before; before joining Snapchat, she served as Paramount’s VP of Interactive Marketing. Now, she’ll serve as SVP of Interactive Marketing (note the shiny new “S”). Petranoff will now oversee Paramount’s domestic online, mobile and social media marketing.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
TIME TO CHECK THE LEADERBOARD… Cynopsis Sports is excited to be showcasing the year’s best social media campaigns as part of our second annual Leaderboard program. With the deadline less than a month away on Wednesday, October 7, don’t miss out on your chance to be recognized throughout the industry for your work. REGISTER TODAY!
U.S. Open champion Novak Djokovic was nigh unstoppable this year, but he might have met his match in Stephen Colbert. The Late Show host used Captain America’s impenetrable shield to try and protect himself from one of Djokovic’s blistering serves. What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Find out here.
See you tomorrow,
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