09/21/15: Tumblr co-founder removes his ad-blocker from app store; Periscope creates web profiles for users; Refinery29 speaks with Hillary Clinton


Good morning. It’s Monday September 21, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for September 21-27:
People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include actor Lorenzo James Henrie (Fear the Walking Dead), actor/musician Nat Wolff (Paper Towns), actress Kaitlin Doubleday (Empire), actress Grace Gealey (Empire), actresses and musicians Hilary and Haylie Duff, fashion stylist Rachel Zoe (Fashionably Late with Rachel Zoe), actress and musician Keke Palmer (Brotherly Love), actor Dash Mihok, and activist Lizzie Velásquez (A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story)
Crackle: Sports Jeopardy hosted by Dan Patric debuts Wednesday, September 24
– MTV:
Dating reality show Are You the One? (premiere September 24) is going interactive with AYTO, an online trivia game­created in partnership with iPowow­set to run throughout the season. Winners will have a chance to win a prize. 


Call it a crisis of conscience. Tumblr co-founder Marco Arment removed his ad-blocker Peace from Apple’s App Store Friday. Peace became the store’s #1-selling app after Wednesday’s release of iOS 9, which allows users to download ad-blockers. “Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good,” wrote Arment in a blog post. “Ad blockers…benefit a ton of people in major ways, [but] they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit.” Arment said Peace will remain functional for those who’ve already bought it, with no further software updates. He also told users how to get refunded.
Unfortunately for advertisers, Arment doesn’t hold a monopoly on ad blocking. Other ad blockers, including Crystal, Purify and 1Blocker, continue to sit near the top of the App Store download chart, as they have since shortly after the launch of iOS 9.
Periscope users can now stray from the company’s mobile app. In a move that many have called for, Periscope has granted web profiles to every one of its 10 million+ users. That means the ability to follow and livestream videos from a desktop.


Fashion, beauty and lifestyle site Refinery29 interviewed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In the chat, a portion of which is available on Refinery 29’s YouTube page, Clinton discusses issues central to her campaign, including campus sexual assault and equal pay for women. Refinery29, which targets a young female audience, has been steadily adding to its video library this year. 



Last week, video content producer Shandy Media consolidated its existing brands – The Fumble, Hollyscoop, ModaMob, and The Savory – to form media company Obsev (“Obsessed with Everything”). Obsev.com features video and editorial content centering on pop culture. Raymond Attipa, Obsev’s CEO, spoke to Cynopsis Digital, explaining the decision to consolidate. “80% of our audience [is] mobile users,” he said. “It’s very difficult to market to them [when they’re] jumping one site to another. Keeping them under one roof was the smart move.” Obsev.com, he said, puts out about 250 videos a week – and owns all of them.



According to an unconfirmed report from Variety, virtual reality startup Jaunt VR will soon announce that it raised over $50 million in Series C funding. Jaunt’s efforts have included building its own VR camera, producing VR apps and experiences for studios, and developing it own VR content production software. Recently, the company helped create ABCNews VR, the news org’s foray into immersive journalism. Jaunt’s huge Series C haul tacks onto its  $27.8 million in Series B financing, in addition to $6.8 million in Series A.



Multiplatform media company Zealot Networks has acquired Nirvana Digital, an Indian multiplatform network based in Mumbai. Nirvana operates over 200 YouTube channels as well as its own in-house content studio. Despite the acquisition, it will continue to operate semi-autonomously.
AOL partnered with music streaming network LiveXLive to livestream the company’s Rock in Rio concert festival. The first of the festival’s two sessions took place from September 18-20; the second will run from September 24-27. Fans can stream the event on the AOL video player, available on LiveXLive.com and AOL.com. Streaming access includes live performances, highlight clips, and behind the scenes content and festival performers include Katy Perry, Sam Smith, and Elton John.




If you haven’t done so already,



As Cynopsis Digital noted on Friday, Facebook is now allowing advertisers to pay for ads only when they appear on viewers’ screens in their entirety. But Digiday and others point out that the company isn’t taking duration into account. If an ad passes through a viewer’s screen for even a fraction of a second – for instance, while said user is rapidly scrolling down – Facebook is still counting that ad as having been seen.
Don’t like the “like” button? Several of the ad-blockers that have hit the Apple App Store since Wednesday allow users to hide certain Facebook widgets, including the “like” and “share” buttons. Facebook uses those buttons to track users’ browsing habits. The company gives the info to advertisers, who use it to create targeted messaging. It should be noted that while ad blockers affect web browsing, they don’t affect apps. And, as Forrester Research has pointed out, smartphone users spend 85% of their time in apps.



Anjelica Huston will join the cast of Amazon’s Transparent for season 2, according to show creator Jill Soloway. Soloway told Variety that Huston will play a new friend of Maura, Jeffrey Tambor’s main character. The two have already shot scenes together. “They have a lot of chemistry…palpable chemistry,” said Soloway.


Enough with the who-are-you-wearing nonsense. Ahead of Sunday’s 67th Primetime Emmy Awards, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization partnered with Twitter and the Television Academy to launch #SmartGirlsAsk, a campaign calling on interviewers to ask women substantive questions on the red carpet. Numerous celebrities tweeted out suggested questions for female attendees. Shonda Rimes, for instance: “What is the best piece of career advice someone has given to you?” Other Twitter users who got in on the act included Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and even the United Nations.


Instagram gave users the chance to view Sunday’s Emmy Awards through the eyes of celebrities. The app featured Emmys Explore, a page aggregating photos and videos from more than 70 celebs attending the awards show.
Last Thursday’s Streamy Awards ceremony, aired on VH1 and its digital platforms, honored the best in digital entertainment. Among the night’s big winners were Vine star Cameron Dallas and YouTube star Gigi Gorgeous. Full list of the night’s winners below.
Awards for Channels, Series, or Shows:
Comedy: Flula (YouTube)
First Person: IISuperwomanII (YouTube)
Subject Awards:
Beauty: Gigi Gorgeous (YouTube)
Kids and Family: What’s Up Moms (YouTube)
Lifestyle: iJustine (YouTube, iJustine.com)
Pranks: PrankvsPrank (YouTube)
Social Video:
Viner: King Bach (Vine)
Audience Choice:
Entertainer of the Year: Cameron Dallas (Vine)
Show of the Year: fouseyTUBE (YouTube)
35 other winners were announced a few days ahead of Thursday’s ceremony. See that list here.


, an app designated toward kids six and under, debuted on Android. The app features ad-free kids shows and learning games. Hopster launched in partnership with Samsung. Samsung Galaxy tablet and smartphone owners who download from the Samsung Galaxy Gifts store can use Hopster as part of a 90-day trial.


A number of brands finished New York Fashion Week with more social media clout than when they started. Some highlights below.
Followers gained during New York fashion week (data from Socialbakers):
Victoria Beckham:
Instagram: + 129,589 Followers
Twitter: +21,769 Followers
Facebook: +29,301 Followers
Instagram: +98,231 Followers
Twitter: +7,737 Followers
Facebook: +10,249 Followers
Michael Kors
Instagram: + 77,728 Followers
Twitter: +23,816 Followers
Facebook: +14,350 Followers
Tommy Hilfiger:
Instagram: +51,318 Followers
Twitter: +19,042 Followers
Facebook: +50,770 Followers
Calvin Klein:
Instagram: +46,771 Followers
Twitter: +11,972 Followers
Facebook: +9,151 Followers
Larger list here.


Elle Walker, Meg Resnikoff
and Brooke Mahan of the What’s Up Moms YouTube channel have signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Fresh off a Streamy win, the trio will work with CAA to, among other things, expand their business development, digital content, and TV footprint. What’s Up Moms has also made a new executive hire: Liane Mullin, formerly head of Full Picture’s digital department, will serve as What’s Up Moms President and Chief of Operations.


They say the early bird catches the worm, but in this instance, Tweety snags a
$100 discount!

Register your team before September 25 for the Cynopsis Rising Star Cocktail Reception on October 15 to take advantage of the early bird special!

Questions? Contact Sarah Martinez.



Kids have a lot of questions. And armed with nothing but some drawing tools, Nathan Shields tries to answer them in Little 101, his new web series produced by PBS Digital Studios. First up: Why do we get dizzy when we spin? This series may be for kids, but Cynopsis Readers who don’t happen to be otolaryngologists may find themselves learning a thing or two. Check out the (adorable) video over on the PBS Parents YouTube page – here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

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

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