10.01.15 Good morning. It’s Thursday October 1, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Two new channels have launched on Playstation Vue, Sony’s cloud-based streaming service. A new channel from gaming-oriented multichannel network Machinima features daily gaming-related programming and shows, as well as curated content from Machinima’s network. Machinima will also debut two Vue-exclusive series: All Systems Go! with Andy Riesmeyer and Sandbox with JeromeASF. Meanwhile, Epix is debuting the Vue channel EPIX Hits, a premium movie channel featuring blockbusters like Insterstellar and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Playstation Vue is available to Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 owners.
No longer is YouTube limiting advertising to advertisements. Google’s video-sharing site has unveiled Shopping ads, a new tool allowing advertisers to make videos more shoppable. Here’s how it works: During videos, product cards will surface along the side of the screen. Consumers can then click those product cards to further explore the item, or to buy it. (This is all very similar to YouTube’s TrueView for Shopping format, which was introduced in March, exclusively for YouTube’s pre-video TrueView ads.) Advertisers will be able to bid on Shopping ads, just as they can bid on Google search ads. Google says it will begin testing Shopping ads on viewers in videos later this fall. Advertisers will begin to see Shopping ads pop up in the Google advertising service Adwords within the coming months.
Full VR immersion into a terrifying dystopia? In this case, it actually sounds pretty fun. Lionsgate has partnered with Samsung Electronics to give The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 a virtual reality preview. From October 2-4, at over 1,000 Best Buy locations across the U.S., fans will get the chance to experience a Hunger Games feature on Samsung’s Oculus-powered GearVR headset. The feature, which is six minutes long, will traverse some of the most memorable moments of the Hunger Games films.
When Doc Brown and Marty McFly traveled to 2015, somehow they never encountered streaming video. No matter: The real future has caught up with them. In a deal with Universal Pictures, Amazon Prime Video will have exclusive streaming rights to all three Back to the Future movies during the month of October. Prime members will be able to stream or download the films for no additional charge. It will be the first time the films are available for unlimited viewing on an SVOD service.
Amazon’s got some newer content in the pipeline as well. The streaming service has picked up a series based on Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books. (On the big screen, the character has already been played by the likes of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck.) The new series will be EP’d by Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Michael Bay (explosions).
Univision Communications (UCI) has partnered with Verizon. Video from a variety of Univision’s programming properties will be featured on Verizon’s Go90 mobile streaming service, including a selection of Liga MX soccer matches and primetime telenovelas. Go90 users will also have access to Univision’s digital network Flama, as well as Univision News.
YouTube channel How to Make Everything announced that it has joined the multi-channel network Collective Digital Studio. The channel has almost 32,000 YouTube subscribers. Collective Digital Studio’s other properties include Lilly Singh (aka IISuperwomanII), Corridor Digital, and Explosm Entertainment’s Cyanide and Happiness.
Viddsee, a curated mobile service specializing in short content from Asia-based indie filmmakers, announced that it has raised 2.3 million dollars in funding from CyberAgent, a Japan-based venture capital firm. Viddsee was founded in 2013.
Thrillist Media Group, a male-oriented e-commerce and digital media company, has raised $54 million in its latest funding round. And Axel Springer – the German publisher that just bought Business Insider for $343 million – is buying a minority stake in Thrillist’s media unit. The company, which operates the Thrillist media website as well as the JackThreads fashion e-commerce site, is restructuring: JackThreads will be splitting off into a separate operation with a new CEO. (Under the current arrangement, Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer oversees both media and e-commerce.) In addition to Axel Springer’s investment in TMG’s edia unit, Oak Investment Partners and SBNY are investing in JackThreads. Currently, Thrillist.com boasts 15 million monthly unique users, as well as more than 80 million monthly users across social, digital, and mobile platforms.
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Tyler Oakley is getting his own documentary. The 26-year-old LGBT advocate – he of the 7.6 million YouTube subscribers – will be the focus of Snervous, an upcoming doc from Awesomeness Films. Directed by Amy Rice (HBO’s By the People: The Election of Barack Obama), the film follows Oakley during 2014, when he toured the U.S., UK and Ireland. Snervous debuts in select theaters in December 2015, followed by a digital release from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
If you want to communicate an urgent message quickly and efficiently, it stands to reason you’d turn to Viners. That’s why the anti-smoking Truth campaign has enlisted some Vine stars in its new series of videos. Dubbed #BigTobaccoBeLike, the campaign imagines ways the tobacco celebrates its profits. (In the first video, Viner Jerry Purpdrank celebrates in the streets as cash rains down in torrents.) More videos, starring Vine stars including Logan Paul, Christian DelGrosso, and AlliCatt, are soon to be rolled out; AMC will air them during new episodes of The Walking Dead, on October 4 and October 11.
Sony has launched a new YouTube channel devoted entirely to 4K Ultra HD video. The channel, called Sony 4K, features short videos with focuses ranging from ballet to winemaking. You can check it out here.
Do you really, really hate commercials? Well TiVo’s got you covered – for a price. The company’s new Bolt DVR, launched just yesterday, includes a SkipMode feature allowing users to instantly bypass commercial breaks and get back to the good stuff. At the moment, only the 20 most-watched channels are covered, including ABC, Fox, NBC, and CBS, and only for certain programs. One minor hitch: It costs $150 annually or $599 for lifetime service. (The price of the DVRs includes one year of free service, after which customers have to start paying.) TiVo also says that the new Bolt is the first DVR capable of recording 4K Ultra HD programs. That’s pretty forward-thinking: Right now no U.S. TV channels broadcast in that format.
CBS All Access, the company’s live streaming and VOD service, has become the first app and browser to be certified for Nielsen’s Digital in TV ratings measurement. The certification measures viewership of the service’s live offering of local CBS TV stations across Android and iOS devices, as well as laptops and desktop computers. With Digital in TV Ratings, Nielsen will report audiences for ratings-qualified content consumed across both computer and mobile devices, and add those measurements to its existing C3/C7/average quarter hour TV ratings services.
NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises’ Digital and Emerging Business has partnered with Telemundo News to develop a news app. According to Telemundo, Noticias Telemundo will be the only app in the U.S. to provide real-time results in Spanish on the night of the 2016 presidential election. The app will be available for download on November 8, 2015one year prior to said election.
Looks like Jack Dorsey is here to stay. Re/code reports that the Twitter co-founder, who has served as the company’s interim CEO for the past three months, will be named to the post on a permanent basis.
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