10.02.15 Good morning. It’s Friday October 2, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
It’s finally here. After over three weeks in beta, Verizon has launched the final version of its Go90 streaming video service. The service will include original content, as well as programming from networks including Comedy Central, MTV, and many others. It will also feature clips from NFL Network and ESPN, as well as web shows from the likes of Elite Daily and Vice. The service is ad-supported, free, and available for use on iOS and Android devices.
Seems like Amazon sells every item under the sun…until now, that is. The company has confirmed that it will stop selling the Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion,” an Amazon spokesperson told Variety. “Roku, XBOX, PlayStation and Fire TV are excellent choices.” Humble speculation: Nobody is confused about why Amazon is banning the sale of its competitors’ devices. And said ban appears to be global. It goes into effect at the end of October.
In case it wasn’t already clear, viewability is a big deal. According to Brad Bender, Google’s VP of Product Management, the company’s about to ensure that ads purchased on the Google Display Network (the collection of websites, mobile sites and apps that show AdWords ads) are 100% viewable. At the moment, the company estimates that 56% of display ads are never seen, since users don’t always scroll down far enough to see them. Now, all advertisers that buy on a CPM basis will only pay when their ads are in a viewable position. The company hasn’t announced when the change will take effect.
Looks like Facebook profile photos no longer have to be, well, photos. The company announced that it will allow Facebookers to use GIF-like seven-second videos as their profile images. (Here’s what that looks like.) The videos will auto-play on a loop, which of course will never, ever get annoying. You can even include sound, although, it will only be audible when the video is clicked on. At first, the feature will only be available to a limited degree, in the UK and California. The company says it will be made widely available soon.
NBCUniversal has reached a deal with Google to start selling pre-roll video ads to accompany The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’s YouTube videos. Unlike Fallon’s Tonight Show predecessors – whose YouTube clips never featured ads -Fallon regularly puts out videos that go viral. (OpenSlate once concluded that the show’s 8-million-subscriber-strong YouTube channel could make NBC an additional $10-12 million per year.) NBC itself will sell the ad inventory.
“It looks like the Netflix for YouTube.” That’s Dave Rosner, SVP of Marketing at the video tech company Zefr. The “it” in question is Zefr’s new BrandID Suite, a marketing tool that separates YouTube videos into discrete segments and packages. Zefr co-CEO Zach James explained it this way: When you’re using BrandID, “If you’re online looking at [BMWs], you’re not going to get an ad inviting you to vacation in Peru.” BrandID, in other words, helps advertisers to not only target the right people, but to do so at the right moment.
The recording studio is an intimate place; virtual reality will only enhance that. According to Variety, VR studio The Virtual Reality Company is building a dedicated recording studio to record 360-degree video for VR headsets. VRC will begin to record musicians’ performances in the coming days.
Defy Media has announced that its adding 360-degree video capability to its comedy platform Break.com, via a new partnership with 360fly. The makers of a 360-degree camera with VR viewing capabilities will also produce original content for Break. And 360fly users will be able to upload directly to the site via mobile devices. The platform will be released in early October.
Take a peek at the other side: apparently they have great makeup there. Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party digital network launched a new web series earlier this week: The Other Side with Annamarie Tendler, available here. The show centers on the titular makeup artist as she touches up one half of a guest’s face. The guests themselves then finish the job on the other side, while Tendler asks them about paranormal experiences they’ve had…and about Leonardo DiCaprio, because why not? He’s awesome.
Netflix is adding seven new kid-friendly original series. The first, Glitter Force, will be available December 18, followed by DreamWorks Animation’s Dawn of the Croods on December 24. Shows debuting in 2016 will include Lost and Found Music and Lego Friends. The stop-motion comedy Buddy Thunderstruck debuts in 2017.
Logo is getting trans-conscious with a new digital series. Four parter Beautiful as I want to Be will be hosted by transgender model Geena Rocero. It debuts on October 28, on Logo’s YouTube channel and on Logo.com. Each episode will center on a different trans youth.
Netflix is completing its European invasion, setting dates for its debuts in Spain, Italy and Portugal. Their Spanish debut comes October 20, followed by Portugal on October 21, and Italy on October 22. The regional price will be 7.99 Euros (about $9) per month. Among other areas, Netflix is already available in most of Northern Europe, as well as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
Lionsgate and Tribeca Enterprises have teamed up to launch new SVOD platform Tribeca Shortlist. The service will feature a selection of curated films, chosen by well-known actors, directors, and other industry figures. The platform calls the curators “Shortlisters.”
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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You know the story about the Dutch buying Manhattan for $24? Now cut that number in half: That’s how much former Google employee Sanmay Ved payed to legally purchase the Google.com domain name. No, seriously: Somehow this actually happened Tuesday. Fortunately for Google, the company was able to cancel the sale after one minute – but not before Ved received some emails containing internal company information. Thankfully, he darted into Good Samaritan mode, reporting the breach to Google’s security team. So in the end, no harm done. But still, $12? Google.com is worth at least $24.
YouTube Kids, the 7-month-old kid-friendly video app, has introduced a range of new content, as well as some new parental control options. Child-oriented YouTube channels, including DreamWorksTV and HooplaKidz, will now join other YouTubers already sharing videos on the app. And some content creators, including National Geographic Kids, have debuted new playlists. The app will also now be available over digital TV platforms, including AppleTV and Chromecast. (Just don’t try to buy those over at Amazon.) In addition, parents who install YouTube Kids will now receive messages telling them how to restrict their kids’ search options and flag inappropriate videos.
OpenSlate Engagement Data for the Gaming vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending 9/27.
Channel/(Engagement)/Monthly Views/Total Subs/SlateScore
jacksepticeye (9.8) / 196599480/ 6629833/ 766
Gameplayrj (9.8) / 55823370/ 2373759 / 794
rezendeevil (9.7) / 118997370 / 3806723/ 788
markiplierGAME (8.5) / 184553130 / 5166363/ 748
SSundee (9.6) / 65342220 / 1161845 / 785
fernanfloo (9.6) / 123010950/ 6339946/ 734
juegagerman (9.6) / 97535790 / 9215731 / 753
TheWillyrex (9.5) / 89644920/ 7786911 / 765
vegetta777 (9.5) / 156281460/ 11105226 / 768
TazerCraft (9.4) / 96516930/ 3215586 / 778
Source: The Engagement metric is one of OpenSlate’s component scores, and is a measure of a producer’s ability to evoke meaningful interaction with their audience. It is calculated on a scale of 1-10 with higher being better. The OpenSlate Engagement score uses a subset of the data incorporated in the SlateScore to perform a set of unique calculations. It factors in views, comments, likes, and more.
Drew Larner has been named COO of virtual reality startup VRSE. Previously, he served as CEO of Spotify competitor Rdio. The company also announced that it’s received financial backing from Vice Media, WWE, Live Nation, VC firm Andressen Horowitz, and more. VRSE is currently best known for its VR documentaries, including Clouds Over Sidra, about a Syrian refugee camp.
Multi-channel network AwesomenessTV has announced a new hire: Shelley Zimmerman will serve as Head of Scripted Series, a newly created position. Previously, Zimmerman has served as SVP of Scripted Programming at Warner Horizon, and President of Television Development at Tollin/Robbins Productions. At the latter company, Zimmerman worked with Brian Robbins, AwesomenessTV’s founder ad CEO. Looks like they’ve been reunited.
Video engagement platform Viewbix has added a new exec. Owen Weed will serve as Vice President of Business Development. Previously, Weed oversaw online video company Yashi‘s national sales team.
Looks like MTV knows the future is digital. It’s been announced that longtime digital media exec Sean Atkins will serve as MTV President. Atkins will oversee all business and creative operations for MTV, MTV2, and mtvU. Previously, he served as General Manager & EVP of Digital Media Strategy at Discovery Communications.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Stephen Colbert seems to like virtual realitybut not as much as he likes making fun of it. Check out this hilarious clip from The Late Show’s YouTube channel – available here.
See you Monday,
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