10/06/14: Amazon orders full seasons of ‘Hand of God’ and ‘Red Oaks,’ Will PewDiePie exit Maker Studios?, Five Minutes With…Connexity CEO Bill Glass


Good morning. It’s Monday, October 6, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Amazon ordered two full seasons from its latest pilots: Hand of God and Steven Soderbergh’s Red Oaks. Hand of God will be the third hour-long episode series for Amazon; it received a 4.4 out of 5 star rating from viewers, as did comedy Red Oaks. Two other pilots, Really and Hysteria, will not make it to series, though Whit Stillman’s comedy The Cosmopolitans is still in contention, with an order of additional scripts. Amazon will soon launch the second season of Alpha House, and Transparent, from Amazon’s second pilot season, has already debuted to rave reviews. Mozart in the Jungle, Bosch and The After from the second pilot wave will soon hit the service as well.
YouTube mega celeb PewDiePie (31 million subscribers), aka Felix Kjellberg, is hinting that he may break off from Maker Studios when his contract ends in December. “I’m in touch with a couple of people who I think would be so right for this…so far, all the networks have been managed in such an incredibly poor way, it’s embarrassing really. I’d like to help other YouTubers,” he told Swedish magazine Icon. Tubefilter reports that it’s unlikely that the creator will go solo, however, since Let’s Play gamers can use their status as managed channels to secure rights to gameplay footage. The Guardian recently reported PewDiePie’s channel was watched 10.2 billion times in August alone, and his videos viewed 449.2 million times in the same month.
debuted a new series hosted by YouTube celeb Kingsley (three million subscribers), called Drama King. Kingsley will chat with guests like YouTuber Lilly Singh (Superwoman), Shane Dawson, Anthony Padilla (Smosh), Kalel Cullen, Flula Borg and answer viewers’ questions. Drama King will roll out a new episode every Thursday at 3p ET on the ClevverTV channel.
Want to find out what shows are online and when? Then you’re going to love Watcheroo, Cynopsis’ new Digital Programming Guide. Constantly updated and organized by show name, date, and platform, here is everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.


On the heels of Netflix’s recent Hollywood shake-up with the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel as well as a four-movie deal with Adam Sandler, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says he’s intent on moving even farther down the road of original production, telling The Hollywood Reporter that just like a movie studio, Netflix plans to put out 10-14 original films every year. “There’s a general consensus that movies on Netflix and other pay services are old, because they are,” Sarandos said. “So for us to meaningfully move the window up to where consumers want to see a movie, we have to step into producing content of our own, similar [to what] we did with House of Cards…releasing all episodes at the same time.”


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Shopzilla, Inc. was recently rebranded as Connexity, to reflect its transformation from a comparison-shopping focused firm to a tech marketing solutions company. Cynopsis sat down with CEO Bill Glass to discuss Connexity’s success in helping marketers better understand consumers, acquire them at a lower cost, and increase sales supported by data.
Your display business is based on the premise that shopping data is better for learning about an audience. How does what Connexity offers to marketers differ from Amazon?
Amazon also targets display advertising both on amazon.com and through programmatic channels based on data collected from retail behavior. Their efforts validate what we’re doing in shopping intent data-driven audience targeting. But we believe that the audience-targeting market is a fragmented space with room for many players, just like most media channels. Also, retailers of all kinds can reach a different (and new) set of customers by working with Connexity. Many retailers don’t want to work with Amazon due to competitive issues.
Twitter and Facebook have been focused on retargeting ads. Do you consider them competitors?
Facebook’s and Twitter’s efforts to tap into retargeting trends have been primarily focused on allowing marketers to access their inventory for retargeting. It’s more of a self-service model. Our offering centers on display retargeting and prospecting as either a managed service, or display media buy execution through our in-house demand-side platform (DSP). So we help the advertisers actually place their media buys and/or run and optimize their retargeting campaigns.
Do you envision yourself as a one-stop online ad shop for e-retailers?
That’s certainly where we’re headed. Online advertising is getting increasingly complicated with so many channels, especially with the explosion of programmatic display. We want to help our retailer and brand partner solve most of their digital marketing challenges in one place.
Last week, the FCC voted unanimously to eliminate sports blackout rules. Do you agree with the decision? Vote in the Cynopsis poll.


Fusion hired Dodai Stewart as Director of Culture Coverage. She was most recently Deputy Editor of Jezebel.
Iris Mobile’s new CEO is Marc Grabowski. Previous roles included that of COO at marketing developer Nanigans and Vice President of Media Sales at Yahoo.
If you’ve got happy news, weddings, babies, engagements you’d like shared with your industry colleagues for a new feature on our web site, send to Jessica@Cynopsis.com.


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At last week’s 55th Annual Clio Awards, which honor achievement in advertising, Jerry Seinfeld ripped the ad world as he simultaneously accepted an honorary award for his work with American Express. “I love advertising…because I love lying,” Seinfeld said. Check out the entire speech at www.cynopsis.com/#video.

See you tomorrow,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese

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