10/07/15: EU’s high court creates bureaucratic obstacles for American tech companies; Twitter introduces new Moments feature; Hulu inks content deal with Viacom



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
10.07.15

Good morning. It’s Wednesday October 7, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TODAY’S TOP NEWS

 
This is massive. The European Union’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, just dealt a crushing blow to American tech companies. In large part, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is to thank. Here’s the gist: For 15 years, the transatlantic Safe Harbour agreement has let American companies use a single standard for consumer privacy and data storage in both Europe and the U.S. In other words, tech companies like Twitter and Facebook can host European user data in the U.S., then transfer it over to Europe. Or at least, they could. Yesterday, the ECJ invalidated the Safe Harbour agreement, determining that U.S. companies can’t protect European data from the type of U.S. government surveillance that Snowden exposed in 2013. As a result, American tech companies may well be forced to host European data in Europe. In fact, each EU country – and there are 28 of them – can now determine its own individual data privacy regulations for American companies. The likes of Facebook and Twitter could be staring down the barrel of some nightmarish bureaucratic obstacles. And it’s not clear what recourse American companies have: The ruling is final, and can’t be appealed.
 
It’s not all setbacks for Facebook. The company released some new tools to help broadcasters engage fans, and get them to share their content with friends. Among other things, the new tools will allow producers to curate videos, photos, and posts from users across Facebook and Instagram, then display them in graphic format. The tools also include Hashtag Voting, a polling tool allowing broadcasters to quickly gauge popular opinion on their Faceook pages. Find more info on the new features here.
 
Twitter released a new feature for iOS, Android, and the web. Moments (formerly Project Lightning) lets users subscribe to specific stories, as opposed to following individual Twitter users or picking through their feeds. After selecting a specific moment to follow – say, a political debate, or a football game – users are presented with a series of tweets containing content including text, photos, GIFs, Vines, and videos. All Moments are curated, some by brands, and some by Twitter. Only a select group of brand partners have access to Moments; Twitter plans to make the feature more widely available in the future.
 
Hulu just received a ton of new content in a multi-year deal with Viacom. The streaming service will gain exclusive SVOD rights to all past and future episodes of Inside Amy Schumer, Key and Peele, Broad City, and several other shows – larger list here.

 

PLATFORMS + TECH

 
The Roku 4 is officially here. The new streaming box is Roku’s first device to deliver 4K Ultra HD video. Among other features, it comes with a remote control featuring an integrated microphone for voice search. Plus, it has a feature so simple and ingenious you won’t believe it’s new: a remote control finder. Press a button on the device, and the remote starts beeping. Here’s a remarkably solid joke from Roku Director of Product Management Lloyd Klarke: “We bought several couches to test this.” The Roku 4 costs $129.99. For the finder alone, it’s probably worth it.
 
Premium video marketplace Tremor Video is coming to South America: The company has established an office in Brazil. According to a press release, the move makes Tremor the first pure-play supply side platform (SSP) to launch in the country.

MARKETING

 
FameBit is getting a little more famous. The self-service influencer marketplace, which connects content creators with major brands, has limited itself to working with YouTube creators since the company’s founding in January 2014. Now, it has added Twitter, Instagram, and Vine to the mix. Back in March, FameBit also acquired Refame, a short-form video marketing agency connecting influencers with Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat advertisers.

 
APPS + GAMES

 
The only thing better than watching your favorite digital stars is watching several of them at once. And preferably, they’ll be beating the living daylights out of each other…Well, at least if you’re playing Celebrity Street Fight, a new game from app-builder MobileX Labs. The game allows users to pit various YouTube and Vine stars against each other in hand-to-hand combat. (It’s actually way more light-hearted than it sounds.) Digital celebs featured in the game include TheDiamondMinecraft, DeStorm, and KSI.
 
Xtreme Video
launched a dedicated mobile app. Xtreme, an online video community featuring clips of extreme feats and activities, has released its app on iOS and Android devices. The app enable users to share and comment on videos, as well as directly upload content.
 
Collab, a digital content studio that works with Vine creators to reach multiple social platforms, has announced a new mobile analytics service. Called Rankzoo, it will be available on iOS devices. The new app allows Viners to check their stats within a ranking system organized around the most followed and looped creators. It also provides creators with data that can help them hone their distribution strategies and increase engagement.

 

VC FUNDING + INVESTORS

 
Some investor news fresh out of Mipcom, the annual TV industry tradeshow in Cannes, France: Orange Digital Ventures, a digital VC company owned by French telecommunications group Orange, is participating in the funding of Afrostream, an SVOD platform focusing on African, African American, and African Caribbean TV and movies. The move is intended to enable Afrostream to quickly develop its service in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and South America. Other investors included TheFamily, Cross Culture Ventures I, L.P., and ACE & Company.

 

NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
Also out of Mipcom: Shutterstock is getting wings. The stock photography and footage provider has partnered with Red Bull Media House on an exclusive distribution deal. Shutterstock will market and license thousands of aerial, time-lapse, slow motion, adventure, wildlife, and landscape videos, filmed with advanced camera technology and presented in high-quality HD and 4K Ultra HD. The companies have also partnered on Point of View, an effort to distribute and co-market video highlights featuring Red Bull Media House-partnered athletes who will explore extreme environments. Point of View videos will be available on redbull.com, shutterstock.com, and the brands’ social platforms.
 
Comedic actor Paul Scheer, best known as The League’s resident doofus, is on board to voice the titular character in White Ninja, a comedic animated web series to be released exclusively on Vine. The series is based on the White Ninja web comic, which was released Cracked.com until 2013. The series debuts December 5.
 
BBC News has reached a syndication deal with Yahoo. The British news org’s digital video reports will now be available to Yahoo users in both the U.S. and Canada. The news content will be short-form heavy. Content, which will include science, tech, business, and international news, will be available this month.
 
Rolling Stone Country
, Rolling Stone’s online country music vertical, has partnered with Ram Truck on a new multi-platform content deal. The centerpiece is a daily video series called Ram Report, which premiered Monday. The series focuses on the day’s country music news stories. Rolling Stone will also launch a new series in mid-2016, featuring exclusive musical performances and interviews with country musicians. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone Country and Ram will partner for an awards event in April 2016. Video of the event will be distributed via Rolling Stone and Ram properties.
 
Movie and TV OTT service Popcornflix is getting some new indies. The company has partnered with film distribution house Breaking Glass Pictures to add 15 new movies to its catalogue. Films hitting the site include Blackbird, Coldwater, and the documentary Pablo.
 
Subscription streaming service Feeln has set a premiere date for Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke. The food-centric series, starring the titular Dancing with the Stars alum, premieres October 23. Feeln has also made a new trailer public.

 

BRANDS + LICENSING

 
Multi-channel network Rightster has launched Video Spring, a database offering licensable videos for brands, creators, and publishers. Video Spring is teeming with user-generated content from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Instagram. The vids are divided into categories, and they’re also easily searchable. All of the videos are cleared for licensing.


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CONTENT PROGRAMMING

 
Fashion, beauty and lifestyle site Refinery29 has launched new original docu-series A Woman’s Place: The Frontlines of Feminism, focused on female-empowerment activists in multiple international communities including Brazil, Egypt, and the U.S. The series debuted Tuesday; new installments will be released weekly. A Woman’s Place was EP’d by Lauren Zalaznick, formerly the EVP of NBCUniversal.
 
Endemol Beyond USA’s eSports competition show Legends of Gaming premieres today. It will be available on the Smasher network, Endemol’s recently launched YouTube eSports vertical.
 
With budgets for programmatic TV buying set to surge, it’s time to get your team ahead of the curve at the Cynopsis Programmatic TV Summit Thursday, November 5 in NYC. The event offers the latest intel on programmatic inventory, the optimum blend of data and creative, and the latest measurement tools, not to mention networking opportunities with top experts in the field. Register here: http://cynopsis.com/event/programmatic-tv-summit/ and you’ll still be in time for the early bird rate.

 

DIGITAL CONTENT CREATORS

 
Popular YouTube comedian Yousef Saleh Erakat – best known as FouseyToube – has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for all his representation needs. The talent agency will work with Erakat in all areas, including film, TV, endorsements, and digital distribution.
 
Another agency signing: 17-year-old musician and YouTube vlogger Dylan Dauzat has signed with Abrams Artists Agency. Abrams will represent Dauzat in all areas of the digital space. Dauzat boasts more than 21 million YouTube views. And he’s not just popular on YouTube: Dauzat has about 1.6 million followers on Vine, 855,000 on Instagram, and 428,000 on Twitter.

 
AD BLOCKING

 
Apple just ramped up the ad blocking war, apparently making a victim even of itself. The company recently allowed the installation of ad blocking software on its latest operating system. But the ad blockers didn’t affect native apps… until now. Apple has allowed Been Choice into the App Store. The app claims to be capable of blocking ads in native apps – and that means any app ranging from Facebook to Apple News. One might conceivably argue that this hurts Apple. Needless to say, some analysts are scratching their heads over Apple’s decision to let the app into the App Store.
 
 

RESEARCH

 
Saturday Night Live is back for its 41st season. The show premiered on Saturday with Miley Cyrus as host and media analytics firm StatSocial analyzed the social media conversation. They found that Cyrus (not too surprisingly) was the favorite celebrity of those watching. For more info, check out their infographic below. The chart shows the audience’s favorite brands, as ranked by how above-average their affinity for the brand is.

EXECUTIVE MOVES

 
Video analytics company Tubular Labs is upping its European game. The company, which helps clients optimize videos across numerous digital platforms, has hired Denis Crushell as the company’s VP of Europe, a newly created position. Previously, he served as YouTube’s Head of Sponsorship for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
 
Yieldbot, a media tech company specializing in the analysis of web-related consumer intent, announced two executive appointments. Elissa Gray will serve as the VP of Brand Marketing. Previously, Gray served as Americas Marketing Director for Exponential. Yieldbot also named Veronica Mendoza VP of Product Marketing. Mendoza most recently worked for AOL, where she served as Senior Manager of Product Management and Marketing for Advertising.com Sponsored Listings.
 
Location-based mobile advertising company Verve has a new exec. The company has named Kevin Arrix Chief Revenue Officer. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President of Worldwide Brand Partnerships at SFX Entertainment.



A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT

 
New Daily Show host Trevor Noah made some secret YouTube videos. Kudos to Uproxx for discovering them. They’re on Comedy Central’s YouTube page – but not if you search on YouTube. They’re only accessible if you type specific keywords into Google (note: these are technically ads, and you’ll get no results if you have an ad blocker installed). Search phrases that turn up results include Trevor Noah Autotune, Trevor Noah ASMR, Trevor Noah Age, Trevor Noah Gay, and Trevor Noah Girlfriend. As for that last video, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised to learn who said girlfriend is. Find out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
10.07.15

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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