10.09.15 Good morning. It’s Friday October 9, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
The much-discussed Facebook dislike function is finally here. But if you were predicting a thumbs-down, think again. Instead, Facebook has rolled out a series of emojis. Friend lost his job? How about a frowny face? Another friend said something offensive? Go with the angry one. The full range of options is as follows: Love, Haha, Yay, Wow, Sad, and Angry. (Take a look at them here.) The feature is now being tested on users in Spain and Ireland, before Facebook decides how to roll it out further. And thankfully for purists, the iconic like button will remain an option.
Well that’s just super. According to Variety, Turner Broadcasting is gearing up to relaunch Super Deluxe, an online short-form comedy hub that operated 18 months starting in 2006. (Its content was folded into Adult Swim in 2007.) Variety reports that Turner has been staffing up for the venture since last month, and that Wolfgang Hammer, the former Co-President of CBS, is leading the effort. There’s little info on what exactly the relaunch will look, what exactly the service’s content will be, or even whether Turner will keep the name Super Deluxe. Turner hasn’t publicly commented.
DramaFever, a streaming service featuring international series and TV shows, is now available on Playstation 4. “As a company, DramaFever’s mission has always been to showcase the best Movies and TV shows from around the world,” Yale Wang, DramaFever’s head of marketing told, Cynopsis Digital. “With our new PS4 app, we’ll be able to do just that.” The service’s content can also be viewed on DramaFever.com. And the app is already available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Chromecast, Roku, and Samsung Smart TVs.
Orange Is the New Black is about to cost you some more green. Netflix announced that it’s raising the price of its most popular plan, namely, the“standard” plan, which offers two HD streams at the same time. In the U.S., Latin America, and Canada, the fee is moving from $8.99 a month to $9.99 a month. Netflix says that for current customers, the $8.99 pricing will remain in place for 12 more months – unless customers are covered by a longer-term pricing guarantee. For new customers, the hike takes effect immediately.
HBO plans to release HBO Go as a standalone online SVOD service in the Brazil, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The push will begin at the end of next year, with a launch in Colombia. HBO’s main competitor in the SVOD space will be Netflix, which already services dozens of countries throughout Latin America, as well as Mexico and Brazil.
More HBO news: HBO Now, the network’s standalone OTT service, just launched a new Roku app. The service now streams to Roku players and integrated Roku TVs. Roku users can subscribe to HBO Now for $14.99 per month.
Get used to thinking of Vimeo as an original content producer. Almost a year after its first foray into original programming (High Maintenance), the company has announced its first full slate of original programming, including season 2 of The Outs (season one ran three years ago as an indie web series). Vimeo will also release Darby Forever, an original short film written by and starring Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant and Bianca Del Rio’s stand-up special, Rolodex of Hate Comedy Special: Live From Austin. All three will debut this winter on Vimeo’s pay-to-view platform.
Verizon’s Go-90 service is still brand-spanking-new, but it’s never too early to go viral. Jukin Media, the multi-platform media and licensing company specializing in user-generated viral clips, is bringing a new series to the service. Jukin will produce 50 episodes of FailFive. The series’ roughly three-minute-long episodes will consist five user-generated videos centering on a single theme, making use of meme-style graphics as well as the comedic chops of its hosts, Chris Powers and Courtney Pauroso. The show was inspired by one of Jukin’s video brands, FailArmy. Episodes will debut weekly, and will be exclusive to Go-90 for 48 hours before becoming available on FailArmy’s Facebook page.
What, you didn’t think the Subcontinent watched streaming content? A localized version of The Streamy Awards is coming to an India and South Asia, thanks to Tubefilter, dick clark productions, and India-based digital media company Culture Machine. The companies have joined together to host the ceremony, which honors the best in streaming entertainment. The new version will reach viewers in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal.
It’s a statistic that’s bound to surprise precisely zero people: Consumers are now using mobile phones to search Google more often than they’re using desktop PCs, according to Google SVP of Search Amit Singhal. The shift became official this summer. In all, Singhal says, that’s more than 100 billion mobile searches a month. His remarks came at Re/code’s Code/Mobile conference yesterday. Meanwhile Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, said that fully 60% of AOL’s traffic now comes from mobile.
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CYNOPSIS Social Good Awards Media professionals’ commitment to community is honored in the Cynopsis Social Good Awards, recognizing individuals and organizations who give back to the public through innovative linear TV, digital and marketing campaigns. We’ll be celebrating promotions for diversity, environmental initiatives, anti-bullying and much more. CHECK OUT THIS YEAR’S CATEGORIES, AND START YOUR ENTRY TODAY!
DirecTV is hopping on the virtual reality train, and their first VR app will give users a close-up look at a boxing match. The app, called BKB VR, will be available for the Samsung GearVR headset – which reaches consumers this November – as well as for the Google Cardboard app. At the moment, the BKB VR app will be restricted to pre-recorded 360 degree highlights from a past fight, so no live carnage just yet. DirecTV will also make the footage available through Samsung’s Milk VR service. BKB VR is designed to promote Big Knockout Boxing, DirecTV’s boxing brand.
To be clear, virtual reality itself is no longer science fiction – SyFy is just making use of it. The network has launched new content for its VR app for The Expanse, its new drama series, which premieres in December. The app immerses users in locations from the show. The app is available for download for users of the Google Cardboard app. Google Cardboard is available on both Android and iOS phones.
CNN says it will provide live online streaming access to its televised coverage of the October 13th Democratic presidential primary debate. In the past, streaming access to CNN’s debate coverage has required cable or satellite subscriptions, as was the case with last month’s GOP debate. So rejoice, geeky political junkies, and stream away. Just don’t expect to see Joe Biden there.
According to a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, a majority of advertisers already use some form of advanced TV (in other words, TV including addressable and interactive efforts) in their marketing. Still, the overall resources designated toward advanced TV are low. The study, which surveyed 255 brand and agency execs, says that 78% of advertisers use advanced TV tools. But the current median budget for advanced TV for marketers is a meager $1.4 million. 70% of those surveyed said they expected to be spending more money on advanced TV within the next year. More info here.
Wow, what the heck are advertisers doing in the U.K.? According to a study from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (not to be confused with the Interactive Advertising Bureau), revenue from display advertising actually grew 27.5% year-over-year for the first half of 2015. This despite the rise of ad-blockers. 80% of the rise in digital display revenue was fueled by mobile. “Recently, a lot of the attention on digital advertising has been around the challenges, such as ad blocking,” said Tim Elkington, Chief Strategy Officer of IAB UK. “However, it’s clear to see the UK digital advertising industry is maintaining its strong revenue growth at a much greater rate than the overall economy.” Read more about the study here.
American Horror Story premiered Wednesday, and social media analytics company StatSocial took a look. Lady Gaga’s appearance dominated the social conversation before, during, and after the show. Twenty percent of the audience were fans of Gaga, placing her within their Top 15 favorite celebrities. FX clocked in as their favorite programming; they were also fans of shows from FOX and, interestingly, ABC Family. Check out the infographic below:
AMC and Next Games have released a new mobile game (trailer here) just ahead of the the October 11 season premiere The Walking Dead. The combat-style game, titled The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, parallels the timelines of seasons five and six of the series. Guided by Norman Reedus’s character Daryl Dixon, players find themselves in charge of their own unique group of survivors. The game is available on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Social media influencers have become the new power players in television and digital, as consumers report trusting word-of-mouth over direct brand messaging. The October 29 Cynopsis webinar, " Finding the Social Media Influencers That Will Drive Ratings & Boost Your Brand" will share best practices for incorporating these must-have tastemakers in your marketing strategy. Details are here.
This space is usually reserved for new hires, but this is a departure worth mentioning: S. Somasgear, the VP of Microsoft’s Development Division, is leaving the company. He’s been a major figure at Microsoft for 27 years. In his current role, he has overseen the engineering of the company’s developer tools and services, programming languages, and runtimes – in other words, everything involving Microsoft’s Visual Studio, its .NET Framework, and its Team Foundation Server. Microsoft has confirmed the departure, but hasn’t elaborated on why Somasgear is stepping down, or who might replace him.
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Paramount just added a YouTube channel, the Paramount Vault. The channel offers more than 100 of Paramount’s classic movies for free. Check out their sizzle real here.
See you Monday,
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