10.16.15 Good morning. It’s Friday October 16, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Even Netflix isn’t perfect. On Wednesday, the company released its Q3 earnings report and measuring the period from July 1-September 30, the report documented the addition of 880,000 US subscribers – short of Netflix’s projection of 1.25 million. Netflix did add 2.74 million overseas subscribers, better than projected. CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Well attributed the loss to “slightly higher-than-expected involuntary churn (inability to collect)…driven in part by the ongoing transition to chip-based credit and debit cards.” According to Netflix, the new cards, designed to fight fraud, often have a new number or expiration date, requiring subscribers to update their payment info, which many failed to do. Netflix shares fell 14% in after-hours trading following the release, but they have since largely rebounded.
The Comcast-owned NBCUniversal announced that it will launch Seeso, a comedy-oriented SVOD service, in January 2016. In addition to other programming, Seeso’s content will include The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, and the entire SNL library, including new episodes available one day after initial airing. There’s also a slate of originals headed for the service. Seeso will cost $3.99 a month; non-subscribers will have access to roughly 10 to 15% of its content.
Red Arrow Entertainment Group, an entertainment company owned by German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, has launched a new digital media company. And it looks like Red Arrow means business. The company, Ripple Entertainment, will be led by digital heavyweights Gayle Gilman (CEO) and Jason Ziemianski (CRO). Both Gilman and Ziemianski most recently worked at FremantleMedia North America. According to Red Arrow, Ripple will launch “vertically focused networks, producing original content with Red Arrow production companies, external strategic partners and independent creators.”
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Step one: Play video games. Step two: Film it, and swear a lot. Step three: Profit. Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg – whose nearly 40 million YouTube subscribers recently landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records – was the top earning YouTube star of the past year, according to Forbes. PewDiePie earned $12 million dollars (pretax) in that time frame, largely by featuring advertisers’ products in his videos. Forbes has a larger list of 2015’s top YouTube earners here.
On October 18, immediately after Sunday Night Football, NBC Sports will launch its first original digital series. Sherman’s Warriors is a six-part docu-series about former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman and his efforts to coach a high school team. The series is the first project in the NBC Sports Digital Shorts initiative, which is aimed at producing short-form original content for NBCSports.com and other digital platforms. Sherman’s Warriors will be available at NBCSports.com/ShermansWarriors and other NBC Sports digital platforms. NBC Sports says it will launch about six original digital series within the next year.
Global programmatic advertising platform PulsePoint has announced the launch of a Real-Time Bidding (RTB) mobile marketplace. According to the company, the marketplace ensures higher CPM rates for premium publishers, as well as cross-device targeting capabilities. GigaOm and COX Media Group have signed on as partners.
Across the pond, the viewability crisis is particularly dire. According to a report from ad verification firm Meetrics, only 52% of display ads served in the UK were viewable in the third quarter of 2015. Meetrics tracked billions of ad impressions across Europe to collect its findings. The company estimates that the UK’s viewability problems amounted to a £260 million ($402 million) loss in media spend during Q3, a rate of about £1 billion ($1.5 billion) annually.
Video analytics company Tubular Labs released its cross-platform, all-device monthly ranking of the most watched online video creators from September. The company found that Buzzfeed Video ranked as the top cross-platform video creator with 889 million views (global, all-device, creating original video content). That’s a 15% increase over last month. The top 100 video creators generated over 28 billion total cross-platform views in September, up 7.7% from August.
Some other findings:
Buzzfeed Video was the number one creator with 562 million September views. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (#6), BBC News (#15), CNN (#20), and The Ellen Show (#25) all debuted on the Tubular Facebook Rankings for the first time. Find the full Facebook list here.
With 51 million views, Kylie Jenner climbed 11 spots to become #1 on Instagram video in September. Find the full Instagram list here.
WWE body-slammed its way to #1 on YouTube with 386 million views. Four of the top 10 YouTube creators this month are children’s content, and together they generated 1.4 billion-plus views in September. Find the full YouTube list here.
So, you found an article about a kangaroo fighting a polar bear, and you posted the link on your Facebook page. Want to know how many people viewed it? Well, like it or not, you might find out. As a result of a technical glitch, some users have noticed that the precise number of people who viewed their posts is listed directly under said posts. (Here’s what that looks like.) The listing tends to appear only under links that are shared or posted, as opposed to photos. As of now, the glitch has only affected Facebook’s mobile site, not its desktop site or its mobile app.
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Watch out, Twitch: YouTube Gaming is nipping at your heels. YouTube’s gaming platform allows users to watch others live stream video game play, as well as live stream their own gameplay. Now the platform is rolling out its new Mobile Capture feature for Android, which lets users stream gameplay from their smartphones. YouTube Gaming also introduced Sponsorships, a $3.99-per-month subscription program allowing users to give money to their favorite streamers in exchange for perks, including access to exclusive chat rooms. The sponsorships are similar to Twitch’s partnership program.
No one said the “World” in World’s Fair had to be the real one. Landmark Entertainment, best known for building theme park attractions, announced plans to build a VR platform called the Virtual World’s Fair, where millions of consumers would be able to interact, shop, take in entertainment, and more. “It’s the world coming together to celebrate the world,” Landmark President and CEO Tony Christopher told Variety. Landmark is planning a 2017 launch for the platform. Next year, Landmark plans to launch the Pavilion of Me, a media portal turning computer activities – e.g., social media and shopping – into VR experiences.
Two weeks ahead of the show’s premiere, Bravo is launching a free preview of its Apres Ski reality series on Shazam Entertainment’s app. Starting Monday, October 19, users can view the premiere episode by activating Shazam-enabled TV spots on Bravo and other NBCUniversal networks. Bravo will be the first network to debut a full TV episode on the Shazam app. Apres Ski, which is centers on concierges at a luxury tourism company, makes its network debut November 2.
Netflix puts out a lot more than just flix these days. That’s not changing. In a video conference session following its Q3 earnings call, CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos confirmed that they’re interested in turning Netflix into a destination for news content – though Chief Communications Officer Jonathan Friedland later clarified that live reporting wasn’t what they were referring to. Instead, Netflix likely aims to produce edgy, socially relevant documentaries of the sort Vice churns out. On the call, Sarandos even estimated Netflix’s chance of competing with Vice in the next two years as “probably high.”
TV production company Pilgrim Studios is going digital with new online video platform 1620 Media. (The year 1620 is, cleverly enough, a pilgrim referencebut that’s enough about Plymouth Rock for one digital newsletter.) The platform will launch with six new original series, including Inside Extras Studio, a comedy starring Barry Bostwick. 1620 Media’s content can be viewed at 1620Media.com and on YouTube.
Discovery Communications discovered some new talent. (Okay, that was strained.) Karen Leever has joined the company as Executive VP and GM of Digital Media. Previously, Leever served as Head of Digital and Direct Sales at DirecTV. At Discovery, she takes over for Sean Atkins, who became MTV’s President in September.
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Imagine playing ping pong with someone who isn’t in the room with you. That’s what Mark Zuckerberg did recently, thanks to Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset. Want to know what interactive VR gameplay looks like? Check it out here.
See you Monday,
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