10/18/17: NBCU, Snap partner on new content studio

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Wednesday October 18, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing!

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER

 
Abandonment (e-commerce): In e-commerce, abandonment is a term that’s used to describe a visitor who leaves a page before taking a desired action. One example is “shopping cart abandonment,” where customers add items to their online shopping carts but leave without completing a purchase.
 
 
JUST IN
 
NBCUniversal has a new digital content studio deal with Snap with a focus on made-for-mobile video. The content created will be developed and produced for Snapchat Shows. Leading the venture is NBCU’s Lauren Anderson, the former SVP of primetime programming at NBC, who introduced the new digital streaming experience. “By combining the best-in-class creative expertise of NBCUniversal with the broad digital reach of Snapchat, we have the unique ability to take mobile programming to the next level, creating compelling shows for both viewers and advertisers, ” said Anderson. The new joint venture will work with a handful of creative partners, having signed it first deal with indie filmmakers Mark and Jay Duplass.
 
Amazon Studios head Roy Price resigned yesterday, five days after being placed on a leave of absence following producer Isa Hackett’s allegation that Price had sexually harassed her in 2015. COO Albert Cheng will continue as interim head of Amazon Studios. Amazon canceled an event planned in London this week to promote its new shows.
 
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai weighed in on the never-ending Trump-versus-news-outlets spat on Tuesday at an event fittingly titled The Future of Telecom Law. He told the gathering at the Mercatus Center/AT&T event in Washington D.C. that “under the law, the FCC doesn’t have the authority to revoke a license of a broadcast station based on the content of a particular newscast.” Asked whether the FCC should take some action regarding so-called fake news, he said that hasn’t traditionally been within the FCC’s jurisdiction. His comments come in the wake of Trump’s recent criticisms of NBC reporting.
 
Sky Vision has signed on to add programming to digital distribution platform TRX. TRX, which launches this month, is run by David Frank, who explained at MIPCOM, “Our mission is to make TV deals easier by bringing established marketplace technology to the TV distribution market.” Antenna Group, ALL3Media International, Discovery Communications, Bloomberg, Earth Touch, Escapade Media, Lightning International, and 3DD are also taking TRX for a spin.
 
Hulu’s VR content will officially be available through select Windows Mixed Reality headsets; its VR app was recently added to the Microsoft Store. Hulu, in collaboration with Microsoft, said they have developed two new VR ventures, The Driver, which follows NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt, and A Curious Mind, a show hosted by Dominic Monaghan (Lost).
 
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PLATFORMS
 
Google has some extreme new security measures for Gmail and Google account users who feel they may be more vulnerable than others to various types of attacks. It requires the purchase of a Security Key that fits on a keychain and enables 2-Step Verification of identity. The key fits USB slots on computers and works with smartphones via Bluetooth Low Energy. Google’s explanation of the new measures can be found here.
 
 
RESEARCH
 
While it’s not the #1 reason people sign up for a streaming video service, original programming is pretty high on the list. According SurveyMonkey, 57% of its respondents say they watch streaming video services more for TV shows and movies that have already been released. This compares with the 43% who subscribe primarily for original TV shows and movies. Asked about their favorite show on each streaming service, 15% of respondents picked original shows for Hulu, 38% chose Amazon Prime and 46% Netflix.
 
 
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
 
Samsung is wagering that a free TV service along the lines of Spotify has legs. Its Samsung Venture Investment Corp. has invested $5 million in the latest round of fund raising by Pluto TV, bringing the company’s total capital raised to just over $50 million to date. Founded in 2013, Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels of free, ad-supported curated content in a cable-like guide. This year alone Pluto TV unveiled more than 40 content deals with the likes of Bloomberg Media, Lionsgate and MGM.
 
London– and New York-based digital marketing communications company Investis has acquired Phoenix-based ZOG Digital. Founded in 2011, ZOG specializes in search, content marketing, paid media and social marketing. Its client roster includes Whirlpool, Fruit of the Loom, Wyndham Vacation Rentals and Del Monte.
 
 
SOCIAL MEDIA
 
Responding to backlash to her op-ed piece in the New York Times about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Mayim Bialik (Big Bang Theory) participated in a Facebook Live video moderated by a New York Times editor. “There is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave,” she said during the session. “I really do regret that this became what it became.”
 
 
PROGRAMMING
 
FilmStruck will be the exclusive streaming home to this year’s documentary Cinema Through the Eye of Magnum. Premiering at Telluride last month, the documentary recounts how photos told the behind-the-scenes story of cinema. It begins streaming on October 20.
 
NBC News is set to release a new vertical called Think, which will feature opinion pieces from the likes of MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Joe Scarborough, and Mika Brzezinski, as well as John Legend and, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon. Said Nick Ascheim, SVP of digital for NBC News and MSNBC, “We are news first and foremost. That’s what brings people to our properties, [….] but once they are here, we want to give them a more varied and richer experience – something to say rather than ‘this just happened five minutes ago.’”
 
Indigenous Media and Kerry Washington’s Simpson Street have brought together an award-winning team to produce Five Points, an original dramatic series created and written by Adam Giaudrone for Watch, Facebook’s new platform for shows. Five Points is about five students at a South Side Chicago high school who each experience a life-changing event from a different point of view.
 
Things are going to get pretty scary at Comet TV in November. Theme weeks will feature classic movies in the categories of Werewolves, Vampires, Ghosts and Aliens, including 1962’s Invasion of the Star Creatures and Old Dracula from 1975. 
 
Latino-focused digital company mitú is partnering with Sony Pictures Animation for mitú’s ACCELERATOR mentorship and fellowship program for young digital content creators, filmmakers, writers and animators. This fall, the eight-week ACCELERATOR Animation program will give promising Latino animators the opportunity to learn directly from Sony Pictures Animation’s experts, mitú’s development team and newly appointed mitú CEO Herb Scannell.
 
Colombian production company Dynamo is following in the footsteps of many others by merging digital and traditional media in its new comedy feature film, Rock ‘n Cola. The film was made using the creative team behind popular YouTube channel Enchufe TV (subscriber count: 22 million), and utilizes Enchufe TV’s cast of actors along with other prominent regional YouTubers.
 
Comic/actor/writer Chris Roach is turning his comedic talents towards the ever popular trend of life-hacks in a new web series The Hacks of Life hosted by former TODAY Show consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman. Roach tries his hand at “finding creative solutions to everyday problems” without quite following the rules. New episodes of the show will appear monthly on Lieberman’s fan page on Facebook.
 
Nicholas Winding Refn, director of Drive and Neon Demon, is launching his own streaming service, byNWR. Refn and select others will curate the free-of-charge site described as “an unadulterated expressway for the arts.” Each month the platform will feature a different restored film in keeping with a theme. The site will launch in February with the theme, “Regional Renegades: Exploitation Gems from the Southern USA.”
 
 
ADVERTISING
 
CBS partnered with Google to deliver all the ads for their new series, Star Trek: Discovery. Rany Ng, Google’s director of product management for video says, “The CBS partnership is big for us.” The deal with CBS will put Google on track to accomplish a long-term goal of breaking into the TV industry.
 
 
MEASURING UP
 
OpenSlate Engagement Data for the Food & Cooking vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending October 15
Channel (Engagement) / Monthly Views Total Subs / SlateScore
Семейная кухня (8.5) / 6,258,480 892,404 577
Nisha Madhulika (8.4) / 37,986,000 1,240,406 567
Cookies Cupcakes and Cardio (8.4) / 8,829,300 1,979,486 579
Cocina Para Todos (8.4) / 4,771,440 963,768 574
Quiero Cupcakes! (8.4) / 2,796,300 / 645,434 / 568
Kabita’s Kitchen (8.3) / 28,623,870 802,864 560
Hiroyuki Terada – Diaries of a Master Sushi Chef (8.3) / 6,267,870 / 595,624 / 559 
SweetAmbsCookies (8.2) / 1,494,990 627,866 570
Maangchi (8.1) / 5,761,500 1,455,159 561
حلويات خديجة halawiyat khadija (8.1) 3,794,010 410,986 551
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 OpenSlateEngagement score uses a subset of the data incorporated in
 
The ListenFirst Television Interest (TVI) Rating (TM) is a standardized measurement of the most buzzed-about TV programs on linear TV and streaming services. A complement to ListenFirst’s other syndicated data products (such as the ListenFirst Digital Audience Rating – TV), the metrics included in the rating capture organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
 
Streaming Series (10/9/17 – 10/15/17) 
 

Source: ListenFirst. The TVI Rating aggregates metrics that measure organically generated activity by fans of the TV show. The metric includes total volume of official hashtag mentions on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Tumblr, along with Wikipedia page views (as a proxy for organic search volume) for a show as a percentage of the total volume of the same activities for all shows.
 

EXECUTIVE MOVES
 
Jed Kapsos is the new Chief Financial Officer at Pop, the joint venture of CBS and Lionsgate. He most recently was Senior VP of Finance for the CBS Television Network in New York.
 
 
TRIVIA

Although there were doubters, this actress on the hit series This Is Us really did sing Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” on a recent episode. (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
 
Our Last Trivia Question: Jane Fonda co-stars in which current streaming series? 
 
Answer: Grace & Frankie. Kudos to Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Dan Quitério-Understood/NY, Barbara Potasky-NBCUniversal/NY, Peter Stecklman-Tennis Channel/CA, Matthew Wilson-RXR/NY, Matt Meacham-Gracenote Inc./NY, Mathew Tombers-Intermat/NY, Amy Smock-Brown Forman/KY, Marlessa Stivala, NCC Media/NY, Jamie Bugner-AMC Networks/NY, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, Stephanie Mindock-Inside Lacross/IL, Whitney Muroff-BBC Worldwide/NY, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Matthew Vogrin-PBS/VA, Jenna Briedis- Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution/NY, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Lorrie Shilling/CA, Gayle Gluck-At Last Productions/CA, Aaron Paquette-Screen Engine/ASI/TX.
 
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Cynopsis Digital’s Model D & “It List” Awards
 
The  Cynopsis Model D Awards brings together innovators and creators at the forefront of online video, elevating the industry with their contributions to branded content, technology, ad campaigns and original content. We’ll also be celebrating our honorees who will be named to the  Cynopsis Digital “It List” , recognizing digital media’s movers and shakers.
 
 

SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
You’re in a distinct majority if you’ve never heard of the “musical road” in Lancaster, CA. The asphalt is ribbed so that vibrations caused by vehicle tires are supposed to sound like the William Tell Overture. This video explains why the whole thing isn’t working.
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