10/21/15: Tim Cook says new Apple TV will ship next week; CNN funds launch of digital news video service; Cynopsis Digital visits SeeSo launch event


Good morning. It’s Wednesday October 21, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


CBS has launched its All Access SVOD and live streaming service on Apple TV. The Apple TV version of the app clocks in at $5.99 a month. The launch comes just a week before the next generation Apple TV ships. Oh, and about that…
At Monday’s WSJDLive Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the release date for the new Apple TV. According to Cook, Apple will begin taking orders for the set-top box on Monday, October 26. Shipments begin at the end of the week.
Many a fan’s dream has come true: Gilmore Girls is likely returning from the dead, thanks to Netflix. The streaming service is developing a revival with series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her husband, Executive Producer Daniel Palladino. Variety reports that the revival will consist of four 90-minute movies.


Save 35% Off Registration for
Produced BY: New York Conference – Oct 24

The Producers Guild of America is proud to announce the 2nd annual Produced By: New York conference, taking place on October 24 at the Time Warner Center. This year’s lineup includes Tina Fey, Christine Vachon, Peter Saraf, and many more.

Visit ProducedByConference.com to view the full list of speakers, panel discussions, and group mentoring sessions, and register now before it’s too late.


and Buzzfeed may be getting some competition from a traditional network. CNN has funded the launch of Great Big Story, a new digital network specializing in news-heavy video stories. Great Big Story’s content will be available via a web site, as well as apps for both iOS and Android. Just as significantly, its content will appear on Facebook, YouTube, Apple News, Snapchat, and more. It will be compatible with platforms including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, and Chromecast. It’s not officially a part of CNN, though the network boasts a multi-year investment. The outlet says it will distribute three to five videos daily, and release a short film in November.
The Huffington Post has recruited Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones’ Sansa Stark) to host #PowerShift, an original digital series. The series will explore the ways that Generation Z is using social media to effect global change. #PowerShift will be distributed across all 15 global editions of HuffPo, and will be syndicated through AOL ON


When you think “virtual reality,” you immediately think “New York Times”…or at least, you might soon. As part of NYT VR, its new virtual reality initiative, the company announced plans to send one million Google Cardboard virtual reality viewers to subscribers of its print edition next month. Why? Because it’ll also be debuting a free VR app, available for download November 7. The first VR film released on the app will be The Displaced, about children who have been uprooted by war. The film was made in collaboration with VR production company VRSE.

Editor’s Note: Please join the Cynopsis team and your industry peers for the half-day Programmatic TV Summit on Nov. 5. Register now.



has raked in about $10 million in investments, mostly from Viacom. DigiTour is known for producing its Digifest events – in-person appearances and performances from YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine stars. Aside from Viacom, investors included Slow Ventures and LionTree.


¡Ole! Netflix has officially launched in Spain. The network’s Spanish programming includes Narcos, Marvel’s Daredevil, Sense 8, Club de Cuervos, Grace and Frankie, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Marco Polo.



NBC’s smart TV app has debuted on more devices. The app, exclusive home to the net’s entire portfolio, is now available on Xbox One, as well as on legacy Apple TVs. Next up: Amazon’s Fire TV and Chromecast.


Here they are! The Finalists for the Model D Awards: Honoring the Best in Online Video, Talent & Advertising

Click to see who made the cut. Then come join us on November 13th at the Marriott Essex House for this luncheon celebration!



Hulu has officially launched its new programmatic ad-buying program. This marks the first time that the service’s video inventory has been open for programmatic buying across all platforms, including desktop, mobile, and connected TV’s. If you want to learn more, you should really, really watch this video.
Looks like Facebook and Wendy’s are emulating Snapchat. Facebook introduced its new full-screen ad format in June, and Wendy’s is only one of a smallish number of brands to make use of it thus far. Like a Snapchat ad, Facebook’s full-screen ads prompt users to swipe up in order to see new images. (Users can also adjust their perspective of an image by tilting their phones, allowing them to see more of, say, a hamburger bun.) In Wendy’s new ad, the Snapchat effect lets users see the multiple layers of a hamburger, one bit at a time. 
Programmatic video inventory management platform Spotx has partnered with independent ad analytics company Moat. Moat will measure the viewability and performance metrics across inventory sold through Spotx’s platform. The partnership also adds insights to help SpotX customers target their campaigns and optimize inventory. "Our partnership with Moat will allow publishers to optimize inventory to meet evolving buyer expectations, and help the market improve inventory performance," said Kelly McMahon, VP of Demand at SpotX.
Today, video ad tech company Unruly – recently acquired by News Corp – is introducing In-Article, a viewable outstream format which creates new premium video ad inventory within article pages. According to a release, the format only begins to play when the video is in-view, thereby addressing viewability concerns for advertisers. Unruly will be launching the format across a number of News Corp titles, including The Sun, Marketwatch, and News.Com.Au. The In-Article format will also be made available to other premium publishers via Unruly’s supply side platform, UnrulyX™.
A PageFair/Adobe study estimated a 21.8 billion dollar loss in global revenue due to blocked advertising in 2015 alone. And now ad-blocking is going mobile in a big way. So what are advertisers, TV programmers, publishers and branding experts going to do about it? The November 17 Cynopsis webinar,
Beating the Ad Blockers, will offer tips and insights from leading figures in the ad-blocking fight. 



On Monday, to celebrate the upcoming release of its dedicated comedy SVOD platform SeeSo, NBCUniversal held an event at NYC’s  SVA Theatre as part of the New York Television Festival. Evan Shapiro, NBCUniversal’s EVP of Digital Enterprises, gave the audience a visual demonstration of the platform (with the aid of a big ol’ movie screen). Later, the crowd was privy to a full episode of SeeSo’s upcoming original series The Cyanide & Happiness Show. (The animated sketch show is based on Explosm.net’s ever-poplar web comic Cyanide & Happiness. Here’s Cynopsis Digital’s humble opinion, which may well elicit the wrath of legions of Explosm loyalists: SeeSo’s series is at least as funny as the web comic.)
Later, Community-showrunner (then not-showrunner, then showrunner again) Dan Harmon was on hand, alongside some of his cohorts, to do an onstage version of his well-known Harmontown podcast, riffing on topics ranging from beestings to his recent divorce.
More significantly, Harmon and his crew later performed the live component of Harmonquest, his upcoming series premiering on SeeSo this January. Think of it as fantasy role-playing at its strangest: Harmon and his crew took a spoken Dungeons-and-Dragons-esque journey through a universe complete with rats, trolls, and a whole lot of swearing and fourth-wall breaking. (The Harmonquest recordings are later put to animation, similar to The Ricky Gervais Show; that’s what you’ll see on SeeSo.)
So, put simply, Harmon was funny. He’s really incapable of operating in any other mode. At one point he even started spewing what passed for a freestyle rap, and anyone who’s paid attention to his past travails at NBC couldn’t help take notice of this: "They didn’t tell me [SeeSo] was NBC…Am I working for Bob Greenblatt again? Because that’s not gonna go well." Um, no comment.
Harmon’s antics notwithstanding – and now get ready for a comment perhaps too nerdy even for a digital newsletter – the highlight of the night was SeeSo’s interface. According to Shapiro, NBCU’s goal with Seeso is to combine the best of linear TV and the best of OTT. Here’s what that combination looks like: When you turn on SeeSo, content will already be playing in a large video player in the upper left of the screen, whether it’s a scene from Parks & Recreation or a sketch from SNL. Shelves of suggested content run to the right of the player and underneath it. Some of said content is curated by actual humans, while some of it is based on the watcher’s prior viewing history. And the service’s suggestions get more precise over time: If you find yourself watching a lot of Saturday Night Live, you might find the interface suggesting The Kids In The Hall
SeeSo launches in January with four original shows, including The Cyanide and Happiness Show and Harmonquest, as well as reams of other NBC owned-content. A free beta version will be available in December; users can sign up at Seeso.com.


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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.




Unless you’ve had your head buried in the snow on Hoth, you probably saw this during the Giants/Eagles game Monday. (And let’s be honest­it was more interesting than the game, unless you’re an Eagles fan.) But if you somehow still haven’t seen the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you can check it out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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