Good morning. It’s Friday November 6, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
YouTube is embracing virtual reality, releasing two new features for its Android mobile app Thursday that make it easier for consumers to watch while using Google’s Cardboard VR viewer. YouTube viewers can now tap on a Cardboard icon in the app and put their phone into the viewer before watching. Right now, the site only has about a dozen virtual reality videos, but that number is sure to grow quickly. YouTube can also watch any video on the site in the Cardboard VR viewer when they tap on a new “theater mode.”
The Federal Communications Commission made the decision to approve the $48.5 billion merger between AT&T Inc. and DirecTV “because the agency believes stronger broadband and video bundles could improve competition among cable companies,” an FCC official has explained, according to law360.com.
The BBC debuted BBC Store, which allows consumers to stream classic TV shows like Doctor Who from the British Broadcasting Company’s storied past. New television shows are put on the Store by 1 a.m. the following day for purchase. As it debuts, the BBC Store has around 7,000 hours of content and more is being added. However, Americans will have to get creative – the BBC is only offering its content in the United Kingdom.
“We’re blurring the lines. There will no longer be digital video or linear TV. There will just be video.” That was Cathy Shaffner, SVP of Business Development at Empower MediaMarketing, just one of numerous expert panelists who spoke at Cynopsis’s fascinating Programmatic TV Summit in NYC yesterday. During the half-day event, one thing became very clear: Programmatic TV may be small, but it’s growing. More than that: It’s the future.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
DECEMBER 2 I NEW YORK CITY
Join Cynopsis Sports at this year’s Engagement Summit, an event that will bring together some of the most accomplished executives in the world of sports, spanning marketing, technology, public relations, eSports, and social media. As an attendee, you will gain exclusive insight into the techniques, strategies and tactics that have been successful for brands, leagues and networks as they motivate, activate and aggregate their fans.
Netflix and DreamWorks Animation have teamed to create content to help little ones get to bed. The pair have released three five-minute films based on the animated series Dinotrux, designed to show kids at bedtime when they are stalling for just “one more show.”
American Girl, the doll-making company that has sewn up the minds of an entire subset of American girls, is releasing two 15-minute films based on two of its characters that have been written, directed, casted, and produced using Tongal, a crowd sourced studio. One film was released Thursday and the other will be released Nov. 12.
Outerwall, the company that owns Redbox, has shelled out $18 million to acquire eight-year-old gadget trade-in site Gazelle.
Sony’s PlayStation is adding every network Disney owns, including ESPN and ABC, to its offerings. According to recode, it is right “about the same price that (consumers) would normally get via conventional pay TV providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which makes it the first Web TV service to do so.”
comScore apparently has more than one deal in the works. It is on its way to shelling out $732 million to purchase Rentrak, while also selling Digital Analytics big data business intelligence service to Adobe. comScore also announced that it has a strategic global partnership in place with Spotify and is launching a “Total Home Panel,” which will attempt to measure household media consumption across all screens, devices, and platforms.
Red vs. Blue, the sci-fi comedy series of digital shorts made by production company Rooster Teeth that has run for 13 seasons, is being put together into 95 half-hour episodes to air on El Rey Network.
Cynopsis Digital’s Model D Awards Luncheon, dedicated to innovators who have demonstrated continued excellence in engaging audiences and spurring online growth, is only one week away.
Cynopsis Digital had some questions for Kevin Dreyfuss, Vice President of Digital Media at 2015 Model D Finalist AMC.
What was your first job?
My first real big-person job was as a script reader at New Line Cinema, where I was one of the first people to read The Usual Suspects. I believe I recommended they pass on it for being “totally fun but too confusing.”
What do you think is the most exciting new digital technology on the horizon?
It’s undoubtedly Virtual Reality becoming a real consumer-available form of entertainment, moving beyond Google Cardboard into full-fledged VR games and narrative experience.
What’s your favorite social media platform?
Twitter is my co-pilot.
Register for the November 13 Model D ceremony here.
Newsflash: TV isn’t the only thing Americans are paying attention to these days. According to a new survey from TiVo, 99% of the 806 respondents said they multitask while watching TV. Slightly more than half of respondents (53%) multitask every single time they watch TV. The most frequent activities people do while watching TV are texting and eating. Only 6% of respondents said their activities were TV-related. There is good news, though: Respondents said that their main focus was on the television screen primarily or exclusively for 73% of the time that the TV is on.
Research firm Parks Associates has it that gaming consoles are the top consumer electronic device used to access online video content as of the first quarter of this year. Following behind are smart TV, streaming media players, connected DVRs, and Blu-ray players. However, streaming media players are climbing the list, hitting around 21% on the current list, up from 12% last year. The research shows that two thirds of U.S. broadband households have at least one device connected to the Internet. The leading devices are as follows:
Microsoft’s Xbox (14%)
Sony’s PlayStation (13%)
Citi Research tracks monthly third-party data on YouTube’s top 1,000 video producers. It found that by October’ end, YouTube had registered 1.15 trillion total cumulative worldwide views, up 66 percent in the past year. In addition, YouTube had 45 billion total views in October, a rise of 117% from October 2014. Other data is below:
Total number of subscriptions to the top 1000 publishers is now 2.67 billion, a 42 percent increase year over year. In October, those publishers added 66 million subscribers.
Total views from August through October were up 85% from the same period last year.
What’s everybody looking at as they stare endlessly into their screens? Apparently a lot of online video. More than half of YouTube views and 65% of Facebook video views happen on mobile devices, ReelSEO reports. Way back in 2011, only 6% of the views on YouTube came from mobile devices. YouTube also reports that the average viewing session on mobile is more than 50% higher than it was last year, growing to more than 40 minutes.
Before the 2015 Web Summit got underway in Dublin, Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer let it be known that the company is looking to build a “teleporter” that will allow users to feel like they are “anywhere you want, with anyone, regardless of geographic boundaries,” the Daily Mail reports. The plan, of course, would involve Oculus, the virtual-reality company Facebook bought last year for $2 billion. The goal will also be to allow Facebook users to make and explore their own virtual environments, Schroepfer said. Oculus is scheduled to release its VR visor Rift to the general public next year as well as its Oculus Touch, controllers that let users “touch” virtual elements and “see” their hands in the virtual environment, later in 2016.
WEBINAR: BEATING THE AD BLOCKERS
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, and publishers 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. Learn from media experts including McCormack Media Services Founder Tracey McCormack, Altitude Digital CTO Manny Puentes, and Devra Prywes, Unruly’s VP of Marketing and Insight. Ad blocking’s not going away. Time to learn how to fight it. Register here: http://cynopsis.com/webinar/cynopsis-digital-webinar-beating-ad-blockers/
OTT & SVOD
21st Century Fox held its earnings call Wednesday and featured a lot of talk about Hulu, the streaming service it jointly owns with Walt Disney Co. and NBCUniversal. Fox CEO James Murdoch said the service has seen a lot of growth in the last nine months. According to the Los Angeles Times, “viewing on the streaming service was up 85% compared to last year, and signups for the service had soared 60%.”
The Apple TV App Store rolled out new sections on Monday, but new additions are still being made. It has now added a Categories section that will help consumers find apps more easily on Apple TV. This rectifies a problem that had developers annoyed because consumers had found it difficult to find the apps the developers had worked long and hard to have ready for the Apple TV launch. Meanwhile, a hacker has found that the new tvOS has something that others have been griping about it not having: folders. Those folders aren’t activated but they have been built into the system. 9to5mac theorizes that the folders will either be activated later, the way Categories has, or be in there for a later version of tvOS.
There’s a new Internet video platform and it comes from PCCW Media, a global player of entertainment based in Asia. Viu over-the-top video service debuted in Hong Kong at the end of October and is now rolling out across the planet, first in Asia, then India and the Middle East. Other PCCW launches include now TV, Hong Kong’s first IPTV and largest pay-TV service, and Moov, Hong Kong’s first OTT music platform.
Global OTT TV and video revenues across 64 nations will reach $51.1 billion in 2020, according to Dublin-based Research and Markets, which released its Global OTT TV & Video Forecasts report. This is a big jump from the $4.2 billion brought in back in 2010 and the $26 billion expected this year. In the United States, it is expected that the revenue will hit $19.1 billion in 2020, rising from $16.6 billion in 2010. In 2020, it is expected that OTT revenues will be more than $1 billion in 11 different countries. SVOD will overtake OTT advertising and be the largest source of revenue by 2020. It is expected that SVOD will add $14 billion between 2014 and 2020 will advertising will rise by almost $12 billion. This year, there are expected to be 117 million homes with SVOD. By 2020, it is expected there will be 249 million such homes.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Innovators. Inspirers. Creators of all kinds. We celebrate those in online video content and advertising who are at the forefront of this new industry, elevating it with their state-of-the-art contributions to branded content, technology, ad campaigns, and original content.
Celebrate with us on November 13th at the Marriott Essex in New York City.
View the finalist list here.
The Smosh comedy duo has been crushing the comedy for about a decade now and the pair of twentysomethings apparently still enjoys the rush. They’ve created a new web series, “Part Timers,” which is being produced by Defy Media and sponsored by Schick Hydro. Even though it doesn’t debut till January 11, 2016, the show’s PR machine is already working. The show’s first official trailer has been released. Check it out here.
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