11/08/17: Shares tumble as Snapchat parent Snap Inc. whiffs on earnings and user growth

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 8, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing.
 

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
Distributed Application: A distributed application is software that is executed or run on multiple computers within a network. The applications interact in order to achieve a single task or goal.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
Snap is having a very rough go of it. The Snapchat parent reported revenue of $207.9 million, compared to $128.2 million in Q3 of 2016. But analysts had projected that Snap would take in $237 million. All told, the company’s net losses amounted to $443.2 million. Snap also underperformed when it came to user growth. The company added 5 million monthly active users during the quarter – significantly fewer than the 8 million that Wall Street had predicted. CEO Evan Spiegel told investors that the underwhelming revenue numbers were the result of “dramatically reduced pricing” for Snap’s new programmatic ad units. The company’s shares took a beating after the announcement, falling by over 17% in after-hours trading.
 
One other notable moment from Snap’s earnings call: Spiegel acknowledged something that anyone over the age of 16 could have told him eons ago. “One thing that we have heard over the years is that Snapchat is difficult to understand or hard to use,” he said. “As a result, we are currently redesigning our application to make it easier to use.” Specifically, Snap aims to make it easier for users to discover content on the platform, and to give users more of a personalized experience. Those changes will involve algorithmically optimized Stories feeds that are tailored to each individual user.  “There is a strong likelihood that the redesign of our application will be disruptive to our business in the short term,” Spiegel said. One might reasonably ask: Can the business really handle any more disruptions? We’re going to find out.
 
Twitter is letting its users be a lot more expressive – or a lot more annoying, depending on whom you ask. The social platform has officially expanded the character limit for tweets from 140 to 280. The new tweet limit is now available to all users. The company had already begun rolling the feature out to select users following an announcement in late September. According to a new blog post from Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen, things may not change all that much. When the company began testing the 280-character tweet limit with select users, many of them posted very long tweets – at first. But after the novelty wore off, Rosen wrote, only about 5% of tweets from those users had more than 140 characters.
 
Vice Media is ramping up its international expansion. The digital media company has opened a new Asia headquarters in Singapore. And the company plans to launch its Vice+ SVOD service in a number of new Asian territories, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and India. (Vice runs the service in collaboration with Docomo, a Japanese telco.) Hosi Simon, Vice’s longtime Global General Manager, will move from New York to Vice’s Singapore office, taking on the role of CEO, Asia Pacific. The new Asia headquarters – which also includes studio space – is slated to open by January. In addition, Vice says it plans to launch a new Vice India division in 2018, opening up offices in Mumbai and Delhi. The company already has offices in Asia/Pacific countries including Beijing, Tokyo, Jakarta, and a number of others.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
**Friday’s event is now SOLD OUT**
The 5th Annual Cynopsis Digital Awards Luncheon
NOV. 10, 2017, 12pm – 2pm | TriBeca’s ThreeSixty° in NYC
If you have any questions about Friday’s event, please contact cathyp@cynopsis.com
 

APPS + PLATFORMS
 
Amazon has released the Fire TV Basic Edition, a new version of its Fire TV streaming stick that’s geared toward international consumers. The product – which can’t be ordered from within the U.S. – doesn’t offer access to the Alexa voice assistant. That’s intentional. The company is aiming to accelerate the rollout of its streaming hardware, as well as that of the Prime Video service. Tailoring Alexa to each individual market would slow down the process immeasurably. The Fire TV Basic Edition can play HD video at up to 60 fps, and has 8GB of storage space for apps. Amazon is charging $50 for the device, and shipping it more than 100 countries.
 
 
OTT + SVOD
 
French media company Vivendi has brought Studio+, its short-form SVOD service, to the U.S.  The U.S. version of the service features a collection of series designed for mobile viewing. It’s priced at $3.99 per month. The app can now be downloaded for iOS devices; the Android version will arrive sometime soon.
 
 
PROGRAMMING
 
Back in August, Netflix acquired Millarworld, the comic book publishing firm founded by comic-creator Mark Millar. Now we know more about the first project that Millarworld will put out under its new owner. Millarworld will publish a six-issue comic series, called The Magic Order, in the spring of 2018. The Magic Order will be written by Millar, with Marvel’s Olivier Coipel contributing as an artist. The series will focus on five families of magicians who are sworn to protect the world. No word yet on whether Netflix will adapt this specific comic into a TV series, but the company has made it clear that it does intend to bring Millarworld properties to the screen. That was kind of the point of the acquisition: Netflix wants to own the full rights to TV-ready comic book properties, instead of exclusively relying on licensing deals with companies like Marvel.
 
 
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
 
Group Nine Media, the digital media holding company backed by Discovery Communications, has made a new acquisition. The company acquired Jash, a digital comedy studio whose founders include Sarah Silvermen, Eric Wareheim, Tim Heidecker, Reggie Watts, and Michael Cera. Jash’s productions are distributed across numerous platforms, including Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Verizon’s Go90, and Jash.com. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. Group Nine’s existing properties include Thrillist, the Dodo, Seeker, and NowThis Media.
 
 
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 
The NBA is coming to VR. The league has partnered with Intel and Turner Sports to make games available in virtual reality. (Viewers will still have to subscribe to Turner’s TV networks to gain access to the VR broadcasts.) To start, Intel will set up a variety of specialized lenses and VR cameras at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena and Dallas’s American Airlines Center. The three partners plan to expand VR broadcasting capabilities to more arenas in the future. Turner will begin streaming VR content starting with 2018’s NBA All-Star Weekend. Users will be able to access the broadcasts through an upcoming NBA on TNT VR app, which will be available for the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View headsets.
 
 
MEASURING UP
 
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 Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
 
Streaming Series  (10/30/17 – 11/05/17) 
 
 
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 Facebook, Twitter, Google+, 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
 
Advertising software company Pixability has named Alan Beiagi as its new Chief Product Officer. Beiagi will now oversee engineering, product management, and the company’s product marketing teams. A veteran of the digital technology space, Beiagi most recently served as VP of Product Management for DataXu.
 
 
TRIVIA
 
Hulu’s first original kids’ series – a spinoff of Fraggle Rock created by The Jim Henson Company – was recently renewed for a second season. (It waited a long time for that renewal: The show debuted in 2014.) What’s the series called? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
 
Our Last Trivia Question: iQiyi is of the most popular streaming entertainment platforms in China. It’s owned by a major web services company – which one? Answer: Baidu – basically China’s Google. Kudos to Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Bill Graff-beIN Sports/FL, and Lorrie Shilling/CA
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Craft your campaign strategy with Cynopsis’ Digital’s latest webinar:
Monday, NOV. 13 |12:30PM ET
 
According the IAB, last year was the first time digital ad spend totaled $72 billion, surpassing that of TV at $67 billion. But although usage is on the rise, management of digital ad growth is complex and confusing. Which is why Cynopsis’ newest webinar is here to illuminate the media measurement ecosystem with insights that will give you an efficient and powerful strategy.
 
 

SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
As mentioned up top, Twitter has doubled its character limit. From CNET, learn more here.
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