11.09.15 Good morning. It’s Monday November 9, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for November 9-15:
- People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include Vine stars and actors Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas (The Outfield), TV personality Willie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), and TV personalities Snooki and JWoww (Snooki & JWoww: Moms With Attitude)
- iTunes: The Outfield, an original film produced by Fullscreen Films and featuring Vine stars Nash Grier and Cameron Dallas, premieres exclusively on iTunes November 10
- Netflix: With Bob and David, starring Mr. Show’s David Cross and Bob Odenkirk, premieres November 13
- Go90: Snooki & JWoww: Moms with Attitude, produced by AwesomenessTV, premieres on Verizon’s Go90 streaming service November 13
– Amazon Prime: Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas, originally commissioned by the BBC, debuts November 13
After all those hectic live-action ads, it’s about time someone adapted Call of Duty into a movie (or several). And it looks like the game’s publisher wants to make that happen. Video game giant Activision Blizzard has launched Activision Blizzard Studios, a production arm dedicated to turning the company’s games into film and TV properties. Disney alum Nick van Dyk will serve as Co-President, while a creative exec will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. The studio’s first production will be an animated series based on Skylander Academy.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has completed its acquisition of Chinese online video company Youku Tudou. Alibaba, which already owned 18.3% of Youku Tudou, made its initial buyout offer last month. The final deal is worth over $4 billion. Youku Tudou CEO Victor Koo, who supported the deal from the beginning, will continue leading the company.
If you suddenly had fifty-plus years of James Bond films dropped on your head, you might be a little shaken. (Not stirred.) Now you know how China feels: In a deal with MGM, Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings has acquired transactional video on demand and streaming rights to the entire Bond catalog, including Spectre. Meanwhile, in a separate deal with Paramount Pictures, Tencent has acquired exclusive SVOD and transactional video on demand rights to numerous Paramount titles for 12 months following release. Films include Star Trek Beyond and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
In the fight against ad blocking, publishers suffer more than anyoneespecially smaller ones. But they can also fight back. Sandy Pelland, Founder and CEO of MomLifeTV, will join Cynopsis for the November 17 webinar, Beating the Ad Blockers. “Many people download ad blockers because of advertisers’ actions," Pelland says. “Repetition and poor design are two examples of common and avoidable pain points. However, publishers also need to take responsibility for placing invasive ad tools on their sites.” Register for the webinar here.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Beating the Ad Blockers Call it the “Attack of the Ad Blockers” – display and search ads are hidden, and video ads (whether running on YouTube or an OTT network) simply won’t play. And that means lost revenue. So what are advertisers, TV programmers and publishers going to do about it? Join Cynopsis Digital on Tuesday, November 17 from 1:30-3PM EST for our latest webinar, to get tips and insights from leading figures in the ad-blocking fight.
Save your spot and registernow!
It’s not the first time that Bill Burr’s brand of frank humor has landed him an exclusive spot on Netflix. But last time it was a stand-up special, it took place in the 21st century, and he wasn’t a cartoon. On December 18, Netflix will debut F Is for Family, a six-episode original animated series from the acclaimed comic. The show centers on a supremely dysfunctional 1970s family. Voice talent includes Burr, Laura Dern, and Justin Long. Aside from Burr, Executive Producers include Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley, and Michael Price, who will also serve as showrunner.
Snooki and JWoww are back (real names: Nicole Polizzi and Jenni Farley). The Jersey Shore alums are partying less hard these days, having traded in their vodka for baby formula. (Okay, also some wine.) Snooki & JWoww: Moms With Attitude, a new series produced by AwesomenessTV, debuts November 13 on Verizon’s Go90 streaming service, documenting the two best friends’ lives as mothers. The episodes will be available weekly on Go90’s Awestruck channel; sneak-peek promos of the series will also air on YouTube.
Amazon is striking a healthy balance these days. First the company unveiled a dystopian nightmare about a Nazi-occupied America; now it has licensed a kid-friendly Shaun the Sheep special exclusively for the U.S. Originally commissioned by the BBC, Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas, will debut for Amazon Prime members in the U.S. on Nov. 13. Meanwhile, Amazon has also acquired three new kids’ series: Dino Dana, The Kicks, and Lost in Oz.
Popcornflix is getting a little more ambitious. The ad-supported streaming site, owned by Screen Media Ventures, has laid claim to several films – the site’s first exclusive content. The most prominent film of the bunch is The Lifeguard, a dramedy starring Kristen Bell. (For insights on Popcornflix’s OTT strategy, check out the new Cynsiders: http://cynopsis.com/cyncity/ott-not-ott-thats-not-really-question/.) By the way, don’t confuse Popcornflix with the streaming piracy site Popcorn Time. Popcorn Time’s kernels are now going decidedly unpopped: The site was shut down last week as a result of a lawsuit from the MPAA.
Lionsgate is getting its prank on. The company has bought up the distribution rights for Natural Born Pranksters, a film centering on a trio of pranksters and their stunts. The movie stars VitalyzdTV, Roman Atwood and Dennis Roady, three esteemed YouTube prankticioners. (Cynopsis Digital just coined that word, by the way. Patent-pending.) In 2016, the film will get a day-and-date release in theaters, on EST, and via VOD. Collective Digital Studio produced and financed the movie.
Google has acquired Fly Labs, a company that specializes in making video-editing apps for the iPhone…well, for the moment anyway. The Fly Labs team will now begin contributing to Google Photos, which, among other things, provides cloud storage for photos and videos, and catalogs images in a way that makes them easily searchable. (As the Fly Labs team starts building up the service’s video-related capabilities, the name “Google Photos” might come to seem outdated.) And as Google gaineth, Apple loseth: Next year, each of Fly Labs’ existing appsdesigned for the iPhonewill be shut down.
1620 Media, the digital arm of Pilgrim Studios, announced last week that it has launched four new original scripted comedies: In Bros, two overconfident buddies (Sarah Rodenbaugh and Brooke Heatley) make friends and deal with “haters.” Losing It focuses on a young Angeleno on the brink of 30 tries desperately to lose his virginity… and fails miserably. Puppets offer their take on life in Realistic Street, and You’re Not Alone is an Instagram video series of short animated pieces directed toward individuals navigating through life’s most frustrating everyday situations. Shows can be viewed at 1620media.com and on YouTube. New episodes are released weekly.
Last week, programmatic video inventory management SpotX partnered with the Connected TV platforms Frequency and Wurl. “We’re an ad-serving platform,” SpotX’s VP of Mobile and Connected Devices, Allen Klosowski, explained to Cynopsis Digital. “Our partners are using our ad-server to manage their demand.”
The latest pioneer in virtual reality? The Associated Press. The likes of CNN, ABC News, and The New York Times have already figured out that 360-degree immersion can be a powerful news tool; now the AP is joining their ranks. The news service is partnering with production company RYOT to release a series of VR news stories, set to roll out over the next five months. The first video released through the collaboration was Seeking Home: Life Inside the Calais Migrant Camp, about the largest migrant camp in Northern France. The AP’s VR videos films will be available via Oculus Share, Google Cardboard, and RYOT’s VR mobile app.
EXCLUSIVE: Syfy’s news website Blastr.com hit some new milestones. Its November 4, article, NASA just saw something come out of a black hole for the first time ever, has garnered over 1.5 million unique visitorsmore than any article in the site’s history. In addition, Blastr reached its best-ever day in unique visitors (1.1 million) on November 5. Total November monthly unique visitors stand at 1.6 million, putting the site on pace to have its best month ever. Blastr.com was launched in 2010. In its previous iteration, it was called Sci Fi Wire.
Last week, child-oriented media non-profit Common Sense Media released the Common Sense Census: Media Use By Teens, a new study. Some of its findings:
Teenagers (ages 13-18) in the U.S. average 9 hours per day of entertainment media use – though some usage can occur simultaneously – while tweens (8-12) use an average of 6 hours of entertainment media daily.
Watching television and listening to music still dominate entertainment consumption of teens and tweens.
Only 10 percent of teens choose social media as their favorite media activity.
Nearly two-thirds of teens who multitask say they don’t think watching TV (63 percent), texting (64 percent) or using social media (55 percent) while doing homework makes any difference in their work quality.
Gender differences continue to be pronounced, with just 5 percent of girls saying they play videogames every day vs. 23 percent of boys.
Teens from lower-income families spend an average of 2.45 hours more with media per day than those from higher-income families.
One of the obvious questions arising from the survey: How much is too much? “There is a huge void in leadership among [tech] companies in terms of the implications of what they are creating,” said Common Sense Media CEO Jim Steyer. “The tech industry has made tens of billions of dollars off this market yet there’s almost a complete lack of thought as to the implications.”
The study surveyed 2,600 children ages 8-18.
Cynopsis Digital’s November 13 Model D Awards Luncheon, dedicated to innovators who have demonstrated continued excellence in engaging audiences and spurring online growth, is only days away.
Cynopsis Digital had some questions for Sean Dowling, Host at 2015 Model Finalist Zazoom Media Group.
What’s your all-time favorite ad campaign?
HBO Go – Awkward Family Viewing. Hilarious because it’s true! Some HBO shows are better if your parents are in the other room.
What do you think is the most exciting new digital technology on the horizon?
Mobile news videos. It’s how we make money and the way people consume news and information these days.
What’s Your Favorite Social Media Platform?
Instagram. I love adding the right pops of color to my food pictures.
Who’s your favorite YouTube star?
Jenna Marbles, she cracks me up!
Register for the November 13 Model D ceremony here.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
YouTube celeb Tyler Oakley has had an unlikely rise to fame. He now stands as a shining star in the LGBT community. No wonder they made a documentary about him. You can find the new trailer for Snervous – where else? – on Oakley’s YouTube page. Or you can watch it here.
See you tomorrow,
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