11.11.15 Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 11, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
T-Mobile is launching Binge On, a new feature that gives T-Mobile users access to Netflix, HBO Go, DirecTV, and Verizon’s Go90, and 20 other services. (Full list here. The pay services are still restricted to subscribers.) Best news of all: under Binge On, the streaming video services won’t eat into customers’ data plans. Meanwhile, T-Mobile has also just announced the new Simple Choice Amped plan, which doubles users’ data plans. Simple Choice Amped debuts November 15. Binge On will be available the same day to all Simple Choice Amped subscribers with data plans of 3GB or higher. For customers who don’t have Simple Choice Amped plans, but do have data plans of 3GB or higher, Binge On debuts November 19.
Twilight author Stephanie Meyer has teamed up with Lionsgate to develop a new TV series, which will air on both Hulu and an unnamed U.K. broadcaster. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer revealed the news Tuesday during an earnings call. The series, titled The Rook, can travel forwards and sideways but not diagonally. (Sorry, chess joke.) In all seriousness, the show will be a supernatural thriller, based on Daniel O’Malley’s novel of the same name. Meyer will serve as Executive Producer.
Ad blocking is a threat – but if you’re savvy, can you view it as a blessing in disguise? Tracey McCormack, Founder and President of McCormack Media Services, thinks so. “I’m THRILLED that ad blockers are forcing advertisers to wake up and get better at their jobs,” she says. “If we want to advertise to folks in the digital world, we’re going to have to get better, more clever, and more creative.” McCormack will join Cynopsis as a panelist for the November 17 webinar, Beating the Ad Blockers. Register here: http://cynopsis.com/webinar/cynopsis-digital-webinar-beating-ad-blockers/
It’s been a busy couple days for Youku Tudou. One day after being acquired by Alibaba, the Chinese online video company has inked a new content deal. Over the coming months, Programming from the digital studio RocketJump will begin appearing in China on Youku Tudou’s streaming platform. The two companies also plan to collaborate on original content in 2016.
If you’re Chinese, you know all about LeTV. If you’re American, you will soon. The Chinese electronics and video company is about to begin a huge push into the U.S. market with numerous new products. Those include a VR headset, smart TVs, a 4K streaming video box, an Android-based smartphone, and a smart bicycle equipped with GPS technology. The new tech might be announced – and even sold – as early as this week, according to Variety.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Russell Peters is officially a made man. The comedian is taking over for fellow funnyman Paul F. Tompkins as host of the laid back, conversational web series Speakeasy. The series is available on Made Men, a digital property owned by Defy Media. Tompkins assumed the hosting role when Made Men debuted in 2012; he announced his departure earlier this year.
Cue the Rocky theme music. Director Robert Rodriguez has tweeted out a link to view an entire upcoming episode of El Rey Network Presents: The Director’s Chair. In the episode, Rodriguez interviews Sylvester Stallone, star of the upcoming Rocky sequel Creed. The episode airs linearly on El Rey on November 15 – but you can also do what Robert Rodriguez clearly wants you to do, and watch it for free on Facebook.
Fan engagement: In digital programming, it’s everything. The 2015 Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards Finalists for Most Fan Engaged Channel turned fan engagement into a science. More than that: an art form. Check out some their work, and register for the November 13 luncheon, here: http://cynopsis.com/model-d-finalists/
As Instagram ramps up its advertising operation, it can’t hurt to make sure those ads are, well, good. The Facebook-owned company has launched the Instagram Partner Program, an initiative designed to match advertisers with expert partners who can help improve the quality of their ads – anything from helping to hone the creative to fine-tuning data and targeting. The program launches with 40 partner companies, including SocialCode, Tongal, and Hootsuite.
Dunkin’ Donuts has tapped Vine star Logan Paul to promote the Dunkin’ Donuts App, as well as the company’s Perks loyalty program. Paul will promote both through posts on Vine and other social media platforms.
Digital production company Defy Media is launching a new SVOD service, available online and through iOS and Android apps. ScreenJunkies Plus will launch on November 17 with a $4.99 monthly subscription fee. It seems like a good bet: The ScreenJunkies YouTube page averages over 2.4 million YouTube views per video. ScreenJunkies’ current content will remain free. The new SVOD service will launch with 11 original (and exclusive) series, including Interns of F.I.E.L.D, a parody of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Learn about the new programming here.) Screenjunkies Plus will be overseen by GM Michael Chiang and Honest Trailers creator Andy Signore.
Beachfront Media, best known for its mobile video monetization and distribution platform, is launching RISE, a new OTT service for its content partners. According to the company, the service is designed to help video creators and media networks deploy their apps effectively. RISE can place programming on Apple TVs, Amazon Fire TVs, Android TVs, and Roku devices. RISE’s initial partners include Collective Digital Studio, JoshPalerLin, and several others.
In a Monday earnings call, multi-platform content distributor Cinedigm announced some changes to two of its three OTT platforms. The comic con-themed SVOD service CONtv will lower its monthly price from $6.99 to $4.99 – the same as Cinedigm’s faith and family-friendly Dove Channel. Meanwhile, Cinedigm’s ad-supported documentary service, Docurama, will be reconfigured as an SVOD service.
Adaptly and Refinery29 have published an extensive new study analyzing user engagement with long-form (2 minutes or longer) video on Facebook. The study suggests that using “preview” trailers – trailers that are sequenced before the delivery of a long-form video – increases the view rate of long-form video. However, the tactic may actually decrease completion rate. The study also suggests that adding subtitles into long-form videos might increase completion rates and overall engagement levels. You can find the full study here.
OpenSlate Engagement Data for the Comedy Vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending 11/8.
Channel/(Engagement)/Monthly Views/Total Subs/SlateScore
McJuggerNuggets (9.6) / 50865630/ 2098590/ 726
Rclbeauty101 (9.5) / 65711460/ 5015318/ 754
IISuperwomanII (9.3) / 37729980 / 7067766/ 774
jacksfilms (9.2) / 18732060/ 1981655/ 750
whinderssonnunes (9.1) / 31180650 / 4471829/ 714
mirandasings08 (9.1) / 37,183,440/ 5367351/ 754
psychosoprano (8.9) / 21764580/ 3249224/ 699
ThatcherJoe (8.8) / 22576200/ 5544960/ 702
canalcanalha (8.7) / 1747,590/ 3717795/ 679
euficoloko (8.7) / 12244920/ 3695036/ 738
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 OpenSlate Engagement score uses a subset of the data incorporated in the SlateScore to perform a set of unique calculations. It factors in views, comments, likes, and more.
Ad-buying platform Centro has hired Jesse Cozart to lead its Centro Brand Exchange business unit as VP and General Manager. Most recently, Cozart worked as VP and General Manager, Publishers at the mobile marketing platform Tapad.
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The Force was strong with this one. Daniel Fleetwood, the very best kind of Star Wars fan, has passed away following a battle with cancer. Just days ago, after an extensive social media campaign from supporters, the powers that be at Disney granted Fleetwood his last wish: a private screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, over a month before the film’s theatrical release. The folks at Collider discussed Fleetwood, and Disney’s decision, on Friday. Check it out here.
See you tomorrow,
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