11.19.15 Good morning. It’s Thursday November 19, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
How do you say “over-the-top” in Spanish? Univision Communications has launched Univision Now, a new $5.99-per-month SVOD service that features live broadcasts of both the Univision and UniMas networks. It also features replays of live programming for up to three days after linear broadcast, and on-demand access to primetime shows for up to seven days after initial airing. The service is available on the web, as well as on iOS and Android apps.
If you’re in mainland China, and you love to stream foreign programming, you’re life’s been getting harder lately. First off, Chinese regulators recently closed a loophole allowing companies to skirt the country’s requirement that no more than 30% of a platform’s streaming content come from abroad. (Programming that was imported physically – say, on a DVD – and then uploaded to streaming services was not counted in the tally. Now it is.) Perhaps more threateningly, the state’s top regulatory agency, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or SAPPRFT (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) has banned 81 popular third party apps, many of which enable Chinese users to access foreign channels on their set-top boxes. Alibaba’s Tmall Box, which dominates the Chinese set-top box market, was among the first devices to have its access to the 81 apps blocked.
China’s regulatory moves come just as a number of Western companies have been striking multi-million dollar licensing deals with Chinese streaming platforms in the last few months. Maybe that’s a coincidence, but maybe it isn’t. Cynopsis Digital spoke with media expert Howard Homonoff, SVP of MediaLink, to try and get a handle on the situation.
There have been numerous content deals between Western companies and Chinese streaming providers lately – Paramount with Youku Tudou, Universal, with iQiyi, the list goes on. Why are Chinese regulators doing this now?
“It may be that they want to get in-between these deals rather than respond to them in a post hoc process. It’s possible that the government is trying to inject itself into those deals at an earlier point, in order to approve or disapprove of certain elements of content, rather than vote up or down on an entire deal after it happens.”
Could mainland China actually be looking at the end of all foreign content on set-top boxes at some point in the near future?
“I would doubt, at the end of the day, that [Chinese regulators] would [ban all] foreign content on set-top boxes…There’s a lot of foreign-made content that flows through the Chinese ecosystem. And just a flat-out ban like that…it just seems like overkill.”
Do you think companies like Paramount and Universal would have made multi-million dollar deals with Chinese streaming companies if they knew this was coming?
“I can’t speak to the specifics, because I don’t have inside knowledge. But if I’m looking at it logically, it seems that no, they wouldn’t have. They couldn’t have expected this kind of a reaction.”
Many of the companies involved, including Tencent, Paramount, Universal, and Alibaba, have been tightlipped about the situation, declining comment to the media.
So You Think You Can Dance co-creator Nigel Lythgoe knows better than anyone: Dancers deserve immense credit, but the people telling them what to do deserve just as much. The Lythgoe-produced Every Single Step, a reality competition series for choreographers, debuts today on Go90, Verizon’s mobile streaming service. Music video choreographer Brian Friedman will serve as the show’s mentor figure, while Vine star Liza Koshy will host.
You don’t become a major movie ticketing service without amassing reams of customer data. Looks like Fandango is putting that data to use: The Comcast-owned company has struck a deal with movie-theater advertising company National CineMedia. Fandango will provide National CineMedia with exclusive “sets of aggregated moviegoer data,” according to the companies. In exchange, theater-goers will be greeted with pre-film ads promoting online ticket-buying.
Netflix clearly loves Chelsea Handler. The service has already announced a Handler-starring talk show, debuting in 2016; now, they’ve announced that Handler will host a four-part docu-series in January. Chelsea Does, directed by documentary stalwart Eddie Schmidt (Valentine Road) and produced by Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom), will consist of four films exploring subject matter ranging from drugs, to marriage, to racism. The series, like her upcoming talk show, is part of a deal that Handler and Netflix reached last June.
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European mass media company Sky is launching its own set-top satellite service. Called Sky Q, the service will combine Sky’s linear programming with other programming licensed from digital partners. Among those partners is women’s lifestyle MCN Kin Community.
VHX, a digital streaming platform enabling distributors to connect directly with audiences, has launched its first two apps for the new Apple TV. The subscription services Yoga with Adrienne and Black and Sexy TV, both powered by VHX, are now available on the device.
Live streaming startup Firetalk has launched Guest, a new feature that “allows any broadcaster on Firetalk to instantly invite audience members to join them on-air during a live episode,” according to a release. The company announced that it is partnering with 15 channels, including TMZ, whose linear network will use Firetalk to power a live stream that’s set to run after the linear TMZ Live TV show. Firetalk initially launched in July.
Wherever there are children, there will be YouTube Kids. The child-friendly video app, previously available only in the U.S., has launched in multiple English-speaking countries: the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. YouTube says that the app has already been downloaded 10 million times since its February launch. YouTube Kids is available on iOS and Android devices, as well as Chromecast, Apple TV, and certain came consoles and smartTV’s.
Logan Paul is expanding his usual six-second workload by roughly 90,000%.The Vine star is set to star in The Thinning, an upcoming feature-length young-adult thriller just acquired by Legendary Digital Media. Peyton List from Disney Channel’s Jessie will co-star. The movie will be released on digital platforms in 2016. The news was first reported by Variety.
The new 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 ListenFirstDigital Audience Rating – TV), the metrics included in the rating are the purest form of showing interest digitally, since they’re organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
Streaming Only (11/9/15 – 11/15/15)
Master of None (Netflix)/1.33
Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Netflix)/0.80
The Man in the High Castle (Amazon Prime)/0.48
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)/0.45
House of Cards (Netflix)/0.35
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Netflix)/0.26
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, 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.
The marketing technology and analytics company Amobee Brand Intelligence announced that it has added international data and enhanced functionality to its technology platform, which analyzes content engagement trends. “The addition of global data to our Brand Intelligence platform reinforces Amobee’s international presence while providing additional scale and the ability to isolate and analyze data based on location,” said Assaf Henkin, the company’s SVP.
Ad tech company Unruly took a look at the most shared ads of 2015. Google Android’s Friends Furever campaign topped the list. Here are the top ten:
Disney Characters Surprise Shoppers
This Man Found His Soulmate In a Puppy And It’s Adorable
4. Roc by Ronaldo / Monster
Cristiano Ronaldo – People are Going to Think I’m Crazy!
Super Bowl Commercial “Lost Dog”
6. Ad Council
Diversity & Inclusion – Love Has No Labels
Slap Her: Children’s Reactions
Robert Downey Jr. Delivers a Real Bionic Arm
Unlikely Best Friends
“Data analysis of 1,300 ads proves that 2015 was a highly emotional year for video ads,” said Unruly Co-CEO and Co-Founder Sarah Wood in a release. “On the one hand, warmth and happiness shone through, with brands using fluffy pets and simple storylines to melt our hearts and amplify sharing. At the same time, other advertisers aligned themselves with social causes, evoking strong feelings of sadness and inspiration.”
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Greg Clayman, Vimeo’s General Manager of Audience Networks, has left the company, according to Variety. In his role at Vimeo, Clayman headed up the company’s on-demand business. Going forward, Sam Toles will fill that role as Head of Global Content and Distribution, a newly expanded position. Toles previously served as the company’s VP of Content Strategy & Business Development. He will now report directly to Vimeo G.M. Michael Weissman.
YouTube has named Neal Mohan as its next head of product and design. CEO Susan Wojicki tweeted the announcement herself. Mohan will report directly to her. Previously, Mohan served as Google’s VP of Display and Advertising Products.
Ovation has appointed John Malkin as its EVP of Content Distribution. He will be responsible for overseeing the network’s distribution efforts across all platforms, digital and otherwise. He will report directly to CEO Charles Segars. Previously, Malkin served as VP of Affiliate Distribution at NFL Network.
YouTube video marketing company Pixability has made a new hire. Norman Rohr now serves as Vice President, Global Operations and Strategy. Previously, he worked as Head of SMB Customer Acquisitions and SMB Marketing at Google Canada.
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Bill Murray is wonderful. That is all. Watch the first full trailer for A Very Murray Christmas, his upcoming Netflix Christmas special, here.
See you tomorrow,
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