11/20/17: Digiday report: AT&T nears deal to acquire all of Otter Media, its joint video venture with the Chernin Group

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Monday November 20, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing.
 

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
Lead Generation: Lead Generation is a process that creates interest in an organization’s service or product, with the goal of converting that interest into sales. Leads can come from a number of different sources, including the internet, emails, advertising, sales calls, referrals, events, or list building.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
AT&T is nearing a deal to acquire a full stake Otter Media, its joint digital video venture with the Chernin Group, according to a new report from Digiday. Otter Media – whose properties include Fullscreen, Crunchyroll, Hello Sunshine, and Gunpowder & Sky – was first formed in 2014. Since its inception, it’s been a purely joint venture. According to Digiday, AT&T plans to buy out the Chernin Group’s entire stake, giving the telco 100% ownership. Deal terms are still unclear. What’s known is that AT&T and the Chernin Group initially invested $500 million in the company; in other words, the acquisition won’t come cheap. It’s also unclear weather the companies have a deal signed and ready to go; according to Digiday’s sources, AT&T’s current top priority is winning regulatory approval of its proposed Time Warner acquisition. Neither AT&T nor the Chernin Group commented on Digiday’s report.
 
Oath, the Verizon-owned online media unit made up of Yahoo and AOL, is laying off a number of staffers. The latest round of job cuts is affecting about 500 of Oath’s roughly 12,000 workers, about a 4% of reduction in the unit’s global workforce. That’s in addition to the 2,100-ish jobs that the unit eliminated this past June, right after Verizon closed its $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo.  
 
Vice Media has placed Jason Mojica, the head of its documentary films division, on leave. The company is reportedly looking into whether Mojica behaved inappropriately toward another Vice employee, who alleges he sexually harassed her. The Daily Beast previously reported that the employee in question was Phoebe Barghouty, a former Vice producer, who left the company in 2016. Barghouty alleged that Mojica had a habit of making sexually charged jokes. She also said that Mojica had brushed off her complaints about Kaj Larsen, the L.A. bureau chief of Vice News, whom she accused of engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior. Vice began investigation into the claims shortly after the Daily Beast story emerged.
 
 
CYNOPSIS WEBINAR: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
 
On Wednesday, December 6, Cynopsis will host a webinar focused on artificial intelligence. Find out all the ways can you use A.I. to get more mileage out of your data, how accurately can you target consumers, and much, much more. This highly anticipated session will include presenters from IBM Watson Advertising, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Mindshare North America. Register here.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Let’s see your team’s prosocial initiatives!
The 4th Annual Cynopsis Social Good Awards
Cynopsis is recognizing excellence in the area of social good in the TV, entertainment and digital media industry. From sustainability partnerships and PSA’s to diversity campaigns and environmental initiatives, this is your opportunity to showcase your efforts and inspire others to do the same. Entering is easy!   Just login to our submission portal  here, enter a brief synopsis and pay for your entry.
 
 

VC FUNDING + INVESTORS
 
Axios, the online news startup formed by a trio of Politico alums, just raised $20 million in a new funding round. It’s only the company’s second funding round overall. The new investments come from a variety of sources, including WndrCo, the media and tech investment group formed by Ann Daly, Sujay Jaswa, and former DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg. With the new round, Axios has now raised $30 million to date. Its areas of coverage include politics, business, science and energy, health care, and technology.
 
 
APPS + PLATFORMS
 
Looks like Apple’s new smart speaker won’t be here in time for the holidays. The company has delayed the release of the HomePod, its upcoming competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Instead, Apple says the device will start shipping in early 2018. Apple first announced the HomePod device in June, at its worldwide developer conference. At the time, the company said the device would ship by December. The company also said the device would cost $349; unlike the release date, that figure probably won’t change.
 
YouTube just eliminated an extremely popular channel. Toy Freaks, which boasted over 8.5 million subscribers, featured an unnamed father and his daughters, as they carried out strange, grotesque, and often suggestive skits. (Some observers and writers expressed the opinion that the channel’s videos showcased child exploitation.) In recent weeks, YouTube has been promising to make sure its kids’ section is safer for, well, kids. That’s entailed eliminating or age-restricting videos that feature children’s characters in disturbing situations. A channel like Toy Freaks – seemingly aimed at children but featuring content that most kids would find upsetting – apparently met YouTube’s criteria for elimination. According to a recent article from The Guardian, Toy Freaks was the 68th largest channel on YouTube.
 
 
PROGRAMMING
 
Netflix is commissioning another Indian original series. Called Bard of Blood, the new eight-episode show will be produced by Red Chillies Entertainemt, the production company of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan. The series, based on a 2015 book, will follow an expelled spy who is recalled from his new life as a Shakespeare professor in order to save his country (and his lost love). Netflix has an existing output deal in place with Red Chillies, for both library content and feature films.   
 
 
EXECUTIVE MOVES
 
Dana Walden, the co-chair and CEO of Fox Television Group, has joined Hulu’s board of directors. Two other Fox execs already were already serving on the board: Peter Rice, the President of 21st Century Fox, and Brian Sullivan, the President and COO of Fox Networks Group’s Digital Consumer Group. 21st Century Fox currently owns a 30% stake in Hulu.
 
 
UPCOMING DIGITAL PROGRAMMING
 
… for the week of Monday, November 20, through Sunday, November 26
People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30 AM ET and 11:30 AM ET. Guests include actor Jason Biggs, musical group Cody Simpson & The Tide, and actor Dermot Mulroney
- YouTube: Best.Cover.Ever, a singing competition series, debuts on YouTube’s standard ad-supported platform today, November 20
- Hulu: Marvel’s Runaways, an series adaptation of the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, debuts Tuesday, November 21
Netflix: Beat Bugs: All Together Now, an animated family special, debuts Tuesday, November 21
- Netflix: Brian Regan: Nunchucks and Flamethrowers, a new comedy special, debuts Tuesday, November 21
- Netflix: Saving Capitalism, a new documentary, debuts Tuesday, November 21
- Netflix: Godless, a new original western series from Steven Soderbergh, debuts Wednesday, November 22
- Netflix: Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!, a new music documentary, debuts Wednesday, November 22
- Netflix: She’s Gotta Have It, a new series from Spike Lee, debuts Thursday, November 23
- Acorn TV: Drama series A Place to Call Home debuts Thursday, November 23
- Netflix: Cuba and the Cameraman, a new documentary, debuts Friday, November 24
- Netflix: Drama series Frontier debuts Friday, November 24
- Netflix: Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: USA, a comedy series, debuts Friday, November 24
 
 
TRIVIA
 
Our Last Trivia Question: The CBS All Access service is home to a new comedy series, based on an Australian show of the same name. Will Ferrell and Tim Meadows are among the stars. What’s it called? Answer: No Activity. Kudos to David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, Tom Moore Kalt Productions/CA, and Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY
 
Longtime Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay, who has an executive producer’s credit on No Activity, won an Oscar for screenwriting in 2016. For what movie? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.) 
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
[Wednesday, December 6 th at 1:30pm]
 
Whether you’re a TV network, marketer or publisher, artificial intelligence is starting to shape your world in a big way – according to research from Bank of America, A.I. will be a $153 billion industry by 2020. But you need to understand how to best employ it. Register for Cynopsis’ latest webinar and gain the tools you need to maximize AI’s potential within your company.
 
 

SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
If you’re not familiar with Google’s Spotlight Stories, you might want to remedy that. They’re just about the most vivid, immersive, and emotionally resonant short films currently being made for VR platforms. The latest installment, called Sonaria, focuses on the evolving journey of two creatures as they travel through different environments. It’s now available through the Steam and Viveport VR platforms, as well as on Android and iOS mobile devices through the Google Spotlight Stories app. Check out the trailer here
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JOB OPENING: DIRECT RESPONSE AD SALES ASSISTANT/Crown Media Family Networks/NY: Provide sales support to the Director, Direct Response and Direct Response Team. Process media buys/revisions, sending pre and post logs, and updating account info. BS req. Apply HERE (11/29)

 
JOB OPENING: EVP, CONTENT/PAC-12 NETWORKS/SF: Oversee/mng Linear & Digital Prod, Talent, Remote/Studio Production Ops & Programming depts. Former demonstrated record of strong leadership & general mngmnt. Strong knwlg collegiate content & strong familiarity w/nat’l & regional sports ntwk. Full info/apply HERE (11/29)


JOB OPENING:
ENGINEERING LEAD/Episode Interactive/SFO: Oversee initiatives to ship mobile storytelling platform on iOS & Android to enable writers to create stories to reach millions of users. Drive platform’s tech roadmap. 4+ yrs of engineering exp. BS/BA in computer science or equiv. Full info/apply HERE (11/29)

 
JOB OPENING: ENGINEERING MANAGER/Episode Interactive/SFO: Lead team of talented engineers to ship mobile storytelling platform on iOS & Android. Drive platform’s tech roadmap by working closely with other teams. 5+ yrs of eng experience, 1 yr of eng management. BS/BA in computer science or equivalent. Full info/apply HERE (11/29)
 
JOB OPENING: SR SOFTWARE ENGINEER, MOBILE/Episode Interactive/SFO: Build next generation visual engine for immersive storytelling and develop new features to help readers stay connected with creators and discover new stories. Work closely with PMs, artists, designers, etc. 4+ yrs in iOS & Android, BA/BS, MS, PhD in CS or relevant field. Full info/apply HERE (11/29)
 
JOB OPENING: DIGITAL ANALYST RESEARCH/Katz Broadcasting/ATL: Emphasis on digital analytics trusted w/innovation & application of critical insights for SVOD, BounceTV.com & social media analytics for 4 brdcst nets. Ext. exp. w/Google Analytics. 5+ yrs exp Rsrch, dig. analytics &/or data science. Full Info/Apply HERE (11/28)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT/Cyber Group Studios/LA: A leading television animation company seeks. Network series background required.  Send CV HERE (11/28)

JOB OPENING: ASSOCIATE, DIRECTOR, PUBLICITY/PBS/Arlington, VA: Lead publicity efforts for primetime & digital programs. Create PR/event plans, secure earned media, and form & execute promo plans & strategies that drive program awareness and tune-in. 6-8 yrs of related exp. Apply HERE (11/28)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, SOCIAL MEDIA/NBC SPORTS/Stamford CT: Oversight of social media strtgy/execution while leading social media staff focused on NBC Olympics, Sunday Night Football & other premiere NBC Sports properties. Min 4 yrs exp in social media & min 3 yrs managing team. Full info/apply HERE (11/28)

 
JOB OPENING: CONTENT MGR/NBC SPORTS/Stamford: Ensure high-quality standards for all digital content creation and presentation across all platforms and devices for the Regional Sports Networks. 5 yrs exp working w/digital media. Exp w/CMS & site management Full info/apply HERE (11/28)
 
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JOB OPENING: DIGITAL SALES EXEC/NCC/LA: Forward facing role to Online Media & Interactive Ad decision-makers @ Digital Agencies, Full Srvc Agency Digital Depts & Clients. Introduce/sell Digital’s suite of products across desktop, tablet & mobile platforms across our owner/affil’d MVPDs & OTT distributor partners. Resume HERE (11/25)

JOB OPENING: COORDINATOR, MULTIPLATFORM & MUSIC/CMT/Nashville: Energetic, extremely detail-oriented, & problem solving candidate to join our Programming Strategy team. Implement multiplatform schedules. Min 2 yrs exp working in radio, music video prgrmng and/or TV programming req’d. Full info/apply HERE (11/25)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR, AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT & SOCIAL MEDIA/CMT/Nashville: Lead all audience engagement & social media efforts, supporting the CMT linear TV network, incl launching/sustaining orig series, and active management of external partners. 7+ yrs escalating exp mktg, SM, PR or comm. Full info/apply HERE (11/25)

JOB OPENING: ASSOCIATE COUNSEL BUSINESS & LEGAL AFFAIRS, NEW DIGITAL BUSINESS/AMC/NYC: Exp’d attorney to support AMC Networks’ New Digital Business team. Min 3yrs relevant exp incl exp @law firm & ideally also at an in-house legal or business affairs dept w/in media space. Full info/apply HERE (11/24)
 
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FT SCRIPT COORDINATOR/Twin Cities PBS/NJ Remote position: A leading public media org, is seeking for an animated children’s series. Assist EP & head writer by coordinating all script details between producing partners & writers. Ability to travel to NYC for meetings. Full info/apply HERE (11/23)

 
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