11/22/17: Amazon Echo Show regains access to Google’s YouTube, along with Dailymotion and Vimeo

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Wednesday November 22, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing.
 

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
False Positive: A false positive occurs when a legitimate permission-based email is incorrectly filtered or blocked as spam. Naturally, email-based marketers would prefer to see as few false positives as possible.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
If you live in the west, you probably read about Facebook a whole lot more than you read about Tencent. But the latter company, a Chinese tech giant whose properties include popular Chinese messaging app WeChat and a number of gaming and entertainment properties, just passed Facebook in market value. Tencent is now the first Asian company to be worth over $500 billion. And according to a new report from Reuters, Tencent will soon introduce its WeChat ecosystem to foreign users, starting in Malaysia. With close to one billion monthly active users, WeChat is already the most popular messaging app in China.
 
Amazon and Google seem to have worked out some of their issues. The Echo Show, the version of Amazon’s smart speaker that comes equipped with an integrated display, has regained access to YouTube videos. Google started preventing the device from accessing YouTube back in September; the company said that Amazon’s implementation of YouTube on the device had violated YouTube’s terms of service, which include rules relating to core functionality and branding. In addition to reintroducing YouTube, Amazon has added support for additional video services, including Dailymotion and Vimeo.
 
 
POLICY
 
The writing’s been on the wall for a while now. Ajit Pai’s FCC unveiled a plan to undo the agency’s existing net neutrality rules, which passed two years ago. The 2015 vote took place when Democrats controlled three of the agency’s five seats. Now those numbers are reversed, and the repeal is expected pass by the same 3-2 margin. The policy change would mark a major victory for broadband companies, which have fiercely contested the rules since they were implemented. As its stands now, companies like AT&T and Verizon must treat all internet content equally – even content that comes from small companies. Pai, the Commission’s Donald Trump-appointed Chairman, says that current policy will be replaced with new rules that “simply require internet service providers to be transparent about their practices.” The agency plans to release a new draft of its order a few weeks ahead of its vote, which is slated to take place on December 14.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Is your team neglecting this rapidly developing marketing tool?
 
Artificial Intelligence offers a solution to two of the biggest challenges programmers face: getting your content discovered and keeping viewers engaged. Register for Cynopsis’ latest webinar: Using Artificial Intelligence to Capture & Captivate Audiences, and gain the skills you need to reach consumers through A.I.-driven platforms. On December 6 th, hear from product marketing experts at IBM Watson Advertising, Scripps Networks Interactive and Mindshare.
 
 

APPS + PLATFORMS
 
It’s not too often that anyone beats Apple to the punch, but it looks like Amazon did just that when it released its Echo smart speaker in 2014. According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple had actually been working on its own smart speaker – a device that eventually became the HomePod – since about 2012. According to the report, Amazon’s release of the Echo completely blindsided the Apple. Flash forward a few years, and the HomePod is almost here. It’s slated to ship in early 2018 – though Apple had initially announced that the device would become available in December. Apple confirmed the delay late last week. 
 
Facebook’s Messenger service now allows users to share 4K high-resolution photos. Users can send pictures of up to 4096 x 4096 pixels. The new feature is available for both iOS and Android devices in a number of countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Japan, and others.
 
 
ADVERTISING
 
Ad tech company SpotX recently partnered with Sling TV, Dish Network’s over-the-top live TV service. Under the new pact, Sling and Spot X have opened two new addressable consumer segments with a specific focus on holiday shopping. Called Holiday Shoppers and Luxury Shoppers, the marketplaces let advertisers deliver targeted seasonal campaigns to viewers on streaming devices, including connected TVs. This isn’t the first we’re hearing about a partnership between SpotX and Sling TV; it was in May that the companies first announced they would create programmatic marketplaces, designed for targeting within Sling TV’s video inventory.
 
 
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 
Once again, NBCUniversal and Verizon will team up to live-stream this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They’re also adding something new to the mix: Verizon is adding a series of augmented reality “Easter eggs” throughout the parade. (For instance, a smiling digital turkey will poke its head around the side of real New York City building; click on it and you’ll have the opportunity to redeem Black Friday offers from Verizon.) Verizon will also add a new traveling camera to the lead parade float, and will produce a new sixty-second spot thanking first responders, which will run during the broadcast. The Parade is one of the year’s most-watched broadcasts; in 2016, it picked up 24.6 million viewers. Like last year, Olivia Culpo will co-host the live-stream. This time she’ll be joined by Keith Habersberger, the BuzzFeed video producer who’s best known as a member of The Try Guys.
 
 
INFLUENCERS
 
Pocket.watch, a multiplatform children’s media startup, has added a couple of new kid-friendly creators to its stable of talent. The new additions are EvanTube, a YouTube “unboxing” channel starring an eleven-year-old boy, and Jordan CaptainSparklezMaron, who’s best known for his Minecraft videos. Both creators used to be partnered with Disney’s Maker Studios. (Until 2016, Pocket.watch CEO Chris Williams worked at Maker Studios as well.)  In addition to the new talent partnerships, Pocket.watch announced a new pact with with Simon Spotlight, a kid friendly division of book publisher Simon and Schuster. Williams has previously said that Pocket.watch plans to create both online and offline opportunities for its talent partners, including book publication deals. The first books to emerge from the Simon Spotlight partnership are expected to debut next year. Finally, Pocket.watch announced some new hires. To learn more about those, hop on down to the Executive Moves section.
 
 
RESEARCH
 
Companies that want to live-stream sporting events have a tough hurdle to clear: Most consumers expect those broadcasts to be lousy. According to a new survey from video tech company Phenix, seventy-two percent of consumers expect to have bad service during a live-streamed sporting event. Phenix partnered with YouGov on the survey, which consisted of 2309 respondents. The bottom line: Whether you’re Amazon, Facebook, or a virtual MVPD, first you need to convince consumers that you can deliver a high-quality broadcast; otherwise, they’re more likely to turn to traditional platforms.
 
 
Q & A: MINDSHARE
 
Mindshare North America, part of WPP’s network of agencies, recently published a report focused on the “Media Multiverse,” – specifically, the most successful entertainment franchises in media today. Among other things, the report pointed out that many consumers now pay for franchise content through subscription services, and that advertising opportunities are decreasing as a result. Cynopsis Digital asked Autumn Nazarian, Mindshare North America’s SVP, Spotlight Lead, about trends in franchise-based entertainment. Here’s what she had to say:
 
Do you think there will always be a place for ad-supported content and services, or will the trends in franchise content start forcing those entities to make existential changes?
There will always be a place for ad-supported content and services. But marketers also can’t simply ignore the rise of subscription ad-free services – it would be a mistake to just write those off and focus solely on the former. Instead, brands should start leveraging the opportunities to partner with, and create, content and experiences that enable consumers to more deeply enter the stories and universes of these franchises, or to even help revive previously dormant ones.
 
Since any given franchise is now active across countless platforms, ranging from the big screen to Facebook to a streaming service, how can an advertiser know how, exactly, to distribute their budget?
For marketers, that depends on your target audience and how they’re engaging with the media property in question. Part of our research around the “Media Multiverse” was also measuring these franchises specifically against different platforms and fan engagement. Is your target audience following the cast on social media? Are they specifically interested in reading news or theories about the show? Are a lot viewers watching the show online or on mobile? Or is a high percentage of your audience recording the show via DVR to watch it later?
 
Are some advertisers being complacent about the current media landscape?
Not enough have taken advantage of the opportunity to execute one level further. Franchise fans are hungry for more content and more ways to experience their favorite shows and movies in a similar fashion to the way sports fan behave. As we know, some of these franchises, like Star Wars or Stephen King stories, span generations. Brands who want to partner with a beloved franchise must look at this as an opportunity to go beyond a schedule of advertising and identify connection points that reinforce and reward fan passion. If done authentically, brand-supported extensions and experiences of these creative properties can give fans another avenue for entering and enjoying the media multiverse, whether that’s in digital, TV, film, streaming, experiential activations, and beyond.
 
Speaking of Mindshare North America: Rachel Lowenstein, Manager, Strategic Innovation, Life+, will be presenting at Cynopsis’s upcoming webinar, Using Artificial Intelligence to Capture & Captivate Audiences. Panelists from IBM Watson Advertising and Scripps Networks Interactive will be joining as well. Whether you work in TV, publishing, or advertising, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to incorporate emerging A.I. technologies into your efforts. Be sure to register here
 
 
MEASURING UP
 
Tubular Top Ten Global Sponsored Videos Monday, November 13, 2017 – Sunday, November 18, 2017. Based on Tubular Video Ratings measuring 8 million video publishers, 3 billion videos, and 400 million viewers. Sponsored videos are ranked by V3, total views in the first three days after upload.
 
 
  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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
 
Streaming Series (11/13/17 – 11/19/17) 
 
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 FacebookTwitterGoogle+, 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
 
Along with some other news (mentioned above), kids’ media startup Pocket.watch announced some new hires. Bruce Gordon, a former Disney exec, will serve as the startup’s CFO. In addition, Pocket.watch assembled a team of digital media veterans to serve as advisers. Those include Barry Blumberg, the Defy Media exec who led the way on building up the Smosh brand, and Greg Clayman, the former GM of Audience Networks at Vimeo. Clayman currently serves as President of Vertical Networks, an LA-based content-creation studio.
 
 
TRIVIA
 
Our Last Trivia Question: Which well-known nonfiction author wrote the book that The Big Short was based on? Answer: Michael Lewis. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions CA, Daivd Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Lorrie Shilling/CA, Jeff Mirkin-Atari Media Productions/CA,and Alejandro Sacasa-Albavision/FL  
 
Michael Lewis has written books on any number of subjects. Two sports-centric books he wrote were later adapted into high-profile Hollywood movies. What were the movies? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.) 
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Saluting TV’s Commitment to Community
Now more than ever it’s crucial for media organizations to utilize their influence for the greater good of the community and we look forward to shining a light on these altruistic companies. Whether the focus is disaster-relief, humanitarian efforts, public service announcements, health and safety, environmental relief or something else, we can’t wait to see how your brand has made its mark!
Early-bird rates expire 12/20, so enter now!
 

SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
Now’s the time of year when we express what we’re most thankful for. For the writer of this newsletter, the game of Scrabble is high on that list. (He’s currently ranked as the 377th best tournament player in North America, which is either impressive or supremely dorky, depending on whom you ask.) In a terrific video from The New Yorker, some of the country’s top Scrabble experts discuss their best and worst in-game moments. Watch it here .   

Roberta Caploe
Publisher
@robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz
Senior Vice President
Media Communications Group
Cynopsis Ad Sales
Mike Farina | 203-218-6480
VP, Sales
Cynopsis Job Listings Sales
Trish Pihonak | 203-899-8459
Director of Operations
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