12/06/17: CNBC: Disney moves closer to acquiring 21st Century Fox assets

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Wednesday December 6, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing.
 

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
Conversational Interface: A conversational interface is any user interface that simulates chatting with a real person. If you’ve spoken to Siri, Cortana, or Alexa, then you’ve used a conversational UI. As A.I. technology has improved, conversational interfaces have become progressively more adept at understanding requests and performing complex tasks.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
Reports that Disney might acquire key parts of 21st Century Fox have been out there for almost a month. CNBC now reports that those talks have progressed, and that a deal could be announced as early as next week. All told, Disney would reportedly pay more than $60 billion for the new assets. Properties included in the deal could include National Geographic, Star, movie studios, regional sports nets, and stakes in Sky and Hulu. Speaking of which, Disney and Fox each own 30% of Hulu; if Disney acquires Fox’s stake, it’ll own a controlling stake in the service. At the same time, Disney is planning to launch its own streaming services in the coming years, having recently declined to renew its licensing arrangement with Netflix. Assuming the Fox deal goes through, Disney will be able to pack additional movies and TV shows onto those platforms. Bottom line: In a few years, Disney will likely be giving Netflix a run for its money. 
 
Well that didn’t last long. About two weeks after Amazon’s Echo Show device regained access to YouTube following a dispute between Amazon and Google, the Echo Show has lost that access all over again. And it goes farther: Amazon is also letting users know that Amazon Fire TV streaming devices will lose access to YouTube starting on January 1. Google was fairly blunt about its motivations, citing a “lack of reciprocity” from Amazon. “Amazon doesn’t carry Google products like Chromecast and Google Home, doesn’t make Prime Video available for Google Cast users, and last month stopped selling some of Nest’s latest products,” said a spokesperson. “We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.”
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Getting Maximum Impact from Experiential Marketing
Cynopsis Webinar |Tuesday, January 30, 2018 | 1:30pm
 
The more that millennials turn away from traditional advertising, combined with the downward trend of TV ratings, the smarter it is for marketers to create experiential events that build brand awareness and drive loyalty through one-on-one connections with consumers. Learn how to execute experiences that will resonate with your target audience and supercharge your story in this essential webinar.

 

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
 
You still have a few hours to register for TODAY’s Cynopsis Digital webinar, Using Artificial Intelligence to Capture & Captivate Audiences. From smart speakers to chat bots, there are a million and one ways that A.I. is drastically changing the way that media pros reach and influence consumers. It’s crucial to how to effectively integrate A.I. technologies into your own strategies – and now’s your chance. Panelists from Mindshare North America, IBM Watson Advertising, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Zone TV will be joining us. The webinar is at 1:30 PM ET – register here.
 
 
APPS + PLATFORMS
 
Facebook’s Instagram made a couple of significant new updates to Instagram Stories. User stories will now automatically be archived after they expire. In the past, users were able to use Instagram’s archive feature to manually save standard video and photo posts, but not Stories posts. It’ll come as a shock to no one that the new archiving feature is essentially a clone of a Snapchat product. (Snapchat’s archiving feature, called Memories, launched in 2016.) In another update, Instagram will also let users add their archived stories to a new highlights section at the top of their profile pages. The new updates come just one week after Snapchat launched a significant redesign of its user interface.
 
 
PROGRAMMING
 
A day after Netflix announced a Kevin Spacey-free season of House of Cards, another Netflix show is dismissing one of its stars for similar reasons. Netflix announced that actor Danny Masterson will be written out of The Ranch, a comedy series that debuted last year. Multiple women have accused Masterson of rape, and calls for his ouster have been stacking up for weeks.
 
 
INFLUENCERS
 
Digital star Tyler Oakley just signed with Hollywood talent agency WME. Oakley, a prominent LGBTQ activist, rose to fame on YouTube, where he began posting videos ten years ago. He now has 23 million followers across all the social platforms where he’s active, including 7.8 million from YouTube. In addition to his videos, he hosts a weekly podcast called Psychobable. He also appeared in CBS’s The Amazing Race, and wrote a best-selling book called Binge. In addition to representing Oakley on all existing projects, WME will help him launch his own production company.
 
 
OTT + SVOD
 
DirecTV Now just passed the one million subscriber mark, according to AT&T. The live TV service, which AT&T launched in November 2016, had 787,000 subs by the end of September. But while the service is growing quickly, the numbers don’t make up for AT&T’s losses on the traditional pay-TV side. The telco lost 385,000 U-verse TV and DirecTV satellite subs in Q3 alone.
 
 
SHORT FORM VIDEO
 
SVOD service Tribeca Shortlist has partnered with 1620 Media, the digital studio arm of Pilgrim Media Group. 1620 Media will begin production on The Games We Play, a 12-part short forms series that will run on Tribeca Shortlist. Episodes will run from three to five minutes. In the series, host Matthew Hoffman will challenge celebrity guests with movie-themed games, while offering movie trivia centering on films available on the Tribeca Shortlist service. The series is set to debut early next year.
 
 
MUSIC STREAMING + PODCASTS
 
Marvel is sinking its claws into podcasting. Disney’s comics giant will soon launch a new 10-episode scripted podcast series focused on X-Men hero Wolverine. The series, called Wolverine: The Long Night, will debut on the streaming service Stitcher Premium in spring of 2018. It’ll then expand to other platforms in the fall. The podcast will be written by author and comic book writer Ben Percy.
 
 
MEASURING UP
 
The Influential Ranking, from influencer marketing platform Julius, is based on an influencer’s Average Engagement (the daily sum of engagements over the past 60 days) on an individual social platform or overall social presence. Below, check out the Top 10 Travel YouTubers from October to November.
 

 
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 (11/27/17 – 12/3/17)   
 
 
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
 
Oath, the Verizon-owned division composed of AOL and Yahoo, just added three new execs to its Oath Studios production unit. Abra Potkin, formerly of Disney ABC Television Group, will serve as Head of Talent Relations and Strategy. Caroline Christopher, who joined Yahoo in January as Head of Development, will hold the same title at Oath Studios. And Victoria Parker, who left The Weinstein Company in September of 2016 (good timing!), will serve as Head of Creative Strategy. Oath Studios is headed up by VP Alex Wallace, a former NBC News exec. Wallace took over Yahoo’s video efforts about one year ago, before the company was officially acquired by Verizon.
 
 
TRIVIA
 
Our Last Trivia Question: Executive producer David Fincher is often mentioned in connection to Netflix’s Mindhunter, but he’s not the credited creator of the series. Who is? Answer: Joe Penhall. Kudos to Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/New York, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, and David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA
 
Aside from Mindhunter, what other Netflix series did David Fincher executive produce? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Awards Event: March 14th in NYC
At a time when it is more important than ever to shine a light on the incredible accomplishments of women in every field, we are proud to honor these digital trailblazers. They may be just out of college. Or they may be inventors, tech wizards, or senior-level execs who have helped clear a path in what is still a relatively young industry . Past honorees have been digital-savvy innovators from a wide range of companies ( view past honorees here ).
 
 

SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
2017 saw some of the most high-profile cybersecurity hacks in recent memory. But will 2018 be even worse? CNET explores this and other important tech topics in its latest podcast; you can check out the video version here.
 
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