12/07/15: Turner and WME|IMG to debut eSports league; Endemol debuts season two of Pretty Little Prankster on ICON Network; Penrose Studios to launch Sundance VR experience


Good morning. It’s Monday December 7, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for December 7-13:
People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include director Ron Howard (In the Heart of the Sea), actor Adam Pally (The Mindy Project), and the cast of Downton Abbey (PBS/ITV)
Vimeo: Premature, a Supergravity-produced stand-up special featuring Elliot Morgan, debuts on Vimeo On Demand December 10
Amazon Prime: Season 2 of Transparent debuts December 11
Day-and-Date Release: Snervous, the new documentary about YouTube star Tyler Oakley, debuts on all major digital platforms (including iTunes and Vimeo) and in theaters December 11


Once upon a time, it was something you did with your buddies on a lazy Saturday. But competitive gaming is now a spectator sport, and a couple of major companies are banking on its growing popularity. Turner Broadcasting and WME|IMG have christened their new pro eSports league: ELeague will launch in 2016, featuring 30 hours of digitally streamed weekly competition. ELeague will also be broadcast linearly on TBS – the first time that regular eSports content has been fully distributed on a national TV platform. Twice a year, TBS will feature ten straight weeks of eSports programming.


People once thought Google Cardboard was a joke, introduced to get in a dig or two at its rivals, who were busy creating prohibitively expensive headsets. But Cardboard’s no joke, according to Andrew Cochrane Digital Director and Technical Supervisor at Mirada. In fact, he says that, at the moment, it’s your best bet. That’s why we will be giving you the opportunity to win a pair of Unofficial Cardboard headsets with your registration for the 12/8 webinar:

Virtual Reality: What Programmers Need to Know Now to Lure Viewers and Advertisers.



The female-oriented digital lifestyle network StyleHaul has inked a new deal with Go90, Verizon’s mobile streaming service. StyleHaul will work with over a dozen of its creators to develop exclusive content for the service. According to StyleHaul, the creators will be moving outside their comfort zones, zeroing in on subject matter that’s largely unrelated to their usual areas of focus. (For instance, the normally fashion-and-beauty focused Aspyn Ovard will focus on cooking.) Go90 is available for both iOS and Android.
That’s not all from Go90. The MCN Endemol Beyond announced that it will debut Culture Chic, a new travel and lifestyle series starring fashion blogger and YouTuber Sonya Esman, on Verizon’s mobile service. And there’s more from Endemol: On December 5, the company debuted season 2 of Pretty Little Pranksters, its beauty-themed prank series, on Michelle Phan’s ICON Network, running through early 2016.
U.K. digital distributor MoMedia has inked a new content deal with production company Shaftesbury. MoMedia will distribute 37 hours of content from Shaftesbury’s film and TV catalog, including the romantic comedy feature Dirty Singles, market and promote the content and provide Shaftesbury with analytics support.



Penrose Studios
: VR innovators to keep an eye on. The company, founded by former Oculus exec Eugene Chung, will premiere The Rose and I, its new animated VR short, at the Sundance Film Festival next year. (In total, the fest’s New Frontier program will feature 30 VR experiences.) The company has also released a mobile version of the film (titled Rosebud) for the Samsung Gear VR headset. And Rosebud breaks some new boundaries: Using the Gear VR’s touchpad, users can move around within the experience, examining it from all angles; they can also manipulate and rotate objects within the experience. Advanced headsets have been able to accomplish similar effects with the help of sensors placed in a room, but this is something of a first for mobile VR.   


The online video platform Vessel is rolling out some new features. Soon, creators will be able to interact with fans using “threads,” a new short video feature. Creators will be able to use the videos to ask questions of their viewers and raise topics of conversation.  Vessel rolled out several other new features as well, including expanded notifications. You can learn all of the new updates on Vessel’s blog.


The Game Awards
live-streamed across multiple digital platforms last week, and analytics company StatSocial took a look at the social media conversation. The company found that The Game Awards’ audience was 80% male, and that viewers under 18 watched in much higher numbers than any other age group. Their favorite influencer was Japanese game designer Hideo Kojima. And, shockingly enough, their top interest was video games. For more info, check out this infographic, courtesy of StatSocial.


Last week, The Hollywood Reporter reported that live-streaming startup Streamup has established a new advisory board. Its members include Endemol Shine North America co-CEO Charlie Corwin, World of Wonder founder Fenton Bailey, and former American Idol judge Randy Jackson. The board will work to help Streamup develop original programming.



Deadline to enter: Thursday, December 10

3 Simple Steps to do Before Thursday!

1) Select your Campaign
2) Complete the Entry Form
3) Process your Payment


In case you had any doubts that VR can be used as an effective storytelling medium: Skybound Entertainment and Wevr recently worked together to create Gone, an 11-part virtual reality thriller set to debut on the Samsung Gear VR headset (via the Milk VR app). The series allows viewers to explore scenes in 360 degrees, and zero in on various hotspots in order to unlock story details. The first installment will be available tomorrow – check out a teaser here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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