12/14/17: T-Mobile buys Layer3 TV, will launch new TV service

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Thursday December 14, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing. Take note: The Cynopsis Digital briefing will be published only twice next week, on December 19 and December 21. There will be no editions during the week of December 25. Our first new edition of the New Year will be on January 2nd.
 
 
TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
Location-Based Virtual Reality: With location-based virtual reality, companies offer consumers the ability to use VR equipment at out-of-home venues. Customers pay for individual VR experiences, instead of having to buy their own (very expensive) hardware.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
T-Mobile is jumping into the OTT TV game. The telco announced that it’s acquiring Layer3 TV, a startup that current offers a broadband-delivered TV service in five U.S. cities. T-Mobile will use the Layer3 TV platform to launch a wider live TV service next year. So far, T-Mobile hasn’t provided many details about its upcoming service, including what networks it’ll offer or how much it’ll cost. Financial terms of the acquisition weren’t disclosed. Layer3 TV was founded in 2013; so far, it’s raised about $80 million in funding.
 
Redbox, best known for its DVD kiosks, has launched a new VOD service. Simply called Redbox On Demand, the service features over 6,000 TV shows and movies. The titles are available through through VOD rental or electronic sell-through. Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Paramount are all supplying titles for the service. Disney is notably absent, which shouldn’t surprise anyone: The two companies aren’t exactly on the best of terms right now. Disney recently filed a lawsuit against Redbox, seeking to stop the company from selling digital codes that help consumers download Disney movies. Redbox On Demand rentals start at $3.99 for a 48 hours viewing window, while movie purchases start at $9.99. Library content starts at $1.99.
 
 
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 
Location-based VR startup DreamScape Immersive is partnering with Nickelodeon. Under the deal, Dreamscape will produce a new VR experience based on the network’s intellectual property. Not too many other details are known just yet. Nickelodeon took part in DreamScape’s Series B funding round, along with companies such AMC (which led the round), 21st Century Fox, and others. That latest round, which DreamScape announced in September, raised $20 million for the company. DreamScape is slated to launch its first VR location next year, in Los Angeles. The company, in partnership with AMC, also plans to roll out six other locations in the not-too-distant future.
 
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AUDIO + MUSIC STREAMING
 
Laugh Out Loud, the comedy SVOD service that actor/comedian Kevin Hart launched this year in partnership with Lionsgate, is getting a radio off-shoot. A 24-hour Laugh Out Loud channel will soon debut on SirusXM satellite radio. Slated to go live in Q1 of next year, the station will feature comedic interview shows, stand-up acts, and a weekly show hosted by Hart himself, among other programming.  The Laugh Out Loud video service debuted in August; according to Lionsgate, the app was downloaded over 500,000 days in its first 30 the first 30 days after launch.
 
 
LIVE VIDEO
 
Facebook’s Watch platform will soon host a live-streamed weekly show from WWE. Called Mixed Match Challenge, the 12-episode series will debut on January 16 at 10 PM ET, right after SmackDown Live airs on USA Network. Episodes will be twenty minutes long. The show is structured as a single elimination tournament, featuring stars from WWE’s SmackDown Live and Raw rosters. Mixed Match Challenge will be exclusive to Facebook for an as-yet unspecified time window; afterward, WWE will be allowed to distribute the series over WWE Network, its SVOD service. The companies haven’t disclosed how much Facebook is paying for series rights. 
 
The NBA inked a live-streaming deal with Amazon’s Twitch. The platform, best known as a broadcasting platform for gamers, will stream as many as six games from the NBA G League (the NBA’s minor league organization) during the current season. Live-streams start this Friday, December 15, at twitch.tv/nbagleague. The broadcasts will feature in-stream ads; users will also be able to subscribe to the G League channel to get certain perks, such special emotes that can be used within group chat. Following the broadcasts, games will remain available on demand.
 
 
SHORT FORM VIDEO
 
Vice is set to bring three new series to Facebook’s Watch platform. Among the new shows is The Scarlet Letter Reports, a docu-series exploring gender-based public shaming. Amanda Knox – who famously spent four years in an Italian prison before a court vacated her murder conviction – will host the series. She’ll converse with other women who have faced demonization in the media, including sexual assault prevention advocate Daisy Coleman and actress/model Amber Rose. The show was developed by Broadly, Vice’s female oriented digital channel. Other Vice shows set to debut on the Watch channel include Breaking & Entertaining, in which Vice will throw house-trashing parties for viewers (and then renovate their homes), and The Hangover Show, in which cook Cara Nicoletti will prepare “hangover foods” for her chef and comedian friends. The three shows are slated to debut within the coming months.
 
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PROGRAMMING
 
Media companies IMG, Film45, and Mediapro are teaming up to produce Amazon Video’s upcoming docu-series about the Manchester United soccer club. The project was first announced last month, but this is the first we’re hearing about Amazon’s production partners. The series – still untitled – will follow the English team throughout the 2017-2018 season.
 
 
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RESEARCH
 
Cord-cutting slowed down in Q3, according to a new study from TiVo. The survey reached about 3,000 respondents across the U.S. and Canada. “The number of those cutting cable within the preceding year has been trending upward with an increase of nearly 3 percentage points year-over-year,” the report observed. “However, this quarter’s survey results mark the first quarter since Q3 2016 to see a slight decrease in those who cut cable in the last 12 months.” 82.8% of respondents said they subscribed to a cable or satellite TV service, while 17.2% said they subscribed to neither. In Q3 of 2016, it was 82.4% and 17.6%, respectively. Of those with a pay-TV service, 7.5% percent of respondents said they’d switched providers within the past three months. 5.4% of pay-TV subs said they planned to cut their service, while 7.7% said they planned to switch to another pay-TV provider. 5.8% said they planned to switch entirely to an online app or service, such as Amazon or Netflix.
 
 
MEASURING UP
 
SHAREABLEE  SOCIAL TV RATINGS: Top 10 U.S. Primetime and Streaming Shows for December 4 – December 10. Based on Shareablee’s Video Power Index (VPI), which combines viewing, consumer interactions and audience scale across all active platforms, and includes the video performance of primetime and streaming shows. 
 


Source: Shareablee Inc. The total actions metric includes the total volume of post-level likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments across social platforms.
 
Tubular Top Ten Global Sponsored Videos Sunday, December 3 2017 – Saturday, December 9, 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.
 

 
Canvs, the emotion measurement company, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from December 6 – December 12 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Check out their findings below.
 

 
 
EXECUTIVE MOVES
 
The Interactive Advertising Bureau has promoted Patrick Dolan to President. Dolan has been with the IAB since 2007, most recently serving as EVP and COO. In addition, the trade group has named Anna Bager as EVP of Industry Initiatives. Bager joined the IAB in 2011, most recently leading the IAB Video Center of Excellence.
 
 
TRIVIA
 
Spike Lee recently adapted one of his films into a Netflix series of the same name. What’s the film/show? Answer: She’s Gotta Have It. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Caren Franklin-Al Roker Entertainment/NY, Scott Jenkins-Gracenote/NY, Luke Watson-Essential TV/NY, Jeff Mirkin-Atari Media Productions/CA, Peter Steckelman-Tennis Channel/CA, Aaron Paquette-Screen Engine/ASI/TX, Kofi B. Dormah-Nickelodeon/NY, Dan Quitério-Understood/NY, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Sheena Das-Disney ABC/NY, Matthew Willence-ITN Networks/NY, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Christine Allen-McGee Media/NY, William Graff-beIN Sports/FL, Adam Foshko-Activision/CA, Bruce Trotter-CoxReps/CA, and Seraphina Kleinen-S2BN Entertainment/NY
 
Follow-up: In the film version of She’s Gotta Have It, protagonist Nola Darling is played by Tracy Camilla Johns. Who plays Nola in the Netflix series? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
 
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SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
Twitter can be surprisingly difficult to use, especially when you’re first getting started. And in its new, highly self-deprecating digital ad campaign, the company isn’t afraid to confront that fact. In one spot, comedian Romesh Ranganathan does his best police negotiator impression, talking a frantic first-time user through creating a new account. Check it out here.
 
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JOB OPENING: EXECUTIVE RECRUITER/JAMES & CO LLC/NYC: Responsible for search execution to include but not limited to developing target list, candidate identification and assessment as well as candidate interviews. Understanding of landscape for talent in our search verticals a must. Full job info/apply HERE (12/20)

JOB OPENING: COORD PUBLICITY & AWARDS/A+E/NY: Assist A+E Studio, Awards, & Corp Outreach with the day-to-day operations of the dept. Manage award submissions, coordinate w/press, interface with talent. Exp working in office environment publicity or mktg pref’d. Excellent comm & writing skills a must. Apply HERE (12/20)

 
JOB OPENING: LIVE EVENTS OPERATION MGR/NBC Sports/Philadelphia: Work closely w/all depts for multi-platform operational needs. Assist in operational tech workflows. 5+ yrs in production/ops of live TV sporting events. Highly orgnzd, self-sufficient & exc comm skills. Full info/apply HERE (12/20)
 
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