12/15/15: Facebook launches API to help developers embed video; HarperCollins teams with Insurrection Media on digital book adaptations; BBC iPlayer launches for Apple TV


Good morning. It’s Tuesday December 15, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


When book publishing gets stale, you can always go digital. HarperCollins struck a deal with digital studio Insurrection Media to option and develop books into TV shows and digital series. The first book being considered for adaptation is sci-fi thriller Mila 2.0, written by Debra Driza.

The BBC may be across the pond, but no ocean is big enough to separate the U.K. and Cupertino. The BBC has confirmed that its iPlayer streaming app, already available on platforms such as Roku and Google Chromecast, is now available on Apple TV. The app includes access to all BBC TV channels, as well as personalized recommendations for users. But Yanks should be aware: the app is limited to the UK version of the tvOS app store.


Isn’t video streaming a little futuristic for 1989? Apparently not. A free concert special pulled from Taylor Swift‘s recently-concluded 1989 tour is coming exclusively to Apple Music. It will hit Apple Music on December 20, available exclusively to the service’s subscribers. The special will feature footage of an entire November 28 performance, as well as backstage and rehearsal footage.


The VC dollars keep pouring into VR. The virtual reality technology startup Pixvana has raised $6 million in seed financing from Madrona Venture Group, Vulcan Capital, and others. Led led by several VFX and software vets (including CEO and Lucasfilm alum Forest Key), the company is in the process of building a cloud-based VR video streaming platform.

Say this for Digital Domain Holdings Limited: When it comes to VR, their domain is anything but limited. In exchange for a $38.9 million investment, the company has taken a 53.9% majority stake in Immersive Media, a Canadian VR tech firm. (Prior to the deal, DDH already owned a 12.8% stake in the company.) DDH also owns a 51% controlling share in VR content studio IM360, which it launched alongside immersive video content tech firm IMV.


Information services group Experian is doing a bit of divesting. The company has sold Hitwise, its data collection and behavioral analytics company, to digital marketing firm Connexity, Inc. Simultaneously, Experian sold consumer research company Simmons to Symphony Technology Group, a private equity firm and the parent of research firm Symphony Advanced Media.  "The acquisition of Simmons will enhance the value of our service by generating more highly granular and robust consumer insight profiles," wrote Charlie Buchwalter, CEO of Symphony Advanced Media, in an email to Cynopsis Digital. "This will in turn increase sales opportunities for our media clients as well as enrich the media buying and planning initiatives for agencies and advertisers."


Facebook‘s tentacles continue to creep across the streaming video ecosystem. The company says it has released a new API giving developers support for embedding Facebook’s video players directly into apps and websites. The API allows developers to create a customized video player, modified to the needs of their specific apps (as opposed to using Facebook’s model). Facebook also announced that it is supporting oEmbed, an open standard (already used by the likes of YouTube and Vimeo), making it easier to embed public Facebook content by simply copying and pasting a URL.

Webcams, we hardly knew ye. YouTube is unceremoniously ushering webcam technology out the door; the company announced that it will bring an end to a feature allowing users to directly upload webcam footage. The technology "is rarely used and is built on a technology that is no longer supported," the company explained. Users will still be able to externally download webcam footage, then upload the video files. YouTube will officially pull the plug on webcams on January 16, 2016.


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AOL Insights took a look at more than 7,300 moments when individuals engaged with specific content. Among other findings, AOL’s study concluded that users’ reasons for engaging with content are fairly evenly distributed between several different motivations, many of them tied in with emotions. "Entertainment" took the top spot with 18%, followed closely by "finding specific information" (16%). "It’s great to see more ad tech platforms highlighting the importance of emotional advertising," Devra Prywes, VP of Marketing and Insight at the ad tech company Unruly, said of AOL’s study in an email to Cynopsis Digital."Academic research and Unruly’s data in this area have long-shown that high-intensity, emotional content that also gives people reasons to share is key in generating engagement, as well as memorability at point of purchase…The key challenge, though, is for advertisers to connect the content with distribution. It’s not enough to make great content – it needs to be discoverable to people, and quickly, in order to kick off a viral cascade." Take a look at the full AOL infographic here.

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 are the purest form of showing interest digitally, since they’re organic actions that are largely unaffected by paidmedia. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).

All Series (12/7/15 – 12/13/15)


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 Facebook,Google+, 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.

Shareablee has released its Social Scorecard of the Top Ten TV Networks for November 2015.To arrive at its ranking, the social analytics company measured total social actions (likes, shares, comments, retweets, dislikes, reblogs) across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube (excluding views). Some of the most notable findings:
– The Top Five TV shows by engagement: SportsCenter, ESPN (69.2 million actions),The Walking Dead, AMC (14.4 million actions), Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family (8.5 million actions),The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, NBC (7.1 million actions),Today Show, NBC (7.1 million actions)
– The Top Five TV Networks on Facebook: ESPN (34.2 million actions), ABC (32.2 million actions), Fox News (29 million actions), NBC (28.9 million actions), Telemundo (25.3 million actions)
– The Top Five Networks on Twitter: ESPN (13.2 million actions), ABC (3.9 million actions), NBC (3.2 million actions), FOX (2 million actions), Fox News (1.6 million actions)
– The Top Five Networks on Instagram: ESPN (71.7 million actions), E! (14.2 million actions), AMC (9.1 million actions), FOX (8 million actions), Univision (8 million actions)
– The Top Five Networks on YouTube (excluding views): NBC (1.9 million actions), ABC (909.4 thousand actions), FOX (869.7 thousand actions), CBS (483.7 thousand actions), TBS (264.5 thousand actions)

For more info, check out the infographic below:


Source: Shareablee, November 2015

Some mixed news for the growth TV Everywhere: Among existing TV users, consumption of TV Everywhere sites and apps rose 102% year-over-year in Q3 2015 (and 37% over Q2 2015), according to a recently-released study from Adobe Digital. The news was far less rosy for broader adoption rates, which rose just 8% year-over-year. There’s more data where that came from: Learn more about the study here.

OpenSlate Engagement Data for the News & Politics Vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending 12/13.
Channel (Engagement)/Monthly Views/Total Subs/SlateScore
TheYoungTurks(9.5) / 49,373,190/2,438,053/777
RussiaToday (8.9) /38,025,180/1,680,268/711
justkiddingnews (8.8) /42,190,380/1,428,891/711
rtrussian (8.7) /21,925,800/570,312/671
theliptv (8.5)/ 5,143,380 / 167,850 / 553
TheAlexJonesChannel (8.5) /16,716,210/1,188,351/693
WSJDigitalNetwork (8.5) /5,438,670/310,684/561
yahalashow (8.5) /4,003,380/163,928/535
WashingtonFreeBeacon(8.5) /6,481,650/21,332/503
AlHayahTVNetwork (8.5) /21,127,530/576,595/518
Source: The Engagement metric is one ofOpenSlate’s component scores, and is a measure of a producer’s ability to evoke meaningful interaction with their audience. It is calculated on a scale of 1-10 with higher being better. The OpenSlate Engagement score uses a subset of the data incorporated in the SlateScore to perform a set of unique calculations. It factors in views, comments, likes, and more.


Digital news publisher Mic has brought on a new exec. Cory Haik, The Washington Post‘s Executive Producer and Senior Editor of Digital News, is jumping onboard as Mic‘s Chief Strategy Officer. Haik will be working to drive product, revenue, and growth, according to Mic CEO Chris Altchek. The Washington Post was acquired by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in 2013. Since then, its digital audience has grown rapidly; in hiring one of the WP‘s chief digital architects, Mic seems to be hoping to capture some of that magic. 


Join us for the 15th anniversary of the
Holiday Rock & Roll Bash
A benefit for The Lustgarten Foundation
in support of pancreatic cancer research

Wednesday, December 16, 2015 | New Location: TAO DOWNTOWN NYC

Presented by Cablevision Systems Corporation
With the support of Cablevision, 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to research.

Contact 914-579-1000 or holidaybash@buckleyhallevents.com for sponsorships and tickets.


Adweek ranked the 10 best ads of 2015. GEICO‘s Unskippable (that’s both the spot’s title and an accurate description of its content) ingeniously sidestepped the limitations of preroll advertising, effectively plugging the company in just a handful of seconds. A hungry dog stole the show for the remainder of the spot. Take a look here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

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

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