12/18/14: Netflix lands set-top deal with first major pay-TV provider; Former Hulu CEO unveils web video platform ‘Vessel'; AMC and DramaFever horror SVOD service takes shape



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
12.18.14

Good morning. It’s Thursday, December 18, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
Dish
struck a deal with Netflix to put the streaming service onto its set-top box, becoming available to second-generation Hopper digital video recorder owners yesterday. Netflix signed similar agreements with smaller cable operators earlier this year, including Suddenlink Communications and the U.K. top operator Virgin Media. “As the first major pay-TV provider in the U.S. to add the Netflix app to its set-top box, Dish strengthens an already robust video entertainment experience for its customers,” Netflix’s Global Head of Business Development Bill Holmes said. Dish will roll out the app to its Joey devices, and integrate available Netflix titles into its search function in the future.
 


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Smiletime, the video platform co-founded by former Hulu exec Alex Kruglov launched yesterday. Smiletime acts as a social video platform for viewers watching live TV to chat with actors, writers, in-studio guests and other fans through video feeds using their computers or mobile cameras. “We’re creating a fundamentally different ‘lean in’ mode of communication between broadcaster and consumer that allows viewers to serve as an integral part of the storytelling,” Kruglov said. Smiletime’s first partner is Twin Galaxies Live (TGL), an interactive network focused on streaming and TV, which includes a weekly program, Intercoarse, from Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter.
 
…Another Hulu alumnus, former CEO Jason Kilar, introduced his web-video company Vessel yesterday. The model: for $2.99 a month, users have early access to digital content, and content partners take home 60 percent of subscription revenue and 70 percent of ad revenue. Variety reports that Kilar plans to pay creators $50 for every thousand views they earn, a much larger revenue slice than the typical $2-$3. Vessel is already working with Machinima, A+E, Warner Music Group, Vevo, Funny or Die, and YouTube celebs Shane Dawson, Rhett & Link, and Marcus Butler.
 
Bravo revealed a new digital lineup with the redesign of BravoTV.com and The Daily Dish mobile app. New features on the web destination include OMG Moments - a multimedia experience around shows’ buzziest clips and The Daily Dish, which will feature Top Chef contestants’ real kitchens and what they cook on In My Kitchen. The Daily Dish app will provide user content from the online destination, location-based offers, social content, push notifications on breaking Bravo news and an in-app inbox to share or save content.
 
AMC and international TV and movie streaming service DramaFever’s SVOD service is taking shape. Shudder.tv will cater to horror film and TV enthusiasts, and will debut in the coming months. No word on the price tag for the streaming service, but it recently nailed down a web destination, Twitter and Facebook handles and the tagline “Screams on demand.” Gigaom reports that AMC has already quietly re-launched documentary hub SundanceNow Doc Club this year, for $6.99 a month.
 
Online animation MCN Channel Federator Network from Fred Seibert added 185 new channels to its network to total 1,222 channels and a combined subscriber base of 14 million. New offerings Domics, Lee Hardcastle and Cyber Toons will join the flagship Cartoon Hangover channel, featuring Bravest Warrior and newly launched Bee & Puppycat (four million views in first three episodes since November debut).
 
 

ADVERTISING
 

Tumblr’s Top 10 Sponsored Posts of 2014, from Adweek.
 
1.    AT+T and Virtue Worldwide (part of Vice): 448,250 notes on one post.
2.    St Ives: 175,000 notes
3.    Axe: 152,580 notes
4.    Adidas: 122,680+ notes
5.    Virgin Mobile: 109,550 notes
6.    Trolli: 98,520 notes
7.    Dior: 92,270 notes
8.    IBM: 90,900 notes
9.    Converse Music: 68,470 notes
10. General Electric starring YouTube’s The Slow Mo Guys: 66,110 notes
 
 

AD PLATFORMS
 

21st Century Fox will acquire video-ad company true[X]. The company will continue to operate as a standalone business, and will work with Fox Networks Group to develop consumer engagement and on-demand marketing campaigns for its digital platforms. True[X] clients include Pandora, Visa, and Microsoft.
 
Connexity
released its search technology to marketers looking to reach online shoppers at scale. "We have primarily used our solutions internally," Executive Vice President of Marketing Services Bob Michaelian said. “With our proprietary bid management, automated keyword generation/landing page selection, and advanced ways to group and structure campaigns, we are now a one-stop-shop for all things search in retail."
 
Mobile ad company Factual announced two new tools for geo-fencing and audience targeting for marketers to use with the Geopulse Proximity and Geopulse Audience platforms. The new instruments will enable Factual partners, such as Turn, StrikeAd, and Deep Forest Media, and The Weather Company, to segment viewers using the company’s location analytics toolset.
 

 
EXEC MOVES
 

Legendary Television appointed Carlos Sanchez as Vice President of Distribution for Latin America. Prior to Legendary, he was Executive Director of The Americas for Warner Bros. Digital.
 


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT OF THE DAY
 

A dreamy new holiday spot from Samsung and R/GA is all about the timing. The animated spot portrays a girl chasing her Christmas stocking through a dream world created by the many types of Samsung screens. From a two-inch watch screen to a 65-inch curved Samsung TV, the story comes to life. Check out the commercial at www.cynopsis.com/#video.

See you tomorrow,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese
12.18.14

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