12.21.15 Good morning. It’s Monday December 21, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for December 21-December 27:
– People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include musician Jewel, TV personality Theresa Caputo (TLC’s Long Island Medium), and musician Kellie Pickler
– Netflix: White Christmas, the 2014 Jon Hamm-starring holiday episode of Black Mirror, makes its USA debut December 25
– Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes, a stand-alone spin-off special from Netflix’s Marco Polo series, debuts December 26
The Awesomes, Hulu’s original animated superhero comedy series from co-creator Seth Meyers, has met a deeply uncool fate. The show, which debuted in 2013, streamed what turned out to be its final episode (at least on Hulu) in November.
Vine has launched a new content discovery feature. The six-second video app’s new For You channel uses algorithms to suggest recommended videos to users. “Our home feeds on Vine are filled with posts from the accounts we follow across comedy, music, sports and more,” wrote Vine API Engineer Luis Tandalla in a blog post. “There’s a ton of great content created by accounts you may not follow, and we’re bringing those posts to you.” As of yet, the new feature is limited to iOS, but Tandalla writes that it will launch for Android soon.
Chinese tech company and streaming services provider LeTV is in talks to partner with Hong Kong-based digital effects group Digital Domain Holdings. DDH says that it has signed a non-binding letter of intent with LeTV Sports Culture Development (an LeTV subsidiary) to create an equally-owned joint venture, which would launch with $10 million (U.S.) in start-up capital. The venture would focus on Chinese virtual and augmented reality sports and live events content.
Some news about The Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments, the upcoming TV series based on Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments book series, which debuts next year. If you’re a U.S. viewer, you’ll be watching on ABC Family (soon to be rebranded as Freeform). But if you’re watching the series anywhere else, you’ll likely be streaming it on Netflix. Netflix has picked up exclusive non-U.S. rights to the series. It premieres on ABC Family/Freeform on January 12, and globally on Netflix the following day.
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Great news for the feel-good series of the year! (Okay, well at least made critics feel good.) The Man In the High Castle, Amazon’s dystopian nightmare about an alternate history in which the Axis Powers won World War II, is getting a second Reich: the series has been picked for season 2. Let the good times continue.
More from Amazon: The company has picked up five of its recent pilot debuts for full-season runs. Good Girls Revolt, Z: The Beginning of Everything, Highston, One Mississippi, and Patriot all got the green light. Of the shows that debuted on Amazon’s Prime streaming service during its most recent pilot season, only the Western drama Edge has yet to picked up for a full season. You can learn more about Amazon’s new shows here.
Kevin McCallister sure grew up with a chip on his shoulder. Macaulay Culkin stars in the debut episode of :DRYVRS, a new comedy web series from musician/actor Jack Dishel. In the short, Dishel and Culkin reimagine the adult version of the famed Home Alone protagonist as a grungy curmudgeon with some major anger issues. Culkin is nigh unrecognizable, sporting long hair and a scraggly beard. (At least he doesn’t have to feel the sting of that aftershave anymore.) Alas, this publication doesn’t make a habit of linking to profanity-laden content – but you can easily find it on Dishel’s newly-launched YouTube channel.
Music video-oriented platform Vevo has launched its new Roku app. The new app places a strong emphasis on curated playlists. About a month ago, Vevo also released its revamped iOS app.
Viki, the Singapore-based streaming service with a focus on international content, will launch a content service for Chinese audiences this week. The service will feature hundreds of films from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, available through mobile apps, and through Viki’s website, in both Cantonese and Mandarin. Meanwhile, Viki has also partnered with the smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi in order to optimize integration of the Chinese streaming site on the Xiaomi mobile browser, as well as to make Viki’s licensed content available in numerous locations, including Hong Kong, India, Brazil, and Indonesia.
Video ad tech company firm Genesis Media announced Content Channels, its newest offering. According to the company, the product uses algorithms to allow marketers to target consumers through the content that they’re most engaged with at a given moment, thereby increasing viewability. “We’re placing video advertising within editorial and photo environments. Because of that, we have the ability to read very unique sets of data,” said Mark Yackanich, CEO of Genesis Media, in a phone call with Cynopsis Digital. “We can at look at attention data, and we can understand an individual URL and how it’s performing in terms of advertising, and which format is the right one.”
Last week, the European Union moved forward with major legal changes to its data protection laws, forcing companies ranging from Google to Netflix to share data with consumers how their data is collected and processed. The regulations will also codify the “right to be forgotten” – i.e., consumers’ rights to petition companies to delete data. The regulations cover all 28 EU member states. The VideoInk partner Branded.tv has a useful rundown of how the new laws might affect branded content trends, ranging from data-based consumer targeting to purchasing trends. Check it out here.
This just in: Facebook and YouTube are popular. According to year-end research from Nielsen, Facebook was the most popular mobile app of 2015, and it wasn’t particularly close. The social network’s app garnered about 126 million unique users, an 8% year-over-year increase from 2014. YouTube’s mobile app came in second, with about 97 million unique users, a 5% YOY increase over 2014. Facebook Messenger clocked in at number with about 96 million unique users, a 31% (!!!!) YOY increase. You can find the full list here.
As it gears up to launch its new SVOD service, the MCN Fullscreen has announced a trio of executive hires. Martin Keely (previously of MLB Advanced Media) will serve as General Manager of the new service. Randy Ahn (previously a product exec at Microsoft’s now-defunct Xbox Entertainment Studios) will serve as the service’s SVP of Product Strategy. And Trent Good (a veteran of both Netflix and Hulu) will serve as the service’s SVP of Design.
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