04/02/14: DirecTV creates a new sport


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, April 2, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


While rumors are fluttering about DirecTV and Dish possibly joining forces, the former has gone ahead and created a whole new sport. Big Knockout Boxing, which has just been sanctioned by the state of Nevada, is a combat sport that features competitors facing off in an area called The Pit for shorter rounds than conventional boxing, with rewards given for more aggressive fighting. DirecTV is planning Big Knockout events this year and next, and it may even build its own venue, The Street reports. 

Nicole Richie, who once costarred with Paris Hilton in The Simple Life, is returning to TV, thanks to her work on the Web. Richie’s series on AOL, Candidly Nicole, is being picked up by VH1 and will have eight new half-hour shows that debut July 17. According to the Associated Press, Richie’s AOL series sprung up from her many Twitter dispatches.

Yahoo is moving hard to building itself up as go-to video site. Yesterday, it was reportedly looking to poach YouTube stars. Today, talk is that Yahoo is moving toward paying up to $300 million to purchase online video service News Distribution Service, according to the Wall Street Journal. NDN is currently one rank higher than Yahoo on the list of sites with most video views: NDN sits at fourth with 573 million, while Yahoo has 384 million. NDN’s clips are seen on such sites as the Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, and Bloomberg.

… In other Yahoo news, next week’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act will be marked by a Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library. Yahoo’s Katie Couric will be there to interview Johnson’s daughters, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, about their father’s legacy and the state of equality today. That interview will air Monday, April 7. Yahoo is making sure to capitalize on user-generated content by asking viewers to submit questions, photos, and videos about civil rights to Couric’s Tumblr page.

Hunting and fishing channel provider Pursuit TV, which launched in 2008, has selected Vidillion to distribute and monetize its content in HD to Internet-connected devices. Pursuit is the only outdoor network delivered on Dish and DirecTV’s basic packages.

Scripps Networks Interactive has announced five new series to air this spring on ulive.com, including the second season of Handy Ma’am, TV Wedding, and Emily Henderson is Pregnant, which have launched, as well as Secrets of a Super Aunt and GENeration, which will debut in May.

Blue Ant Media is expanding its digital video network through an investment in Omnia Media, the third-largest music-focused network on YouTube. This will combine Blue Ant’s sales, content creation, broadcast and distribution expertise with Omnia’s growing roster of more than 650 musical artists and gamers.

Cynopsis Media turns 17 this week, so celebrate with us by taking our What’s Your Favorite Birthday Dessert? poll: http://www.cynopsis.com/snap-app-contest/ One lucky reader will win a $25 Crumbs Bake Shop eCard: the winner will be announced on Monday, April 7th. Deadline to submit is this Friday, April 4th.


Aereo‘s launch in 11 Wisconsin counties has been delayed due to the coming Supreme Court case scheduled for later this month. "Unfortunately, we do not yet have a date for Madison, but we expect to complete our phase one expansion (of which Madison was a part) by the year’s end," spokeswoman Virginia Lam told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The delay could be for as long as nine months or forever, depending on the High Court’s ruling, which won’t be released till the summer.

DirecTV is all for the FCC’s vote to restrict broadcasters from jointly negotiating retransmission consent in local markets. "The FCC’s decision today is a win for consumers," the company said in a release. "By restricting broadcasters’ ability to collude in retransmission consent negotiations, the FCC took an important first step to protect consumers from local channel blackouts and higher prices. DirecTV appreciates the FCC’s efforts and hopes to work together for additional reform in the near future."

ABC NewsFacebook page has added two million likes in the past 365 days. The organization passed the 3 million likes marker on Tuesday; it had one million only a year earlier.

Rdio and Sony’s Crackle have added support for Google’s Chromecast dongle so subscribers can stream music and movies directly to their TVs. The feature functions across Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Chrome for Mac, and Chrome for Windows.


Just Announced…

Cynopsis Digital VC Roundtable
Thursday, May 1, 2014 | 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM | Hosted at Shareablee

Presenting at the Digital Investors’ roundtable:
Kiran Hebbar, General Partner {Valhalla Partners}
Alex Iskold, Managing Director {Techstars}
Rick Heitzmann, Managing Director {FirstMark Capital}
Joy Marcus, Venture Partner {Gotham Ventures} & CEO {Bloglovin}

Registration: Pete Romas, 203.899.8483 | Sponsorships: Mike Farina, 203.218.6480


Ebuzzing, a provider of technology-driven video advertising solutions and Teads, a video ad management supply side platform, have merged to become Ebuzzing and Teads, according to Portada. The new company plans to be a global leader in online advertising through video and expects to generate $100 million this year and go public in 2015.

SpotGenie Partners, LLC has completed the integration between its ad management and delivery program and Ad-ID, the ad coding system authorized and supported by the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers, Inc.


Verizon has a new DVR coming out for its FIOS system which lets users record up to 12 channels at once. The basic VMS1100 has six tuners, a 1TB hard drive, and can feed up to 10 TVs simultaneously, according to Gizmodo; it is currently available in parts of New York, New Jersey, California, and Pennsylvania. One neat trick: Viewers can pause a show in one room and start it up again in another on another TV.

Comcast has introduced a new DVR in the Philadelphia area that allows consumers to download shows from their home DVRs onto their mobile devices, CBS reports. Consumers will be able to put up to 10 programs at once on an iPad, an Android handheld, and other similar devices.


YouTube has gathered a slew of information from its content creators to help brands use digital video more effectively. On Monday, Suzie Reider, Google‘s managing director of brand solutions, spoke to advertisers and brand marketers at the ANA Media Leadership Conference, Search Engine Watch reports. Reider introduced them to the 100-page YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands, which shares tools and strategies to help brands develop strong content strategies. The Playbook’s seven sections provide different strategies to help build audience engagement on YouTube.


Vevo viewership went up exponentially last year over the year prior. According to the company’s CEO, Rio Caraeff, Vevo users watched 55 billion music videos on Vevo, a 33 percent uptick from 2012. The Miley Cyrus video for "Wrecking Ball" alone racked up 371 million views worldwide in 2013. The New York Post reports that Nielsen figures show that young people have been falling off the traditional TV rolls: Last year’s final quarter saw 18- to 24-year-olds watching 22 hours and 27 minutes of television each week, down three hours from just two years ago.

Video content that runs for 10 minutes or longer dominates consumer viewing around the world when it comes to checking out video on devices, according to a new report from Ooyala. The firm’s Global Video Index Q4 2013 shows that:

  • Watching content for longer than 10 minutes: 61% for desktop video viewing, 60% for tablets, 75% for mobile, and 81% for connected televisions.
  • Watching content for longer than 30 minutes: 34% for desktop video viewing, 36% for tablets, 53% for mobile, and 63% for connected TVs.

A different study, from Conviva, also opens a window into how consumers are consuming video. The 2014 Viewer Experience Report, based on the analysis of 45 billion video streams across more than 1.6 billion individual devices, discovered that around 27% of online video views experience buffering, 43% have low-resolution, and around 5% never start to play. Video buffering has gone down from 39.3% two years ago. Other findings included:

  • Viewing time for live-action TV drops from 40+ minutes in HD to just one minute if the viewer encounters buffering.
  • The number of concurrent streaming devices has jumped by 28% year-over-year.
  • Mobile devices are preferred from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., representing 6.9% of all video streamed per day, while the PC dominates the period from noon to 4 p.m., representing 16.3% of the day’s streaming. TV dominates prime time, representing 36.6% of all video streamed per day.

The sports-video site Whistle Network launched on Dec. 31 last year and is up to more than 400 million total views and expects to break 425 million this week. "The numbers reflect a real appetite for compelling sports content on digital platforms, which we and our growing number of channel partners are committed to delivering," said Julie Kikla, Head of Content Partnerships for The Whistle, in a company release.


Two-year-old mobile app Viggle, which rewards viewers for watching television and pulled in $17 million last year, was on track to make an initial public offering, but has now withdrawn its plans, according to Nasdaq.com. The withdrawal comes because of "a letter it received from the SEC on February 5," the site notes.

Google is going out of its way to support Korean game developers and the fact that the country is one of the top five markets for Google Play is surely part of the reason. "The number of Android device subscriptions worldwide has already exceeded 1 billion, and the daily number is more than 1.5 million," Chris Yerga, engineering director for Android at Google, said via video conference at a press event in Korea, according to Business Korea. "Three out of four Android device owners play games… There are a lot of game developers in Korea that have competitive advantages on an international scale. A series of success cases utilizing Google Play have been reported."

San Francisco-based social and mobile game monetization specialist SuperRewards is now allowing users to buy in-game virtual currencies with bitcoin, according to CoinDesk.com. "We’ve had a bunch of emails in our support queue asking when we were going to accept bitcoin," SuperRewards co-founder Lyal Avery told the site. "It’s something we want to be ahead of the curve on."


Yieldex, a provider of inventory and revenue management solutions for digital publishers, has named Ben Kneen to the new position of Director, Client Success. Kneen has previously worked at WebMD and PayPal.

Vimeo has added Sam Toles as vice president of content acquisition and business development. Toles has previously worked with Warner Brothers, New Line Cinema, and GaiamTV.



In celebration of Cynopsis Media’s 17th birthday (TODAY) tell us what is your favorite Birthday dessert & you could win a prize.

One participant will win a $25 Crumbs Bake Shop gift card + the winner will be announced on Monday, April 7th.



April Fool’s Day may be over, but the one of the Lords of Ludicrousness will continue his celebration into today. When Barret Eugene Hansen was born in Minneapolis 73 years ago today, his parents surely couldn’t have predicted that he would someday become Dr. Demento, the nutcase responsible for spreading the joy of novelty tunes such as Weird Al Yankovic’s "Eat It," Sheb Wooley’s "The Purple People Eater," and Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers’ "Monster Mash" across the land. 


2014 NewFronts Special eReports

NewFronts Preview [4/24] We’ll review the past few NewFronts and talk to Digital Publishers, Programmers & Agencies/Brands to find out what worked, what didn’t, and what are the 2014 expectations.

NewFronts Wrap-up [5/9] We’ll take a look at all of the breaking news that came out this year, as well as all of the highlights + new buying strategies that were presented.

Ad space is limited, contact Mike Farina (203.218.6480) to reserve your spot!

See you tomorrow,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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JOB OPENING: AFFIL MKTG MGR/Asia TV USA/NYC: 3-5 yrs Affiliate Mktg Exp at a cable network/MVPD. Understanding of the dvlpmnt & implementation of campaigns that drive subscriptions. Premium Network exp a + Resume to: careers@asiatvusa.com (4/9)

JOB OPENING: CORP COMMS SPECIALIST/THE WEATHER COMPANY/NYC: Publicity for Weather Channel prog, digital cont, ad sales comm, int comm. Skilled w/Cision, TV Eyes, Meltwater News, intranet. 3 yrs exp. Apply: melissa.ngo@weather.com (4/9)

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JOB OPENING: VP INSIGHTS & INNOVATION/THE WEATHER CHANNEL/NY: Min 8 yrs in media research, exp in mnging large initiatives with proven ROI & provide cross-platform research leadership for sales team.Resume to: ronnie.battle@weather.com (4/4)

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