Good morning. It's Thursday, January 26, 2012, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis editions online, click here.
Netflix posted slight improvements in the 4Q 2011 over 3Q 2011. Yesterday evening, company reported fourth quarter earnings of $0.73 per share, revenue of $876 million and a profit of $52 million. For comparison, Wall Street was predicting Netflix's earnings to be around $0.54 a share and revenue of $857 million. Netflix's subscriber numbers, which took a serious hit in the 3Q of 2011 as a result of several well-publicized missteps, also showed slight gains. The company ended 2011 with 24.4 million U.S. subscribers, up from the 23.79 million at the end of 3Q 2011. However, Netflix stresses that it expects to not turn a profit in 2012 as a result of expansion costs and diminishing revenue from its DVD service. The company also acknowledged a rumor, which aligns with a story the New York Post reported yesterday, that Amazon is considering offering Amazon Prime as a standalone streaming service, at a cheaper rate than Netflix.
SquareTrade, a privately-held company that provides extended warranties for consumer electronics and appliances, which customers can directly purchase via its website or through more than 30 retailers and marketplaces, has secured a $238 million growth equity investment from Bain Capital. SquareTrade says last year was a very successful for the company, reporting that it witnessed sales numbers triple year-over-year in 2011. SquareTrade also expects "triple-digit revenue growth" in 2012. The investment from Bain Capital, a Boston-based private equity firm co-founded by Mitt Romney, is being made jointly by the firm's private equity and venture capital affiliates. Other terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Chevrolet is using mobile to reward users who watch the Super Bowl. The automaker has released a mobile app (Chevy Game Time) for the iOS and Android operating systems that lets fans answer trivia questions and polls in exchange for a shot at winning some prizes, including 20 new Chevy cars. First, users are automatically entered to win a Chevy Camaro convertible by simply registering on the app after it has been downloaded. They are also provided a unique "license plate number." If a user sees his or her number on one of the Chevy ads during the Super Bowl, they win that featured car. Additional rewards offered on the app include promotions and deals from companies like Papa John's, Motorola and Bridgestone. The app is free to download.
Bank of America will begin offering a deals service for its customers via its online banking website, according to Reuters. BankAmeriDeals will use data the bank has on customer spending habits to deliver offers from retailers and other program partners. The bank said that it will not share this data with third parties. When customers log-in to the bank's site, they will see discount offers embedded in their statement. If elected, customers will pay the full amount for their purchase, but will then receive a cash credit of their total monthly savings at the beginning of the next month. Customers will also have the option of being notified of new deals, how much they have saved or opting out of the program. The bank is initially rolling out the new service to its employees. Reuters says, at the moment there is no timeframe for when the service will be available for customers.
33Across, a social ad technology start-up, has acquired Tynt Multimedia, a provider of tools for publishers to track their content when it is copied and pasted by users on the web. In this way, Tynt tries to help publishers understand what users are interested in and sharing. Tynt's publisher analytics tools cover more than 500,000 websites, who can now use these tools within 33Across' Brand Graph, a platform which plots the social habits (anonymously, says 33Across) of a brand's customers against 33Across' 200+ million U.S.-user social graph. Through this, 33Across will enable publishers and advertisers to better understand audiences' social activities, interests and loyalty around their brands. All of Tynt's employees will be moving to 33Across as part of the deal.
A report from Needham & Co. analyst Laura Martin says that TV Everywhere, as it continues to roll out over the next three-to-five years, could create $12 billion in annual revenue for the TV industry. "These dollars dwarf any near-term revenue streams from digital platforms (Hulu, YouTube, etc.)," says Martin. She also notes that these dollars are "low-risk," as TV Everywhere services create "additional revenue rather than economic cannibalization." In addition, for content owners, advertising could play the biggest role in their revenue stream, as Martin reports that advertising brings in up to $10 billion a year, or 12% of their total revenue. For pay-TV operators, TV Everywhere could add almost $1.7 billion of revenue per year. Overall, Martin indicates that this forecast means $24-48 billion in market value could be added to the U.S. TV ecosystem.
New NPD In-Stat research predicts that the installed base of connected devices will grow from 256.8 million units in 2011 to 1.34 billion units in 2016. The expected growth will be driven by the success of digital TVs, satellite set-top boxes, video game consoles and Blu-ray disc players and recorders. "Consumer electronics is no longer about 'dumb' devices that exist at the edge of a network to provide specific functions, but rather about 'intelligent' devices at the edge of the network that can connect consumers to new stores of content and engage them in new digital experiences," said Norm Bogen, VP of research at NPD In-Stat. The research covers six different regions: North America, Caribbean and Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, which, incidentally, is expected to account for 37.1% of CE devices shipped worldwide over the forecast period.
Google has released the results of a study, commissioned by Google and conducted by research firm Ipsos MediaCT, regarding mobile internet and smartphone usage in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Japan. The most interesting stat: More consumers in the aforementioned countries use a mobile phone than a computer. The study was conducted in two phases, the first in January and February of 2011, the second in September and October of 2011 (as in, it does not take into account the most recent holiday data). The report also took a gander at mobile device penetration and usage in each country. Some interesting findings on this end include:
TourWrist allows users to create virtual tours by capturing and sharing location-tagged panoramic photos. The company likens its platform to YouTube in the sense that it wants to be a one-stop location for shooting and sharing photos across numerous 360-degree photography apps. To that end, the company has announced that consumers can capture and share an unlimited number of panoramic images via the TourWrist iOS app. Furthermore, the company will soon unveil an upload feature within its iOS app that will give iPhone users a choice of 20+ panoramic photography apps with the ability to publish an unlimited number of their pictures to TourWrist. Developers can integrate the free Publish to TourWrist API into their 360-degree camera apps. For an example of TourWrist's capabilities, here it is in use with Ryan Seacrest at the 2012 Golden Globes.
AdoTube has hired Thomas MacLean to be Vice President of Sales, Detroit. The in-stream video advertising tech company opened its Detroit office, which will now be led by MacLean, to meet the growing demand for online video advertising from the automotive industry. MacLean brings 20+ years of experience in digital and traditional ad sales within the Detroit area, as he as previously worked with leading automotive brands such as Ford, GM and Chrysler. He will report to T.J. Sullivan, SVP of sales. In addition, AdoTube also announced the appointment of two new Account Executives in the New York (Bia Parrente from Fox News Digital) and Chicago (Carter Wall from Cramer-Kasselt) offices, respectively.
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The CINE Golden Eagle Competition has launched an Original Digital division. CINE is accepting submissions for series or one-offs specifically created for the digital medium. The division is broken down by five categories: Reality, Documentary, Comedy, Drama and Animation. "As CINE has since its inception, we're evolving to keep pace with innovation in the industry," said CINE board president Rita Mullin. Entrants can submit their work to be judged by a jury of their peers. All entries are due by March 1; however, a discount is offered to those who submit before the early deadline on February 15. More information on how to submit a work, as well as general info on the competition and CINE can be found here.
Later - Sahil
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