Good morning, it's Friday, February 4, 2011, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
Two of Comedy Central's signature shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, have returned to Hulu nearly a year after being pulled from the site by Viacom. A total of 2,000 episodes of current and classic MTV, BET and VH1 shows such as Jersey Shore and Hot In Cleveland and are also part of the new agreement, but only on the steadily growing $7.99/mo. Hulu Plus service and only 21 days after they initially air. (Hulu Plus is on track to surpass 1 million subscribers this year, according to Hulu CEO Jason Kilar.) The deal outlines yet another window for digitally distributed shows, giving Viacom a full three weeks to extract value from its content before squeezing a bit more from the ads and subscription revenue on Hulu.
Apple's new exclusive agreement with News Corp. to distribute The Daily on the iPad is indicative of the company's plan to leverage its position as the top tablet provider (14.8 million iPads sold to date) to exert control over the nascent e-publishing market, notes the WSJ. Apple, which has built a new content delivery and billing system to handle subscription-based titles, keeps 30% of the revenue from paid content titles and has moved to reject apps that try to circumnavigate Apple's distribution system by directing users to a browser. The App Store generated over $1 billion in revenue in 2010, according to a Gleacher & Co. estimate.
Hulu CEO Jason Kilar outlined his perspective on where TV consumption is headed in a blog post that warns of shifting consumer demands and eroding profit margins. His points involve:
Mr. Kilar also argues that through innovation, Hulu will be able to pay content owners more ad revenue than any other platform. According to data pulled from Media Dynamics and Nielsen, the service's compound annual growth rate since 2008 is 81%, with each half hour episode generating $.143 in revenue in 2010, second only to broadcast last year, which netted $.216/half hour.
Virgin Mobile USA has struck a 2-year alliance with indie film studio Relativity Media to offer subscribers exclusive access to music and film content. The studio will provide extras such as a live exclusive interview with James Cameron ("Sanctum") through the Virgin Mobile Live page on Facebook.
Latino content distributor Maya Entertainment launched a Maya-branded transactional video-on-demand folder in Time Warner Cable systems, increasing its VOD distribution to over 50 million homes.
LiveU, maker of live mobile broadcasting uplink backpacks preferred by video bloggers and online publishers, reports spotting higher echelon media outlets using its gear at the Superbowl this week to help broadcast interviews and party happenings from Dallas. New clients include CBS, TMZ, the NFL Network and local Dallas TV stations.
Content recommendation engine Outbrain has acquired the Surphace technology and other assets (formerly known as Sphere) from AOL for undisclosed compensation. Outbrain, which provides publishers with software that recommends content links to help increase traffic and revenue, will gain several new partners as part of the integration including AllThingsD, AOL, Lonely Planet, Los Angeles Times, Billboard and WordPress.com.
Web portal Yahoo's research branch Yahoo Labs has added a group focused on analyzing the effectiveness of digital advertising products. Yahoo AdLabs also released its first study of online advertising in the retail industry, finding that Hyperlocal targeting of retail display campaigns generated more than five times return-on-ad-spend, measured by sales lift at the retailer. Customers who live within two miles of one of the retailer's stores represented 10.6% of the audience seeing the ads, but generated 56% of the revenue.
Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced legislation that would authorize the President to shut down the internet (like the Egyptian government did last week) to protect the U.S. from "cyber attacks." The President must notify Congress of his intention to do so, and the emergency measures cannot be continued beyond 120 days without congressional approval.
Video technology provider FreeWheel launched its second video services product - a Revenue & Payments Management (RPM) tool to reduce invoicing and accounting costs for syndicators of online content. Partner Contract Management and Advertiser Contract Management (coming in mid-2011) components combine contract and order management with invoicing and payables for professional content.
TV listings and commentary site SideReel has launched an iPhone app allowing you to track your favorite shows, schedule push notifications before they air and cross off episodes you've seen to avoid repeat viewing.
A new free iPhone app from Univision Interactive Media provides real-time scores, stats and news from soccer matches with plans to add coverage from NBA, MLB and NFL matches. Soccer leagues covered by the Univision Marcador app include English Premier League, Italy's Serie A, the Mexican Soccer League, Spanish La Liga, and the UEFA Champions League.
As part of the Outbrain's acquisition of the company, Surphace CEO Josh Guttman will be joining the NYC-based Outbrain team as SVP and will head Outbrain's strategic platform integrations.
Social media marketing firm TBG Digital named Chris Phenner and Michael Lee to its Sales team. Chris, former head of biz dev for Thumbplay, will serve as VP/Business Development for the East Coast out of New York and Michael, formerly of Yahoo, will hold the same post for the Midwest, based in Chicago.
Facebook management system Buddy Media made a quartet of new hires from Google, IAC & Collective: Jennifer Cooley joins as GM, Media Solutions; David Dowd will serve as GM, Lifestyle Sales; Jed Weitzman comes aboard as Director, Entertainment Sales; and Tami Dalley joins as Director, Analytics.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM BATTLE OF THE BANDS: ROCK THE DECADES
Conde Nast's social news site Reddit celebrated a major milestone this week, reaching 100 billion pageviews in a single month, according to Google Analytics, putting it in the top 100 websites on the web in that category. The Spartan-looking Reddit, which relies on "redditors" to post interesting submissions which move up in the rankings as they achieve "up" votes over "down" votes, grew like gangbusters in 2010 - more than doubling its 429 million page views from June/July. Its success should be viewed as a cautionary tale regarding the irrational exuberance sometimes heaped upon hot web sites. Reddit's newfound success is directly related to the problems experienced at rival Digg after it released its v4 update, which focused on a more "customized" news line up ranked according to the opinions of social networking friends, celebrities and paying brands. Many Digg users freaked and fled or used the site to post Reddit stories. The desires of the crowd can be fickle and when they turn they can turn on a dime.
Later - Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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JOB OPENING: PRODUCT DEVELOPER/Nickelodeon/NYC: 3+ yr exp. Must have built interactive digital products. Acting knowledge of presentation layer technologies. Creativity and desire to innovate. Apply www.mtvnetworkscareers.com (2/11)
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