Good morning, it's Tuesday, February 15, 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.
After announcing its new arrangement with Nokia, Microsoft unveiled a number of new features coming to the Windows Phone 7 platform later this year that will include copy and paste functionality (the lack of which was a major knock on the initial version) Twitter integration with its address book, improved multitasking and support for Office docs in the cloud. Meanwhile Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft employee and the first foreigner to lead the Finnish company, is facing sharp criticism (and a precipitously drop in stock price) for tying the company's smartphone fortunes to Microsoft, despite the deal's short-term economic benefits. (Like Google, Microsoft will play a fee to get its platform on each Nokia device.) Nokia has struck out so far in the smartphone race, losing more than 10% market share to fall below 30% globally during Q4 2010.
Conde Nast is preparing Android versions of The New Yorker and Wired for release later this spring. The e-magazines will be designed for the Motorola Xoom, designed to run on Android's Honeycomb operating system and scheduled to go on sale on Feb. 24. Both magazines are already available for the iPad but Apple does not permit publishers to bundle digital and print subscriptions.
Social gaming giant Zynga is seeking about $250 million in new funding in a deal that would value the start-up at between $7 billion and $9 billion, reports the WSJ. The company's valuation was pegged at $4 billion when it issued new stock last April.
Following its recent purchase of the recommendation engine Surphace from AOL last month, content discovery platform Outbrain announced a third round of $11 million in funding from investors including Carmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Funds, GlenRock Israel, Rhodium and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company provides related links widgets utilized by a number of online publishers including USA Today, iVillage, The LA Times and Slate.
Programming guide and metadata specialist Rovi Corp. is announcing a deal with shopping monetization company Delivery Agent to launch a new contextual commerce application to be served up within Rovi electronic guides and in a few months, internet-connected televisions and Blu-ray players. (Rovi completed an integration deal with Samsung and is currently in talks with other CE manufacturers.) T-shirts, bobbleheads or advertiser-sponsored merchandise will be promoted through click-on banners and contextual ads that show up next to their related programs and consumers who click using their remote will be driven to online storefronts to complete the transaction using Delivery Agent's TV Wallet solution.
Video ad network Tremor Media officially announced the acquisition of mobile video ad platform Transpera for an undisclosed amount, as first reported by TechCrunch earlier this month. The deal will enable Tremor to package ad placements across both online and mobile platforms.
Brand-oriented mobile ad network Greystripe has spread its wings to European markets, announcing new partnerships with a number of Europe-based ad networks including Hi-media Advertising, madvertise and Mobile Ventures.
Satellite operator EchoStar Corp. announced it is purchasing satellite internet services provider Hughes Communications in a bid to improve data and video transport capabilities over its network. The deal is valued at $2 billion including the assumption of over $600k in debt, which EchoStar will refinance. The purchase, expected to close later this year, comes a month after EchoStar acquired the assets of adaptive streaming specialist Move Networks.
Sorenson Media and Kulabyte have partnered to create a cloud-based live video encoding solution which provides the ability to seamlessly connect VOD encoding of live streams entirely using scalable servers and software. The "Squeeze Live" system begins with an onsite encoder before being sent to the cloud for encoding in real time into multiple formats and bit rates, optimized for playback on TV, PCs or on a broad range of mobile devices.
Envivio is introducing the third generation of its 4Caster C4 live encoder/transcoder for Mobile TV, Internet TV and IPTV services this week at Mobile World Congress. The update nearly doubles the unit's processing power and is capable of supporting twice the HD channel density of its predecessor.
Online video viewing continues to rise dramatically in the U.S. as total streams increased by 31.5% and time spent viewing increased by 45% in Jan. from a year ago, according to Nielsen, whose new rankings placed DVD rental/movie streaming service Netflix in its top 10 for the first time. Netflix attracted 7.3 million video streamers in Jan., up 15% from the previous month, and ranked #5 it terms of total streams delivered for the month. Hulu saw its monthly audience decline for the first time, but increased its total streams by 3.3% to 813 million for the month.
Top Online Video Brands by Unique Viewers (January 2011, U.S.)
Video Brand Unique Viewers (000) MOM % Change in Viewers
YouTube 112,764 -0.8%
Facebook 32,328 2.0%
VEVO 32,230 N/A
Yahoo! 25,511 2.5%
MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 17,285 26.1%
Hulu 11,924 -4.9%
CollegeHumor Network 10,020 -2.4%
AOL Media Network 9,236 -4.5%
Fox Interactive Media 7,597 1.6%
Netflix 7,394 15.6%
Source: The Nielsen Company
Top Online Video Brands by Total Streams (000) (January 2011, U.S.)
Video Brand Total Streams (000) MOM % Change in Streams
YouTube 8,460,419 -2.6%
Hulu 813,169 3.3%
VEVO 346,764 N/A
MSN/WindowsLive/Bing 246,675 36.3%
Netflix 200,223 37.5%
Yahoo! 186,606 7.6%
Facebook 159,075 -1.5%
Nickelodeon Family & Parent 136,555 7.4%
Megavideo 135,925 4.2%
MTV Networks Music 133,535 79.1%
Source: The Nielsen Company
The percentage of US audiences who watch professionally-produced TV shows online is expected to double from '09 levels by 2015 as consumers "edge closer" to going over-the-top to rely on the internet for their multichannel programming, according to a new eMarketer report. In 2011 69.4 million adults will watch TV shows at least once a month through some type of internet connection, (connected TV set, computer screen or mobile device.) That number will approach 100 million adults, or 48% of all adult internet users, by 2015.
More than one third of U.S.-based physicians are now using online social networks for professional purposes, according to Kantar Media research. Doctors using such tools log onto their network sites an average of 230 times/year.
The Sony Ericsson joint venture unveiled a new phone/gaming hybrid device due out in March in select markets that adds calling to the PlayStation Portable. The Android Gingerbread-powered "Xperia Play," named after its newest line of smartphones, will feature a 4" touchscreen, a 5 megapixel camera and will be powered by a 1Ghz Snapdragon processor capable of 60 frames/second 3D mobile playback. Game titles that have already committed to the Xperia Play include EA's The Sims 3, FIFA 10, GLU Mobile/Activision's Guitar Hero and Gameloft's Assassin's Creed.
The Weather Channel has updated its free ad supported app for Android to include several new features including voice-powered search, type-ahead functionality and an all-new navigation bar along the bottom of the screen providing one-click access to saved locations, current conditions, forecasts, maps, video and settings.
Earth Networks' WeatherBug is out if front with a new mobile app optimized for the Android Honeycomb OS, including better graphics, HD quality video and a newly redesigned interface. The new app also includes an in-device barometer measuring atmospheric pressure.
Discovery has teamed with Hive Media to launch a new Facebook Game around The Deadliest Catch, placing users in their own crab boat in the Bering Sea.
Mobile check-in service Foursquare, which says its English version is already being used in 200 countries, has now been translated into 5 new languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian and Japanese. (To change your language, simply update the default language in your iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phone settings.) The service, which rewards users with badges, insider knowledge and location-powered deals, turned the corner in 2010 from a fad to a media-powered phenomenon, thanks in part to huge support from cable networks. (MTV, Bravo and History are the three most popular Foursquare brand pages with over 100k followers each.) Co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley shared some impressive up-to-date stats during his Mobile World Congress keynote yesterday: Foursquare now has 6.5 million users who perform 2 million checks per day. The service grew by over 3400% last year. The biggest Foursquare event to date? The Comedy Central Rally To Restore Sanity in Washington D.C. last Oct., attracting 30.5k on the spot check-ins.
Later - Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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JOB OPENING: PROJECT MANAGER/CORP SIZZLES, NIC CREATIVE ADV/Nickelodeon/NYC: 4+yrs Proj/Prod Mgmt exp in video production, Strng Org & Negotiating skills, TV spot prod exp EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply www.mtvnetworkscareers.com (2/22)
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JOB OPENING: VP DEVELOPMENT/LA based production company specializing in unscripted programming. Great opportunity w/ competitive salary. VP req's 3+yrs exp. Res. and or bio with references: to RealityTV2012@gmail.com (2/16)
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SPRING/SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY. START ASAP: RESEARCH INTERNS/TWO CATS PRODUCTIONS/NYC: Interns wanted to research and develop new TV show ideas. Please send resumes email@example.com (2/22)
SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN/Lunchbox Advertising/Culver City: Asst. Social Media Dept with all activities; hands-on w/ non-trad. agency; credit only; Inquire & apply to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check us out at www.lbox.com (2/16)
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