Good morning. It's Wednesday, March 21, 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.
Digital Broadcasting Group (DBG) is the latest digital content provider to enter its name in the upcoming Digital Content NewFronts. DBG will showcase a new slate of original web programming and content solutions as part of its NewFronts presentation on April 23 in New York City. It will join founding partners, Yahoo!, AOL, Google/YouTube, Hulu, Microsoft and Digitas, as well as NBCUniversal, which also recently announced its intentions to participate in the event. The DCNF is designed to shape a new and practical marketplace that connects digital content with brand marketers and their media/marketing agencies.
Time Warner Cable has added 26 live local channels in New York City to its TWC TV app for iOS, as well as TWCTV.com. Available broadcast networks for in-home viewing via the mobile and web offerings include CBS, NBC, FOX, Univision and Telemundo. The cable company says that it is working to bring local channels to a few more markets by the end of 2012.
Weather Central, Adpay and Inergize Digital have announced 22 new licensing deals with media companies for the News Synergy app that distributes locally branded content to mobile devices. The 22 new media clients have or will soon launch mobile apps for 37 television, newspaper and magazine properties. Overall, 258 News Synergy mobile apps are now available in both the Apple App Store and Android Market. The mobile distribution solution uses a locally branded interface to distribute news, weather, sports, politics, entertainment, classifieds, photos, videos and more. For clients, it also offers popular mobile functionalities such as user-generated content, geo-local advertising and complete monetization and social sharing. The announcement was made at the Borrell Local Online Advertising Conference in New York City.
ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager is coming to DVD via Amazon's CreateSpace on Demand service, per a new deal between the network and CreateSpace. The three-disc set featuring 13 episodes from the first half of the series' fourth season are immediately accessible at Amazon.com, and in advance of the March 26 premiere of new episodes. This seventh volume, as well as prior seasons of the show, is also available on Prime Instant Video. Titles available on CreateSpace are only manufactured in response to customer demand.
Venmo, a social mobile payments platform, has come out from behind an "invitation-only" wall and opened up to the general public. The platform was built two years ago to create a digital service that would facilitate the exchange of money between friends, and in doing so, make the experience more enjoyable and social as users can plan, share, comment on and relive the times spent with their friends. Venmo says the platform "currently process millions in social payments per month." Over the past two years, it has received investment from the likes of Accel, RRE, Greycroft and Lerer Ventures.
AOL has announced the beta launch of its AdLearn Open Platform (AOP), an extension of Advertising.com's current AdLearn technology that will allow clients to manage, optimize and analyze online marketing campaigns from one central platform. AOL says the platform provides marketers with complete access to AdLearn's optimization technology, RTB capabilities and massive reach. Clients will also have bidded access to AOL, The Huffington Post and Advertising.com network inventory, as well as the inventory from the recently announced display ad agreement with Yahoo! and Microsoft. AOL is making AOP available as both a self-service and managed-service solution, with the former providing more control, transparency and immediate campaign management, and the latter offering expert advice and assistance from Advertising.com's analysts.
Twitter is expanding its Promoted Tweets offering on mobile, now enabling brands to target mobile users who share similar interests with the brand's existing followers. Another new targeting options in the rollout is the ability for brands to target their campaigns specifically to any type of device, including desktop computers and laptops, iOS devices, Android devices and other devices. The default setting targets users across all devices. In announcing the expansion, Twitter also notes that 55% of more its more than 100 million users access the micro-blogging site via a mobile device at least once every month.
blurbIQ, a video advertising solutions provider, has announced that mobile ad nework Mojiva is the first company to deploy blurbIQ's patent-pending cross-platform interactive video ad solution for mobile. Mojiva, which recently crossed the one billion threshold for unique devices reached globally, will have exclusive rights to offer blurbIQ's game mechanics technology to its client list. The technology from blurbIQ inserts a combination of polling, trivia and logic questions for consumers to answer as video streams, creating an unobtrusive environment for consumers to interact with the messaging. It can also recommend products based on consumer answers, as well as create immersive "choose your own adventure"-style video experiences.
ruwido, a provider of input devices such as remote controls and keyboards for interactive TV experiences on connected devices, has announced that it has enhanced its user behavior research technology with the opening of a new facility in Toulouse, France. The goal is to make content more "intuitively accessible," by focusing on research in new forms of interaction technologies, consumer behavior and the latest IPTV technology, which the company says will "strengthen [ruwido's] ability to develop devices and solutions that provide exactly what operators, and ultimately consumers, need in the home." ruwido currently provides solutions for numerous worldwide cable, satellite and IPTV providers, such as Deutsche Telekom, Canal+ and Swisscom.
Akamai Technologies has introduced the Aqua Mobile Accelerator, a new service designed to help online businesses provide an improved user experience for their mobile websites and applications. The Aqua Mobile Accelerator is built on the Akamai Intelligent Platform, which is a globally distributed cloud platform that pulls fresh content from web servers and mobile app data interfaces on to servers that are closer to the "gateway nodes" that serve as an on-ramp between the public web and private mobile carrier networks. New features on the Accelerator include Akamai Mobile Protocol, optimizes the delivery speed of data to users; and Mobile Detection & Redirect, which evaluates incoming HTTP requests to quickly determine whether it is coming from a mobile browser or desktop browser, thus enabling users to be more easily redirected to the appropriate mobile site for smartphones, tablets and other portable devices.
According to a new forecast from NPD In-Stat, 100 million households will actively use a "hybrid" service that combines the web and TV experiences delivered to their TV set by 2016. "The next step in the viewing experience will be for TV sets and set-top boxes to permit all of the traditional TV-related services, which is then expanded and enhanced by bringing in content from the internet, or from internet-like web services that provide a 'walled garden' of authorized content and on-screen features," said Gerry Kaufhold, Research Director. Alongside web-based content coming to TV screens, Kaufhold said that NPD In-Stat expects nearly 80 million households to be actively using TV apps from a service provider by 2016. Among the other findings:
The internet accounted for 4.7% of all U.S. economic activity in 2010, finds a new study from the Boston Consulting Group. For perspective, this was about the same percentage for which the U.S. federal government accounted. In terms of share of GDP, the U.S. was tied for fourth with Japan, while the U.K., South Korea and China all having larger internet economies in 2010. Looking ahead, the Boston Consulting Group expects the internet economy to grow more than 10% a year through 2016 in the G20 nations, while developing twice as fast in emerging markets, with Argentina and India expected to witness the fastest growth.
National Geographic magazine's digital edition for the iPad, which yesterday won the ASME Digital Ellie award for Tablet Edition, will place an emphasis on daily coverage this coming May. Aside from newsfeeds and a popular Photo Day of the Feature, the magazine will begin live coverage of an expedition to climb Mount Everest, which will be presented in the new Field Test Section in the form of Twitter feeds, photos, video and blog posts from the climbing team. This feature will begin on April 16 (when the May edition gets published) and will run through July. Before it received the aforementioned award, National Geographic unveiled a new standalone iOS app, National Geographic Adventure: Greatest Stories Ever Told, which pulls all sorts of content from the magazine's archives. The app will go on sale tomorrow, March 22.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Following in the footsteps of Louis C.K., stand-up comedian and (presumably) stand-up gentleman Aziz Ansari is also offering his next one-hour special directly through his website. Titled Dangerously Delicious, the special is available for $5, provided that you submit your email address (and valid payment info), after which it can be downloaded and/or streamed. If you haven't already rushed to grab it, and for some ridiculous reason are debating if you should purchase it, the site features a clip from the special and a personal message from Ansari to potentially make that decision easier. This now makes it three prominent comedians (Louis C.K., Jim Gaffigan and Ansari) who have or will be using the independent route to distribute their latest stand-up special. Give it a look if you're a fan of the man who breathes life into Tom Haverford.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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