Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 16, 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.
During its Upfront presentation, ESPN announced an agreement with Twitter through which the companies will launch interactive social campaigns tied to major sporting events. The first product of this collaboration, GameFace, focuses on the upcoming NBA Finals. Fans will be encouraged to tweet photos of their "game face," accompanied by the #GameFace hashtag, throughout the series. At the end of each game, ESPN's NBA Tonight analysts will highlight the best photos on-air. On Twitter, #GameFace will be given prime placement via the social network's Promoted Products suite, including a run as a Promoted Trend during the Finals. Once the NBA Finals are done, the winner of the competition will receive a tour of the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn. The entire effort will be promoted across Twitter, ESPN's TV networks, and ESPN and ABC's digital properties. A couple of other noteworthy items pertaining to ESPN and digital:
Telemundo Digital has launched the Telemundo Entertainment App, which features bilingual content from the network's CrossOver channel on Telemundo.com. Users can also access Telemundo's full programming schedule via the app, as well as designate programs and sections as favorites or set reminders for program airdates and airtimes. Other features include the ability to share content on Facebook and Twitter; receive breaking entertainment news alerts; and comment on articles, photos, and videos on the app.
In the lead-up to the launch of its new digital network, UVideos, Univision is hosting live chats featuring its personalities and celebrities through Facebook. When the digital network officially moves out of beta and launches later this summer, Univision says Facebook will be threaded throughout the UVideos experience so viewers can see what their friends are watching, follow Univision talent, access exclusive content, and interact with other users through the company's synced social stream.
Weekly online talk show What's Trending with Shira Lazar is airing its one-year anniversary episode today from Internet Week New York (IWNY). Hosted by Lazar, who along with the show recently received two Webby Award nominations and four IAWTV Awards, the show airs on Livestream, covering current trending topics and featuring interviews with celebrity guests. It is averaging over 100,000 video views per week (live and on-demand). The anniversary episode will bring on Deepak Chopra, Tumblr CEO David Karp, Reddit Founder and CEO Alexis Ohanian, and YouTube personalities Michael Buckley and Hannah Hart as guests. The live episode can be viewed on the IWNY Stage's live-stream beginning at noon ET.
Virgin.com has appointed content design and creation firm Somethin' Else to produce all video content for Virgin's online music service, Virgin Red Room, and manage Red Room's social media channels. Per the deal, Somethin' Else will release four pieces of music-based content per month, which will include artist performances and interviews with the likes of Santigold, Best Coast, The Wanted, and Fun.
At 7pm ET and again at 7pm PT tonight, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution will be streaming Casablanca on Facebook in the U.S., for free. Those who want to watch the film will have to begin doing so before 9pm PT; only one screening is permitted per Facebook account. The screening is timed with the release of the Casablanca 70th Anniversary Three-disc Blu-ray and DVD Combo Edition from Warner Home Video. This screening is also a part of a new digital publishing initiative dubbed "Inside the Script," which gives fans access to a series of eBooks that contain a film's shooting script and production materials from the Warner Bros. Corporate Archive, among other things. The first set of eBooks are based on film classics such as Casablanca, Ben-Hur, An American in Paris, and North by Northwest, and are currently available on iOS, Kindle, and Nook.
Internet Broadcasting (IB) is offering its clients a slew of new HTML5-based ad products for mobile advertising. The products include Leaderboards, Medium Rectangles, Animated Banners, Expanding Rich-Media, In-Ad Video, Lead-Generation Forms, and Image Galleries, enabling users to click-to-call, swipe, erase, watch video, complete puzzles, link to websites, and enter text. The products are powered by Celtra, a provider of rich-media digital ad technology. HTML5-based ad formats create a "Flash-like" user interface on mobile devices, including those running on iOS and some running on Android. The IB Digital Agency says it handles around 25,000 campaigns annually.
Hillcrest Labs has released the source code for the Kylo web browser to the open source community. Kylo is a free, Mozilla-based browser designed for connected TVs. The browser is compatible with the Mac OS and Windows. Hillcrest says Kylo was developed for browsing and accessing web content on a TV screen using a "pointing device." However, Kylo does work with any mouse device, even if it "is ideal for use with a Freespace-enabled in-air pointing and motion control device." The company has previously licensed its Freespace technology to the likes of LG Electronics, Logitech, Roku, Sony Computer Entertainment, and more. Hillcrest will provide the source code under the Mozilla Public License (MPL) 2.0, enabling developers to create new and different versions of the browser. The open source version of Kylo is available via a free download at GitHub and Kylo.tv.
Entertainment metadata provider Tribune Media Services (TMS) and video content discovery company Digitalsmiths have released a new set of data-delivery application programming interfaces (APIs) that are built on Digitalsmiths' Seamless Discovery platform. The new APIs will enable service providers, content providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and other developers to have access to TMS' metadata for TV shows, movies, and celebrities, through which they can develop and test out new consumer-facing apps for connected devices. The companies say the first release of these APIs are designed to support apps designed for services such as searching for celebrities on TV or discovering new episodes of TV shows, with additional product updates to follow soon. Per the deal, Seamless Discovery will also be used for TMS' Zap2it.com.
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With the news cycle about to kick into overdrive in anticipation of Facebook's upcoming IPO, here is some interesting data from an AP/CNBC poll, which finds that 51% of investors say Facebook stock would be a good investment, while 31% answer that it would not be good, and 17% are unsure. Among those who own stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, 54% say Facebook would be a good investment and 34% indicate otherwise. Active investors (38%) are more likely than other investors (30%) to say it wouldn't be a good investment. Additionally, 62% of active investors believe Facebook will be overvalued, and 27% think it will be fairly priced. Meanwhile, on the consumer front:
Dassa Games has partnered with Virtual Greats to launch a Facebook card game based on the Garfield brand. A part of the Stars Pax franchise that Dassa Games is developing, the Garfield version will allow fans to select a pack of collectible cards, which can later be used to play against virtual characters, Facebook friends, and other players. Featuring many other Garfield characters, the game is similar to the classic "War" card game, where high value wins, albeit with a few twists. In addition to the Garfield brand, Dassa Games and Virtual Greats plan to expand their partnership to create more virtual goods and products for other popular brands.
AdSafe Media, a provider of brand protection and ad viewability data, has appointed Kiril Tsemekhman to the role of SVP/Chief Data Officer, a new position at the company. In the role, Tsemekhman will focus on modeling online user behavior, developing algorithms to support complex segmentation rules, pattern recognition systems, and sophisticated data mining technologies, and designing products around the technology. He is based in San Francisco.
Wonacott Communications, a full-service independent PR firm, has named Mark Von Lommel as Account Director for its Interactive Entertainment and Technology team. He will provide senior-level account management and program development to current and new games-related clients, as well as support new business opportunities for the agency.
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Yahoo Movies has launched MOVIELAND, a new interactive game created in partnership with major film studios, including Universal, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and Paramount. Through MOVIELAND, which is presented as a virtual game board with 35 "stops" (each representing one of 35 summer movie releases), users who interact with content in the form of answering trivia questions, watching trailers, and/or purchasing movie tickets, will be able to collect badges. Badges will give users the chance to win a selection of prizes, with the users who have the highest badge rankings getting the chance to win the grand prize of free movie tickets until 2020. This partnership with the film studios extends to other offerings that will be available through Yahoo Movies this summer, including live broadcasts of red carpet premieres and exclusive clips, trailers, and other content for major summer releases.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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