A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM ESPN
Good morning. It's Thursday, May 17, 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.
Turner Broadcasting System has inked a multiplatform sales and content agreement with Funny Or Die, with which Turner will also take a minority stake in Funny Or Die. Per the deal, Turner's digital sales force will serve as the exclusive seller of advertising opportunities with Funny Or Die. Having already worked together on the creative side, Turner and Funny Or Die will also partner to develop and produce content for multiple platforms, including television, mobile, and tablets. The partnership is being described as linking together three of the biggest brands in comedy (Funny Or Die along with Turner's TBS and Adult Swim properties) that will serve to expand Funny Or Die's reach to a wider audience. As for potential ad partners, the alliance "adds another core asset to [Turner's] unrivaled digital portfolio that will prove to be very attractive to advertisers looking to associate their brands with great content and an engaged, socially savvy audience," said David Levy, President/Sales, Distribution, and Sports at Turner Broadcasting System.
DanceOn is a video network on YouTube that is focused on dance content. This includes original programming through the video site's premium channels initiative as well as other forms of video content, including tutorials, user-generated dance videos, and music videos. All together, the network is attracting about 26 million video views per month. The channel's flagship original show is D-Trix Presents Dance Showdown, a weekly dance reality series that features popular YouTube personalities competing for $25K with the help of choreographers. Viewers are able to vote for their favorite contestants. Presented by America's Best Dance Crew judge D-Trix, the show airs every Thursday, and so far has captured over 6.8 million video views and more than 100,000 likes in total. An interesting channel that offers a window into how YouTube may be able to differentiate itself from other video competitors in both the digital and TV space, I spoke with DanceOn's Founder and CEO, Amanda Taylor, about the network and its premier program.
What made you want to get involved with YouTube?
More than anything, the original programming initiative is about creating premium content for YouTube. For us being in the dance premium category, it was pretty important for we want to do and what our goals are for the DanceOn Network. We really believe in what YouTube is doing and wanted to be a part of it. To be able to provide premium programming that is only meant for digital.
Could you give us some insight into the process behind securing a partnership with the video site?
I can't go into too much detail, but YouTube knew us prior to the launch of the original channels initiative. We had a presence on the site and were partners before the program went live. For our original channel, there was a standard pitch process.
Are there any plans to move beyond YouTube, either in terms of securing syndication across other video properties or hosting content on your own website?
There is nothing currently in our strategy toward that, but you always have to be aware of what is going on. Technology is going to change and new opportunities will arise. Right now the hype and focus is to look at one platform and master it. And with YouTube being the largest video site and the second-largest search engine, it makes sense for us to be here now.
How was Dance Showdown ideated and developed?
We came from the mindset that we wanted to be THE dance channel online and on YouTube. We want to be an entertainment network for dance programming. So we looked at what is popular about dance and what works on television. We married that with what works on YouTube. It was about taking this learning from TV and putting it through this YouTube filter to make the show more interactive, customized to the YouTube community.
How would you describe your content and marketing strategy behind the show? The numbers signify that Dance Showdown is capturing an audience. How would you say you have been able to reach and attract this audience?
One of the biggest aspects of the Dance Showdown strategy is the volume of digital influencers that we have integrated into the show. The show features personalities that have cultivated and developed a following on YouTube. Even the show's Executive Producer D-Trix is well known and is a YouTube star. We were able to leverage all of these stars to develop this audience. However, this show has also allowed these stars to grow their own audience. Many of them come from specific categories (beauty blogging, gaming, etc.); sometimes you can get pigeonholed. This show has allowed them to expand and show a different side of themselves.
Going forward, what kind of role will there be for user-generated or interactive content that doesn't necessarily align with the idea of premium, original content? IS there a role for that in the future?
I think there will always be room for that. You can do some things on YouTube that you can't really do on any other platform. For example, maybe we put up a tutorial of a dance that is featured in an upcoming movie, and then we ask our audience to recreate the dance, which we can then highlight on the network. People want to engage, and YouTube allows for that to happen.
E! has partnered with Shazam for a new socially conscious initiative: Shazam for a Cause. E!'s new series, Mrs. Eastwood & Company, will integrate the Shazam for TV service into its entire season. Viewers who use the Shazam app to tag the show will have access to exclusive show content via the app. For every tag, E! will make a $1 donation (up to $25K) to Make-A-Wish. Mrs. Eastwood & Company, which follows the lives of Clint Eastwood's wife and daughters and an all-male vocal group from South Africa that is managed by his wife, is set to premiere on the channel this coming Sunday night at 10pm ET.
Four highlights from NCM Media Networks (NCM)'s Upfront presentation:
Mnet has announced the rollout of its "content everywhere" initiative aimed at bringing lifestyle programming influenced by Asian pop culture to U.S. audiences. The initiative includes a digital component, through which Mnet is planning to make its TV programming, as well as its exclusive digital content, available via a series of mobile and online products. This will include web, smartphone, and tablet apps. This offering is set to launch in beta in June 2012.
Mass Relevance, a provider of social curation and integration technology, has closed a $3.3 million Series A round led by Austin Ventures, including contributions from new investor Battery Ventures, as well as capital from existing investors such as Floodgate Fund, Allegro Venture Partners, and Metamorphic Ventures. The company will direct the new financing to accelerating growth for its platform among media, entertainment, consumer brands, and retailers. The company is plugged into the Twitter fire hose for real-time curation. Last November, Twitter selected it to be its first curation partner licensed to re-syndicate public tweets for display. Mass Relevance's current client list includes the four major TV networks, seven of the top 10 2011 cable networks, and brands such as Target, Ford, Samsung, the New York Giants, and Pepsi.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has launched the IAB Digital Media Sales Certification in an effort to set new professional benchmarks for the interactive ad industry. To receive the certification, digital sales professionals must complete an examination, which will be administered through Pearson Testing Centers. Registration has already begun with the inaugural exams scheduled for Monday, June 11. The program "will help raise the level of professionalism in the digital field by allowing salespeople to demonstrate their knowledge of the complex interactive environment," said Michael Theodore, VP/Member Services at IAB. There is no formal coursework required for the test, which is designed for salespeople with 2-5 years of experience in the business. The test costs $350 for IAB members and $350 for non-members.
ESPN has teamed up with Horizon Media and ad technology firm RealVu to run test campaigns that will sell only viewable ad impressions on ESPN.com to Horizon clients, reports AdWeek. The campaigns will use RealVu technology that the start-up says is capable of delivering, tracking, and reporting of ads based on viewable impressions. The move on ESPN's part is indicative of a trend within the digital ad industry toward this new model of recording and monetizing ad impressions based on their ability to appear on a page and actually be seen by a consumer, according to the report.
Business audience marketing company Bizo has launched the Business Audience Exchange (BAX), an RTB-enabled exchange of over 1,000 publishers of business news, technology, industry, professional, and other relevant sites across the web. The launch will allow trading desks and other media buyers to bid on available premium inventory from this business audience network from Bizo in real-time to reach target audiences of business professionals. Bizo says select partners have been participating in a private beta of BAX since earlier this year.
NBC Olympics has tapped digital media services company Avail-TVN to support its multiplatform coverage of the 2012 London Games. Per the deal, Avail-TV will provide services such as broadcast signal acquisition and file capture, C3 watermark verification, support for various file formats, dynamic asset management, and distribution of VOD content to participating multichannel video partners. Avail-TVN will also provide authentication services to select operators to enable access for content available on NBCOlympics.com.
Hearst Digital Media (HDM) has partnered with Meebo to integrate the latter's Meebo Bar across 13 of Hearst's digital properties. HDM tested the Meebo Bar on Seventeen.com in 2011, and indicates that it witnessed increases in audience engagement and revenue on the site, thus leading to a wider rollout that will begin in June. HDM plans to launch the Meebo Bar on the websites of Cosmopolitan, Country Living, ELLE Décor, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics, and more. Under the terms of the partnership, Meebo will provide advertising revenue to HDM and HDM will sell Meebo's full suite of rich media advertising products to the company's direct advertising partners. The Meebo Bar is designed for publishers to customize, highlight, and re-circulate content to site visitors. For example, Seventeen.com uses a real-time notification feature on the Meebo Bar to push messages and links to users, highlighting other content on the site. Upwards of 3% of daily unique visitors to Seventeen.com click on the real-time notification feature, said the companies.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Android and iOS users account for 88% of those who have downloaded an app in the past month, according to the latest data from Nielsen. Overall, Nielsen finds that the average number of apps per smartphone has risen 28% in the past year from 32 apps to 41. Additionally, users are now spending about 10% more time on apps than on the mobile web, when compared to last year. Other Nielsen data finds that some things have managed to remain the same. The top five apps continue to be Facebook, YouTube, Android Market (now Google Play), Google Search, and Gmail and smartphone owners are only spending 2 more minutes on average per day on apps (39 minutes in 2012 versus 37 in 2011).
A new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), developed in partnership with Ipsos MediaCT, finds that 63% of media-savvy consumers use a connected device while watching live TV and 66% do the same when watching recorded programming on DVRs. There was a slightly bigger difference among respondents that use more than one device while watching TV, with 15% answering that they do so during live-TV viewing, and 23% when watching a recorded program. Other findings from the study include:
SnapGuide, a free iOS app and web service that allows users to create and share step-by-step "how to" guides, has released an update that will allow users to search the guides by topic. The company says that the top user-created guides on the service have received over 50K views within days of being published. The new functionality adds a new header within the app called "Topics." At the top of the page are editorially selected guides chosen by the team at SnapGuide. Users can also access featured, recent, and popular guides for each topic, as well as search for guides within specific topics.
Ovation has appointed Marc Johnson to be its new VP/Digital Media. Johnson will be responsible for leading the network's digital media strategy and execution across all platform, including OvationTV.com, Ovation social media channels, and overseeing the launch and management of new digital initiatives. He will also lead the company's digital team in its digital content creation strategy, including companion content to on-air programming as well as original digital content. He will report to Ovation COO Chad Gustein and will be based in Santa Monica, CA.
Digital ad company Exponential Interactive has hired Sandy Shanman to be GM/Mobile, where he will run its newly launched Appsnack mobile ad division. Appsnack provides in-app, HTML5-based rich-media solutions for brand advertisers. The interactive ads enable users to engage with video and product info, as well as other forms of information such as locations of nearby retail stores. Shanman and his team will oversee the company's relationships with agency clients such as MediaCom, Pereira & O'Dell, Starcom, Universal McCann, and ZenithOptimedia.
Robert Elder has joined in-image ad platform provider GumGum in the role of SVP/Sales, a newly created position. He will oversee GumGum's brand sales strategy and national sales team and will be based in New York. Elder's background includes positions at Independent Television Networks, Internet Broadcasting, NBCOlympics.com, Maxim Online, and Sony Digital Entertainment.
Spanish Broadcasting System has named Albert Rodriguez as its new Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately. In his new role, Rodriguez will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company and will continue to oversee the revenue and profit performance of the company's consolidated operations, including radio, TV, interactive, and entertainment divisions.
Youtoo has launched the Be on TV Facebook app that as the title suggests allows users to be on TV via its Youtoo TV channel (currently available in 177 of the top 200 cable markets in the U.S. and more than 15 million cable households). The app also allows for an interesting take on the social TV format, which the company says is designed for producers and networks. Here's how: Users can record or upload videos based on questions posed by a television program. Once a video is recorded, it will automatically post to their personal Timeline. If a Facebook user's video is approved and scheduled to air on Youtoo TV, he or she will receive a notification on the social network of the time and date that they'll be on TV. Once it has aired, the user will receive a recorded video of the airing, which he or she can share on Facebook. Youtoo says it will start broadcasting videos from Facebook to air on Youtoo TV this week.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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