Good morning. It's Friday, May 18, 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.
Facebook is going public today with a share price set at $38 per share, which will value the company at $104 billion. The company is raising $16 billion in an initial public offering that, as has been predicted, stands as the largest one ever for a technology company. It's also the third-largest IPO in U.S. history. It comes at the end of a very busy week for Facebook, during which it increased the amount of shares it would offer to investors by almost 25% in order to meet high demand. Facebook was also brushed back by General Motors when the automaker announced it was dropping the social network from its advertising budget, saying that it does not believe buying ads on Facebook is effective in driving car purchases. Prior to the announcement, GM was spending $10 million to advertise on Facebook and another $30 million on maintaining its presence on the social network. It will continue to do the latter.
And in honor of it all, here's some Facebook user data from Nielsen: Facebook had over 152 million unique U.S. visitors in March 2012, which is roughly 69.6% of Americans who were active online that month. For good measure, the U.S. rate is actually lower than in other markets, including Brazil (76.7% active reach), New Zealand (79.8%), and Italy (70.5%).
Time Warner Cable has made the HBO Go app available for its customers on the Xbox, Roku streaming devices, and Samsung Smart TVs. This follows an earlier announcement that the TV provider is in the process of adding Viacom programming to its TWC TV app lineup. The companies have resolved pending litigation stemming from Viacom's belief that TWC did not have the right to stream Viacom-owned content to other devices. However, with all of that now in the past (although noting that "neither side is conceding its original legal position"), TWC subscribers will have access to all of Viacom's programming for in-home viewing on connected devices.
USA Network will be launching six second-screen/Social TV campaigns tied to the summer premieres of six of its original series. They are as follows:
Verizon Wireless plans to offer shared data plans beginning this summer, per Reuters. Instead of having to sign up for one data plan per connected device, this new offering would allow Verizon customers to share their data capacity across different devices on the same account. At an investor conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said he believes this new strategy will encourage customers to connect more devices to the Verizon network, referring to some consumers' unwillingness to pay for connecting their tablet to the network when they already do so via their smartphone.
Tr3s: MTV, Musica y Mas has launched Dame Un Break, a talent competition on Tr3s' Latin Music Channel on Ourstage.com. Artists can submit their auditions today through June 18, with the voting period running from July 2 to July 16. The winner of the competition will team up with Tr3s executives and a Grammy Award-winning producer in the studio to produce a single and shoot a music video. The network will capture footage for a planned "Making Of" special. Tr3s says the music video and special will debut across multiple screens as part of a 6-week promotional campaign. The music video will also serve as a branding platform for the competition's lead sponsor, Wendy's.
Pinterest has secured a $100 million round of funding led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten in a deal that values the social networking upstart at $1.5 billion. Several reports this week indicated that Pinterest was close to closing a large round of financing. AllThingsD was the first to reveal that Rakuten would be involved, reporting that the Japanese company would invest as much as $50 million into Pinterest. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital, as well as a number of angel investors, also participated in the round. Pinterest says it will use the capital to continue improving its service and expanding its community globally. To that end, Rakuten is partnering with Pinterest to help the social network expand in Japan and into Rakuten's 17 other global markets.
Spotify is raising "hundreds of millions of dollars" for a round that could value the company at $4 billion, reports The New York Times' DealBook news service. According to the report, Goldman Sachs will invest about $100 million in the round that could see Spotify secure as much as $220 million.
Mozilla's Do Not Track HTTP header, which is designed to give users more control over online tracking by third parties, has received another big name supporter: Twitter. The browser company also unveiled some statistics about Do Not Track during its event at Internet Week NY. Current adoption rates of Do Not Track are 8.6% for desktop users of Firefox and 19% for Firefox Mobile users, with the highest percentages of users who are turning the option on coming from The Netherlands, France, and the U.S. Firefox conducted a survey of more than 10K users from 140 countries and found that 49% of respondents believe their privacy is respected more when Do Not Track is enabled, compared to 12% who feel the same when the setting isn't.
The Digital Place-based Advertising Association (DPAA) is accepting submissions of case studies, position papers, panel ideas, and keynote speaker proposals for its fifth annual Digital Media Submit on October 16. "The goal of this year's Summit is to take a look at digital place-based and how to best use it in the context of the complete media landscape, emerging new technologies, and new available research that can inspire brands and agencies to use the medium in new and innovative ways," said Susan Danaher, President & CEO, DPAA. To that end, DPAA is looking for submissions that demonstrate the viability and successful use of digital place-based campaigns.
Chomet Creative Group, a provider of creative and technical services to corporate, broadcasting/cable, music video, and commercial industries, has inked a deal to become a new division of Spark, a video strategy, production, and distribution company. Together, the two companies will aim to develop original branded video content for web and broadcast outlets. The companies have collaborated in the past on videos for notable brands, including Tang, Oreo, and Vera Wang. Chomet and Spark are currently working on a "long format film" for the Manhattan Theater Club.
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"The IAB Mobile Phone Shopping Diaries," a study conducted by the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence in conjunction with On Device Research, surveyed smartphone and feature phone users to create detailed "day in the life" diaries of mobile phone shopping behavior. It found that 70% of respondents view mobile advertising as a welcome personal invitation from brands, rather than an invasion. In addition, 51% of those same respondents said they want the mobile ads they click on to allow them to browse the brand or company's broader product offerings. In terms of location-based behavior, 47% of mobile phone shopping actions actually take place in the home, while 29% happen on-the-go, and 10% occur at work, according to the study. In addition:
The Weather Channel has revamped its app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, now offering an immediate view of current, local weather conditions via the background image. Other new features include a simplified user interface that allows for quicker access to the search and settings functions; automatic updates for local weather; better management of saved locations; the ability to personalize the background image by inserting your own photos; and a photo-sharing function that is integrated across iWitness, Twitter, Facebook, and email; among others. The extensive redesign follows recent changes to The Weather Channel's lineup of digital products, including its website, iPad app, and Windows app.
Michael Alex has joined Bonnier Corp. as VP/Digital Content Strategy, a newly created position. Bonnier says he will work closely with the centralized digital department heads on creating effective content strategies that can be leveraged at the brand level. He will also work directly with the brand teams to help them refine their digital content offerings. Bonnier is a media company that owns nearly fifty publishing brands.
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Disney Interactive Media Group has launched a beta version of Disney Video on Disney.com. Developed by Disney Interactive Labs, Disney says the video site works across all platforms and mobile devices. Highlighted by an HD video player, Disney Video offers up a curated collection of Disney content, including TV shows, movie trailers, character videos, original online programming, and direct access to Disney's YouTube channel (this is part of a deal Disney and YouTube signed late last year). Disney says that in several days guests will be able to access the site through several entry points on Disney.com via their computers and mobile devices, and that more content and features are on the horizon.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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