Good morning. It's Friday, May 25, 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.
Yahoo has introduced its new Axis browser, which aims to "re-imagine" the web search process by eliminating the search results page. That doesn't meant that users won't have the option to choose from a selection of results, only that the browser removes the process of going to a separate page to browse through text-based links. Axis delivers search results directly to the page the user is on via a drop down menu that features thumbnail previews of search results, which the user can horizontally scroll or swipe through. Axis is available on all iOS devices and as a desktop browser plug-in for Firefox 7+, Safari v5+, Internet Explorer 9, and all versions of Google's Chrome (CNET reports that the Android version is still in development). The browser also features cross-platform connectivity. A user can begin a search on one platform and continue and finish it on other devices. Content can also be shared via email, Pinterest, and Twitter. Other features include a customizable homepage (after signing in with Yahoo, Google, or Facebook credentials) that allows users to directly access their favorite sites, saved articles, and bookmarks across all devices on which Axis has been downloaded. The browser is being launched ad-free. That'll change if/when Axis captures a slice of the browser market.
Digital Broadcasting Group has officially launched SPACES, the digital production and distribution company's original YouTube channel focusing on home and design programming. SPACES is going live with four new series:
Sprint has teamed up with Digitas, ad agency Leo Burnett, and NCM Media Networks for a campaign that encourages moviegoers to turn off their mobile devices when inside a movie theater. At the end of NCM's FirstLook pre-show program, a 40-second PSA from Sprint will direct viewers to text the word "dream" to 60602 before turning off the device. Once the phone has been turned on after the movie has ended, users will see a text to opt-in to the campaign via Facebook, after which they will receive a personalized 15-second video clip "capturing what the device has been 'dreaming' while it was 'sleeping.'" NCM says the personalized dream is developed over a two-hour period and uses Facebook activity to create a dream relevant to each user's phone. This campaign will be available in AMC, Cinemark, Regal Entertainment Group, and other NCM affiliate movie theaters in the US until the end of 2012.
Sonia's Travels, a weekly travel show on YouTube that recently won the People's Voice Webby Award for Best Web Personality, has signed with talent management firm and media company Big Frame. Big Frame will oversee audience development and will also look to create brand alignment opportunities for the show. The first collaboration between the two is The Tuber Tour, in which the show's host Sonia Gil will take five well-known YouTube personalities and one viewer on a 99-hour trip through Barcelona to figure out "what makes Barcelona 'tick.'" Over the course of the trip, the tourists will release video recaps of their experiences in the city, while Sonia's Travels will highlight the trip on next week's episode (airs on Thursdays).
SheKnows, a division of Evolve Media Corp. targeted toward providing online content and community destinations for women, has partnered with Patti Stanger (Millionaire Matchmaker) to launch a new website at PattiKnows.com. Content will include a weekly video series where Stanger will offer personal stories and advice on dating and relationships, as well as weekly columns from her staff. When season six of Millionaire Matchmaker premieres, the site will provide recaps of the episodes.
iVillage is teaming up with Mamamia.com.au to launch iVillage Australia in the second quarter of 2012. The site's editorial strategy will include content from Australian women for that audience, as well as assets from the flagship iVillage property in the US. For example, My Best Idea, a video series that combines expert advice with user-generated tips, will be adapted for Australian markets. Per the deal, Mamamia's sales team will handle all Australian inventory on iVillage's owned and operated sites, as well as ad inventory and content sponsorship opportunities on iVillage Australia. It's another notch for iVillage as it expands its presence globally. Last May, it teamed up with Rogers Media to launch iVillage Canada, which iVillage says has grown its audience by more than 300% since it went live.
Bazaarvoice, a social software company headquartered in Austin, has acquired PowerReviews for approximately $151.9 million, about $31 million of which will be paid in cash. PowerReviews, a privately held company that serves more than 1,100 retailers across North America, provides a social platform that includes ratings and reviews, Q&A, loyalty, discovery, and measurement capabilities. Its client base includes larger companies such as Gap, REI, Staples, and Toys 'R' Us.
There's trouble brewing between AOL and Starboard Value, a hedge fund that owns a 5.3% stake in AOL. Yesterday, Starboard delivered a presentation to AOL investors outlining issues it has with the company, according to a report from Forbes. According to Starboard Value's presentation, AOL is losing $500 million a year on its display ad businesses, and since 2009 has lost $1.3 billion. Starboard wants to replace three of AOL's Board of Directors with its own nominees next month, says Forbes. AOL also filed an investor presentation that responded to the activist hedge fund. Urging stockholders to continue to support the existing AOL Board, in its release AOL says that its stock has been up 166% since its low as a direct result of the action taken by the company's management and Board. When it comes to the challenge from the activist hedge fund, AOL says that "rather than present a reasoned strategy for driving stockholder value, Starboard has simply criticized AOL's long-term strategy and investments in content-based assets, and we believe their goal is to break-up and liquidate the company." More to come, obviously.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The latest Mobile Mix report from Millennial Media, covering the first quarter of 2012, finds that Apple's iPad, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, and Amazon's Kindle Fire were the top tablets on the Millennial Media platform, and among the top 20 mobile devices overall. Apple maintained its status as the leading manufacturer on Millennial's platform (28.3% share of impressions among the top 15 manufacturers), with the iPhone holding court as the top individual phone (15.1% share of mobile phone impressions). Android won out as the top OS with 49% of the total impressions and 14 of the top 20 phones on Millennial's platform. Other data from the report includes:
Google has launched a new Google+ app for Android phones. Updates include the ability to start a Hangout from anywhere (Google will ring selected participants if the user chooses that option) and to edit posts inline. Among the other enhancements, the navigation ribbon can now slide in and out of the page; users can download photos from Google+ to the phone in order to turn them into wallpaper; quicker access to the +1 button; and full-screen photos in the stream.
Facebook has launched a standalone Facebook Camera app for iOS. The app lets users view, share, and comment on photos on the social network. Users also have the ability to share multiple photos at once, add captions, and tag friends, as well as edit the images with tools such as crop, rotate, and add filters to any picture in the phone's camera roll.
ABC Owned Television Stations Group has unveiled a free Alarm Clock app that features local content, weather conditions, live radar, traffic reports, and the ability for users to customize their alarms from a selection of custom tracks recorded by the stations' on-air talent as well as a variety of alarm tones. The TV station group is beginning its rollout of the app in Houston (ABC13 Houston Alarm Clock), with versions for the seven other ABC-owned TV stations (in NY, LA, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham, and Fresno) to come over the next few weeks. With content being updated regularly, the app will be reusable throughout the day to access local content and information.
Robert Weiss has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at EQAL. He will oversee all day-to-day creative and business aspects for EQAL's portfolio of media properties (which number past 40), including its Celebrity Influencer Networks, Branded Entertainment Networks, and Owned & Operated Networks. Weiss will also have oversight of EQAL Media Studios and the company's business operations, including human resources, research/analytics, business affairs, business development, marketing, publicity, media branding, and social media strategy. Weiss was behind the launch of u look haute, EQAL's original channel for YouTube focusing on fashion and beauty.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Here's something to take a look at as you prepare for and hopefully enjoy this holiday weekend: HISTORY has launched its new Thank a Vet social campaign, designed to recognize and celebrate the men and women who have served in the armed forces. For a limited time, HISTORY has pledged to donate $1 for every tweet sent in honor of veterans (up to $10,000). All proceeds will go to America's VetDogs, a nonprofit organization that serves the needs of disabled veterans and active duty personnel by providing guide dogs and training. To participate, send out a tweet that includes the #thankavet hashtag, and see it be added to HISTORY's "wall of thanks" Twitter widget.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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