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Good morning, it's Wednesday, June 2, 2010, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
The controversial Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) came into full effect on Tuesday after being debated for nearly four years in Congress. The law prohibits credit card companies and banks from processing fund transfers to companies that profit from unlawful gambling practices. But the measure is already being attacked for vaguely defining what constitutes gambling and placing the burden of enforcing the law on banks large and small. Bills have been introduced in the past 6 months that would have overturned UIGEA and paved the way for licensed (and taxed) internet gambling. Meanwhile, California became the first state to introduce a measure last week that would legalize internet poker (long argued to be a skill game rather than a chance game.)
~ MULTIPLATFORM CONTENT NEWS ~
ESPN Digital is planning comprehensive coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches across online, mobile, social media, fantasy, games and digital audio:
ESPN partner FLO TV announced it will launch a dedicated 24-hour World Cup channel and recently unveiled a national ad campaign featuring U.S. Soccer midfielder Landon Donovan.
Magazine publisher Bonnier is launching subscription editions of Popular Science, Sound & Vision and Popular Photography for the iPad later this month, priced at as much as 3 times their print editions, per AdAge. Downward pricing pressure isn't expected to come until more tablet devices have been sold and advertisers begin to achieve better reach through the e-reader platform.
NBA Digital is gearing up for The Finals with a wave of new interactive features rolling out on multiple platforms:
~ INNOVATORS & START-UPS ~
Inspired by Design is a new 3-part architectural design-themed web series that premiered yesterday on Babelgum's Metropolis channel, sponsored by Kohler through a partnership with Carat. Each episode visits a different environment to highlight the space's features built to accommodate its occupants' lifestyle.
~ DIGITAL ADVERTISING ~
Savvy consumers know the internet is all about mining for personal data - why not pay them for the privilege? AdGenesis Digital, founder of start-up Beezag, is introducing a new video ad platform enabling customers to willingly exchange personal information for relevant ads and rewards. Consumers are rewarded for watching contextual branded content ads with savings, offers and other incentives that are also contoured toward their buying habits and brand preferences. Initial campaigns have achieved click-through rates of over 25% of advertiser offers, according to AdGenesis Digital Co-Founder and President Laurent Alhadeff.
Fresh off of a wave of digital acquisitions such Digitas, Performics and Razorfish, the Publicis Groupe plans to organize more partnerships with technology giants to push ads on social-networking sites, mobile phones and devices and e-commerce websites, CEO Maurice Levy told the WSJ. Publicis posted a 3.1% rise in "organic revenue" during Q1, largely thanks to the digital space. The company sees a third of its revenue eventually coming from digital ad activities, up from 27% at the end of March.
Seattle-based data auction marketplace BlueKai is launching a white-label version of its BlueKai Registry built to promote targeting transparency on the web. Developed for publishers and marketers, the toolkit enables any site visitor to see what data is being collected by a particular site and easily opt out of the process.
~ TECHNOLOGY DEALS, MERGERS AND SKIRMISHES ~
In a regulatory filing, HP announced plans to spend $1 billion restructuring and cut around 9,000 jobs by retooling and automating its computer services business. At the same time, the company plans to hire 6,000 new workers to staff its sales force and global delivery centers.
~ TRENDS, RESEARCH, ETC. ~
A total of 78 million U.S. internet users watched online video during April, a drop off of 2 million from March according to ComScore's latest Video Metrix numbers. The major label-backed music video site Vevo, powered by YouTube, grew by leaps and bounds, attracting 43.6 million viewers - nearly a quarter of the U.S. online video audience. Google Sites, namely YouTube, enjoyed a 43.2% share of all videos viewed online, attracting 136.3 million unique viewers who averaged 96.0 videos per viewer. The average Hulu viewer watched 24.7 videos, totaling 2.5 hours of video per viewer.
Top U.S. Online Video Content Properties by Videos Viewed - April 2010
Property Videos (000) Share of Videos (%)
Google Sites 13,087,462 43.2
Hulu 958,176 3.2
Microsoft Sites 643,711 2.1
Viacom Digital 383,776 1.3
Yahoo! Sites 370,947 1.2
Vevo 331,730 1.1
Fox Interactive Media 320,372 1.1
CBS Interactive 316,930 1.0
Turner Network 304,729 1.0
AOL LLC 237,356 0.8
Total Internet-Total Audience 30,317,131 100.0
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Top U.S. Online Video Content Properties by Unique Viewers - April 2010
Property Unique Viewers Average Videos
(000) per Viewer
Google Sites 136,279 96.0
Yahoo! Sites 49,496 7.5
Fox Interactive Media 43,762 7.3
Vevo 43,588 7.6
FACEBOOK.COM 41,335 5.6
Microsoft Sites 40,161 16.0
CBS Interactive 39,268 8.1
Hulu 38,714 24.7
Viacom Digital 38,455 10.0
Turner Network 32,591 9.4
Total Internet : Total Audience 177,840 170.5
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Four out of five dentists, make that broadband internet subscribers, don't know how fast their current connections are and therefore aren't sure what to think when bombarded with marketing advertising specific speeds, according to a new FCC study. Yet 50% of the 3,000+ polled reported to be "very satisfied" with their current connection and another 41% said they were "somewhat satisfied" with the speeds they were getting. (Those numbers dropped to 33% and 38%, respectively, for cell phone internet connections.) The FCC hopes to develop tests to enable each consumer in the U.S. to determine his or her own broadband speed. Two can be found at broadband.gov .
~ GADGETS & APPS ~
Music streaming start-up Thumbplay has launched a subscription-based iPhone app on Tuesday, making it the first major music service to launch on all 3 major smartphone platforms in the U.S. (the others being BlackBerry and Android.) For $9.99/month listeners have access to nearly 9 million tracks with a wealth of tools available including the ability to set favorites and build playlists that sync with a Thumplay's PC/Mac desktop app. The app's Autoplaylist feature, which like Pandora finds like and kind tracks, has been renamed "Playlist Genie," accessible by long tapping anywhere on the screen when a song you like plays.
MetroLyrics has just released a new $2.99 iPhone app that alloys you to find lyrics to your favorite songs and share them with your friends via Facebook and Twitter.
~ EXECUTIVE MOVES ~
Longtime cable executive Robert Miron, Chairman of Bright House Networks, who has been with the MSO since 1966, announced he will retire at the end of the year after leading the company for more than 35 years. Steven Miron, CEO of Bright House Networks, will assume the Chairman position while Nomi Bergman will continue to serve as President. Robert will continue to serve as a board member of Discovery Communications.
ITV specialist FourthWall Media has named Bill Feininger as SVP/Media Measurement, a newly created unit he will head. The former Nielsen veteran will be responsible for all aspects of advanced and interactive advertising research including business planning, product management and strategic partnerships.
Chad Harris has been upped to SVP/Integrated Marketing and New Media, for Hallmark Channels, owned and operated by Crown Media Holdings, Inc. He will continue to report to Marvin Dorson, SVP/Creative Services, and will remain based in the networks' Los Angeles office.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media hired Lucy Maher as Executive Director of Network Programming, a new position. She will be responsible for developing programming to support special packages and content to meet emerging coverage areas and partner needs. Lucy starts in her new role on June 7 and will report to Mark Weinberg, VP/Programming and Product Strategy.
ChaCha has hired Shawn Schwegman for the newly created position of VP/Web Products, reporting to Chris Brown, President. He will oversee user experience and all related activities for ChaCha.com and the company's newly launched social networking website, ChaCha.me.
Stephanie Brom has been promoted to the new position of SVP and Managing Director, Petry Network.
~ WEBSITE OF THE DAY ~
Despite all the heat Facebook is taking from making wide-scale sharing the default setting on its platform, a major competitor has decided to do the exact same thing. Yahoo announced it is upgrading its Yahoo Updates feature within Yahoo Mail to enable users to see public updates from their Messenger friends and Yahoo Contacts. Over the coming weeks some 280 million email users will be added to a new system that will enable one-click sharing of comments, news, pictures and articles - unless they choose to opt out. Yahoo trumpets a "privacy commitment" by making the system transparent and easy to filter; the company says it has been phasing in Yahoo Update features to select users over the past year to "overwhelming positive feedback." One difference here is that Yahoo won't automatically expose users' contact lists to the public - a mistake Google made when it rolled out Buzz, to a huge outcry of protests. There will also be a one button option allowing users to opt out of the whole system with one click - something Facebook users have long asked for. Yahoo has been placing reminders across the site when something you write is about to be shared. It's so late in the game, it's hard to believe the offering will have much of an impact. The new sharing features will be most effective when Yahoo adds the ability to start sharing updates on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, where users already spend most of their time.
Later - Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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