Good morning. It's Tuesday, June 12, 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.
Apple kicked off its annual WWDC event yesterday and came out swinging with a slew of big announcements. It introduced iOS 6, the next version of its mobile operating system, which will now feature, among a multitude of other things, Facebook integration. This includes the ability to quickly post new status updates straight from the notification menu, share photos without having to access the app, and to see which Facebook friends have liked an app, movie, TV show, album, or song available in iTunes. Apple also unveiled Passbook, a new feature that will allow users to store gift cards, movie tickets, and boarding passes. It will also notify users when they are near a location for which they have a ticket or redeemable rewards card (e.g., a movie theater or Starbucks). And as previously rumored, Apple introduced its own Maps application, which includes turn-by-turn navigation and integration with Siri and Yelp. Speaking of Siri, here are some updates the voice service is getting, as well as some other notable things announced during the first day of WWDC:
Disney Interactive and Outfit 7 have launched Talking Friends, an animated web series based on the popular mobile franchise. The series follows the antics of the Talking Friends animal characters as they create inventions and get into adventures. Comprised of 10, three-minute episodes, each new episode will be released every week on Disney.com, Disney's network on YouTube, and through the Talking Friends mobile apps. The Talking Friends apps have been downloaded over 400 million times in two years, and have over 750,000 user-generated videos uploaded to YouTube, which in total have been viewed more than 355 million times.
Netflix and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution have inked an exclusive, multiyear US video licensing agreement to bring older seasons of Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game (both air on ABC Family) to Netflix Instant Watch subscribers. Season one of Pretty Little Liars is immediately available on Netflix Instant Watch, with season two coming on July 3. Season one of The Lying Game will be available on Netflix when the second season premieres on ABC Family in early 2013.
The "linear" version of Guidestones, a web series that "delves into the mysterious Guidestones monument in Elbert Country, Georgia," is now available on Hulu and Hulu Plus in the US. The interactive web series launched in February 2012 as a 50-episode "push" version that allowed viewers who wanted to participate to sign up for an email notification system, which delivered new episodes in "real-time" as the narrative unfolded. Each episode contained hidden clues, which viewers could then use to search online for videos, audio files, apps, and other media, in order to solve the mystery alongside the main characters. The narrative features a mix of real and fictitious characters and events. The linear version, which has been brought to the Hulu platform by Duopoly, runs for approximately 120 minutes and threads the plot into a singular narrative. The series was produced by iThentic and 3 o'clock TV.
Seven networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Telemundo, TeleFutura, and Univision) are going to offer content ratings for full-length web versions of their TV programming, according to MediaPost. The ratings would appear at the beginning of the video, as well as in the content description. While no details were given as to exactly how these ratings will work (if they would be similar to TV's current format), the report says that each network will figure out their own ratings systems, which will be available beginning on December 1.
The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC) has partnered with PlaceIQ to offer a hyperlocal audience targeting solution for advertisers that want to reach audiences on mobile devices. The solution is powered by PlaceIQ, which uses place, social, and mobile location-based data to create anonymous hyperlocal audience profiles, targeted down to a city block, that take time of day into account as well as location. As an example, the TWCC and PlaceIQ say a financial services client can target ads to mobile phones in areas with a high propensity for business travelers, such as airports during peak commuting hours or hotels in the morning or evening. The solution is now available on The Weather Channel iPhone app, and is scheduled to roll out to the Android version in July as well as other platforms later this year. Chevy Silverado, Frito-Lay, and the Ram Truck brands have signed on to be launch advertisers.
Mocean Mobile has launched MAST for Ad Networks, a new mobile ad-serving product designed specifically for online ad networks, as well as developers with a network of apps. "Until now, there has been no ad-network specific platform available, and there has been a growing sense of urgency among both online and mobile ad networks for an advanced mobile-specific solution," said Julie Preis, SVP/Product Management at Mocean Mobile. The solution features rich-media ad capabilities and real-time reporting and measurement tools. MAST for Ad Networks is immediately available for Mocean Mobile customers.
Studio One Networks has launched Content Asset Management Platform (CAMP), a plug-and-play dashboard designed to enable brand marketers to manage content across their online and print distribution channels as well as track high performing content (based on engagement and click-through) across their digital platforms When a marketer signs up to use CAMP, Studio One says that the system will automatically intake the marketer's entire content archive via an XML feed. The assets will then be organized into a searchable, user-friendly index (which will include the advertiser's content produced by Studio One), thereby making it easier for the marketer to download the content and use it across other online and print distribution channels.
Epson America has renewed its agreement with WebCollage to use the company's rich product information platform to manage real-time content updates for its products that are available across a network of retail websites. The companies say that in the past year, 3.5 million Epson customers have seen the WebCollage syndicated content on the sites or mobile apps of a wide array of global retailers.
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Internet advertising revenues for Q1 2012 reached $8.4 billion, setting a new record, according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Report. The number is a 15% increase over the $7.3 billion reported in Q1 2011. The report is sponsored by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and is conducted by the New Media Group of PwC US, which compiles data directly from companies selling online advertising to generate its numbers.
In reporting on its revenue numbers for the first time, Rhythm NewMedia has unveiled some numbers that may offer a window into the current state of mobile video advertising. Rhythm says that its media partners (including the likes of NBCUniversal, CBS, ABC, and FOX) have more than doubled in scale in the past six months. In addition, Rhythm has seen adoption of in-stream video by advertisers double in terms of impression and dollar volume. Moreover, the company says 93% of all campaigns sold by Rhythm or its media partners use in-stream video. All of which has helped it achieve a 100% increase in revenue in the last fiscal year. In conjunction with the revenue numbers, the mobile video advertising company also announced the hiring of Betsy Flounders Novak as its new VP/West Coast Sales. She will be based in the company's LA office.
The iPad is about to have a fantastic year (again), according to a new forecast from eMarketer, which predicts that the number of iPad users in the US will increase by 90.1% to 53.2 million in 2012. Overall, the iPad will be in the hands of more than 75% of tablet users in the US, posits the forecast. The growth number is actually down from the previous year, in which the iPad witnessed a 143.9% jump. eMarketer says that number will continue to decline, and by 2015, the number of iPad users will grow at a rate of 11.9%. However, that is to be expected as the device achieves greater market penetration; eMarketer expects Apple's tablet to be owned by one-third of all US internet users by 2015. Other highlights from the forecast:
CBS Consumer Products has announced several new agreements for the creation of casual online and mobile games for classic TV brands such as The Twilight Zone, The Brady Bunch, and Love Boat, all of which are part of CBS' Television City brand. DoubleDownCasino, which produces free casino-style games that are available on social networks and video game websites, will develop a version for The Twilight Zone. A version for The Brady Bunch is already available (access it through the DoubleDownCasino page and app on Facebook). Playtika, which is a subsidiary of Caesars Interactive Entertainment, will create non-wagering casino games based on The Love Boat. CBS Consumer Products says the games will be rolled out throughout this year.
Lynne Lussier, the Founder of entertainment marketing boutique Lussier Productions, is stepping away from day-to-day operations and into a Creative Consultant role following the boutique's acquisition by a collection of its other partners and executives. Chris Stonich, a longtime Partner at Lussier, will be the new President and Chief Creative Officer. Lussier says that Stonich plans to boost the boutique's current capabilities across broadcast, cable, and syndicated on-air promotion, as well as expand into digital content creation, motion graphics, integrated marketing, and on-site physical shoot production, and possibly even series development. As part of this expansion, Stonich will soon add new staffing to oversee Digital Content and Social Media, along with the creation of integrated marketing content to insert within traditional series. Most recently, Lussier was involved in developing the annual upfront advertising presentations for the Big Four broadcast networks, and creating most of the presentations for Yahoo's NewFront.
Jen Neal has been named EVP/Marketing at E!. Reporting to E! President Suzanne Kolb, Neal will oversee and direct all marketing initiatives for the pop culture brand, including advertising, media strategies, creative, brand alliance, promotion, and integrated marketing across all platforms.
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USA Network has kicked off Suits Recruits, a five-week social TV campaign tied to its original series, Suits, which premieres its second season on June 14 at 10pm ET. Available on multiple platforms, including web and mobile, the campaign will allow users to assume the role of a paralegal or assistant at the law firm that is at the center of the show and participate in an original narrative that coincides with the on-air plot. Players will be able to interact with characters from the series through video, audio, and text correspondences, as they try to solve a case. The "final verdict" will be announced on Thursday, July 19, with two players being awarded a "$50,000 bonus for their legal work," says USA Network. To rack up achievements in order to qualify for the sweepstakes, players have to engage with the characters and answer questions correctly, as well as interact with others and promote Suits Recruits on social media. A customized version of USA's Character Chatter, dubbed The Water Cooler, has been developed to curate the social conversations surrounding the game play. Lexus has signed on to be the official sponsor of the game (and the premiere), which will result in the Lexus LS 460L sedan being used by players in the game to navigate the city to track down information. Suits Recruits was developed in conjunction with 30 Ninjas and Social Samba.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
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