Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 13, 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.
TiVo has partnered with PayPal to develop interactive TV ads that would allow viewers to make purchases with their remotes while watching TV. Here's how this service would work: A consumer sees a TV commercial with an interactive TiVo tag indicating the opportunity to purchase a product using PayPal; after pausing the live or recorded program, the consumer can complete the purchase and then return to whatever they were watching on TV. TiVo is currently working with advertisers to create PayPal-enabled ads for the fall 2012 TV season. In similar news, PayPal also announced a partnership with Comcast to "explore opportunities" in allowing consumers to make purchases or donations, related to what they're watching, either directly through the TV via the remote or on companion devices. The two companies will also look into enabling consumers to accept coupons directly into their PayPal online wallet during TV ads.
ConnecTV is a new social TV platform that is being rolled out with backing from an array of broadcast companies, including Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, Meredith, and Raycom. The platform, which is currently available online on PCs and via an iPad app, provides many of the engagement and companion-viewing functionalities, as well as additional content, characteristic to a synced, social TV experience. It is compatible with both live and time-shifted programming, and allows users to invite friends to "viewing parties," where they can chat about what they're watching on TV. The goal for the social TV platform? "We see ConnecTV as a way for our communities to come together in a single, standardized digital extension of our broadcast platforms, and engage in dialogue around the information and entertainment most relevant to them," said Alan Frank, President and CEO of Post-Newsweek Stations, on behalf of Pearl, a consortium of nine US broadcast groups, which include those aforementioned companies. At launch, a total of 85 local ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, and MyNetworkTV affiliates (owned by those broadcast companies) will be integrated into ConnecTV, with plans to expand to 215 stations across the US. The stations will offer content that is synced to local news, weather, sports, and entertainment programming. As part of the partnership, ConnecTV's broadcast partners have agreed to expand their affiliate base, integrate local content, as well as deliver on-air, on screen, and online promotions, and sell second-screen advertising synchronized with the broadcast. ConnecTV plans to introduce apps for the iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets in the next 45 days.
Ringz.TV is a new video curation and sharing service from RingGuides Inc. (RGI) that organizes different web video streams into one "multi-dimensional" environment. Initially, the Ringz app is offering videos and clips from partners like AnyClip, BAMM, MetaCafe, Turner's truTV, along with videos uploaded via Facebook and iTunes libraries. A daily "Featured Ringz" section highlights videos from around the world, and scrolling hashtags link to content about events, trends, and sponsored brands. Content partners can purchase these hashtags to promote videos. The app can also be turned into a remote control by mirroring it to Apple TV. The iPad app has been designed with the idea of offering a video service that pulls in content from a multitude of sources, including OTT web streams, live IPTV and cable television, VOD services like Netflix, DVRs, and local files. RGI wants to make it available on multiple devices outside of the iPad, including other tablets, smartphones, and connected TVs.
A multiyear deal between Netflix and Telefilms will bring new films such as The Hunger Games, The Artist, Shame, and Woody Allen's To Rome with Love, as well as older ones like The King's Speech and Midnight in Paris, among other titles, to Instant Watch for subscribers in Latin America and Brazil. The Hunger Games will arrive to Netflix as an exclusive title on August 18 in the region. Netflix says it now has more than 1 million subscribers in Latin America, who in total have consumed over 100 million hours of content through the service.
Twitter has updated its algorithm to tailor trending topics based on a user's location and whom he or she follows on the social site. It's the new default setting on the website as well as on Twitter's mobile apps for the iPhone and Android devices. To change the setting from more personalized recommendations to general trends users can make the change on the settings menu. Tailored trends will be gradually rolled out starting yesterday.
DramaFever, a NY-based online video service that brings Asian television content to US audiences, has raised more money as part of its Series B round of financing, which now totals $6 million, according to GigaOM. The new capital comes from Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, AMC (the cable network), and Nala Investments. In March, DramaFever had secured $4.5 million from the likes of MK Capital and YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen, among others. GigaOM says the new funds will be targeted toward new markets and new types of content, including telenovelas.
Asia-based Komli Media has raised $39 million led by Norwest Venture Partners and with participation from Nexus Venture Partners, Helion Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Western Technology Investment. The funds will be invested in the company's digital advertising/media technology platforms and to expand its presence across the Asia Pacific region. Komli, which provides solutions across display, mobile, video, social, search, and data for advertisers and publishers, has partnerships with the likes of Facebook and MSN, and has been used by advertisers such as Unilever, P&G, Citibank, Intel, and Samsung, in select markets in the Asia-Pacific region.
Flurry has introduced Ad Analytics, a new service aimed at helping mobile app advertisers measure the effectiveness of "traffic acquisition" campaigns across mobile ad networks, including Apple's iAd, Google AdMob, Millennial Media, InMobi, Jumptap, and Flurry's own AppCircle. The solution is built on top of Flurry Analytics, a service which Flurry says is used by over 70,000 companies across more than 190,000 applications. Ad Analytics tracks clicks and installations, and attributes them to the correct ad campaigns and traffic sources. Flurry says the solution is also designed to give marketers insight into how acquired consumers behave after they've downloaded the app. Customers will be able to measure and compare the 30-day retention of users acquired from different campaigns or traffic sources. Customers will also be able to define how they want to measure user quality (such as by demographics), intensity of usage, or when consumers complete a defined custom event, such as monetization or social sharing. Pricing starts at five cents per install, with the price declining per install as the volume increases. It will be available in July 2012.
Toronto-based Secret Location has launched FanViewr, a content distribution platform aimed at helping content providers create marketing pages on Facebook for their film, television and web series brands. The solution enables brands to upload photos and embed videos (from clips to full episodes), post episode synopses and schedules, and publish status updates. For broadcasters, a custom package of FanViewr is available, offering Secret Location's video player product to stream content as well as the ability to configure the video tab to use the broadcaster's branded video player. Secret Location says features such as polls, trivia, mini-games, and the option to charge for content with Facebook Credits are on the horizon. A 30-day free trail is available for anyone with a Facebook brand page.
ActiveVideo Networks is licensing its CloudTV H5 software to Comcast, which will use it for an "enhanced VOD user experience trial" in Chattanooga, TN. The platform uses HTML5 browser technology running in remote servers to render cloud-based user experiences. This includes a navigational VOD user interface, such as the one Comcast plans to test out in Chattanooga, to provide a graphically rich way for Xfinity On Demand customers to search for and discover VOD content, says ActiveVideo.
Qwiki, a service that turns Wikipedia entries into narrated media clips (featuring photos, videos, interactive maps, and/or more), is being integrated into the Bing search engine. Per the deal, an embedded Qwiki will now be available below the Wikipedia entry it relates to on the search results page. The clip will be playable online as well as on some mobile devices. Right now the offering only covers Wikipedia entries, but Microsoft and Qwiki say that it will soon expand to include other kinds of search results. For a better idea, here's an explanation of how the integration works.
Miniclip, a Webby Award-winning online gaming platform that reaches about 70 million players per month, is looking to strike licensing deals for its first-party game title characters and other intellectual property. This new strategy kicks off at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. The company says it will look across all product categories and promotional channels to extend its brand. Miniclip, the site behind the popular Club Penguin virtual gaming platform, develops, publishes, and distributes over 800 online and mobile games.
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The television is still dominant in terms of the device that consumers use to watch videos, but it has lost a little bit of its grip on the US household, according to findings from the upcoming Nielsen Q2 2012 Cross-Platform Report. Unveiled by Pat McDonough, Nielsen's EVP/Insight and Analytics, at the Advertising Research Foundation's Audience Measurement conference, per MediaPost, Nielsen's research found that the TV set captures 93.7% of time spent viewing, which is down from 99.4% two years ago. Of the other 6.3%, about 3% of household video consumption is through online or on mobile devices, said McDonough. Overall, she said Nielsen found that Americans are watching an average of 35 hours of video programming per week.
Some more good news for Facebook following Monday's announcement that it will be integrated into iOS 6: Click-through rates (CTRs), costs per click (CPCs), and costs per thousand (CPMs) have all increased on Facebook ads from April 2011 to March 2012, according to online ad management company Marin Software, per a report from eMarketer. Specifically, in that time frame, CTRs have risen 20%, while CPMs have increased 51% and CPCs have grown 26%. This suggests to Marin that Facebook's Sponsored Stories ad units, which prioritize user interaction, may actually be working, which wouldn't be a bad thing considering how heavily Facebook's ad model has been scrutinized following its IPO debacle. In its study, Marin also projects that Facebook advertisers would earmark 50% of their budgets for social ads like Sponsored Stories by the end of this year.
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Smithsonian Channel is offering a casual-gaming/social TV experience, called Deadeye Murders, tied to its new series Forensic Firsts. The site integrates content from the show, including video and audio effects, in order to give users the chance to solve a fictional crime in a manner similar to the famous cases highlighted in the series. It was developed by NY-based digital agency Canvas.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
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