Good morning. It's Thursday, June 14, 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.
The US Department of Justice has launched a probe into whether cable companies and pay-TV providers are using TV Everywhere services and data caps to kill competition from OTT video services like those from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, reports The Wall Street Journal. For example, one of the things that the DOJ is looking at in this antitrust investigation is if Comcast's recent practice of not counting videos viewed through its Xfinity TV app on the Xbox 360 against the customer's monthly data cap. When the information came to light, Comcast said Xfinity differed from other services because it employed Comcast's private network and not the public web to stream videos. Sources tell WSJ that officials from the Justice Department have spoken with online video providers, including Netflix and Hulu, as well as some TV providers, including Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Yahoo Finance and CNBC have forged a content and distribution partnership in a manner similar to what Yahoo News and ABC News currently have. Elements of the deal include: CNBC and CNBC.com stories and videos will be available on Yahoo Finance, the Yahoo homepage, and other areas across Yahoo's online network of properties; Yahoo Finance journalists will contribute to CNBC's Business Day programming; this fall, the two will jointly produce a slate of original videos that will be featured on Yahoo Finance and CNBC.com, as well as receiving promotion on the TV network; the sales teams from both organizations will work together to provide joint sponsorship opportunities, for which CNBC will serve as the go-to-market sales lead. Yahoo and CNBC will still maintain editorial control over their respective properties.
Up until now, Twitter allowed users to expand tweets containing links to YouTube videos or Instagram images (or a few other photo services) to watch the content without having to click on the link and go to a different website. Now, users will be able to access content previews, images, and videos from an array of content providers, directly within the tweet and without having to click on the link and go to their website. Partners for this new expanded tweets offering include The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronice, MSNBC's Breaking News, TIME, BuzzFeed, TMZ, WWE, BET, Lifetime, and Dailymotion. If the link directs users to a news article, they will be able to see a preview of the headline, the introduction, and sometimes even the Twitter accounts of the publisher and/or writer, as well has have the ability to follow those accounts and reply, favorite, or retweet the tweet. The offering is immediately available online and via Twitter's mobile website, and is coming soon to Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android.
Music Choice, a multiplatform video and music network, has launched The F Word, a new show that takes viewers behind the scenes and into the lives of music artists as they discuss the highs and lows of fame. The first episode will feature former American Idol contestant Adam Lambert. Additional artists to be featured during the first season of the series include Bow Wow and Cobra Starship. Each episode is 15 minutes long and will be available for free on-demand (FOD). The show will also appear under a specialized "Celebrate Equality" category during June (Pride Month), alongside videos from other artists like Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, and Katy Perry. Music Choice, which is a partnership among subsidiaries of Microsoft, Motorola, Sony, EMI Music, Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable, is currently available in 51 million households, as well as online and on mobile devices.
CBS.com has launched the CBS Fan Awards, which allows fans of CBS primetime shows to vote on their favorite moments from the past season. Categories include Best Catchphrase, Best Didn't See That One Coming Moment, Most Shocking Cliffhanger, and Best Meltdown Moment, among others. Users can cast their votes through July 11 on CBS.com, Facebook, or via a Twitter hashtag.
An interesting bit of web-to-TV news: If you recall, Annoying Orange, a popular web series that has amassed over 1 billion views on YouTube, was being transformed into a new TV series for Cartoon Network. Well, it premiered this past Tuesday night at 8:30pm ET, and according to Nielsen, it was quite successful. The series premiered as the top telecast of the day among boys 6-11; and top telecast in its time period among kids 6-11, 2-11, and 9-14.
The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has released its list of 1,930 applications for new top level domains (TLDs), and it's a doozy. Instead of just seeing websites ending with the ".com" or ".org" or ".net" suffixes, we may soon one day see sites that end with ".lol"; ".fail"; ".beer"; and ".rehab"; among many, many others (there were also some legitimate ones such as those for companies like Netflix, HBO, Apple, and Google). The application fee was $185,000 per TLD (multiply that by 1,930 and you can see why ICANN might be feeling good).
Break Media has launched Acumen, a free "insights portal" that lives on the Break Media corporate website. The portal is designed to be a resource for brands and advertisers that want to access real-time information on trends within the male demographic. The insights are gathered from a number of sources, including Break Media's own research, third-party studies, and trend pieces from the editorial staff across Break Media's web properties. The company's properties focus on a variety of male verticals, including gaming, comedy, technology, lifestyle, and entertainment, which Break Media says in total reach a combined audience of over 200 million through video and editorial content.
In an effort to provide a benchmark for the impact and influence of conferences and events, SponsorHub, an online marketplace for finding, buying, and selling sponsorships, has launched SponsorHub Score. It's a metric designed to evaluate and rank sponsorship opportunities, ranging from broad national ones to local events. Calling it a "Klout for events," SponsorHub says its algorithm takes an event's social influence and sentiment, audience profiles, pricing levels, and press and attendee testimonials into account.
Majesco Entertainment has inked a deal with FremantleMedia Enterprises to develop and produce interactive games based on American Idol. Under the terms of the partnership, Majesco owns exclusive rights to publish games in North America. Additional details on the games will be available down the road.
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According to Millennial Media's latest SMART report, 42% of all mobile campaigns in Q1 2012 on the company's platform allowed consumers to download an app, and 18% allowed them to watch a video, as a post-click action. In addition, 21% of all mobile campaigns utilized mobile social media in Q1. Ranked by impressions, Android devices accounted for a 49% share of operating systems on Millennial's platform. Apple's iOS came in second at 33% share, followed by BlackBerry (14%), Windows (3%), and Symbian (1%). Other highlights from the report include:
Facebook "likes" only add value if the user returns to the fan page, according to a new study from Kantar Media Compete and Rubinson Partners. The study, which tracked 63 brands on the social network over the course of four months, found that there was a four-fold increase in the number of visits to a brand's website among those consumers who do return to a fan page after "liking" it, and virtually no increase at all for those who do not return. Combined, that means an 85% lift in the number of sessions on a brand's website within 30 days for consumers who become fans of that brand on Facebook. As a caution, the study pointed out that under prevalent Facebook brand marketing practices, consumers who return to brand pages tend to be a small percentage of fans, so the overall impact is still modest. Rubicon and Kantar advise brands to put more focus in driving visits to and repeated engagement with its brand pages on Facebook. To them, the data suggests that social impressions generated within newsfeeds have little impact beyond encouraging consumers to return to fan pages. Therefore, newsfeed posts should direct fans to brand pages, since they're more effective in driving visits to owned media properties.
eMarketer has published "Digital Video and TV Advertising: 16 Forces that Will Help or Hinder Integration," in which it says that online video's ad spending growth will exceed that of TV's growth through 2016. The growth will be led by brand advertisers rather than the actions of media companies and other content owners. eMarketer says consumer appeal of connected TVs and the growing online audience's desire to watch more content online are two factors that favor the inevitable integration of online video and TV advertising. The forces that are impeding that growth include the fear of cannibalization, the inability of content owners to sell sufficient ad loads online, and the difficulty in buying and measuring digital ads, among other things, says eMarketer. "It's going to take years for digital video advertising to blend more fully with TV advertising, but time is on digital's side," said David Hallerman, Principal Analyst at eMarketer and the author of the report.
comScore and the Coalition of Innovation Media Measurement (CIMM) released a research white paper this week that focuses on the viewing habits of consumers who engage with media brands across multiple platforms and devices. Studying 10 broadcast network and cable brands over a five-week period, the research found that an average of 90% of consumers who engaged with brand did so on TV, and 25% did so online, and 12% via online video. In addition, comScore and CIMM found that 60% of a media brand's consumers accessed both TV and the web during simultaneous 30-minute increments, and 29% accessed Facebook while watching TV. To the researchers, this suggests that digital platforms may be used to support the TV-viewing experience and drive multiplatform engagement. Overall, these findings, among the others in the report, signal a need for an effective measurement solution that takes multiple screens into account, said Jane Clarke, Managing Director at CIMM.
Microsoft has updated its My Xbox LIVE app for the iPhone, which now allows users to turn their iPhone into a remote control for their Xbox 360 console. This includes the ability to search for content, as well as play, pause, fast-forward, and rewind the content. The company is also bringing the free app to Android smartphones. My Xbox LIVE for Android will allow a user to read and send messages to friends; manage his or her friend list and invite new friends; read and edit his or her LIVE profile; change avatar features and items; and compare achievements. No word on when the remote control functionality is coming to the Android version. And no, Microsoft says this isn't what it meant by SmartGlass.
Digital advertising company Exponential Interactive has made a slew of new executive appointments, highlighted by the addition of Tim Brown as its new Chief Product Officer and Philip Buxton as Chief Marketing Officer. Exponential also named Carolyn Cramer as its new Managing Director/Canada, where she will be responsible for national sales, new business development, and strategy for launching and growing all brands under Exponential in the region. And finally, Ken Nelson is joining the digital advertising company in the role of VP/Business Development, Audience Services division. In his new role, Exponential says Nelson will work with senior agency executives and agency trading desks to leverage the e-X Advertising Intelligence platform to deliver audience insights and modeling that can be used across media and the company's own audience engagement divisions, such as Tribal Fusion, AdoTube, Firefly Video, and Appsnack.
Stephen Jarrett has joined game development studio Arkadium as its new VP/Game Design. In his new role, Jarrett will be responsible for overseeing game design for all of the company's platforms.
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August 9, 2012 | 8:00 - 10:30a.m.
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The 140 Club is a new, curated Twitter news service from MLB.com. The website's social media team selects and editorializes the trending topics of the day in order to present popular tweets about baseball from around the world, as well as tweets from baseball personalities about the world. The service also includes links to content from Cut4, a short-form blogging platform from MLB.com that features videos, photos, and writing from correspondents in all 30 MLB ballparks. Additional functionality includes the ability for users to search by an individual player's account or an official team account. An archive that will provide access to trending topics from the previous week is coming soon. The service is powered by Mass Relevance, which has access to Twitter's Firehose and is the micro-blogging site's official social curation and integration partner.
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