Good morning, it's Monday, June 20, 2011, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
Sony Pictures movies were pulled from Netflix' streaming service on Friday due to a contract dispute between Sony and pay TV distributor Starz. Reports are circulating that Starz hit a prescribed subscriber cap for first-run movies, an aspect of a Starz-Netflix agreement currently under renegotiation that dates back to 2008 and is scheduled to expire next year. Netflix let subscribers know via a blog post on Friday, noting that the issue should be "temporary." (Sony movies can still be rented via snail mail DVD.)
Trying to make the awards a bit more interactive (and accessible to digital audiences,) VH1.com has agreed to exclusively stream the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn.'s inaugural Critics' Choice Television Awards live from 4 pm ET/1 am PT this afternoon at CCTA.VH1.com. Users will be able to toggle between streams of the ceremony and back-stage interviews with nominees and celebrity attendees. Select "super fans" have been chosen to ask celebs questions during the live webcast. Reelzchannel will broadcast the awards on June 22 at 8 p.m. ET.
Facebook is encouraging developers to write HTML5-based mobile apps for the social network in addition to the network apps they bring to the social network, according to a WSJ report. The platform is being tweaked to easily allow applications to be written once for multiple browsers and mobile platforms to help increase the social network's influence in the burgeoning mobile space. However, some developers complain that an all-in-one HTML5 approach limits their ability to take advantage of many mobile features including cameras and GPS capabilities.
Alphonso, maker of the news reading mobile app Pulse, closed on a $9 million round of Series A financing from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Greycroft Partners, and Lerer Ventures. Pulse has surpassing 4 million users across all platforms since launching 6 months ago and recently won an Apple Design Award.
PBS is partnering with the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) to live stream a salute to the 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars this evening at 8 pm ET, along with a performance by the 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts are being honored as the top high-school artists in the nation for academic and artistic achievement, leadership and character. The celebratory performance by the Scholars will be streamed live on PBS' Facebook page and on the NFAA's website.
A MagnaGlobal forecast predicts that TV's share of total U.S. ad spending will grow to 38% within the next 5 years -- expanding 8.3% on average through 2016 and gaining more ad market share in North America, (the world's largest TV market,) than in any other region. Online ad spending is also expected to grow to hit $47.4 billion and attain a 22% share of total spending. The growth is expected to come at the expense of print properties including newspapers and magazines.
The FTC officially approved Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype announced last month. The IP-based communications platform is set to become a standalone division at Microsoft, to be led by Tony Bates, Skype's current CEO.
Research in Motion saw its stock price dive precipitously after the company reported on Thursday that quarterly sales of its BlackBerry smartphones were down last quarter for the first time since 2005. The company's value has dropped from $80 billion 3 years ago to just $14.4 billion today.
Google Sites including YouTube led the field attracting 147.2 million viewers in May and had the highest number of viewing sessions with more than 2.1 billion, and highest time spent per viewer at 311 minutes according to ComScore - crossing the 5-hour mark for the first time. Major label music video site VEVO came in second, with 60.3 million unique visitors, followed by Yahoo websites (55.5 million) and Facebook (48.2 million). Hulu ranked 10th in uniques with 28 million visitors but the site generated more ad impressions than any other online video service. Of the 4.6 billion video ads served to Americans in May, 1.3 billion of them were played on Hulu. In total, Americans watched 2 billion minutes worth of video ads, with 560 million of those coming through Hulu. The top video ad networks in terms of their potential reach were: Tremor Media at 47.1%, BrightRoll Video Network at 42.1% and Break Media at 40.4%.
Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Video Content Views
Ranked by Unique Video Viewers - May 2011
Property Total Unique Viewing Sessions Minutes/viewer
Viewers (000) (000)______________________
Total internet Aud. 176,337 5,662,369 951.3
Google Sites 147,158 2,173,422 311.2
VEVO 60,369 360,205 105.1
Yahoo! Sites 55,482 272,255 39.1
Facebook.com 48,189 176,076 19.3
Viacom Digital 46,535 241,026 74.2
Microsoft Sites 46,502 251,799 42.8
AOL, Inc. 42,271 246,592 45.7
Turner Digital 35,185 126,760 36.3
NBC Universal 30,622 67,251 21.1
Hulu 28,543 195,897 217.8
Source: comScore Video Metrix
Top U.S. Online Video Properties by Video Ads Viewed
Ranked by Video Ads Viewed - May 2011
Property Video Ads (000) Total Ad Minutes (MM) Frequency % Reach Total U.S.
Total internet Aud. 4,608,833 2,052 33.7 45.4%
Hulu 1,319,995 560 47.6 9.2%
Tremor Media* 700,769 410 10.8 21.4%
Adap.tv† 641,632 375 10.9 19.5%
BrightRoll* 564,938 338 7.1 26.4%
Undertone* 291,185 158 10.8 8.9%
Microsoft Sites 268,425 142 9.8 9.0%
Viacom Digital 265,765 123 11.7 7.6%
CBS Interactive 258,840 92 11.3 7.6%
SpotXchange* 257,796 158 7.7 11.2%
ABC Television 181,695 72 22.7 2.7%
Source: comScore Video Metrix, video ads include streaming-video advertising only and do not include other types of video monetization, such as overlays, branded players, matching banner ads, homepage ads, etc.*Indicates video ad network †Indicates video ad exchange
The iPad and Microsoft's Windows 7 platform both showed impressive growth in May, according to Millennial Media's monthly activity report, expanding their impressions by 29% and 92% month-over-month respectively. The iPhone maintained its position as the top individual phone on the ad network for the 20th straight month, with Apple also the leading manufacturer with a 30% share. However, when breaking down revenue driven by apps on the network, iOS and Android apps were in a virtual tie, with 45% coming from iOS and 43% from Android.
With 25 million units of the tablet already sold, Facebook is finally getting ready to release a social networking iPad app after working on it for almost a year, reports the NYTimes. Developers have overhauled the Facebook Chat and Facebook Groups features for the app to provide entirely new features optimized for the device. The app will also allow users to shoot and upload photos and videos directly from the iPad's built-in cameras.
Budget-priced flat panel TV maker Vizio is getting ready to release on an Android-based tablet that will ship with infrared LED technology that will make it a functional universal remote control. NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin posted a video showing off the tablet, which is part of a new unified platform that allows you to start viewing content on a tablet or smartphone then finish viewing it on a flat screen TV. The device will soon retail for $349 at Wal-Mart.
Initiative announced a reorganization of its digital groups, combining the Digital, Innovations and Amphibian teams into a single unit. Dave Rosner will lead this integrated group in the new position of EVP, Director of Digital & Innovations. He will continue to head the Innovations unit nationally, while adding responsibility for the agency's Digital team on the East Coast, as well as the Amphibian unit, which focuses on digital video content extending from television. Amphibian head Drew Corry and New York-based digital account leads Michael Winter and Jen Lyons will each now report to Rosner, as will VP/Innovations Tiffany Wagner.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The live events division of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Live, has launched an online video series to bring National Geographic's extensive calendar of live events and speakers to global digital audiences. New multimedia presentations taped at Nat Geo Headquarters in Washington, D.C. from explorers such as Andrew Skurka (" Trekking the Wild North"), photographers including Sam Abell (" The Life of a Photograph"), authors and scientists will be posted weekly on Mondays beginning today. The presentations feature interviews, absorbing anecdotes and of course plenty of stunning photography, National Geographic's stock in trade. The videos will also be available via National Geographic YouTube channel, on iTunesU and via Hulu in the coming weeks.
Later - Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis Digital
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