Good morning. It's Wednesday, June 20, 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.
LinkedIn is expanding Targeted Status Updates to all businesses and organizations that have LinkedIn Company Pages. The product, which allows marketers to segment their followers by criteria such as industry, seniority, job function, company size, non-company employees, and geography, will also be integrated into various social media management services, beginning with HootSuite. LinkedIn says integration with other social enterprise platforms will be available in the coming weeks. The social network initially introduced the product to a select group of early release partners, including Philips, which LinkedIn says saw a 106% increase in engagement after running Targeted Status Updates in their daily communications with members.
National Geographic Channel has teamed up with NY-based marketing agency Campfire to launch a social campaign surrounding its new series Chasing UFOs. Dubbed "The Wow Reply," the campaign is set up to crowdsource a reply to a 72-second transmission that scientists received from outer space in 1977. Starting today, Campfire is going to enlist the services of an array of bloggers and social media influencers to raise awareness of the campaign among sci-fi communities and the larger audience. At the same time, National Geographic Channel will release embeddable one-minute videos featuring the cast of Chasing UFOs telling the story of the transmission as well as explaining the campaign. In addition to that, Campfire says it will begin sourcing a collection of curated 72-second videos from celebrities, writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians, and scientists that will be sent into space alongside "The Wow Reply." On the night of the Chasing UFOs premiere (June 29), viewers will be encouraged to enter their own personal reply via the #ChasingUFOs hashtag. All received messages will be curated and streamed during the premiere episode. And on August 15, the anniversary of the original transmission, the tweets and videos will be transmitted into space from the Arecibo Observatory.
AOL and BermanBraun have launched Skye on AOL, a weather-focused website that is heavy on the visuals and is integrated with MapQuest in order to provide users with real-time weather and traffic information side by side. Built using HTML5, the site is the new default weather source for AOL.com. Additional features on the site include renderings of local and world weather presented in the form of galleries, slide shows, and interactive maps; a Storm Center for severe weather alerts as well as real-time images and articles about breaking weather news from around the country; a Lifestyle tab featuring curated content, including photos and video; a Video tab that pulls in weather-related content from The AOL On Network and other video channels from around the web; and the ability to save locations.
Hollywood Dynasty Media (HDM) is a new multiplatform media company that focuses on producing and distributing bilingual, Hollywood-related news for international outlets. At launch, HDM announced that it has signed an agreement with SINA to become the Chinese-language media portal's exclusive content provider for entertainment news. Content will include coverage of movie premieres, press junkets, film festivals, set visits, red carpets, and award shows, all of which HDM has agreed to update, edit, translate, and/or subtitle as needed for the Chinese audience. SINA, which operates portals in China, Germany, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada, and the US, says it has more than 280 million registered users and amasses over 900 million daily page views. The content HDM produces for SINA's portals in the US will also be available in English.
Tribeca Film has acquired the US rights to Struck By Lightning, a high school comedy written by and starring Chris Colfer (Glee). The film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, will be released on-demand day and date with its theatrical release, which is scheduled for late 2012. VOD platforms on which it will be available include iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, Xbox, and Samsung Media Hub.
Vungle is a start-up that helps mobile developers promote their apps by allowing them to create video "trailers" and deliver them across other apps in its network. It's been the centerpiece of Behind the Launch, an original video series from Mashable that has been following the start-up as it looks to grow. Yesterday, Vungle announced that it is setting aside $1 million of its $2 million seed round to launch a fund to attract top mobile developers to its platform. Vungle will use the fund to pay developers based on things like number of users the app has and where the ads run, and also has plans to eventually give developers the ability to block certain competitors from advertising on their apps, according to GigaOM. The startup is backed by Google Ventures, AOL Ventures, and Crosslink Capital, among others.
Wildfire says it will now offer brands complete YouTube channel management via a newly launched extension of its Social Marketing Suite. Available to enterprise and consumer brands, the solution aims to facilitate the processes of designing, publishing, and updating custom content and promotions on branded YouTube channels. Features include fully customizable pre-built templates that can be updated with new content, interactive plug-ins to boost audience engagement, and integration with all other major social networks, as well as analytics on views, visits, and plug-in engagement. And just to add as a note, Wildfire mentions that it has seen 100% annual growth in the use of video-centric social promotions over the last two years.
YuMe has launched ACE for Publishers 4.0 (AFP 4.0). The video ad management suite consists of AFP Pro, a set of cloud-based tools that allow content distributors to manage syndication networks and create custom sales packages that target audiences based on video content and player context; and AFP for Service Providers (AFP SP), a solution intended to help OEMs and CE manufacturers develop their own video ad businesses (YuMe says this edition allows clients to create their own private, branded ad networks). AFP 4.0 also offers a new tool, AFP QuickStart, which is a web-based service aimed at making it easier for publishers to manage their video ad inventory and deliver ad campaigns. YuMe says its product designers analyzed AFP Pro customers and their ad operations to figure out a set of workflows that would minimize the operations expertise required to set up, manage, and report on video ad monetization. The product is designed to maximize fill rates and automatically respond to changes in impression supply in real time. AFP QuickStart also provides clients with performance metrics ranging from clicks and impressions to view-through rates and estimated revenue, as well as the ability to access brand advertisers through YuMe's Connected Audience Network.
Microsoft Advertising is working with six agencies, AKQA, Big Spaceship, Razorfish, Team Detroit, UM, and Y&R to develop in-app advertising concepts and experiences for Windows 8. To get an early look at some potential models, check out Microsoft Advertising's GM/Display Advertising Experiences Jennifer Creegan's blog post on the matter.
Exponential Interactive's e-X Advertising Intelligence Platform will be used to deliver rich audience segmentation and targeting data to Mindshare's CORE Marketing Intelligence Platform, per an agreement between the two agencies. Mindshare describes CORE as an "open source data-driven marketing intelligence platform that empowers both analysts and non-technical users to make informed marketing spend, audience targeting, and creative optimization decisions across all touch points in real-time." Other partners who have agreed to power the CORE platform include Acxiom, Adobe, Nielsen, and Visible Measures.
iOS apps publisher Fotopedia has introduced a new advertising platform for marketers that want to reach its mobile audience of 12 million users in over 120 countries. The platform enables marketers to target users based on geography (by a specific region, country, or the world), a user's interests, language (seven, including English, German, Spanish, French, and Chinese), and device (iPhone or iPad). The publisher says it has already launched successful ad campaigns with Flipboard, National Geographic, and Jetsetter, delivering ads that are scoring click-through rates of up to 10%. Fotopedia says that the ad model is built specifically for the iPad as it aims to take advantage of the tablet's larger screen and visual appeal. Jean-Marie Hullot, CEO of Fotopedia, says that 60% of Fotopedia's total traffic comes from Apple's table product. However, as noted above, marketers will have the option to deliver ads to Fotopedia users on iPhones.
955 Dreams, the creator of the Band of the Day mobile app, has unveiled a publishing and advertising platform for mobile apps. The ad platform places an emphasis on visual image quality as it allows advertisers to insert and deliver full-page "high-gloss" display ads. The company is giving a sort of preview of the 955 Dreams Platform through its Band of the Day app for iOS devices. It has signed up several brands, including Burberry and Red Bull Records, to deliver interstitial ads to users as they navigate around on the popular music discovery and content app. 955 Dreams says it has also opened its publishing platform to real-time and daily content publishers and partners. The publishing platform features, among other things, campaign management capabilities and built-in analytics. When I asked 955 Dreams Founder and CEO, Kiran Bellubbi, where the platform is in terms of adoption among publishers, he said that the company is looking for one or two big publishers as initial partners, and that it's currently in discussions with some. He noted that 955 Dreams is currently focused on publishers that reach a female audience.
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Multiplatform entertainment network Kabillion is partnering with Yoursphere Media to offer an array of social media engagement services to its audience of kids and families. Yoursphere is a provider of family and youth-oriented social media solutions for brands, nonprofits, and corporations. Per the agreement, Yoursphere will power the social media experience around Kabillion's portfolio of entertainment properties. Social engagement features will include games, contests, user-generated content, and avatars, among others. Kabillion's multiplatform media network consists of free VOD channels distributed through several MSOs, including Comcast and Time Warner Cable; a couple of online websites; and the Kabillion YouTube channel, all of which reach nearly six million viewers per month.
The Radio Advertising Bureau's (RAB) Account Manager platform has been integrated with Marketron's Mediascape service, thanks to a new agreement between the two companies. The deal allows RAB's 750+ radio stations to connect their CRM and traffic suite activities through the open platform, thereby reducing the amount of time spent inputting data, as well as giving them access to any Marketron traffic and billing solution. Account Manager allows sellers to track accounts and monitor sales activity and is accessible on any internet-connected device.
AdColony has made several additions to its senior leadership, including naming Mike Owen as its new Chief Revenue Officer and Ty Heath as its new Chief Technology Officer, as well as the appointment of Abe Pralle to VP/Technology. Owen, most recently working in Apple's iAd division, will be in charge of the company's overall revenue, sales management, and growth. He will be based in LA. The company, which provides a mobile video advertising and publishing platform, says its mobile video sales increased by over 10x during the last two quarters (Q4 2011 and Q1 2012) when compared to the same time a year prior. Q1 2012 served as the third consecutive quarter of record sales for the company.
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Showtime Sports has launched Split Decision, a mobile website that serves as a live gaming companion during Showtime's live boxing broadcasts. The HTML5-based mobile website allows fans to make predictions and then score fights in real-time. Once the fights have ended, players' scorecards are locked and then stacked up against those from the official judges. A scoring system then awards points to players for making correct predictions as well as for how well their marks align with the judges' official scorecards. Top players get prime placement on a leaderboard. Split Decision also features a live, curated Twitter feed of boxing experts. The site, which was developed in partnership with digital agency Canvas, will be live for the Victor Ortiz vs. Josesito Lopez bout this Saturday, June 23.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
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