Good morning, it's Tuesday, June 22, 2010, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
Apple's rivals in the e-Reader market wanted to wait and see what kind of impact the iPad had before lowering their prices. With Apple selling 2 million iPads in less than 2 months, the waiting period is over. First, Barnes & Noble announced it has dropped the prices on its Nook devices, introducing an entry level Wi-Fi only Nook for $149 and lowering the Nook 3G model to $199. (Barnes & Noble also announced that its latest Nook OS gives all Nook users complimentary high-speed access to AT&T's entire nationwide Wi-Fi network.) Then before the E ink dried on B&N's claim to offer the market's only full-featured 3G eBook reader for under $200, Amazon announced it is dropping the price of its 3G Kindle from $259 to $189.
Comcast, Lionsgate and Sony Pictures Television's horror-themed VOD and online service FEARnet is seeking carriage as a basic SD and HD cable channel, available to operators from Oct. 1. FEARnet's VOD service is currently available in about 28 million homes, counting Comcast, Cox, Verizon FiOS and Insight Communications among its distributors.
NASCAR will broadcast its first race in 3D on July 3, through a partnership with DirecTV and Turner Sports-managed Nascar.com. DirecTV will broadcast the telecast in 3D and Nascar.com will feature 3D feeds of the Daytona Coke Zero 400 race, in addition to the mosaic of HD-quality complementary camera angles, available via the TNT RaceBuddy app on the site. Of course, special glasses are required to view both.
CNBC is airing a special dubbed "Meeting of the Minds," hosted by Maria Bartiromo tonight at 8 pm ET, exploring the future of technology. Guests include Digg and Revision3 co-founder Jay Adelson, Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior and IT guru Vivek Kundra, the first Chief Information Officer of the U.S.
Seattle-based text mobile input technology start-up Swype is working on a new voice recognition system and is testing new software for Apple's iPhone and iPad, per the NYTimes. Swype's core technology allows you to drag your finger from one letter to the next on a virtual keyboard to spell out words and is currently available on 7 devices.
Babelgum signed a deal with Toronto-based online and mobile video producer iThentic to program two new web and mobile channels featuring iThentic-produced fare. "Best Of iThentic" will feature curated shorts and "iThentic Originals" will be populated with original web series and mobisodes. Featured shows include "Office Pranks," "Green Minutes" and "World of Bruce McCall."
Tweens and Teens-targeted social network Fanlala will premiere the first episode of its original show, "Fanlala at the Movies" on its site June 25. Episodes of the movie wrap-up show will also appear online and VOD on multiplatform kids' entertainment network Kabillion, as well as on Fanlala's branded VOD channel.
NBC Digital Networks and Procter & Gamble Productions have launched a new health-themed vertical dubbed Health Goes Strong, aimed at the boomer generation. Men's Fitness Editor-in-Chief Roy S. Johnson has signed to become the network's first guest blogger.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office awarded Amazon a patent for a "social networking system" last week that "provides a mechanism for a user to selectively establish contact relationships or connections with other users." The patent, originally applied for in May 2007, was invented by Brian Robertson and Warren Adams, notes TechFlash, founders of the now defunct PlanetAll social networking service acquired by Amazon in 1998.
Online video metadata specialist Digitalsmiths unveiled the latest update to its flagship VideoSense software suite, helping publishers to manage metadata and indexing of their digital media archives. Updates include a new user interface, improved navigation, a pop-out video player and additional management capabilities.
Comcast chose NDS to be the prime integrator of its tru2way software integration project that uses the CableLabs' tru2way Reference Implementation (RI). NDS says it will help Comcast with set-top box testing, code development and success validation for the integration of tru2way applications and devices.
CBS Interactive's CBSSports.com College Network has signed interactive agreements to produce the official athletic sites for the University of Georgia, the University of Mississippi, NC State, DePaul and Pepperdine University.
Thanks to huge gains among younger viewers, seven in ten adult internet users (69%) have now used the internet to watch or download video in the U.S., over half of all adults in the America, according to the latest online video study by the folks at the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Comedy or humorous videos have risen in viewership from 31% of adult internet users in 2007 to 50% of adult internet users in the current survey, which queryed 763 internet users. Educational videos rank second, up from 22% to 38% of adult internet users, followed by Movies or TV shows, rising in viewership from 16% to 32% of adult internet users. Other findings include:
Facebook released an update to its rudimentary iPhone app, adding the ability to play videos.
Elgato, maker of TV tuners for the Mac, has updated its $4.99 EyeTV app to support live and recorded streaming to the larger screen Apple iPad. The app works in tandem with Elgato's EyeTV DVR for Mac computers, requiring a Wi-Fi connection to stream from the device.
Mike Skagerlind has been named SVP and GM of NBCU's iVillage, reporting to Jodi Kahn, EVP of the site. Mike joins iVillage from Barnes & Noble.com (BN.com) where he served as VP and Head of Digital Media and GM, Sparknotes.com. He begins at iVillage in early July 2010.
TVGuide.com has hired former LA Times TV reporter Denise Martin as West Coast News Editor, leading the site Los Angeles editorial team and reporting to Tim Molloy, Managing Editor.
Out of Home marketing company Titan has hired Amy Berlin to head up its legal department as EVP, General Counsel of the company. She assumes these responsibilities from Scott Goldsmith, who was promoted to President, Transit earlier this year.
Video ad networks tout their reach by counting the millions of users who populate the sites in their networks but most brands are much more concerned with quality rather than quantity. Video ad platform YuMe announced it has implemented new brand security measures to detect objectionable content and prevent video ads from showing up on these sites. (Often rogue video players are embedded on legitimate publisher's sites, so it's not always a matter of just eliminating objectionable domains.) Redwood City, CA-based YuMe, whose publisher clients include MSN, ABC and Glam, says it is also working tirelessly to maintain a blacklist and to stay up on the latest tricks from the sleazy side of the business. YuMe's ACE ad platform also ranks publishers and video syndicates with a quality score based on their brand safety track record and other performance metrics, providing a seal of approval of sorts for advertisers. The hope is that publishers will learn to adopt best practices on their own to try and prove themselves as safe havens to advertisers. This push towards safe ad distribution and accountability is crucial if the fast-growing video ad market is going to reach its potential.
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JOB OPENING: EXECUTIVE SECRETARY/NY, NY Min. 3 to 5 yrs admin exp. Pref. in cable tv, radio and e-media adv. See full posting and apply to www.cablevision.jobs req 11395BR (6/29)
JOB OPENING: VP ONAIR PROMO PLANING/SCHED/Nickelodeon/NY 8+yrs onair promo planing exp, Strategic & Creative thinker, Strng knwldge of Reach &Frequency, Strng Comm & Time Mgmnt skills. EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply www.mtvnetworkscareers.com (6/29)
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