Good morning. It's Thursday, June 28, 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 most eye-opening thing about the first day of Google I/O was the Google Glasses demonstration (video here courtesy of CNET), which featured a group of skydivers descending upon the event wearing the device while also conducting a live Google+ Hangout. For developers who want to have a crack at a beta version of the product, it only costs $1500, and will ship next year. But beyond that, there were plenty of other, maybe less thrilling but nonetheless still important, announcements from Google:
The International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV) has partnered with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) to expand the 2013 IAWTV Awards show, which will take place on January 8 at The Venetian in Las Vegas during the 2013 International CES. Focused on celebrating and rewarding the best in online video programming, next year's IAWTV Awards will feature two additional categories on top of the 33 it already had: "Best Live Show" and "Best Ensemble Cast." The live show will be accompanied by an online broadcast of the ceremony. IAWTV says the 35 total categories are open to a wide range of content creators, from independent producers to studios, YouTube stars, and mainstream talent. Proceeds from the IAWTV Awards, which are voted on by the organization's membership, go toward supporting the education and promotion of the global online video industry. Following the inaugural 2012 show, IAWTV partnered with YouTube in NY and LA to fund a series of monthly educational programs. Paul Kontonis, Chairman of IAWTV, also announced that Amber J. Lawson will continue to chair the IAWTV Awards as she did for this year's program.
Ben Silverman's Electus continues to push forward in the online video space. The studio has forged a partnership with Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman to bring the duo's popular podcast show, Hollywood-Babble On This Week, to Electus' pop-culture YouTube channel, LOUD. The YouTube video version of the podcast will premiere with a Comic-Con special on July 16, and will see the duo highlighting best-of clips from new episodes of the podcast. LOUD itself will go live on July 2.
Electus also announced a slew of other original series set to premiere on LOUD in the coming weeks. These include:
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AOL has expanded Project Devil (content-rich, interactive ad formats) to mobile devices. Given the official name "Premium Formats for Mobile," and powered by Pictela technology, the ad formats employ a set of content-based apps within the ad and were unveiled to AOL ad clients and media buyers in New York yesterday. At launch, five applications are available to advertisers, from which they can choose any three: Photo Gallery, allowing advertisers to engage users via a carousel of nine high-quality images; Video Gallery, which is capable of running HD videos of existing brand content or TV spots; Content Feed, in order to highlight company news and updates; Facebook Feed, a scrollable list of real-time updates from the brand's page on the social network; and Twitter Feed, featuring content in real-time from the brand's account or a chosen hashtag. AOL says additional apps will be incorporated into Premium Formats for Mobile in the coming weeks. Similar to the desktop version, Project Devil on mobile prioritizes the visual as well as the ability to interact with the ad without leaving the page. To that end, the ad formats for smartphones and tablets appear as expandable, interactive banner ads. AOL says ad inventory for this mobile offering will be available across AOL's owned and operated mobile web properties and apps, as well as across third-party mobile inventory through Advertising.com. Greg Rogers, SVP/Premium Formats and CEO of Pictela, characterizes this launch as a way to merge the existing disparate workflow across devices. "Moving forward we will continue to innovate across additional screens and formats, thus simplifying both workflow and reporting for the entire media plan," says Rogers.
Unruly has launched "the world's first Social Video Lab," which the social video advertising company says is designed with goal of explaining the science behind sharing a video so that brands can get the best ROI on their online video campaigns. To meet its goal, Unruly says the Lab will take into account what each client's campaign objective is, ranging from raise awareness and create action to raise advocacy, so that it can provide proper feedback on which emotional and cultural triggers the content delivers. Based in the company's London headquarters, the lab will allow brands to pre-test their videos, and then make changes based on analytics and insight provided by Unruly, before distributing it online. The Lab incorporates Unruly's Viral Video Chart, which has tracked more than 300 billion video streams over the last six years, and is the engine behind Unruly's video analytics service. Beyond that, clients' concepts will be tested using sentiment tracking and competitive intelligence. The data will then be blended with creative techniques such as psychometric testing and focus groups with bloggers. The company is currently accepting bookings from "qualified brand marketers and agencies" for access to the Social Video Lab.
Interactive TV services company FourthWall Media for the last four months has powered Yellow Pages on TV for customers of North and South Carolina-based telco provider The Comporium Group. Yellow Pages on TV is an interactive TV widget that Comporium Digital Video customers can access via the remote. The types of ads featured on the widget consist of targeted placements and interactive banners that allow viewers to access more information about a business/advertiser. Once a business is selected, users can click to see more information about it, which will direct them to a separate TV channel on the Comporium service, featuring, among other things, a click-to-call functionally to connect a user to said merchant, daily deals, and directions. The widget also provides a searchable listing of local businesses in the area. In the last four months, the companies say they have signed up more than 340 advertisers, most of which are non-traditional TV advertisers.
Paya is a new digital content licensing platform from T3Media, a provider of cloud-based video management and licensing services. The service, which aims to directly connect buyers and sellers, allows consumers to sell their work by tagging existing content from websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and Facebook with "buy" links. Clicking on those links will direct buyers to what the company describes as a Craigslist-style listing tool where they can make the purchase. Paya allows consumers to set their own terms and pricing, and keep 80% of every sale. The service is available to everyone, from professional photographers and videographers to the average consumer with an iPhone or a DSLR digital camera. T3Media says that Paya can also serve as a licensing engine for films, documentries, shorts, and other content. It also allows buyers to discover content as well as send the owner a request to buy it via the "I Wanna Paya" tool. For an audiovisual explanation on how the service works, here's a short video from T3 Media.
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At Nielsen's Consumer 360 event, the researcher released some of its latest findings on how audiences are using multiple screens and devices. Specifically, Nielsen's Steve Hasker, President/Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions, said that in the last 12 months, smartphone penetration has gone up 34%, tablet adoption is up 400%, adoption of game consoles has risen 1%, while connected TV is up 25% in the last six months. According to Nielsen, these increases create both challenges and opportunities for both brands and content companies. To that end, Hasker said Nielsen plans to expand its Cross-Platform Ratings service deeper into tablets and mobile. "Our next step is to double our panel size to 20,000," he said.
NBCUniversal Integrated Media's quarterly Brand Power Index (BPI), which generally tracks the top 500 brands "most buzzed about" by women, shifted this quarter to also track and measure the top 500 brands most talked about by men. To mirror the shift, the company has changed the Index's name from "Women at NBCU's BPI" to the "Integrated Media's BPI." And what did this newly re-minted report find among those buzzed about brands in the second quarter? That consumers feel a brand's "real world" presence impacts their purchasing decisions (49%) as much as that brand's digital and major media presence does (51%). "So the combination of virtual and real world campaigns is incredibly powerful," said Melissa Lavigne-Delville, VP/Strategic Insights and Trends at NBCUniversal's Integrated Media. The company highlights several case studies of brands merging both online and offline experiences, which resulted in a boost up the BPI rankings. These included:
Rewards-based social TV app, Viggle, is now available for Verizon Wireless customers with Android devices through both Google Play and the wireless carrier's own mobile storefront, Verizon Apps. The free mobile app allows users to check into the television programs they're watching, play trivia games and puzzles, and/or interact with special branded media, all in order to earn points, which can be then redeemed for real-world prizes like movie tickets, gift cards, wireless accessories, and more. Viggle, which has already been available on iOS deivces, has also launched a 1 million-point giveaway to coincide with its launch on the Verizon Wireless network.
E! Online has given its mobile app a complete redesign, highlighted by a new layout. The apps allow users to access breaking entertainment news, E! Online live streams from events such as red carpets, and celebrity photo galleries, as well as videos from E! News Now and assorted clips from E! programs like The Soup and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Users are also able to subscribe to breaking news alerts via push notifications. The apps are available to download on iOS and Android devices for free.
Yahoo has hired Rich Cusick as its new VP/Entertainment and Women's Lifestyles. He will lead global execution for Yahoo Shine, Health, and Entertainment properties, including omg!, Movies, TV, and Music, and will report to Mickie Rosen, SVP/Global Media & Commerce at Yahoo.
PointRoll, a Gannett company, has promoted Bob Shaffer to VP/East Coast Sales, effective immediately. In his new role, Shaffer is responsible for overseeing all East Coast revenue as well as client and agency relationships for the digital marketing services company. Prior to the promotion, he was East Coast Sales Manager, leading an East Coast team in the New York and Boston regions.
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Getting ready for season 5 of Breaking Bad? Here's something you might find cool: Sony Pictures Television's worldwide marketing group has teamed up with comedian Paul Scheer and Gallery1988's Jensen Karp to create a collectible-poster campaign that will run up until the show's season finale in September. Already underway, Sony says Paul Scheer will unveil sixteen secret campaign events and clues on BreakingGifs. The clues will give hints about the date/time/location of where the next limited edition poster giveaway may be found as well as when the next opportunity to purchase said show-themed poster on the site might be. For example, past secret events include a "takeover" of Michael Voltaggio's Ink.Sack sandwich shop in Los Angeles on May 17. The shop distributed "Los Pollos Hermanos" bags and baggies of blue rock candy, which included a clue of where to buy the next poster. Earlier on May 9, popular DJ duo The Hood Internet performed a concert at Irving Plaza in New York City, during which Giancarlo Esposito showed up to announce where to find the first collectible poster. Sony says since it's a worldwide campaign, each campaign "moment" or secret event can take place anywhere, from New Mexico to London. Gallery1988 has agreed to host a weeklong exhibit in mid-August in Hollywood, CA featuring all 16 limited edition posters and other art inspired by the series. The exhibit will be open to the public.
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Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
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