Good morning. It's Tuesday, July 24, 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.
Twitter also wants in on the Olympic action. The popular social networking site plans to launch a custom "event page" in the US for the Olympics. Similar to what Twitter has done for brands like NASCAR, the new page will aggregate tweets from a wide variety of sources, including the @NBCOlympics, @Olympics, and @USOlympic accounts, the athletes themselves, their families and coaches, the media, and other relevant popular tweets from around the world. The product of an official partnership with NBC Olympics, NBC has agreed to promote the event page via on-air graphics across all NBC networks that are airing Olympic programming, including the flagship during primetime. When it goes live, it will be available at Twitter.com/#Olympics. The page will also be easily accessible by clicking on the #Olympics hashtag or searching for "Olympics" on Twitter. Another aspect of this partnership is the decision to revitalize the NBC Olympics Twitter Tracker on the NBC Olympics website and mobile and tablet app; the interactive heat map allows users to track buzz surrounding the Games, a specific sport, athletes, and trending news in real time.
With the Kelsey Grammar-starring series Boss set to return on August 17, Starz has launched a social video "experience" called Price for Power. In a manner similar to the famous Take This Lollipop social app (and former Cynopsis Website of the Day), Price for Power takes a user's Facebook information, such as his or her name, friends, and photos, in order to create a highly personalized video that shows "how easily twisted and manipulated" someone in Mayor Tom Kane's (Grammar's character) world can become. In a couple of minutes, the video places you in a position of power within the show's universe and then takes it all away as your Facebook friends begin to disappear from the page and your life unravels. Starz says Price for Power produces a new video each time a user hits the button and takes the challenge and is built using the Facebook Connect technology platform. Also, starting on August 20, Starz will make the second season premiere of Boss available "for sampling" online, on Facebook, and via a selection of on-demand and multichannel video partners.
Filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld's Dinosaurs Vs. Aliens has premiered exclusively on Yahoo Screen. Produced by Liquid Comics, the "motion comic" series is a digital adaptation of the graphic novel created by Sonnenfeld and written by Grant Morrison. The comic is about a secret battle between -- you guessed it -- dinosaurs and aliens back during prehistoric times.
Discovery Channel's venerated Shark Week block of programming turns 25 this year. To celebrate it, the channel plans to run a nightly program called Shark Week Chompdown to promote a poll that allows viewers to decide which item a massive mechanical shark -- from the show Sharkzilla -- will devour. Viewers will be able to make their choice via Twitter (accompanied by hashtags that appear on the screen) and Shark Week's official Facebook page. The nightly event will be hosted by Philip DeFranco, host of The Philip DeFranho show on Revision3, an online video network that was recently purchased by Discovery Communications. Shark Week begins on Sunday, August 12.
Dark Prophet is an action-adventure series that was awarded the first place prize by a panel of NBCUniversal TV development executives at the annual NYU Tisch West Alumni Web Series Competition. Digital-Reign, the production company behind the show has announced that the series will premiere this fall. No specifics have been given as to when or where the series will air. When asked, series creator Evette Vargas said that the premiere date is still to be determined, and that she can't disclose on which websites and platforms the series will appear, as the deals are still "being worked out." The cast consists of Henry Rollins (Sons of Anarchy), Josh Meyers (That '70s Show), Rick Gonzalez (Reaper), and Chase Fein in the lead role of Dai Shepherd. The show is about a music student with time-traveling abilities who discovers some dangerous government secrets and has to save the world.
The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast takes place on August 9 in New York City. If you haven't seen the finalists and registered to attend yet, you can do so here.
Personalized news-reading mobile app Zite has added several new partners to its Publisher Program, including the Chicago Tribune, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, International Business Times, the LA Times, IDG's Macworld, and PC World, among others. Launched three months ago, companies in the Publisher Program get their own section within the Zite app. These sections feature select articles from said publisher partner that are personalized to the user's interests based on Zite's algorithm. The sections also promote each partner's individual apps and/or digital publications. Other participating publisher brands include CNN, The Daily Beast, FOX Sports, The Next Web, VentureBeat, and The Huffington Post.
Great Lakes Data Systems (GLDS) has launched WinCAP, a new real-time subscriber and content authorization solution for TV Everywhere services. Integrated within its existing web-based CableAnytime platform, GLDS says WinCAP lets subscribers manage TV Everywhere access for all content providers from one central location, using the same username and password that they use to pay their bills, order PPV, and do other account-related activities. Content providers who integrate with the platform only have to do so once, after which they can have access to numerous operators from around the country. In addition, GLDS says WinCAP will be powering the 2012 NBC Summer Olympics authorization for several operators in the US, including BELD Broadband, Cable Systems of Nevada, San Bruno Cable, and others. WinCAP is powered by WinCable, GLDS' billing, subscriber management, and provisioning software, which complies with CableLabs' OLCA protocol and Adobe Pass.
Production studio IKA Collective has signed with Peleton Entertainment, a television agency behind reality shows like Hoarders, Dog the Bounty Hunter, and Pawn Stars. In addition, IKA has also agreed to a non-exclusive syndication deal with AOL's 5min Media to air the studio's documentary series, The Midnight Archives. IKA is describing the two deals as major steps forward in eventually expanding to creating and producing long-form content.
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A new eMarketer report names Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google as the "Big Four" companies of the digital world. "Other than content creation, it's difficult to imagine any aspect of today's digital landscape where at least one of the Big Four fails to play a prominent, if not defining, role," says eMarketer in the report. eMarketer does recognize that the Four, while influential across the digital space, are not equally strong in specific areas, ranging from hardware and software to advertising and commerce. Nonetheless, "all have expanded far beyond their core competencies in an effort to strengthen their appeal to users, solidify their standing with marketers, and maintain their easily eroded relevance in the fast-moving digital economy," says eMarketer.
Speaking of the Big Four (well, three of them): According to a new Harris Interactive study, consumers are more likely to trust Amazon with their personal data than Google and Facebook. Specifically, 66% of consumers, who are aware of Amazon's practice of using past purchase data to recommend new products, find it "somewhat to very acceptable." In comparison, only 41% of consumers are similarly comfortable with Google using past search data to target ads, and 33% with Facebook using profile information and posts to do the same. The clear winner in this, however, was grocery stores: 81% of consumers are accepting of grocery stores using purchase information to deliver relevant coupons. The study, which polled 2,262 US adults, was commissioned by location-based marketing company Placecast and conducted in February.
Discussion-based website SodaHead.com recently polled its users about their thoughts on Facebook and the next iteration of Apple products, and according to the results, SodaHead says there might be some Facebook and Apple fatigue setting in among consumers in the US. 52% of poll respondents feel they will spend less time on Facebook in the next year, while only 12% plan on spending more time. In addition, 73% of respondents believe another social network will eventually surpass Facebook. As for Apple, only 28% of respondents indicated that they're interested in a potential iPad mini product, while 72% said they are "over it." 26% of respondents stated that they are interested in the iPhone 5, while 74% answered that they are "over it."
HIT Entertainment and P2 Games have launched Bob the Builder's Playtime Fun for all iOS devices. The app features many characters from the popular kids' TV show and comes with six games designed to encourage problem solving and teamwork. It's available for $2.99.
GetGlue is working on an update to its mobile app that will expand the social TV service to also include personalized video discovery, reports GigaOM. The new app will be named GetGlue HD and will be initially available only on iOS devices. According to what GetGlue CEO Alex Iskold tells GigaOM, the plan is to release the app later this summer and focus it entirely on TV since that's the most popular media form on the social service. A video preview of the new GetGlue is available on GigaOM as well.
Kelly Bennett has joined Netflix as its new Chief Marketing Officer. Most recently, Bennett ran digital marketing campaigns for Warner Bros. Pictures in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He will report directly to CEO Reed Hastings.
Proof is a social whisky-tasting game that is best played using the iPad (but fret not, there's also a less-optimized web version available). If you haven't already clicked through then I have nothing more for you. Enjoy (responsibly).
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
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