Good morning. It's Thursday, July 26, 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.
NBC says it has surpassed $1 billion in ad sales for the London Olympics across all of its television and digital properties. This is the biggest haul ever for the Olympics, according to NBC, as it says it only sold $850 million in advertising for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The company attributes some of this growth to its decision to make digital a larger aspect of the planned coverage of the Games. In fact, digital ad sales increased 200% for this year's coverage versus those from four years ago ($20 million in 2008 to over $60 million in 2012). Television is still the king, however, as it accounts for $950 million in ad sales to date. The company did note that it still stands to lose money on the Olympics when all costs are factored in. But, to indicate that this number isn't final, Seth Winter, EVP/Sales and Sales Marketing for NBC Sports Group, says, "We are not done yet and will continue to sell during the Games."
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Samsung is collaborating with the New York Television Festival (NYTVF) on Free the TV Challenge III -- "Second Screen Storytellers." The contest will award a winning independent producer or production company a budget of $300,000 to create an original short series that is accompanied by second-screen content. This is the first time Samsung is working with NYTVF on its annual Free the TV Challenge competition. The NYTVF will accept entries from August 6 to September 24 of this year. Each completed entry requires an original short pilot or excerpt scene that is six to 10 minutes long; an ancillary piece of second-screen content that is at max two minutes long; and a series treatment that outlines the show concept and other second-screen ideas. The winning selection, from a group of five finalists, will be announced at the eighth annual New York Television Festival (October 22 to 27 in lower Manhattan) and will be given $300,000 to shoot the next three episodes (10 minutes each) as well as all necessary second-screen material. The series will premiere at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, after which it will be exclusively distributed via Samsung Smart (connected) TVs and Galaxy devices. This competition is open to all US-based residents over the age of 18 and who do not have any contractual obligations that would prevent them from signing a production deal with Samsung.
NBC's digital blitz of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London continues, this time through a social news partnership between NBC News and NBC Owned Television Stations. The two entities will use the social news and curation service Storify to aggregate relevant content in real-time from multiple social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and share it across TODAY.com and all of the Owned Television Station websites. The social content will come from hundreds of NBC journalists and producers who are on the ground in the UK, as well as social media users publishing content from around the world. Here are the links to the embedded Storify experience on NBC New York, NBC LA, NBC Chicago, NBC10 in Philadelphia, NBC Dallas/Fort Worth, NBC Bay Area, NBC Washington, NBC6 in Miami/South Florida, NBC7 in San Diego, and NBC Connecticut.
This Olympic blitz extends to NBC's parent company Comcast. The operator says it will offer free access to thousands of indoor and outdoor Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots in the greater Philadelphia area, as well as areas in Delaware and New Jersey, so that both Xfinity customers and non-customers can access streaming Olympics content via the NBCOlympics.com. This offer will run throughout the Olympics, which begin tomorrow and last until August 12.
A free weekend preview (July 28 to July 29) of the EPIX app on the Xbox 360 comes with a special programming event, called Shatnerific: A Celebration of Star Trek Fandom. To be featured on the Xbox LIVE dashboard, the programming event will make two EPIX original documentaries about the Star Trek franchise and its fan base, as well as 11 Star Trek films, available for free to all Xbox LIVE subscribers. The two documentaries are The Captains, which takes a look at the Star Trek franchise through the lens of each actor who has played a Starfleet captain, and William Shatner's Get a Life, which shines a light on the show's fan base, while the selection of 11 films range from the original Star Trek film to the most recent blockbuster.
YouTube looks like it's finally trying to clean up its notorious "commenting" problem: Google is now asking users who try to comment on a YouTube video to use their full name, which can be taken from their Google+ account. If users elect not to use their full name, Google offers them six options to explain why they don't want to, including "I'm not sure, I'll decide later." The company also users have the ability to go back to their username at any time.
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.
AOL's global advertising revenue grew 6% year-over-year, per its Q2 2012 earnings report. According to the report, this growth reflects a 2% year-over-year growth in global display revenue. However, it should be noted that AOL's domestic display revenue remained flat at $126.8 million; that growth was sparked by AOL's international display revenues, which increased from $10.8 million in Q2 2011 to $13.1 million in Q2 2012 (+21%). The company also reports that its Third Party Network revenue jumped 19%, from $93.6 million last year to $111.4 million this year.
Intergi Entertainment, an online ad network geared toward reaching gamers, says it plans to roll out a new video-focused mobile ad solution starting next week. "We've taken our entire ad solution and transformed it to give game developers the ability to place ads in, around, and before any game," said Jayson Dubin, CEO. While placing a strong emphasis on video ads, the solution will also provide display options for mobile websites and apps. Intergi says it has created a step-by-step tutorial for the solution so that even a novice developer can monetize his or her apps. The company also plans to integrate the mobile video ad solution with Playwire, its video hosting and ad platform.
In what it calls the "Great American Smartphone Migration," new data from comScore indicates that 47.5% of feature phone owners in the US who "acquired" (bought, received, etc.) a new phone during the three-month period ending in April 2012 made the switch to a smartphone -- a 9.5% increase from the previous year. Among this group of first-time smartphone owners, 61.5% selected Android-powered devices, while 25.2% chose iPhones, 7.1% opted for smartphones running on Microsoft's Windows platform, and 4.8% decided RIM was the way to go. Compare this to the market share among existing smartphone owners who acquired a new smartphone during the same three-month period, which according to comScore stands at 54.2% for Android devices, 33.5% for the iPhone, 9.6% for RIM, and 3.0% for Microsoft. More than anything else, it appears that RIM is having trouble in attracting new subscribers while Microsoft may be on the up and up as it looks to carve out a significant space in the mobile smartphone market. Nevertheless, there appear to be good days ahead for smartphone companies; "Within the year, we expect to see smartphone owners become the mobile majority," said Mark Donovan, comScore's SVP/Mobile.
According to a new Gartner forecast, global social media revenue will reach $16.9 billion in 2012, up 43.1% from the 2011 revenue of $11.8 billion. The research firm says advertising will continue to be the largest contributor to overall social media revenue, projected to account for $8.8 billion of the total global social media revenue in 2012. In addition, social gaming is expected to reach $6.2 billion in 2012, while revenue from subscriptions is projected to reach $278 million this year.
Nielsen is having a tough time getting ad agencies to adopt its Online Campaign Ratings product as a viable form of currency for buying media, according to what Nielsen CEO David Calhoun told analysts during the company's quarterly earnings report, per MediaPost. To that end, he said that Nielsen doesn't expect the online ratings product to play any sort of major role in Nielsen revenues until 2013.
Even though he says Apple sold 1.3 million Apple TV units during its fiscal third quarter, Apple CEO Tim Cook still describes the product as a "hobby" for the company. Among the other revelations from Cook's phone call with investors, the iPhone sales fell nearly 26% from the previous quarter, which is largely being attributed to consumers holding off on a new purchase until the inevitable iPhone 5 comes out. However, the company did sell 26 million iPhones in the quarter ending in June, which marks a 28% increase over the same time period last year. Overall, Apple reported revenues of $35 billion and a profit of $8.8 billion for the quarter.
While we're on Apple, the company released Mountain Lion OS X 10.8 yesterday. It is available for download in the Mac App Store for $20 (unless you have a new Mac, because then it's free). As a reminder, the new operating system signifies a large step forward on Apple's part in creating a singular user experience across multiple devices, including Macs, iPhones, iPods, and iPads. The operating system is fully integrated with iCloud so users can sync things like notes, reminders, calendars, and more across Apple devices. Other notable features include AirPlay Mirroring with Apple TV so users can turn their television sets into a larger computer screen.
Social TV analytics provider Bluefin Labs has named ad industry veteran JP Maheu as its new Chief Executive Officer. Formerly an executive at the likes of Razorfish, Ogilvy & Mather, and Publicis Modem, Maheu is replacing Bluefin Labs Co-Founder Deb Roy, who will remain as Chairman. Bluefin Labs offers two products, Signals Network Edition and Signals Brand Edition, which are used by many television networks, brands, and their agencies to power social TV measurement. In January, the start-up raised $12 million in Series B financing from Time Warner Investments, Softbank Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Lerer Ventures.
Ross Cohen has been selected by Viacom to be the new SVP/Digital Inventory Strategy for Viacom Media Networks. In the new role, Cohen will oversee "strategy and processes" for the company's Data Management Platform (DMP) and inventory systems for online and mobile platforms of its network of media properties, which include MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Spike, and TV Land. He will report to Rich Eigendorff, COO of Viacom Media Networks.
The Weather Channel has launched My Friends' Weather; a new Facebook Open Graph-based application that allows users to see which of their friends on the social network may be affected by breaking weather news. Through Breaking Now weather alerts on the site, which show up as a red bar on the top of weather.com when activated, users can see when a storm is on the horizon, and then immediately notify any Facebook friend who may be affected by sharing the alert directly from the site. In addition, a partnership with insurance provider The Travelers Companies brings helpful tips on how to prepare for impending storms and prevent property damage to the Open Graph app. When the storm passes, Travelers will also deliver information on how affected individuals can begin the recovery process. The Weather Channel says the American Red Cross will also be incorporated into future versions of this app, allowing the non-profit to offer topical content, relevant tips, and a way for users to make disaster-related monetary donations.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
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