Good morning. It's Wednesday, August 1, 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.
Google has bought social advertising start-up Wildfire Interactive. The firm allows businesses to manage their presence -- from ads and sponsorships to fan pages and apps -- across numerous social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. While Google did not officially disclose how much it paid to acquire Wildfire, several reports indicate that the price is in the neighborhood of $250 million. "For now, we remain focused on helping brands run and measure their social engagement and ad campaigns across the entire web and across all social services," said Wildfire Co-Founders Alain Chuard and Victoria Ransom in a blog post about the acquisition. "To this end, Wildfire will operate as usual, and there will be no changes to our service and support for our customers." Wildfire says it currently serves 16,000 clients. These include the likes of Virgin, Spotify, Gilt Group, and Cirque de Soleil.
YouTube has landed more than $150 million from advertisers who plan to run ads on its original programming channels this year, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. In addition, the WSJ reports that next year the video behemoth is looking to expand the initiative into Europe by launching "a couple dozen video channels" for British and French audiences. YouTube still plans to invest an additional $200 million in marketing the program stateside; on top of the company's original investment to front producers and content creators money to get started on developing shows for the site. This much has been known since YouTube made the pledge during its event at the Digital Content NewFronts.
Hulu Plus is now available on Apple TV. Accessible via the connected device's home screen, Hulu Plus subscribers can sign in immediately using their username and password. Hulu is offering new subscribers a one-week free trial to check the service out, which is available at a monthly rate of $7.99. New subscribers can sign up here or directly through Apple TV using their existing iTunes account.
Amazon's Netflix-competitor in Europe, LoveFilm, has inked a deal with Miramax in order to offer its subscribers in the UK and Germany access to films from the studio, such as There Will Be Blood, The Aviator, Sin City, both Kill Bills, and others. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
PROGRAMMING CALL: Cynopsis Digital will be producing an Online Video Content e-Special Report on Wednesday, August 29.The report will take an in-depth look at the development behind some of the best original web series as well as the innovators who have made them successful. If your company has released a premium, original series this year, and would like it to be considered as among the best in the web video space, please send your submission, which should include a brief overview of the series with pertinent information such as creator(s), producer(s), story, genre, cast, and the latest stats, to Sahil Patel at firstname.lastname@example.org, no later than August 10.
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.
The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC) is partnering with Jumptap to let the mobile advertising company serve national election ads across The Weather Channel's mobile and tablet apps. As TWCC has placed an emphasis on locally relevant content for its digital platforms, the deal is being positioned as a way for political advertisers to target and reach audiences at the local level. The Weather Channel mobile and tablet apps in total reach more than 30 million monthly users, according to comScore MobiLens data from earlier this year.
Mobile ad network InMobi has acquired Metaflow Solutions, a provider of mobile app management and distribution solutions, for an undisclosed price. Metaflow says its technology helps mobile developers distribute apps to "hundreds of independent, OEM, and operator app stores across the globe." Commenting on the deal, Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO of InMobi, said, "Our acquisition of Metaflow Solutions will help us to continue to rapidly expand the distribution and monetization of content for our developers and publisher partners." Per the deal, the Metaflow team will relocate to InMobi's new London office. InMobi says its independent ad network currently has a reach of 578 million consumers in over 165 countries, and serves billions of ad impressions every day.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
With NBC placing a larger spotlight on the digital space for its coverage of the London Olympics, the company has released some data on how its digital properties are faring in the early stages of the two-week event. NBC says for the first two days of competition, NBCOlympics.com has averaged 87 million page views (+29% compared to the Beijing Olympics) and nearly 7 million live video streams every day (+370% versus Beijing). To be fair to the latter number, Beijing did not offer as much live video content as London. The NBC Olympics apps also seem to be doing well as NBC reports that in total the NBC Olympics Live Extra and NBC Olympics apps have surpassed 4 million downloads.
Global mobile app revenue, which includes revenue generated from premium and in-app purchases and advertising, reached $5.4 billion in 2011, according to Flurry. In 2012, the mobile app analytics company forecasts worldwide app revenues, from the same sources, to hit $8.7 billion, an increase of 60% over the previous year. To calculate the forecast, Flurry says it took actual data for the first half of 2012 and modeled the numbers for the second half by applying growth rates based on the breakdown of revenue in 2011 between the first half and second half of that year. Flurry sees advertising as the fastest growing revenue source category, forecasting a growth from $980 million (18% of total) in 2011 to $2 billion (23%) in 2012. Revenue from the premium and in-app purchases category will also grow, according to Flurry, from $4.5 billion in 2011 to $6.7 billion in 2012. The company says it calculated these numbers using data from over 600,000 mobile apps in the Flurry Analytics data set.
Yahoo has rolled out a revamped version of its IntoNow second-screen TV app, which now allows users to tag and identify a song that's playing during a TV show. Yahoo says this includes live performances, featured songs, or even background music. For users who like the song enough to purchase it or watch the music video, the app can direct them to iTunes or YouTube in order to do so. Another big feature now available on IntoNow is called CapIt, which lets users grab an image from a show and then caption it, without having to use their phone's camera (when users select the option, the app automatically provides them with recent stills from that moment). Once captioned, the image can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, or the app itself. The third new feature is the ability to set-up group chats around a particular TV show or event, as well as the ability to set-up recurring chats that take place throughout the season. The update is currently only available for the iOS version of IntoNow.
Alloy Digital has hired Jeffrey Kaufman to be its new SVP/Digital Video, effective immediately. Kaufman will lead the programming and brand strategy for multiple video channels from Alloy, including its YouTube original channels Shut Up! Cartoons, Deepak Chopra's The Chopra Well, and the recently acquired ClevverNews. He will report to Barry Blumberg, EVP/Alloy Digital.
Starz Entertainment has named Alison Hoffman its new SVP/Marketing. Based in the company's Beverly Hills office, Hoffman will be responsible for leading all aspects of the marketing strategy and planning, which includes campaign and creative strategy, development, and media planning, for Starz's slate of original series.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Did anyone enjoy The Dark Knight Rises? Stupid questions aside, in a solid display of merchandising done right, Under Armour is selling a bunch of clothing apparel for fans of the Gotham City Rogues. Of the eight items available, the men's varsity jacket is already a personal favorite. And if clothes of fictional football teams aren't your cup of tea, check out The Dark Knight Rises Z+ app for iOS devices. It's an "augmented soundtrack experience" that allows users to play music and sounds from the film. The app also features behind-the-scenes commentary from composer Hans Zimmer and director Christopher Nolan, and a "Fly the BAT" movie sound effect simulator from sound designer Richard King. While the app is free to download, some features need to be bought from within the app.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
Denise O'Connor: Group Publisher
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