Good morning. It's Monday, August 6, 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.
NBCUniversal's decision to participate in this year's inaugural Digital Content NewFronts was intriguing for one pretty big reason -- everyone was well aware that unlike the other DCNF presenters the company had no intention of showcasing new original programming during its NewFront event. For that, marketers would have to attend its cable upfronts. The company's NewFront was more geared toward what NBCUniversal could offer to marketers through its extensive digital umbrella. One item briefly mentioned during the event was what the presenters called a "unified digital programming event" surrounding Cyber Monday later this year. As far as I could tell at the time, it was a shopping event of some sort, which we'd find out more about as the year progressed. Well, recently I spoke with Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, SVP/Marketing for iVillage at NBCUniversal, one of the chief architects of this ad package, and asked her what it is as well as what it could do for marketers.
There wasn't much available during the NewFronts themselves concerning the Cyber Monday package. Can you give us an overview?
It is really the first-ever digital programming event unified across NBCUniversal and we are leveraging all of our digital assets for the initiative. It allows us to connect with consumers in this kind of unique way around Cyber Monday, which is a key point during the year when so much of the digital universe is coming online and visiting e-commerce sites.
One big component of the package is the Gift Game Planner social tool. The idea behind the Gift Game Planner is to take the best of the NBCUniversal gift guides -- most of our sites do gift guides as part of their digital offerings during the holiday season -- and unify them under one centralized, social umbrella. It can be a music gift pick from Oxygen, something for the man in your life selected by Syfy, or a fashion product recommended by experts at Daily Candy. The Gift Planner combines utility with engagement tools so that you as a user can input your wish list and share it with friends. It also allows you to keep track of gifts you would like to buy for everyone on your list, and we're giving users the chance to win items on their list by simply making a list.
How would it serve advertisers?
For advertisers, we are able to integrate brands across entire the Cyber Monday program, including the ability to pepper products directly into the actual Game Planner. We will also overlay gaming dynamics to drive engagement. For example, for a big brand like a credit card company, we can help them develop rewards for things as simple as "use the credit card and get coupons towards more gift purchases." That way, we are leveraging gamification to reward consumers for shopping on Cyber Monday, as well as on Black Friday; we don't want to forget that day either as it is so important for our retail partners.
But I assume brands can also sponsor the Gift Game Planner?
Yes. Brands can sponsor it. But they can also bring their products to life by making them available in the Gift Game Planner.
We can work with partners to customize integrations throughout the entire program. From co-development of creative to build excitement for the Gift Game planner to product integration within the Guide through custom categories or brand related content, we will put brands front and center for shoppers.
You're also offering a "digital roadblock" as part of the overall package. What is it?
Yes, and this is the first time we have offered anything on this scale. The roadblock is essentially is an overlay where we would run a massive promotional takeover to drive people to the Gift Game Planner. These takeovers would run across all NBCUniversal digital properties, which currently reach about 110 million uniques per month.
So if you're offering this expansive digital roadblock, how are you going to be able to manage demand if, say, it's more than available inventory?
There are multiple ways we can include different advertisers. We can of course segment the audience based on the brand's audience targets. We can also rotate the roadblock according to day-parts or scale it so that it's best able to reach the intended audience.
I remember during NBCUniversal's NewFront it was said that the company would use its television properties to complement this digital program. In what way are you using TV to support the digital side of this package?
It's a great amplification tool. We would create custom on-air content vignettes that drive even more consumers online to the Gift Game Planner. For example, one of the ideas we've been talking about is "Your Black Friday Do's and Don'ts." You do shop with your sister while using your smartphone, but you don't trust your brother to pick out the right sweater for mom. We'd look to integrate brands into these vignettes. And at the end of the segment, you can elect to throw in the Gift Game Planner as a way to solve any of those shopping problems.
What's the strategy behind airing such vignettes? Where would they air?
Right now we are focusing on the female consumer through the Women@NBCU platform. We're looking to target women because they are a high value audience for our partners. So we're going to look at shows that reach this audience and run these vignettes adjacent to them. It definitely depends on your targets, but we expect to have a heavy presence on networks like Style and on E!
When would these campaigns/programs run?
The original vision is that the roadblock would begin the week before Cyber Monday and run through the week of Thanksgiving. The Gift Game Planner would remain active through the holiday season, so that shoppers can access the content and check out deals from our advertisers right up to the last shopping minute.
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Production studio Katalyst Network is partnering with male-focused online entertainment network Machinima to produce a new show for Machinima Prime, the network's entry in YouTube's ongoing premium channels initiative. The new show, called Prank Lab, follows two hosts as they go around performing different kinds of pranks, stunts, and "extreme gags" on unsuspecting targets. If this sounds an awful lot like MTV's Punk'd prank series, fret not, Katalyst Network was founded by Ashton Kutcher and Jason Goldberg. The studio is currently led by the founder of BUZZMedia, Anthony Batt. According to TheWrap, the partnership between Katalyst and Machinima calls for the first 40 episodes of the show to air on Machinima Prime. "[Prank Labs] is a lot of messing around, and we know how to do that kind of programming better than anybody," said Anthony Batt to TheWrap.
Facebook has launched a new site called Facebook Stories, an interactive e-magazine that highlights as well as collects interesting stories from users around a specific theme every month. The first month's theme is "Remembering." The stories are presented in the form of videos, articles, and other forms of content. The site also comes with regular features that will be available every month. These include The Bookshelf, which offers a list of book recommendations from Goodreads focusing on that month's theme; The Playlist, which uses Spotify to present different genres of music curated by a different artist each month; Reading List, which offers "exclusive access" to the archives of some prominent media publications. For the Reading List, this month Facebook is highlighting three stories from The New Yorker that "will get you thinking about the process of remembering from different angles." The new site is also allowing users to submit interesting stories of their own, giving them a chance to be featured in an upcoming installment.
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 email@example.com, 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, you can do so here.
AdSafe Media, a provider of predictive ad data, has released Ad Collision Detection, a new solution that measures the number of times multiple ads from a single campaign appear simultaneously on a webpage. AdSafe Media says about 6% of the billion plus impressions it sees daily "collide," meaning that the advertiser unknowingly pays for multiple impressions that were shown at the same time to the same user. In addition, the company says there is a correlation between pages that have a high percentage of ad collision and those that have a high likelihood for click and impression fraud. Ad Collision Detection, as well as the company's recently released Suspicious Activity Detection product, is meant to protect brands and advertisers from such risks, as it verifies the number of instances of collisions and blocks publishers that allow multiple ads to run on the same page.
comScore announced that the validation suite within its validated Campaign Essentials (vCE) product has received accreditation from the Media Rating Council (MRC). The validation suite covers viewability, brand safety, in-country geographic delivery, engagement, and removal of non-human traffic for online ad campaigns. The validation suite of vCE applies the 3MS working definition of a viewable impression. The MRC is an association of online, print, radio, and television media companies, as well as brands, agencies, and trade associations. Its accreditation signifies that comScore's procedures for the validation suite adhere to MRC standards and other industry-accepted standards for digital ad campaign measurement.
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More numbers from NBC regarding the Olympics: Across the company's online, mobile, and tablet platforms for the Olympics, NBC says there have been a total of 75 million video streams, 34 million live streams, and 744 million page views, as well as 31.5 million unique visitors (web only), as of August 2. In addition, cable, satellite, and/or telco subscribers have verified 6.2 million devices via NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Olympics Live Extra app. Going deeper, the network reports that five Olympics events have topped one million live streams, led by the Women's Gymnastics Team Gold Medal Final (1.462 million live streams), and followed by the Men's 200 Individual Medley (1.192 million live streams) and the Women's Gymnastics All-Around Gold Medal (1.096 million). In an interesting note, NBC says four of the top five were streamed only to authenticated cable, satellite, and telco subscribers, with Thursday's Phelps/Locthe showdown being the sole exception. Once again, all of these numbers are as of August 2. With the event just crossing the halfway mark, there will be more data to come.
Google has topped Apple in General Sentiment's latest Global Brands Report, which the social analytics provider says measures brands that had the most significant impact online (across traditional news media outlets online and social media channels) in the second quarter of this year. The report indicates that Google generated $756.6 million in "media value" in the second quarter. It was followed by Apple, which amassed $594.3 million in media value (Apple held the top spot in General Sentiment's Q1 Global Brands Report). Microsoft ($356.4 million), Amazon.com ($331.4 million), and HP ($258.2 million) finish out the top five. Overall, the report is highly favorable toward the tech industry, which claims eight of the top 10 spots in the study. To form its report, General Sentiment says it measures the purchase equivalent value of a brand's exposure, as determined by the sentiment, frequency, and exposure of news mentions and social dialogue.
IDC estimates that a total of 25 million tablets were shipped across the globe in Q2 2012, which, if accurate, would represent a quarter-over-quarter increase of 33.6% from the 18.7 million tablets shipped in Q1 2012 and a year-over-year increase of 66.2% from the 15 million shipped in Q2 2012. The company plans to release final shipment numbers for the quarter later this month. The iPad continues to be the top tablet device as IDC estimates that Apple shipped 17 million iPads during the second quarter. This is above the 11.8 million units shipped in the previous quarter and marks a new all-time record, breaking its previous shipment record of 15.4 million units, which it reached in Q4 2011. IDC says it was a good quarter for the worldwide tablet market in general as four of the top five vendors witnessed year-over-year increases in global shipments. Samsung slid in at second place with 2.4 million units shipped, followed by Amazon (1.2 million units), ASUS (855,454 units), and Acer (385,458). Looking ahead, IDC says competition in the tablet market is going to heat up. "If anything, there's a real risk that people will have too many options from which to choose this holiday season. Consumers baffled by the differences between Amazon and Google versions of Android, or Windows 8 and RT, may well default to market leader Apple," or wait it out for another cycle, said Bob O'Donnnell, Program VP, Clients and Displays, IDC.
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To promote A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, which is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, a global online competition has been launched that gives animators of all walks and sizes the chance to put their on imprint on some of Chapman and Monty Python's most famous sketches. Open to students, amateurs, and professional animators, Animate Chapman is sponsored by the filmmakers, Trinity, Brainstorm, EPIX, and Adobe. For the contest, eight audio clips have been chosen from Chapman's career. Contestants can animate any of them using the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium software. The final animation must be uploaded on the film's official Facebook Page. The judges will select 10 winners, one of which will be the "audience chose" as selected by users on Facebook. The winners will receive a copy of the Adobe Creative Suite 6 Production Premium software, and will be featured on PythonLine and the Monty Python YouTube channel, as well as be considered as an extra on the film's official DVD. Final submissions must be in by October 22.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
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