Good morning. It's Friday, September 21, 2012, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
The Roku Streaming Stick, a wireless USB-sized device that plugs into a television set in order to give users full access to the Roku service, will be available in October for $99.99. This is in advance of several "Roku Ready" devices (MHL-enabled television sets from manufacturing partners Apex Digital, Hitachi, and Best Buy's Insignia brand) that are set to hit the shelves in time for the holiday season. When a Roku Streaming Stick is purchased separately, as in not bundled with a TV, it will come with a special remote control that features volume buttons and motion control for game play. While this remote will be necessary for game-play that requires motion control, the Stick will also work with regular remotes that come with Roku Ready TVs. The Roku Streaming Stick will initially be available from Roku and Amazon; Roku says other retailers will offer it sometime "this fall."
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Magnify.net, a provider of cloud-based video curation solutions, has partnered with AOL to offer The AOL On Network's library of nearly 420,000 videos to publishers, brands, and ad networks using its platform to power their own video channels. With this partnership, Magnify is elevating its existing platform to Magnify 3.0, which will pull in video content from over 40 new top-of-the-line content sources, from news organizations such as BBC News, Reuters, WSJ Live, HuffPost Live, and The Daily Beast; to entertainment publishers like E!, PopSugar, and The Insider; and tech outlets such as CNET, Engadget, and GigaOm. Magnify.net currently powers more than 90,000 video channels on the web, including those from well-known publishing brands like New York Magazine.
VUDU, Walmart's video streaming service that allows users to purchase or rent movies and TV shows without needing a subscription, is available on the Roku platform. The VUDU channel is now accessible on all Roku 2, Roku HD and Roku LT streaming players in the US and will come to the Roku Streaming Stick when it launches this October. Movies on VUDU are usually available the same day they are released to DVD and Blu-ray. The Roku streaming platform is currently comprised of over 600 channels.
YouTube original channel Machinima Prime has premiered a new reality series, The Controller: Medal of Honor Warfighter. The show pairs military experts with gaming experts to compete in live-fire and video game challenges. Each challenge, which will be judged by a panel of fan favorites, will be based on a Medal of Honor theme. Machinima Prime, a property of the video games-centric entertainment network Machinima, which has received backing from the likes of Google, currently boasts over 120,000 subscribers and over 7 million video views in total. Machinima's main YouTube channel has 4.8 million subscribers and nearly 3.7 billion video views.
FEARnet will make the original cable versions of the popular horror series Tales from the Crypt available on its VOD platform. This is conjunction with syndicating all seven seasons of the TV version of the show in order on FEARnet's linear channel. The original, unedited versions of the show, which ran form 1989 to 1986, will premiere on the channel's VOD platform, which is available in over 26 million homes in the US, beginning on October 10. Four new episodes will be added to the VOD library every Wednesday, with each episode remaining on the platform for six weeks.
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Real Media Group, a division of WPP's 24/7 Media, has integrated its network of premium publishers (24/7 Access) and ad management platform (24/7 Open AdStream) with the Microsoft Ad Exchange. New publishers will receive the integration on a monthly schedule, allowing them to connect with advertisers on Microsoft's RTB platform. The company says that additional features of this partnership with Microsoft Advertising will roll out to publishers and advertisers "over the coming months."
Austin-based social curation technology company Mass Relevance has launched The Product Studio. Available to media, brands, and agencies, it's a new self-serve tool that offers them more than 30 social products and "visualizations," such as fan photo walls or interactive polls that update in real-time, all of which can be deployed rather quickly in order to create experiences based on curated social data (Mass Relevance has full access to public tweets and public Facebook content). During the recent London Olympics, the FOX Sports Media Group tested out The Product Studio during their on-air and online coverage of the event. For example, the company hosted a live Twitter Q&A during the Women's Soccer Gold Medal Match that was planned and executed within a 24-hour period. Mass Relevance says new products will be added to the Studio on an ongoing basis.
Collective, a provider of multiscreen ad solutions, announced that its entire sales team has taken and passed the IAB's Digital Media Sales Certification exam. The exam is comprised of 100 questions that cover general comprehension of the digital advertising ecosystem, selling digital media, and analyzing campaign performance. The first one was administered this past June (with every member in Collective's US sales organization taking and passing the test). The next round of testing will take place this October and November.
Chellomedia, the international content division of Libery Global, has selected Tvinci's Online TV platform to power an online movie offering tied to Film1, a premium television service available in The Netherlands. Called Film1 Go, the service will allow subscribers to watch international movie content on a number of connected devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Android smartphones and tablets, and PCs and Macs. Tvinci says compatibility for more devices will be available in the near future. Film1 Go is expected to launch in December 2012.
eMarketer estimates that marketers will spend $37.31 billion on digital advertising in the US in 2012, and will increase their spending over the next several years, eventually reaching $55.25 billion in 2016. The research firm has actually lowered its growth forecast for 2012 (over 2011) from 17.7% to 16.6%. This is due to IAB/PricewaterhouseCoopers data for the first half of 2012 and because eMarketer believes the digital ad spending market is approaching maturity faster than it originally expected. Who are the top players as of right now? According to the estimate, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, and AOL will bring in a total of $23.9 billion in ad revenues, representing almost two-thirds of this year's market. Google, naturally, sits at the top of this list as it's projected to account for 41.3% ($15.41 billion) of total US digital ad revenues in 2012. And while search continues to dominate in the digital ad arena, eMarketer sees display ad (banner, video, rich media, sponsorships) to jump from 40.2% of total digital ad spending in 2012 to 45.6% in 2016.
LinkedIn has released the findings of The Mindset Divide, a research study that interviewed over 6,000 social network users across 12 countries on how and why they use professional and personal social networks. Some of the findings are pretty obvious. For example, according to the study, people use personal social networks to socialize, find entertainment, and kill time. They are three times as likely to use personal social networks for entertainment than professional networks. In comparison, professional social networks, such as LinkedIn, are used to do what the report describes as "investing time." People are three times as likely to use such networks to keep up to date with their career over personal networks. However, what may not be so obvious is the types of content people expect to see on a professional social network versus a personal one. Respondents ranked "Updates from Brands" as the #2 type of content they expect to see on a professional social network (on personal social networks, it was ranked at #9). Overall, users expect to hear from brands 26% more on professional social sites than on personal ones.
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Stephen Colvin has left his position as CEO of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company to become an Executive-in-Residence at Lerer Ventures, a NY-based early-stage venture capital firm. Colvin will provide strategic input on Lerer Ventures' existing and expanding portfolio of technology companies. "As Executive-in-Residence, Stephen will be working directly with some of our portfolio companies, from organizational structure and positioning to sales and revenue strategies, as well as helping us evaluate new investment opportunities," said Eric Hippeau, Partner at Lerer Ventures.
Chrissy Fiorilli has joined CollegeHumor Media in the newly created role of Talent Booker for CollegeHumor.com Originals. She will oversee all celebrity booking and casting for the humor website's original and branded content videos. Based in the company's LA office, she will also be responsible for developing and maintaining new talent relationships.
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With the Primetime Emmy Awards coming at you this Sunday night, take a gander at the Television Academy's official YouTube channel. There are a lot of videos already available on the channel, including clips from last year's telecast as well as this year's Television Academy Honors Awards. If you're looking for some original content, check out Parker Posey playing an acting coach named JAN ("Just Act, Naturally"), who teaches a class solely dedicated to giving an Emmy Awards acceptance speech.
While we're at it, one of my favorite things to do when watching any big event, whether it's an awards telecast or the Super Bowl, is to have Twitter opened up at the side so I can see what everyone else, especially the funny people I follow, are saying about the show (second-screen!). And like with everything else in this world, there is an app for this. WitStream is a service that delivers a steady stream of comedy news and commentary from the pros -- established comedians, writers from SNL, The Daily Show, Jimmy Fallon, and more. While it's cool on its own, the service has now partnered with TVGuide.com to launch "Watch with WitStream." Beginning with this Sunday night's Emmy Awards, this live, curated feed, which will be available via TVGuide.com's Red Carpet section, will bring you the funny as you watch the show. This partnership will extend to future live events as well, so you can have it by your side as you watch the Globes, the Super Bowl, the Grammy Awards, and the Oscars.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital
Denise O'Connor: Group Publisher, Media Entertainment
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