Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 30, 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.
Amazon Instant Video is now available on the Xbox 360. Available (as usual) for Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers, the free Amazon Instant Video app will give customers access to movies and TV episodes from Amazon’s streaming library. For those who are also Amazon Prime members, the app will open up the yearly subscription service’s catalog of over 17,000 movies and TV episodes, for no additional cost (Amazon Prime is priced at $79/year). The app is compatible with Kinect’s voice- and gesture-based command system. Also, the online retailer’s Whispersync technology is being employed to allow viewers to switch between watching content on the Kindle Fire and the Xbox 360, without losing their place, said Anthony Bay, Amazon.com VP/Video. And finally, the app includes access to a feature called Your Video Library. When a consumer purchases or rents a movie or TV episode through Amazon.com, that video will automatically appear in the Your Video Library section on the app.
MTV has unveiled an extensive digital, social, and multi-screen campaign surrounding the 2012 MTV Movie Awards. The first is a new, live social voting category (“Best Hero”) that will encourage fans to vote by tweeting out predetermined hashtags for each nominee (#votepotter, #votekatniss, etc.). Fans can track the voting results in real-time using MTV’s Twitter Tracker on the Movie Awards’ website. This has already been launched and will run right through the show, which airs this Sunday, June 3, at 9pm ET. MTV is also introducing a new Facebook Tracker, which will visualize fan “likes” and shares of their favorite show moments from the MTV Facebook page. Then, during the show, MTV is launching a second-screen initiative dubbed All Access Live, which will be available across all of the network’s digital and mobile properties. It will feature a Twitter Tracker that measures the show’s social buzz and visualizes top moments via a timeline, which fans will be able to click on to view how many tweets per minute were generated by a particular moment, read a sampling of tweets, and share images of those moments across their social graph. Other aspects of All Access Live include the ability to view six different live camera angles ranging from the red carpet to the balcony and the MTV cut; chat with other fans via MTV WatchWith Chat; share content using MTV’s Watch & Share.
Gravitas Ventures, a North American distributor of independent films to VOD marketplaces, has struck a licensing deal with Shaw Communications to carry three of its on-demand packages. They are Gravitas New Release Movies on Demand, Gravitas Horror on Demand, and Documentaries on Demand, and in total will bring 30 hours of new content each month to Shaw’s VOD lineup. With this deal, Gravitas says that Shaw will be the 100th VOD operator in North America to offer the company’s on-demand programming.
Music TV network Fuse is partnering with Comcast’s Xfinity TV to launch the third installment of its My City. My Music. series on Xfinity On Demand, this time in the Greater Baltimore market. The series will run through July 20 and will follow rock band O.A.R. as they lead a “behind-the-scenes” look into the local Baltimore music scene. To coincide with the new installment, the partners are also rolling out a sweepstakes (exclusive to Maryland, DC, and Virginia Xfinity TV subscribers), which offers the chance to win a trip to NYC, hotel accommodations, tickets to a concert at a Madison Square Garden venue, and Fuse merchandise.
Bitly, the popular link-shortening website that says it has saved more than 25 billion links since 2008, is rolling out a major redesign. The company says it wants to be “the single best place for you to save and share your links and to discover interesting things from your friends and the entire web.” (In other words, a place where you might hang around for a bit rather than visit it very briefly.) To that end, new features on the site include the ability to: save, share, and discover links (“bitmarks,” not bookmarks); search saved bitmarks; bundle bitmarks into groups and collaborate with friends to create bundles; make bitmarks or bundles private or public; see what friends are sharing across multiple social networks; and save/share links via the new bitmarklet, Chrome extension, and iPhone app. And to those who just want to use it to perform that core function of shortening a link, don’t fret, that is available as well.
Taking a deeper look into GM’s recent decision to stop paying for advertising on Facebook, AdAge reports that GM wanted to do a full-page takeover on the social network, to which Facebook said no in a meeting between GM’s marketing team and the social network’s sales executives. The report indicates that GM was more interested in Facebook’s audience and not in its available ad formats, which currently include Sponsored Stories within a user’s newsfeed and smaller display ad units that appear on the side of the page. Facebook’s decision to decline GM’s request to run such an obtrusive ad experience represents the social network’s commitment to not disrupting the consumer experience, according to the report. This has led to some friction between Facebook and the advertising community, of which the most famous example is GM, the third largest advertiser in the US.
Ovation, the US-based network focused on art, artists, and “all forms of artistic storytelling,” has selected open source video platform developer Kaltura for full video management and content distribution. Ovation broadcasts in SD and HD, both linearly and on-demand, to over 51 million homes across the country through operators such as DirecTV, Dish, Verizon FiOS, and AT&T U-Verse, as well as via its website and online video channels, including YouTube. Kaltura will be responsible for the distribution of content across all of these platforms, and will also provide analytics on the performance of the network’s programs. Ovation says Kaltura will also be the backbone to its new TV Everywhere program that aims to reach new and existing fans through connected devices.
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Mobile advertising company Rhythm NewMedia has released its Q1 2012 Rhythm Insights report, which covers ad campaigns from over 140 brands served across iOS, Android, and other devices in the US market. Rhythm’s premium media partners include the likes of NBCUniversal, CBS, ABC, FOX, Warner Bros, IAC, Demand Media, and more. Highlights from the Q1 report include:
Worldwide mobile payments will surpass $171.5 billion in 2012, which would represent a 61.9% increase from the $105.9 billion they reached in 2011, according to a new Gartner forecast. The number of mobile payment users will hit 212.2 million this year, up from 160.5 million in 2011. Looking ahead, Gartner expects a market worth of $617 billion with 418 million users by 2016. However, the research firm notes that the mobile payments market will be fragmented for the next two years. “There will be a few global players that have the scale and resources to serve large customers and the mass market whose requirements can be readily satisfied by standard solutions,” said Sandy Shen, Research Director at Gartner. However, Shen also indicated there will be regional segments that cannot be reached by those global companies. Which means the demand of these segments will have to be met by specialized or local companies who can better understand them, according to Shen.
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Date: June 7, 2012
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Apple has unveiled the schedule for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which will begin with the keynote on June 11, at 10pm PT, and will run until June 15. The company has also launched the WWDC 2012 iOS app to let users and attendees browse the schedule of sessions, labs, and events, as well as access news about and photos from the event.
While we’re on the topic of conferences: For those who are unable to attend D10, AllThingsD has launched The D Conference app on iOS to serve as a companion to the event. It will feature news, video, and alerts from the AllThingsD staff. The WSJ-owned website has also announced that it will live-stream select sessions from the event, including those with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. More information on the live streams can be found here .
Google and Samsung have unveiled the new Chromebook and Chromebox cloud-based PC devices. With speed being a major component of the Chrome web browsing experience, Google says the devices’ Intel Core processors are nearly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. The new user interface is designed to make it easier to find and launch apps, and have them running alongside the browser or other apps. Upcoming updates to Google Drive and Google Docs will allow users to access and edit files and documents offline, and sync them back up when the device is reconnected to the internet. The Chrome Web Store offers access to entertainment apps such as Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader, Google Play, and Pandora, as well as games such as Angry Birds and Bastion. The devices also include the Chrome Remote Desktop beta, which allows users to connect to their PCs and Macs from the Chromebook and Chromebox. The Chromebook will be available for $449 and up, and the Chromebox for $329 and up. For a look at the Chromebook, here’s a video Google posted on its blog.
FilmFunds, a website that aims to help filmmakers promote their projects and, ultimately, connect them with financiers, has announced that Jason Scoggins will be its new Chief Executive Officer. The company says Scoggins will oversee the website’s main mission as well as its expansion into mainstream film and TV product and news coverage of insider Hollywood information. Joining Scoggins at FilmFunds is Joshua L. Weinstein, who has been appointed to the role of Head of Content, where he will be responsible for FilmFunds’ News section serving as its Editor-in-Chief. Launched in beta last summer at the Toronto International Film Festival, the website allows filmmakers to upload their projects for fans to peruse and vote on. The site rewards active users by offering film merchandise, signed script copies, and potentially a producer credit on movies they lent a great hand in getting made. Other features include FilmFunds Bankers, a service that matches filmmakers to organizations that offer funding for films.
Peabody Award-winning website GlobalPost has launched its first iPad app. It features original reporting from journalists in 50 countries, delivered in the form of stories, slideshows, and/or videos. Users can sort the content by country or topic, and can access a “My World” interactive map that lets them choose stories based on what is trending around the globe. Developed by Rarewire; the app is available for free in the Apple App Store.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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