Good morning. It's Friday, June 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.
Microsoft has made the final pre-release preview of Windows 8 available for download. Available in 14 languages, the preview includes the new Windows 8 operating system, Internet Explorer 10, new Windows 8 apps for Hotmail, SkyDrive, and Messenger, as well as "hundreds of new and updated apps in the Windows Store." Other enhancements include improved multi-monitor support and support for Adobe Flash within its Metro version of Internet Explorer. This final preview is designed for users to test out Windows 8 as Microsoft completes its work on the product, which offers a significantly revamped Windows experience, including, among other changes, a new interface and a built-in Windows Store for apps. The next step for Microsoft is to have Windows 8 ready for "release to manufacturing" (RTM). The company says that if all things to go plan, it will enter into the final phases of the RTM process in about two months, which would mean new Windows 8-powered PCs on store shelves in time for the holidays.
Spike TV and GameTrailers are teaming up to also provide live, multiplatform coverage of E3 2012, which begins on June 4. Aside from airing live specials on Spike TV on Monday and Tuesday of this coming week, "E3 All Access Live featuring Nerd Machine" coverage will include digital pre- and post-shows and online simulcasts; in total 17 hours of programming related to the video game industry's premier annual event. Content will include exclusive footage of upcoming games, interviews with industry executives and game designers, and general reporting on and from E3 events. Online and digital distribution points include Spike.com, GameTrailers.com, Facebook and Twitter, popular gaming blog Kotaku, and iOS and Android devices. Spike is also partnering with Viacom Media Networks to make the E3 All Access programming available on MTV2, MTVU, MTV.com, VH1, and more. The Nerd Machine, founded by actor Zachary Levi's (Chuck), is a website that will participate in Spike TV's and GameTrailers' planned E3 coverage by reporting from the show floor.
Shut Up! Cartoons, a YouTube original programming channel from Alloy Digital and former Disney Television Animation head Barry Blumberg, has premiered its fourth new series. Krogzilla Gets A Job, from Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked), follows a sea monster that is forced to seek a variety of jobs and fit in with humans after a group of scientists "downsize" him. New episodes will air every Thursday at 3pm ET (12pm PT) through August. The voice cast includes Ken Marino, John O'Hurley, and Joel McCrary. Shut Up! Cartoons plans to release 18 new original series in total this year. As of yesterday, the channel has racked up 450,000 subscribers and surpassed 15 million total views on YouTube.
Starz Digital Media and Dimension Films will make Piranha 3DD available on-demand and online for rental the day and date of the film's theatrical release on June 1. The sequel to 2010's Piranha 3D will be available for a 48-hour VOD rental ($6.99 for standard and HD versions and $7.99 for 3D); consumers will have 30 days from the time of purchase to begin viewing. Participating distributors include U.S. cable, satellite, and telco operators as well as online/digital video platforms such as Amazon Instant Video, Google Play/YouTube, iTunes, PlayStation Network, Vudu, and Xbox LIVE. Starz Digital Media has also partnered with Milyoni to bring the movie to Facebook in 3D via a VOD app. The app will let users comment on and share clips, stills, and quotes.
Google has applied for a bunch of top-level domains (e.g., .com, .net, .org) that it wants to control, including protective ones such as .google or .youtube, but also domains that "have interesting and creative potential, such as .lol." The body in charge of handing out top-level domains (TLD), ICANN, had announced in 2008 that it would be expanding the number of generic TLDs beyond the ones that most users recognize. The decision has been with strong criticism, as companies accuse it of being a "shakedown" (having to pay more money to buy domains before others do), according to GigaOM. ICANN will release the list of companies that applied for new domains, as well as the domains themselves, on June 13. (This one should be a fun story to follow.)
The new MediaBrix Platform, from social media advertising solutions provider MediaBrix, is an end-to-end social ad platform for running campaigns across social games, online video, and social networks on the web and mobile devices. The Platform is comprised of three products: SocialFlex, which offers an ad unit that is delivered during breaks in social games; SocialViews, a reward-based social video unit designed to encourage completed views and sharing among users; and SocialBEE for scalable game integrations. SocialFlex and SocialViews, which were previously designed for the web, will now be available on iOS and Android devices. MediaBrix says it will ensure that videos are played seamlessly and with high quality over Wi-Fi and data connections. The company's targeting and analytics services, as well as reporting on 30 data points of measurement, will accompany all three products.
Business audience marketing company Bizo has released a new self-service retargeting solution aimed at companies of all sizes, but with a particular focus on start-ups and small businesses. The solution is designed to help these businesses convert leads by targeting display ads to those users who have visited their websites. The Bizo Retargeting, Self-Service Edition includes website audience reporting and analytics, which provide business audience demographic information such as company size, industry, job function, and seniority, among other relevant information. Select Bizo customers have been participating in a private beta of this product over the past few months. The company's publishing partners include Forbes, PC World, and Thomson Reuters.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
A new study from Tremor Video, conducted in partnership with Frank N. Magid Associates, finds that 52% of all smartphone video is viewed at home, with peak viewing hours between 5pm and 11pm, mirroring that of TV. In addition, long-form video now accounts for nearly 40% of smartphone video viewing every week. Overall there has been a 34% increase in viewing video on smartphones over the past year. However, it's not just the smartphone that is witnessing growth; there has been a 38% increase in accessing video content online over the past year, and video consumption on tablets has exceeded that of smartphones, according to the report. Among the other findings:
Netflix has released a new video player for its iOS apps. New features include a larger scrub bar and thumbnail images that appear above the scrub bar so that it's easier to navigate to different points on a video. Other updates include a "do not share" option for Facebook users in Canada and the UK who want to keep their viewing choices private; the ability to turn subtitles on/off and change the language (not available on all content); and an expansion of the settings menu that lets users choose to only stream video when they're connected to a Wi-Fi network. Netflix says to stay tuned for similar updates to its Android app.
Cricket Communications has announced that it will be the first pre-paid carrier in the US to offer the iPhone to its customers. Beginning on June 22, Cricket will offer the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 with its $55 per month unlimited talk, text, and data plan. According to The Wall Street Journal, the phone will only be available in markets where Cricket's network is present and running on a technology called PCS, which covers roughly 60 million people. It will not be offered in New York, Chicago, and Boston. Cricket is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leap Wireless International. For those still interested, more information can be accessed here.
Golf Channel has made a string of promotions to its new media sales force for GolfNow.com. Mike Hendrix has been named Senior Director/Sales, Midwest region; Stacey Oleck is moving up to Senior Director/Sales, Mid-Atlantic region; and Jonathan Vassil is assuming the position of Senior Director/Sales, Northeast region. Each will oversee sales operations, business development, and golf course relationship management for their respective regions; Oleck will also assist with business development for two new GolfNow territories in Ireland and Scotland, while Vassil's responsibilities will expand to include oversight of Quebec, a new addition to the GolfNow platform. GolfNow.com is an online service to help golfers search for tee times; close to 4,000 courses participate in the site's network.
Animation studio Six Point Harness has launched a Kickstarter to raise money for a movie based on its popular YouTube series, Dick Figures, which is about two stick figure friends named Red and Blue who routinely make the wrong decisions. Consisting of four seasons of 10 animated episodes, the series has amassed over 115 million views on YouTube in the past year. Hoping to get this audience mobilized, Six Point Harness' "Dick Figures: The Movie" Kickstarter fund is targeting $250,000 in order to produce a half-hour special. Here's where it gets interesting. If the studio exceeds expectation and raises $500,000, it will produce an hour-long movie, and if funds exceed $700,000, it will create a full-length feature film. Pledges of $15 will receive a digital download of the movie and access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content. Pledges of $100 will receive a DVD, t-shirt, soundtrack, an exclusive "making of" documentary, and more. For those who donate $1,000, they will get all of the above plus an original portrait of the two main characters illustrated by one of the creators. Six Point Harness and Mondo Media (an animation channel on YouTube that houses the series) will post a direct link to the fundraising page from the YouTube channel.
Later - Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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