03/19/14: Google Unveils ‘Android Wear’ Wearable OS


Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 19, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Google is looking for a head start on Apple, announcing its first operating system for wearable tech yesterday, called the Android Wear. The Verge reports Google is working with current Android partners like HTC, Motorola, Samsung, Asus and LG, which will be the first to ship the smartwatch including the OS. Android Wear will let a smartwatch feature fitness trackers, Google Now reminders, notifications from apps from a user’s phone, and voice search ability to interact with multiple screens (hint: Chromecast). And, hot on the heels of Google’s announcement, Motorolo also unveiled its Android Wear smartwatch, the Moto 360. Motorola is currently owned by Google but is in the process of being sold to Lenovo.


Google and Viacom found a compromise to end its long-running copyright lawsuit from 2007 over TV show clips posted during YouTube‘s early days. Recode reports no money was exchanged, although at one point Viacom wanted $1 billion in damages from Google. The concluding statement only cited the settlement, "reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together." Google introduced the ContentID system after it acquired YT, which allows content producers to track what is posted on the site, and have the ability to take it down or run ads along with it. Just last week, Google introduced an invitation-only Super Flagger system that was sent out to 200 creators, but meant to prevent hate speech and pornography not copyright infringement.

GSN had plenty to announce at Tuesday’s upfront, held on a chilly but bright day on the 35th floor of NYC’s Sony Center. The network’s President and CEO David Goldhill announced 2013 was GSN’s most-watched ever, with February hitting new rating records (plus 22 percent year-over-year among P25-54 and 26 percent in W25-54 in total day). But television is just part of the picture. "Our online games business will be bigger than our TV business," said Goldhill. "We are a games company." GSN recently acquired Bash Gaming, the creator of Bingo Bash (4.8 million MAU), bringing GSN Games up to 10 million MAUs on its social casino games (including GSN Casino).

YouTube is apparently developing a web video destination for kids under the age of ten, according to The Next Web. The goal of the site is to provide free videos and advertising suitable for children that parents can trust. YT has already pitched the project to video producers, but no launch date is known so far.

Vimeo announced it has acquired the video-creation, mobile, cloud-based app Cameo. The app provides users with professional-grade editing tools and video overlays, title cards and fonts to create short films or "cameos." "What we love about Cameo is that it gives even novice video-makers the power to create beautiful, well-crafted videos," Vimeo’s CEO Kerry Trainor said.


JUST ANNOUNCED: Sports Media Awards Finalists
Our 3rd annual Cynopsis Sports Media Awards Breakfast is set for Thursday, April 17 from 8:00-10:00am at The Yale Club in NYC. Network with your peers and hear about the year’s best sports programming and marketing.
Join award finalists, support your colleagues and network with the best in the industry!
Preview the list of finalists & register for the Awards event: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/cynopsis-sports-media-awards/.


Maker Studios and Polaris announced a partnership with popular webcomic Penny Arcade yesterday. Maker will assist in managing Penny Arcade’s YouTube channel, and provide video production and distribution across platforms. "Penny Arcade is an amazingly creative company, a veteran brand in the gaming world, and a perfect cultural fit for the Polaris network," Maker Studios’ Executive Director of Partnerships Luis Medina told Cynopsis.

Wigs announced that season three of Blue, starring Julia Stiles (The Bourne Ultimatum), will be available in four longer-form episodes on Hulu and Hulu Plus starting Friday, March 28. Also available on Hulu and Hulu Plus: a new longer-form episode of Wigs series Paloma, written and directed by Stiles and starring Grace Gummer (Margin Call).

Learn about the Hispanic market and digital initiatives from brands and networks at the Cynopsis webinar on March 27: Reaching Today’s U.S. Hispanic Connected Audience Through Digital, Social Media and Web Video. Hear from inside experts like CNET‘s Gabrielle Medeck, Fusion‘s Daniel Eilemberg, Ipsos MediaCT Virginia Lennon and Outrigger‘s Carlos Restrepo about fresh data insights into where the powerful and growing Hispanic market is most active in the digital space. Register here

FEARNET launched the Monster Madness Facebook bracket, featuring 16 horror classic genre icons against modern favorites to coincide with NCAA‘s Sweet 16. Fans can like the FEARNET FB page, and vote to decide who will make the final cut.


AOL and MillerCoors struck a $4 million native ad pact yesterday, which will have AOL producing 350 pieces of original content, including 100 videos before the end of the year. Miller is requesting each piece to be geared at the male millennial while plugging Miller Lite, Coors Lite, Blue Moon or Red Apple Ale. The deal also includes an AOL property editorial series that will be called the Brew Pub Newsroom, and a HuffPost Live sponsored show called Huff Bros Live.

Defy Media‘s SMOSH and The Warped Zone and YouTube stars Brittani Louise Taylor and Taryn Southern paired up with Hot Pockets for a new "March Madness" themed digital campaign. SMOSH and The Warped Zone will represent #TeamMeat and the YT celebs will represent #TeamCrust in a musical competition. Each team will create videos singing about their love for Hot Pockets, and fans can cast their vote at HotPockets.com/SandwichShowdown.


Amazon‘s over-the-top box is getting closer to becoming a reality. USA Today reports the streaming device will ship through Amazon’s site and stocked in Best Buy and Staples starting in early April. The OTT will look similar to Google‘s Chromecast and Roku‘s new Streaming Stick device. The pre-production version has already been distributed to app developers, noting it contains the Fire name Amazon uses for its tablets. Cynopsis recently reported, the stick will contain not only Amazon Prime, but also Netflix and Hulu.

"Keep in mind that there are only two KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) measured in digital campaigns that actually make their way into the boardroom  — ROI measured by growth of a qualified audience and ROI measured by revenue, which makes the necessity of a great activation strategy paramount," CEO of LockerDome Gabe Lozano said. Hear more from him in our new Cynsiders column at www.cynopsis.com.


Hulu has hired Jim Keller as the Vice President of Advertising Sales to head Midwest and East Coast advertising sales. He most recently served as VP of Sales at Bravo.


Google introduced its new Android Wear operating system for wearables yesterday, with two videos showing just how useful (and easy to use) the smartwatch will be with its tech. Check out the features including fitness tracking, voice searches and notifications in the video at www.cynopsis.com.


The Exploding World of Kids’ Tablets: The New Way to Build Your Brand
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014 | Time: 1:30 – 3:00pm ET| Register Today

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