Good morning, it’s Thursday, June 17, 2010, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
AOL has managed to find a buyer for the London-based social network Bebo it paid $850 million for back in 2008 when it was still part of Time Warner, reports the WSJ. Studio City, CA-based hedge fund Criterion Capital Partners is close to agreeing to pay a “small fraction” of the original purchase price for the site, which attracted just 5 million uniques in the U.S. in May – down 44% from a year ago. Bebo has long been considered an albatross hanging around the neck of new AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has he tries to reform the company into an efficiently structured content network.
Premium movie network EPIX, a joint venture between Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, went live with a new authentication-required TV Everywhere website this month to allow Cox and Mediacom subscribers to view On Demand movies on EpixHD.com or Cox’s own site Vutopia.com. Many of the titles are available in HD to customers with a 5 Mbps or better connection. Cox also announced that it was offering most new release PPV on-demand movies in HD at the same price as the standard-definition titles. Charter is expected to launch a TV Everywhere offering through the EPIX platform in July.
Kiosk movie rental service Redbox signed a joint licensing agreement with Paramount Pictures to offer access to its new and catalog releases after the studio closely watched rentals to make sure the $1/night machines didn’t adversely impact DVD sales.
Emerging health and wellness cable network Veria, currently on Verizon FiOS and Dish Network, has launched a new lifestyle-focused website that will also serve as an e-commerce play for its line of all-natural products. The site features recipes, blog posts, how-to content, web series and snackable video content from the network. Veria was founded by Subhash Chandra, who also launched Zee TV, the first Hindi satellite channel, back in 1992.
IAC’s CollegeHumor has launched a new comedic website dubbed Dorkly.com targeting gaming geeks and their unique brand of humor. Dorkly is paying freelancers for submissions based on the number of pageviews they garner; the sliding scale runs from $25 for 10k pageviews to $200 for 150k or more pageviews.
Rovi has introduced a new ad network allowing ad placements directly on its TV program guides. The Rovi Advertising network will be combined with third-party iTV platforms to enable advanced functionality such as direct purchases and requests for more info and enable marketers to launch, manage and measure ad campaigns. The network will roll out across a network of 15.8M U.S. households initially with three different network options: a standard portal; a video portal accessible through a banner on the guide; or a dynamic portal consisting of advanced interactive offerings.
Rich media ads on the iPad are delivering high levels of user engagement, according to new campaign metrics culled from iPad texting app textPlus, Gannett’s PointRoll and mobile ad services provider AdMarvel. (AdMarvel and PointRoll launched their own iPad ad platform in March, running across 60+ ad networks.) iPad video campaigns such as one for Ford’s Lincoln MKS that ran the first four weeks after the iPad launch delivered average interaction times across advertisers of 30 seconds. Interaction rates (measuring the number of people tapping to expand and engage with the ads, as a percentage of impressions) ranged from .9% to 1.5% in the first month of the campaign, up to 6X the benchmark for comparable click-to-expand desktop ads.
Online publisher Demand Media has singed an exclusive advertising deal with Adconion’s recently acquired Joost Video Network. Demand will leverage the Joost platform to deliver pre-roll inventory across its sites, which will in turn become part of the Joost network, including eHow.com, Cracked.com and Mania.com.
Yahoo announced a major new partnership with Sony to bring Yahoo TV widgets to Sony’s Bravia line of LCD TVs in more than 100 countries, expanding the footprint of the Yahoo TV platform by nearly seven-fold. Sony is clearly hedging its bets here, however, as the company is Google’s chief CE partner for its just-announced Google TV platform, which will perform similar functions to Yahoo’s TV Widgets.
The #4 mobile carrier in the U.S. T-Mobile has rolled out a faster 3.5 HSPA+ network in an additional 18 markets bringing average download speeds of 5-8 Mbps. T-Mobile’s upgraded footprint is on track to reach 75 million residents by the end of June and 185 million by year-end. New markets include L.A., Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle and Tampa.
Comcast is preparing to roll out switched digital video technology to achieve more efficient use of bandwidth, according to a new regulatory filing responding to the FCC’s proposed changes to current CableCard regulations.
San Francisco legislators are close to passing a bill to require cell phones to clearly disclose how much radiation they emit so that consumers can compare and contrast the levels before they buy.
The rapid growth of broadband-connected TVs and other devices will make for a vibrant TV widget market in the coming years, according to new projections from the In-Stat group. TV apps have the potential to generate over $1.7 billion in annual revenue by 2013, with “substantial consumer interest” in widgets that enable local online purchases such as pizza delivery or movie tickets. The over-40 crowed actually displays the highest interest in using TV widgets, but screen control, news and entertainment apps have broad appeal across all demos.
Online newspaper sites attracted more than half of the overall internet audience in May, as 123 million Americans visited paper sites, according to ComScore. New York Times-branded sites led all comers with 32 million uniques, 719 million page views and 22 average pages visited per visitor. ComScore’s Ad Metrix service found that CPMs (cost per 1,000 impressions) on online newspaper sites averaged $7 in April – higher than all other categories and nearly 3 times the average across the net. Social networking sites attracted a leading 27.7% of all online impressions in April, but managed a CPM of only 56 cents.
Top U.S. Newspaper Groups – May 2010
Total Unique Total Pages Average Pages
Visitors (000) Viewed (MM) per Visitor
Total Internet : Total Aud. 215,691 592,519 2,747
Newspapers 123,897 5,339 43
The New York Times Brand 32,530 719 22
Tribune Newspapers 24,753 359 14
Advance Internet 18,053 326 18
USA Today Sites 16,771 154 9
WashingtonPost.com 16,677 178 11
McClatchy Corporation 13,987 216 15
MediaNews Group 13,362 141 11
NYDailyNews.com 12,502 122 10
Hearst Newspapers 12,017 195 16
Wall Street Journal Online 11,325 115 10
Source: comScore Media Metrix
Top U.S. Display Advertising Site Categories – April 2010
Publisher Total Display Ad Share of Estimated Cost Per Thousand
Impressions (MM) Impressions Spending ($ 000) Impressions
Total Internet : Total Audi. 354,636 100.0% 893,681 $2.52
Social Networking 98,176 27.7% 54,684 $0.56
Portals 69,664 19.6% 181,266 $2.60
Entertainment 38,104 10.7% 181,147 $4.75
E-mail 34,327 9.7% 32,370 $0.94
Community 15,884 4.5% 33,435 $2.10
General News 12,542 3.5% 77,055 $6.14
Sports 10,850 3.1% 68,214 $6.29
Newspapers 8,506 2.4% 59,441 $6.99
Online Gaming 7,929 2.2% 21,234 $2.68
Photos 7,391 2.1% 7,953 $1.08
Source: comScore Ad Metrix
Now you can broadcast only the bets bits of yourself. YouTube introduced a new free online video editing system allowing users to create mash-ups, add music or perform other basic editing tasks. The editing suite is YouTube’s first since discontinuing one based on Adobe’s Premiere Express.
Ludia and Classic Media‘s popular “Where’s Waldo?” app is now available for the iPad for $4.99 featuring HD imagery and twelve different “worlds.” A new party mode also enables two players to compete on the same device.
Tag management start-up TagMan has hired Ave Wrigley, as Chief Technical Officer and Tim Jones as Technical Operations Director. Both are newly created positions that will focus on the company’s system research and development, reporting to GM Jon Baron in New York.
Former Bravo development executive Cori Abraham was named SVP/Development for Oxygen Media effective immediately. Cori reports to Amy Introcaso-Davis, SVP/Original Programming and Development, overseeing development and creative concepts on both coasts.
Comcast Entertainment Group has upped Amelia Stewart to VP/Media Relations and Corporate Communications while John Rizzotti has been promoted to Consumer PR Director, E! Entertainment Television.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words then a video must be worth a million. Global participatory media project Creative Visions Foundation founded by three USC alumni invites users from around the world to film their lives during a 24-hour period on 10/10/10, using any device they have handy. Filmmakers will be able to share their videos and perspectives on social issues on onedayonearth.org. Director/creator Kyle Ruddick and producers Brandon Litman and Michael Klima will create an archive of the submissions in October, searchable by topic, popularity and location. Anyone who participates can create a profile on the site and log on later to access any of the content (for non-commercial purposes.) More than 1,700 participants and educators representing over 56,000 students have already signed up for the project, including professional filmmakers and internationally recognized humanitarian organizations. For instance, documentarian Julie Winokur, founder of issues-driven non-profit Talking Eyes Media, signed up in Feb.
Later – Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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