Good morning, it’s Tuesday, April 8, 2008, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and Chairman Roy Bostock reiterated their position that Microsoft‘s $31/share offer is too low in a reply to Steve Ballmer’s strongly worded letter. Yahoo gives several reasons to justify the stance, including recently reaffirmed Q1 guidance, shareholder support and a fading Microsoft stock price, which lowers the market value of the original offer.
Meet the new wave of content licensing. France Telecom is billing Orange as the first premium television service available on all platforms. The Orange cinema series, launching this fall, will offer 6 channels of exclusive full-length films, series and specials from HBO, Warner Bros. International Television, Gaumont and Fidelite Films to customers for viewing or downloading via Orange’s VOD, online or mobile platforms. Titles include WB’s Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, HBO’s John Adams and Fidelite’s De l’Autre Cote du Lit.
The NHL will launch a new ad supported broadband video service on Wednesday April 9, just in time for the hockey playoffs. NHL Network Online, accessible from NHL.com, features 7 channels of on demand multimedia programming, viewable through a newly revamped video player powered by NeuLion. The Channels – each sponsored by a single advertiser such as Bud Light or Cisco – include:
- The Hockey Show – a fast-paced daily wrap up produced exclusively for the web
- LiveWire – live press conferences, pre & post game interviews and special events
- The Playoff Channel – news, highlights and analysis around the playoffs
- NHL Productions Presents – archival content from NHL Productions
- NHL Radio – a simulcast of the daily XM Satellite Radio show w/ a video component added
ESPN signed its first online video syndication deal with AOL, providing the AOL Video and AOL Sports portals with highlights from games, original programming and the twice-daily “SportsCenter Right Now” rundown. Users can access the content via an embeddable branded video player on a new ESPN channel on AOL.
NBC‘s multiplatform Kentucky Derby coverage this year will include a live simulcast of the race on NBCSports.com and NBC2Go and an interactive online/txt messaging contest, asking viewers to pick the winner from the increasingly crowded field of entrants.
Look, on that tiny mobile screen – it’s Supergirl. The CW is delivering a second round of mobile animated shorts from next week, adapted around the Smallville character to Sprint TV customers. The stories will parallel plotlines of the linear Smallville, according to Brandweek. Sprint is also sponsoring the mobisodes as part of a larger brand integration deal.
NeuLion struck a deal with the International Fight League to deliver live ad-supported Mixed Martial Arts fighting matches from the IFL network on ifl.tv. NeuLion will also provide the IFL with billing services to support PPV, registration and future subscriptions.
Call for Content: Lifetime Movie Network and partners are once again asking women filmmakers to submit original works to the Every Woman’s Film Competition. This year the contest, comprised of 3-5 minute video shorts, is open to all women (not just students) who will compete for cash prizes and exposure of their work on LMN.tv and Lifetime Movie Network.
Internet video delivery and services provider Brightcove announced syndication deals with social media sites and application providers Bebo, Meebo, RockYou, Slide and Veoh, contributing a combined 300 million monthly users.
Music-themed social network Imeem acquired DRM technology provider Snocap for an undisclosed amount. Imeem is interested in the content identification platform/digital registry system Snocap built for unsigned artists to manage online distribution of their music on MySpace and other sites.
Indie DRM-free online music store mTraks secured an additional $550,000 in funding from a consortium of private investors.
In another testament to the format’s growing popularity, Vimeo reports that 13% of the 70,000+ video uploads it received in March were in HD.
Call for Content: The WGBH Lab and American Documentary Inc.’s P.O.V. are asking filmmakers to submit short videos related to the upcoming Presidential election. Selected films submitted by April 7 will receive $2,000 in funding and will be featured on Lab.wghb.org as well as on PBS.
After being surpassed by Apple and Best Buy in the music retail business in terms of market share, Amazon is moving quickly to ramp up its digital content delivery capabilities, according to The New York Times, building on its Unbox, MP3 store and Kindle initiatives.
As soon as April 21, Verizon will begin switching off analog FiOS TV channels in New York in preparation of next year’s digital switchover, reports Multichannel News. FiOS customers can go to Verizon.com/godigital for more info.
Facebook appears to have settled its long-standing legal skirmish with competing site ConnectU.
Yahoo unveiled details about its AMP ad system slated to launch during Q3 if all goes according to plan. AMP will provide a unified interface allowing advertisers to buy search, display, local, mobile and video ads across Yahoo’s 600-member Newspaper consortium, Yahoo’s directly owned sites and Yahoo premium ad partner sites (such as eBay and Comcast.) The system could provide large advertisers with the scale and reach direct marketers enjoy on Google if it catches on.
AMC partnered with Nielsen to create a new television audience measurement tool dubbed the Audience Identity Metric, which aims to gage audience ad receptivity based on the environment the message is presented in. The “Identity” metric segments viewers based on behaviors and psychographic qualities to allow advertisers to create customized packages that achieve higher levels of engagement.
Nielsen is acquiring privately held consumer media engagement firm IAG Research for $225 million. IAG, which counts many networks and movie studios among its clients, measures how viewers react to TV shows, commercials, product placements and internet ad campaigns. IAG founders Alan Gould and Ken Orkin will stay on, joining Nielsen’s measurement team.
Overall Online Video Consumption for February 2008
Category Jan-08 Feb-08
Unique Viewers (000) 116,745 115,799
Total Streams (000) 5,987,475 6,333,326
Streams per Viewer 51.3 54.7
Time per Viewer (min) 124.4 130.7
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, (U.S., Home and Work)
Top 10 Online Video Destinations ranked by Total Video Streams for February 2008
Video Web Brand Total Streams (000) Unique Viewers (000)
YouTube 2,918,799 70,222
Fox Interactive Media 405,996 21,028
Yahoo! 244,784 21,220
MSN/Windows Live 163,812 9,323
Nick Kids & Family Network 155,961 5,769
Google 122,948 18,638
Disney Online 121,933 9,606
Turner Ent New Media Network 96,991 6,850
ESPN 84,053 4,464
AOL Media Network 81,537 11,469
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, U.S. Home & Work
Marc Chase was the latest Clear Channel executive tapped to join the Tribune team as President of Interactive, reporting to Randy Michaels, Tribune CEO & EVP of Broadcasting and Interactive.
Integrated media company Good hired founder of Ethos Water and former VP/Starbucks Jonathan Greenblatt as its first CEO. He will manage the company’s lifestyle/philanthropic-themed magazine, website and live event productions.
Thompson beefed up its Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services division appointing Tom McDonough as VP/Operations and Jacco van der Kooij as VP/Worldwide Sales.
Brian Cronin was named Director of Sales, New York for NetShelter Technology Media. He reports to Eric Kazanjian, VP/East Coast Sales and will work from NetShelter’s newly opening Manhattan office.
When Modern Feed founder J.D. Heilprin started making the rounds looking for Angel investors to fund his online video aggregation site a year ago, many wondered if there was enough professionally produced online video out there to build a robust site around. Now, of course, the problem is that there is way too much to keep up with. Modern Feed has built an intuitive, easy to use interface to help users navigate the legitimate sources of video available in the U.S., including broadcast & cable network sites, web production sites and magazine portals. The site doesn’t actually serve the video. It’s more of a Tivo device for the web, recommending programs, scheduling season passes and identifying shows optimized for WiFi-enabled iPods and iPhones. More important, a team of TV fanatic “Feeders” make editorial recommendations to push the good stuff forward; in the sea of internet video, users need a port in the storm.
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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