PLATFORMS + APSS
Roku is getting ready to try its hand at smart home audio. The company revealed plans to partner with consumer electronics makers on Roku-powered sound bars and smart speakers. TCL will be Roku’s first partner in the space, with plans to unveil a Roku-powered smart audio device at CES next week. That device is expected to ship later this year. Roku-powered speakers and sound bars will come equipped with integrated microphones, along with a personal assistant that the company has been developing internally. Once completed, Roku also plans to add that assistant to its streaming video devices this fall.
Disney networks ESPN and Freeform are launching new apps for Samsung’s smart TVs. The apps will be available throughout the U.S., on all 2017 Samsung smart TV models. Samsung smart TV users will be able to stream live and on-demand content from both networks. In addition to Samsung smart TVs, both Freeform and ESPN already offered apps for mobile devices, web browsers, and numerous other streaming devices.
OTT + SVOD
This just in: The NCAA March Madness basketball tournament is pretty darn popular. Amazon apparently found that out the hard way: According to the company, Amazon Prime Video saw its lowest amount of streaming last year on April 3, the day of the tournament’s championship game. For Amazon, there’s one obvious solution to competing with live sports events: Host them instead. The company is already the NFL’s live-streaming partner for Thursday Night Football games, and, according to some reports, may soon make a bid for Premiere League soccer games as well.
Apple’s original content efforts are continuing to pick up steam. The tech giant has acquired Are You Sleeping, an upcoming thriller starring Octavia Spencer. The news was first reported by Deadline. Are You Sleeping, which is based on the Kathleen Barber novel of the same name, will be produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, in partnership with a recently-launched joint venture between Endeavor Content and Chernin Entertainment.
YouTube is reportedly in discussions with musician Demi Lovato. The video giant hopes to produce a follow-up project to Simply Complicated, the recently-released documentary about Lovato’s career. Simply Complicated, which ran on YouTube’s traditional ad-supported platform, has so far garnered more than 12 million views. (A director’s cut is also available on the YouTube Red streaming service.) The news was first reported by Bloomberg.
The above-mentioned Bloomberg report – which centered on YouTube global music chief Lyor Cohen – also revealed that YouTube has been funding other artists, including rapper G-Eazy, to help them produce original programming designed to promote their concert tours and records. G-Eazy’s new four-episode series, called Overtime, premiered last month – but it wasn’t quite clear, until now, how much money YouTube itself had poured into the project. According to Bloomberg, it was “a few hundred thousand dollars.”
Snap Inc. had better hope this isn’t a trend. Diageo, the British alcoholic beverage giant behind brands such as Captain Morgan and Smirnoff, just removed all of its Snapchat ads. The decision came after the Advertising Standards Authority, the U.K.’s advertising watchdog, ruled that Diageo couldn’t be certain that its ads weren’t being seen by underage Snapchat users. “We have now stopped all advertising on Snapchat globally whilst we assess the incremental age verification safeguards that Snapchat are implementing,” the company confirmed in a statement.
CYNOPSIS SOCIAL GOOD AWARDS
Now more than ever, people are eager to embrace the good work that epitomizes the best of our community. The Cynopsis Social Good Awards aim to shine a light on your team’s best initiatives, content, campaigns and executives. The deadline to submit is tonight (11:59 PM ET, to be exact). Just click here.
AUDIO + MUSIC STREAMING SERVICES
Looks like Spotify is trying not to let that that $1.6 billion lawsuit get in its way. According to multiple reports – the first of them from Axios – the company filed documents with the SEC last month, with plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. Instead of a traditional IPO, the company will reportedly opt for a direct listing, which will allow private stakeholders to begin trading shares on a public exchange. For the most part, direct listings are used by smaller entities; with a valuation of more than $19 billion, Spotify is the biggest company in history to take such a route. Spotify reportedly filed its SEC documents in late December. In all likelihood, the company will go public in the first quarter of 2018.
SHAREABLEE SOCIAL TV RATINGS: Top 10 U.S. Streaming Shows for December 25 – December 31, 2017. Based on Shareablee’s Video Power Index (VPI), which combines viewing, consumer interactions and audience scale across all active platforms, and includes the video performance of primetime and streaming shows.
Canvs, the emotion measurement company, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from December 27, 2007 – January 8, 2018 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Check out their findings below.
Tubular Top Ten Global Sponsored Videos Sunday, December 24 2017 – Saturday, December 30, 2017. Based on Tubular Video Ratings measuring 10 million video publishers, 3 billion videos, and 400 million viewers. Sponsored videos are ranked by V3, total views in the first three days after upload.
CNBC has named Kamelia Angelova as its new Executive Producer of Digital Video. Angelova will lead CNBC’s digital video efforts, overseeing strategy and content. She joins CNBC from Mashable, where she served as Director of Emerging Platforms. She officially begins her new role on January 8.
Julie DeTraglia has been promoted from Head of Ad Sales Research to Head of Research at Hulu. In her expanded role, DeTraglia will oversee all of the company’s research teams including ad sales, consumer marketing and user experience.
Our Last Trivia Question: Netflix has now released around two dozen original scripted comedy shows. What was the first? Answer: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, and Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Tituss Burgess has a background in theater. From 2007-2008, he played “Sebastian” in which Broadway musical? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.