01/09/18: GoPro shutters Karma drone division, hires JP Morgan to help with potential sale of company

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Tuesday January 9, 2018 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing. 
 
 
TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
Site Map: A site map is a webpage (or structured group of webpages) that links to every user-accessible page on a website. Site maps are designed to improve site usability by clarifying the overall data structure of the website for users.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
No way around it: It’s been a catastrophic couple of years for GoPro. According to a new report from CNBC, the action camera-maker has hired JPMorgan to help it explore a possible sale. CEO Nick Woodman confirmed the news to Bloomberg Technology. (He did clarify that, while GoPro is potentially open to a sale, it is not actively seeking a buyer.) The JP Morgan news came shortly after GoPro announced an end to its drone business, saying that it will discontinue its Karma drone product after it sells its remaining inventory. GoPro launched its Karma drones in 2016; the division’s elimination will mean layoffs for 250 employees. In addition, GoPro has reportedly told investors that its traditional cameras saw lukewarm sales over the holiday quarter, forcing the company to lower prices.
 
 
AUDIO + MUSIC STREAMING SERVICES
 
Facebook has inked a new licensing pact with Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Under the deal, the social giant’s users will be able to upload and share Sony/ATV-licensed music videos through Facebook, Instagram and Oculus. Sony/ATV songwriters will also be able to earn royalties from music that’s posted on Facebook and Instagram. This is suddenly looking like something of a trend: Late last year, Facebook announced a separate licensing deal with Universal Music Group.
 
Music streaming service iHeartRadio announced a number of new product integrations at CES. Users will now be able to access iHeartRadio through a new helper bot on Facebook Messenger. Other new integrations include Bixby, the new voice service from Samsung; Jibo, a “social robot” for the home; and the Forerunner 645 Music, Garmin’s new GPS running watch. In addition, the iHeartRadio Roku now grants users access to the service’s full feature set. For one, users can now subscribe to the service through Roku platforms. And with an iHeartRadio All Access paid subscription, Roku users can also now play back, replay, and save songs, as well as play songs from a playlist.
 
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PROGRAMMING
 
Hulu just greenlit second seasons for two of its newer shows. Sci-fi comedy Future Man and Marvel-based series Runaways have both been given 13-episode second season orders. Both shows debuted in November. The season-one finale of Runaways bows today. 
 
 
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 
During its keynote at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES), HTC unveiled a new version of its Vive VR headset. Called the Vive Pro, the updated headset features a higher-resolution display. (At 2,880 by 1,600 pixels, the display offers 78% higher resolution than the current Vive.) The new headset will also come equipped with integrated headphones. In addition, it’s designed to be lighter than the current model. HTC hasn’t announced a price for the new device just yet, but it’s not likely to be cheap. “This is a product for these most discerning customers,” said Dan O’Brien, the US GM of HTC Vive. The Vive Pro will be available as an upgrade version for existing Vive users later in Q1, according to O’Brien. A full commercial rollout is slated for later in the year.
 
One other notable CES tidbit from HTC: company President Rikard Steiber announced that VR downloads from the Viveport VR subscription service now outpace standard paid downloads. Steiber later told Variety that paid downloads still drive more revenue than the company’s subscription service. Nonetheless, he said that he ultimately expects subscriptions to ultimately become a bigger driver of revenue. The Viveport VR service first launched in April of 2017.
 
 
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
 
Viacom has acquired influencer-marketing firm Whosay. Whosay produces branded content for both major celebrities and smaller-name influencers. CEO Steve Ellis founded the company in 2010, with backing from CAA. Whosay has been a close partner of Viacom, creating over 50 campaigns for the company over the past two years or so. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. 
 
European entertainment company RTL Group has snatched up United Screens, the biggest multi-platform network in the Nordic region. United Screens offers a selection of content from popular Nordic video creators, generating over 500 million YouTube views every month. The company represents hundreds of video influencers. All told, RTL Group spent $14.9 million (12.4 million euros) on the acquisition. United Screens was founded in 2013.
 
 
CYNOPSIS TOP WOMEN IN DIGITAL AWARDS
 
Today’s the deadline for our Top Women in Digital Awards! Thankfully, it only takes a few minutes to nominate with our quick online process. Submit your beloved boss, colleague, mentor, friend, wife, sister (you get the idea) into our Top Women in Digital Awards today by 11:59pm EST.
 
 
APPS + PLATFORMS
 
Movie ticketing service Fandango is adding Google Play as a new payment option. Users will be able to buy tickets through Google Play across mobile, online, and social ticketing platforms. Fandango is only one part of a larger whole: Together with Airbnb, Hungryhouse, Instacart, and Dice, Fandango is taking part in the launch of an updated Google Play, which will now combine Google’s various payment platforms (including Google Wallet and Android Play) into a unified service. Fandango is owned by NBCUniversal.
 
 
MEASURING UP
 
The ListenFirst Television Interest (TVI) Rating (TM) is a standardized measurement of the most buzzed-about TV programs on linear TV and streaming services. A complement to ListenFirst’s other syndicated data products (such as the ListenFirst Digital Audience Rating – TV), the metrics included in the rating capture organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume). 
 
All Series (1/1/18 – 1/7/18)

  Streaming Series (1/1/18 – 1/7/18)
 
Source: ListenFirst. The TVI Rating aggregates metrics that measure organically generated activity by fans of the TV show. The metric includes total volume of official hashtag mentions on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Tumblr, along with Wikipedia page views (as a proxy for organic search volume) for a show as a percentage of the total volume of the same activities for all shows.
 
OpenSlate Engagement Data for the News & Politics vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending January 8
 

 

TRIVIA
 
Our Last Trivia Question: Justin Simien created which Netflix series? Answer: Dear White People. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Lorrie Shilling/CA, Marc Hustvedt-Above Average/NY, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Daniel Quiterio-Understood/NY, and Nekia Seymore-Tru TV/NY
 
Follow-up: Which actress stars as “Samantha White” in Netflix’s Dear White People? (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
 
 
EXECUTIVE MOVES
 
Alex Hoffman is leaving Musical.ly. He’d served as President of North America at the social-video app company for the past three years.  His departure comes shortly after Musical.ly was acquired by Chinese tech company Bytedance. He’ll remain an active shareholder in the company. According to Hoffman’s rep, he’s leaving the company to pursue “future opportunities.” Hoffman says he plans on investing in startups and exploring new business ideas.
 
Digital lifestyle media company Brit + Co has named a new President. The role goes to Jill Braff, who most recently served as General Manager of Ellen Digital Ventures (EDV). Braff had been with EDV – a company created by Ellen DeGeneres and Warner Bros. Television Group – since 2014. At Brit + Co, she’ll oversee revenue, marketing, and strategic partnerships. Founded in 2011, Brit + Co is primarily geared toward women. The company raised $45 million last May, in a Series C funding round led by Verizon Ventures.
 
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The Cynopsis Sports Media Awards will celebrate the work of the most talented producers, hosts, sponsors and executives in the sports industry, saluting the initiatives that drove audiences and turned sports viewers into fans. Crossing the spectrum of television, radio, and online platforms, we’ve expanded our categories and are looking forward to spotlighting this incredible industry.
 
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SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
Roku partnered with TCL on a new “smart sound bar,” complete with a voice-assistant feature. The companies unveiled the new product at CES. From CNET, check it out here.
 
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