01/11/16: LG unveils smart TV with streaming channels; NFL looks for 2016 streaming partner; YouTube partners with GoPro on 360 degree-video


Good morning. It’s Monday January 11, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for January 11-17:
People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include actress Eva Longoria (NBC’s Telenovela), actor Dean Cain (CBS’s Supergirl), and TV personality Lisa Vanderpump (Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules)
YouTube: Part Timers, a new web series from Smosh, debuts on the Smosh YouTube channel today, January 11
Nickelodeon UK: Tinkershrimp & Dutch, a new kid-friendly animated web series starring Star Wars Episode VII’s John Boyega, debuts January 15


Consumer electronics company LG announced that the newest version of its smart TVs will come equipped with over 50 additional internet streaming channels. The update will enable users to easily alternate between streaming content and cable networks. The new channels include content from services such as Wired, Buzzfeed, and Vogue. LG added the channels in partnership with tech startup Xumo. LG has also partnered with Internet video startup Watchmi, with the intent to add 300 additional international streaming channels to the new TVs.  LG first unveiled the new models at CES. It’s been a big few days for LG: The company previously announced a new partnership with Netflix, which will see the two companies working together to provide pre-paid Netflix access to consumers as part of Netflix’s recent expansion into 130 new territories. 
It seems the NFL isn’t done live-streaming games. After partnering with Yahoo last year on an exclusive live-streamed broadcast, the NFL is now planning to live-stream all three of next season’s London contests, according to sources who spoke to Reuters. The news agency reports that the NFL has been in talks to potentially partner with Apple and/or Google. As a quick reminder, Apple owns the Apple TV, and Google owns YouTube; the NFL certainly wouldn’t be wanting for viewers. The NFL, Apple, and Google all declined to comment on Reuters’ story.



and Sony have announced a new multi-year content deal. Several new series, including The Shield, Party of Five, Dawson’s Creek, Damages, and Happy Endings, will be available on the streaming service. And several new films from Sony’s archive, including Jerry Maguire, Midnight in Paris, and My Best Friend’s Wedding, will be coming to Hulu as well.


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If GoPro has anything to say about it, 360-degree won’t just be for professional videographers. At CES, the action-camera company announced that it will develop a new 3D camera designed for consumers. In addition, Go-Pro and YouTube highlighted a new partnership, which will see the companies working together to create 360-degree video content. It’s no surprise for YouTube, which has heavily embraced 360-degree video as of late.  “We can leverage traditional content to market a VR-viewing experience. It’s not either-or; it can be both,” said GoPro CEO Nick Woodman. Few other details were revealed about the new developments.
That wasn’t the end of YouTube’s announcements: According to Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl, the company will begin supporting HDR (high dynamic range) video. (HDR improves image quality by expanding a video’s color palette and contrast ratio.) YouTube says that HDR playback will be available later this year, though no further details were offered on that front. The news puts YouTube on the same path as Amazon and Netflix; both companies have announced that they will soon introduce HDR playback.   
Who says the networks should decide when you get to see an instant replay? According to a new patent filing from Apple, you may soon be able to use the Apple TV’s Siri remote to directly ask to see a replay during a sporting event. You can learn more here.



Memo to all streaming services: Thumbnail images matter, a lot. According to a report from Variety, select Netflix titles saw a 20% increase in average viewing time in 2015. The reason? Crowdsourcing the dashboard images. The streaming service ran about 150 optimization tests last year, gauging how a subset of viewers responded to different images for various titles.  The company then settled on the images that resulted in the most subscriber interaction, using them for all Netflix subscribers. Variety’s report is a pretty illuminating read – you can check it out here.


is heading to South by Southwest, along with America’s collective inner child. Pee-wee’s Big Holiday will debut at the Austin, TX festival this March. Paul Reubens reprises his role as Pee-wee Herman in the new film, which is produced by Judd Apatow and directed by John Lee. Netflix will be the film’s exclusive release platform; no official release date has been set.
Snoop Dogg loves him some football. The rapper talks about the gridiron in Turf’d Up, a new web series featuring a wide array of interview guests, ranging from Terrell Owens to George Lopez. The Dogg also uses the series as a platform to discuss his charity, the Snoop Youth Football League. (The SYFL, an organized football league for underprivileged youngsters, will be the subject of Snoop’s upcoming reality series, set to debut on Verizon’s Go90 service.) Turf’d Up can be seen on Snoop Dogg’s WestFestTV YouTube channel. The first episode is now available.
Ready for some Shut Eye? Hulu’s original drama, which centers on the Los Angeles underworld of storefront psychics, has cast its lead. Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice, Fargo) will play lead character Charlie Haverford. The series hails from creator Les Bohem, Tri-Star Television, and Gran Via Productions.


Enter yourself or a colleague into our
Top Women in Digital Awards before tomorrow’s deadline. The honorees are the women who are making it happen, whether in the trenches or at the leading edge of the digital world. Be sure to enter using our quick & easy submission platform before 11:59PM (ET) Jan 12: http://www.cynopsis.com/event/2016-women-digital-awards/


Some impressive 2015 stats from A+E Networks Digital, which delivered solid increases over 2015.  Those include a 10 percent increase in total video views (734 million), a 19 percent increase in uniques (24.8 million), a 16 percent increase in total visits (493 million) and a 15 percent increase in total minutes (7.3 billion).  Lifetime is up double digits in video views and total minutes over 2014. History and FYI have also seen double digit growth in video views, uniques, total visits and total minutes compared to 2014.
LAS VEGAS – It’s good to be YouTube. Chief Business Officer Robert Kyncl presented his sanguine view of the world at CES, with help onstage from artist manager Scooter Braun, GoPro founder/CEO Nick Woodman, and Chris Milk, CEO of Vrse. In case there was any doubt digital video will continue its trajectory, Kyncl shared some new Nielsen numbers, noting, “TV viewing actually peaked in 2009. Prior to that, TV had grown every single year for 50 years. Already the youngest millennials are watching more digital video than TV. In fact, it has now overtaken social media as their top online activity.” Among new Nielsen/YouTube stats:
* People spend 1.25 hours/day watching digital video, a rate growing at 25 percent a year.
* Time 18-34 year olds spent on TV fell 9 percent last year, while the demo spent 48 percent more time on YT.
* Mobile viewing makes up the largest source of growth. On YouTube, the average time people spend watching video on a mobile device is 40 minutes, a gain of 50 percent year-on-year.
Kyncl said digital video is bring driven by four factors. It’s immersive – YouTube recently partnered with GoPro to create what will soon be the first commercially available 3D-360 camera, Odyssey, and is putting VR cameras in all YouTube Spaces – diverse, music-focused and inherently mobile.
Kyncl sat down with Cynopsis’ Cathy Applefeld Olson after his keynote. Here are a few highlights on:
Sharing money with YT creators:
We haven’t really changed much in our economic construct with our partners but what we have changed is how we can exploit the content so we can drive more revenue for them. Today they can receive two types of revenue. One is advertising and the other is subscription, through YouTube Red. Over time we will bring more high-value users to the creators because there are some people who chose extra features and they’re willing to pay for it. While it’s hard for us to build things like that, we think it’s worthwhile for both the user as well as the creator.
Longform content on YT:
In general what you see is the content lengthening but at the same time you see continued increase in engagement of shortform content. We don’t really have a policy where we favor one or the other, we are just watching the trends. When we produce content ourselves for YouTube Red it makes sense we make it a little bit longer so we can differentiate it from what’s in front of the pay wall. We are looking to release something every month, in different genres but mostly focusing on younger audiences.



Most actors have to clarify what ages they can play convincingly. Probably not Jennifer Lawrence though.  In its new faux movie trailer, Funny or Die riffs on the bizarrely expansive age range of Lawrence’s characters, and her tendency to be romantically paired with far older leading men. Check it out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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