02/06/17: IMDB to shutter its discussion boards


Good morning. It’s Monday February 6, 2017 and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Be sure to check out Watcheroo, Cynopsis Digital’s tune-in guide for upcoming digital media programming. Below, see the Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for today, February 6, through Sunday, February 12.
People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET. Guests include TV personality Marissa Hermer (Bravo’s Ladies of London), Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, and TV personality Nick Viall (ABC’s The Bachelor)
Netflix: Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special, a new comedy special featuring Michael Bolton and The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Andy Samberg, debuts Tuesday, February 7.
Netflix: Abstract: The Art of Design, a new documentary, debuts Friday, February 10.
Netflix: David Brent: Life on the Road, a new original film starring Ricky Gervais, debuts Friday, February 10
Amazon: The Collection, a French/British period drama series, debuts Friday, February 10


Ad rotation: With online ad rotation, ads change when the page is refreshed. (I.e., once the page is refreshed, you’ll see a different ad in the same spot.) Some advertisers will specifically request that their ads not be rotated.


Looks like you’ll have to talk about movies and TV elsewhere. IMDB announced that it’s shutting down its discussion boards. (That’s not the same thing as its user reviews, FYI – those aren’t going anywhere.) “[W]e have concluded that IMDB’s message boards are no longer providing a useful experience for the vast majority of our more than 250 million monthly users worldwide,” wrote IMDB. That might be read as an indirect reference to trolling, but the bigger reason – as IMDB points out in that same post – is that commenters are migrating to its social media pages. In other words, the boards’ declining traffic is no longer justifying IMDB’s server costs. The site says that the message boards will remain open until February 19 – long enough for users to archive their content. IMDB has been owned by Amazon since 1998.

The Wall Street Journal is thinking hard about how best to monetize in a changing landscape – and its seeking input from its readers. In a survey sent out to its subscribers, the publication floated a number of ideas, including the possibility of charging on a 79-cents-per-article basis, as well as introducing an ad-free version for digital devices. The survey also mentions that the Journal is considering charging for delivery of its print edition. The Wall Street Journal is the flagship publication of News Corp-owned Dow Jones & Company. Other Dow Jones products include Financial News and Baron’s. The Journal has set a stated goal of reaching 3 million subs to all Dow Jones publications by mid-2017; at the moment, it’s at just over 2 million.


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Univision News is launching its first VR docu-series. Called In Danger of Deportation, Univision says the series focuses on seven undocumented immigrants “who live in fear of deportation by the Trump administration.” It’ll be available for VR headsets, as well is in a 360-degree video format on UnivisionNoticias.com, Univision.com, YouTube, and the Facebook/UnivisionNoticias page.


FilmStruck, Turner’s SVOD service for classic, foreign and indie films, is now available on Google’s Chromecast. Managed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and the Criterion Collection, Filmstruck was already available for Amazon Fire TV, 4th Gen Apple TVs, iOS and Android devices, and the web. Turner says the service will launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Roku devices “in the coming months.”


No surprise here. The FCC, led by newly-installed Donald Trump appointee Ajit Pai, has jettisoned the Wireless Bureau’s advisory that “zero rating” sponsored data plans likely violate the FCC’s net neutrality regulations. (Those regulations will also likely be scrapped sooner than later.) The advisory had singled out Verizon’s FreeBee Data 360 plan and AT&T’s DirecTV Now service. But now the FCC’s investigation into zero-rating has officially been closed, and AT&T and Verizon are likely breathing a sigh of relief.


WPP-owned media agency Mindshare North America recently released its end-of year “Culture Vulture” trends report. The report, now in its sixth year, takes a look at consumer shifts and cultural trends to forecast growth over the next year. Some of Mindshare’s findings:
67% of Americans say they’re so busy that they can’t finish everything they need to do in a day. But productivity and growth is plateauing for a number of categories in the economy. And our time with existing media and technology platforms is reaching saturation too – for example, smartphone adoption and the average number of apps used each month has slowed to single digit growth.
With the influx of contradictory information spread on digital channels, it’s become harder than ever to decipher what’s true and what’s not. It’s not just political myths either – brands are facing widespread false assumptions being made around demographics and media consumption.
– While stress levels are declining, people are seeking new tactics and solutions to provide them with purpose and mindfulness. And although 45% of Americans try to unplug from technology once a week for that very reason, apps like Headspace and things like guided VR meditation are providing new ways for people to achieve that goal as well.
From airlines to entertainment to agriculture, mergers and acquisitions have created corporate giants that dominate their respective categories. And technology giants in particular now rule the world. Companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google are cash rich and moving into everything from fashion to transportation to delivery. Meanwhile, niche brands are snatching share from global brands like Budweiser and McDonald’s.  
To prevent hostility and backlash, brands have started to combat some of the negative consequences of being too open – for example, Instagram and Twitter added features to block and remove unwanted comments and users.
Sources: MRI Doublebase, eMarketer, Nielsen, Gallup, The Harris Poll, Fortune, Wrike, and Mindshare’s The POOL


Who are the two credited co-founders of Netflix? (One of them – Netflix’s first CEO – left the company in the early 2000’s. The other one is the current CEO.) (Email trivia@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
The company name Yahoo is actually a backronym (i.e., every letter in “Yahoo” stands for a word). So what does “Yahoo” stand for? Answer: Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle or the similar Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle (both were used). The name referred to the fact that Yahoo’s database was arranged in a hierarchy – i.e., in layers of subcategories. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Benjamin Streeter-Sony Pictures Television, Joel Dearing-Virtual News Center/IN, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Lorrie Shilling-CA, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, and Srey Char-Yahoo/NY


Entry Deadline: February 8, 2017  //  View 2017 Categories


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Want to ride Elon Musk’s Hyperloop? Now you can! Well, okay, you can watch a 360-degree video from the Hyperloop’s perspective. Musk’s SpaceX posted the video on its YouTube page. You can also check it out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

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