02/12/16: AT&T and Fullscreen launch Hello Lab; Hulu greenlights series from RocketJump and Lionsgate; Bento Box Entertainment launches digital studio



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
02.12.16

Good morning. It’s Friday February 12, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TOP NEWS

 
AT&T has partnered with Fullscreen’s Strategic Content Group to launch AT&T Hello Lab, a sprawling new project. (Fullscreen, a multi-channel media company, is owned by a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group.) A year-long initiative, Hello Lab will involve 10 different content creators as they develop project ideas and distribute content. (For an example of that content, skip on down to the Digital Spotlight section.) The project will heavily focus on mobile and social media. AT&T has signed up numerous digital influencers for Hello Lab, including YouTube stars Grace Helbig, Damon and Jo, and magician Collins Key. So what drove the decision to engage in such an expansive effort? “AT&T Hello Lab extends across multiple platforms because AT&T had the foresight early on to understand inherently how important these social communities are,” said Billy Parks, SVP of Fullscreen Strategic Content Group, in an email to Cynopsis Digital. “AT&T’s relationship to the creator community and its commitment to continue to engage in a manner that is authentic and additive overall explains why the scope is wide-ranging and involves multiple influencers." “So few brands understand the delicate balance between making brand impact and entertaining audiences,” added Bryan Thoensen, Fullscreen Strategic Content Group’s other SVP, in another email to Cynopsis Digital. “With AT&T Hello Lab, we’ll see those two worlds converge like never before, and AT&T is taking a dramatically different approach to co-creation that’s a breath of fresh air for the industry.”

 

Bento Box Entertainment, the animation studio behind Fox’s Bob’s Burgers, announced that it has formed Bento Box Studios, new digital studio division with a slate of new animated programming, to be distributed across digital and mobile platforms including YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. The company also announced a partnership with the virtual reality video aggregator Littlestar, which will result in the production, curation and distribution of animated VR content.  

 

 

NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
Hulu
and RocketJump are becoming fast friends. Shortly after RocketJump was featured as the subject of a Hulu docu-series, the digital studio – along with Lionsgate – will be bringing a new sci-fi anthology series to the streaming service. Titled Dimension 404 (a play on the web’s “404” page-not-found code), the series will consist of six one-hour episodes, debuting exclusively on Hulu. It will be RocketJump’s first scripted drama. RocketJump co-founder DesmondDez Dolly will act as showrunner.
 
More from Hulu: In a deal with NBCUniversal, the service acquired the exclusive SVOD rights to the Syfy thriller 12 Monkeys, the full first season debuting February 24. As part of the deal, Hulu also acquired the full library of programming for two additional series – Battlestar Galactica and Saved By the Bell. (Side note: That’s likely to be the last time you ever see those two shows mentioned in the same sentence.) In addition, Hulu added additional episodes of kids’ series Bob the Builder, Thomas and Friends and Barney.
 
In a recent earnings call, Time Inc. announced that it had acquired a majority stake in the ad tech company Viant. (Viant is also the owner of various properties, including Myspace.) The deal will combine Time Inc.’s content, subscriber and visitor data, and ad inventory with Viant’s first party data and targeting capabilities. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.


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ADVERTISING

 
Great Big Story
, the CNN-backed site devoted to news-heavy digital vignettes, is just starting to dip its toes into the native content pool. General Electric will soon distribute a set of three short films through GBS. And come February 18, the site will also debut The Dreamers, an eight-part video series sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. (Six of the eight vids are pieces of Great Big Story content, while the other two were made for Hewlett Packard Enterprise.)  “We are not just trying to shove any old brand into a native ad,” said Chris Berend, co-founder of Great Big Story, in an interview with Variety. “We are very much focused on our audience and delivering storytelling to our audience. We think brands can be a huge part of that.”

 

OTT + SVOD

 
NBCUniversal 
is going over-the-top – and overseas to boot. NBCUniversal International is launching Hayu, a new SVOD service devoted to reality content. New episodes will be added to the service each week – most of them on the same day as their U.S. premieres. Content includes The Real Housewives and Top Chef franchises, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and its spin-offs, and numerous other series. It will debut at http://www.hayu.com in March, available in the U.K., Ireland and Australia. The service will be accessible on the web, as well as via mobile, tablet, and connected TV.
 
Cinemax is testing the a la carte waters. The premium cable net is now available on Dish Network’s Sling TV Internet TV service – no cable or satellite subscription required.

 

VIRTUAL REALITY

 
To all those who have ever accused golf of being boring: It just got little harder to make your case. The PGA Tour and the VR startup IM360 have partnered to create four new experiences for the Samsung Gear VR headset. Two of them feature instruction sessions from golf pros Patrick Rodgers and Peter Malnati. Another features behind-the-scenes footage of a PGA Tour broadcast, while the fourth, which features golf pro Rickie Fowler, focuses on the famous 16th hole of TPC Scottsdale. The PGA Tour VR app is available on the Oculus Store.
 
Sign up for our February 24 sports webinar,
Virtual Reality – How to Get in the Game, and find out why sports can open the keys to the virtual reality kingdom. http://www.cynopsis.com/webinar/virtual-reality-get-game/
 
 

RESEARCH

 
Perhaps this should come as no surprise: A movie whose talent is active on Twitter is more likely to be successful. Granted, there’s no way to prove there’s a causal link. Still, the numbers are striking: Twitter and analytics company Crimson Hexagon looked at 33 movies released in 2015. The films that had talent active on Twitter saw a 326% increase in average daily volume of conversation. And movies that over-performed at the box office had 150% more posts on Twitter than films that under-performed. You can learn more about the study here
 
 

PLATFORMS + TECH

 
The Vevo app relaunch has just about reached completion. A few months after launching a redesigned app for iOS, the music video service has followed suit on Android and the next gen Apple TV. The Android app, largely similar to the iOS app, employs larger images, and allows users to pick their favorite artists by swiping right. The new Apple TV app also puts an emphasis on allowing users to listen to their favorite artists, and lets users easily return to their most recently viewed videos. It also allows users to sync playlists with mobile apps.

 

EXECUTIVE MOVES

 
The multi-channel network Studio71 announced a new reality content chief. Rabih Gholam, most recently the Executive VP, Head of Unscripted Programming for Ryan Seacrest Prods., will now serve as Studio71’s President of Unscripted Television. Studio71, formerly called Collective Digital Studio, recently changed its name after being acquired by German media company ProSiebenSat.1.
 
The New York-based advertising and marketing company Sawyer Studios has opened a West Coast office, hiring Kailey Peterson as Strategic Account Director in Los Angeles. She previously served as Director of Digital Marketing at Alchemy.  
 
Factual, a company providing location data for mobile advertising, announced a new hire. Rob Jonas will now serve as SVP of Revenue. He previously served as Global Chief Revenue Officer of the marketing automation software company PubMatic.
 


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT

 
The first program to be released as part of AT&T’s Hello Lab is Dare to Travel, a travel series starring YouTubers Damon and Jo. The content will include interactive challenges to the two stars issued through social media. You can check out Damon and Jo’s preview of the new series here.

See you Tuesday,
David Teich
02.12.16

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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