02.24.17 Good morning. It’s Friday February 24, 2017 and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
CAVE: A cave automatic virtual environment (better known by the acronym CAVE) is an immersive virtual environment in which images are projected onto between three and six walls of a room-sized cube.
It’s official: Disney is making some major cuts to Maker Studios, the MCN and digital media company it acquired in 2014. The media giant is laying off 80 Maker staffers as it restructures its publishing and digital media division, of which Maker is a part. (Disney hasn’t said just what percentage of Maker’s workforce those 80 cuts represent.) The new cuts come soon after Maker was shifted to Disney’s Consumer Products and Interactive Media (DCPI) group. One reason for the cuts: As some recent reports make clear, Disney plans to dramatically shrink the number of YouTube creators that Maker partners with. According to a source who spoke to Variety, Disney wants to drop the number of creators that Maker works with to less than 1,000. At one point, that number was as high as 60,000.
Facebook is looking to launch some new ad products. The social giant says that it’s started testing mid-roll ad breaks within on-demand videos. (The test is taking place among a “small number of partners,” according to Facebook.) In addition, the company is expanding its beta test of ad breaks within Facebook Live videos. The beta will now be available to U.S. publishers and users for broadcasts with 300 concurrent viewers or more. Finally, the company will now let eligible media partners serve in-stream video ads on their own apps and websites through the Facebook Audience Network program. Facebook itself sells the ad inventory. Like YouTube, Facebook offers its partners a 55% cut of the revenue.
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Like any content creators, YouTubers would love to have a more complete view of their audience. Now it looks like some of them will get one: ComScore is providing mobile viewing metrics to YouTube’s partner channels. The owners of such channels will have access to channel-level insights across both mobile and desktop consumption. The measurement firm was already providing desktop-only reporting for YouTube channels, but given that roughly 70% of YouTube views take place on mobile platforms, those metrics were no longer cutting it.
Gracenote, the provider of media and entertainment metadata that Nielsen recently bought from Tribune Media, announced that it has now standardized its ID tags in a way that broadens results when sports, music, or video fans search for info across smart devices and programming guides. Among other platforms, Gracenote currently powers guides for DirecTV, Comcast, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, and offerings from Spotify and Apple. As Gracenote puts it in a new press release, the new standardized IDs “link musical artists to discographies, actors to TV shows and schedules, episodes to seasons and athletes to live games across linear TV, video on-demand (VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) services.” For example, a search for Beyonce would deliver results across her entire music, TV and movie career.
Looks like Samsung is thinking about launching a wireless controller to go along with the next version of its Gear VR headset. A new FCC filing, while heavily redacted, included a sketch of the device. Sammobile was the first to spot the news. As the site points out, the FCC sketch looks quite similar to the PlayStation Move controller, a device used with the PlayStation VR headset. Still, there’s no telling what the device – if it comes to be made – will look like in the end.
HTC is moving closer to the debut of Viveport, its VR subscription service. As first reported by Variety, HTC is now officially allowing developers to register their VR experiences and games to be part of the service’s launch, which is expected later this spring. The service, which will be exclusive to the HTC Vive headset, was initially announced at CES last month.
Urban Movie Channel (UMC) has been added to fourth-gen Apple TVs. The service, owned by RLJ Entertainment, is geared toward African American and urban audiences. It had 20,000 subs by the end of 2016. By comparison, RLJ’s other streaming service, Acorn TV, had over 430,000 subs. But the addition to Apple TV is the latest sign that RLJ intends to make a serious push to increase UMC’s subscription base. Just last week, the service named Traci Otey Blunt, an RLJ Entertainment exec since 2014, as UMC’s President. “The Apple TV app will give UMC the ability to reach many potential new subscribers while also providing additional exposure for the channel,” said Blunt in a statement. The service costs $6.99 per month.
The Weather Company has made a new hire. The IBM-owned company has named Mark Risis as its new VP of Partnerships. He’ll focus on building new tech and data partnerships in the media and ad tech space. Risis joins The Weather Company from TiVo Research, where he served as Head of Strategy and Business Development.
Speaking of The Weather Company, Director of Programmatic Platforms David Virenius will be on-board for Cynopsis’s new webinar, Programmatic Data & Measurement: New Solutions for TV and Digital. You’ll learn how and where to buy inventory programmatically, how to employ the best measurement techniques, and how best to make use of data. To learn more and register, go here.
Our Last Trivia Question: Steve Buscemi held a titular role on a digital series. Which one? Answer: Horace and Pete. Buscemi played Pete; Horace was played by series creator Louis CK. Kudos to Anthony Schach-Discovery Communications/MD, Len Appel-Branded Entertainment Network/NY, Dan Quitério-Understood/NY, Susan Nessanbaum–Goldberg Whose Line Is It Anyway?/Angst Productions/CA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Joe Lanzerotti-A+E Networks/IL, Anjali Desai-Departure Films/NY, Andy Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, and Mathew Tombers-Intermat, Inc./NY
Follow-up: Louis C.K. inked a major deal with Netflix this week, but it’s a different service that recently acquired the streaming rights to Horace and Pete. Which one? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
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Everything you need to know to join the eSports movement and succeed. Tickets are flying off the shelves. Register before 3/22 to save on the East Coast’s premiere eSports Summit!
Sponsors/Partners: Go To Team, Bruin Sports Capital, eSports Ad Bureau & rEvXP
Netflix tries to run the gamut when it comes to programming, producing everything from prestige dramas to kids’ cartoon series. One genre it hadn’t covered yet, until today: competition shows. Ultimate Beastmaster, executive produced by Sylvester Stallone, is an international reality series that tests contestants’ strength and endurance. You can check out the trailer here.
See you Monday,
Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
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JOB OPENING: ASSOC., DIGITAL & VIDEO MKTG/NCC MEDIA/NY: Dvlp sales materials & implement mkting programs that create demand for digital adv products within the media industry. 2-3 yrs exp in mktg, media and/or sales preferred. Apply to [email protected] (3/1)
JOB OPENING: ASST. MANAGER, STRATEGIC MARKETING/National CineMedia (NCM)/NYC: Work across multiple divisions to create, plan and execute b2b/trade mktg and emerging mktg. initiatives. strategic, creative, solid comm & PM skills. 5+ years digital/b2b/b2c. Apply HERE (2/28)
JOB OPENING: PR & COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST/National CineMedia (NCM)/New York: 3-5+ years of PR exp. Key member of the comm team, support & lead initiatives in PR, social media & internal comm. Great writing skills. Passion for advertising, movies & analytics a must! Full info/apply HERE (2/28)
JOB OPENING: SPONSORSHIP COORDINATOR/CROWN MEDIA FAMILY NETWORKS/NY: Track, create & coordinate sponsorship reports. Coordinate added value elements, & interface w/Traffic, Ad Sales, & Promo dept. BS req. & 2 yrs TV or Ad Sales exp. Full info/apply HERE (2/28)
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