03/02/16: AT&T to launch ITV services from DirecTV; Updated Facebook algorithm to favor live video; Steven Soderbergh to EP new Netflix limited series


Good morning. It’s Wednesday March 2, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Day by day, it becomes clearer and clearer why AT&T bought DirecTV last year. The telco will be launching three Internet TV services from DirecTV (including a free, ad-supported option) late this year. The services will be available on connected devices – no set-top box or satellite TV dish required. Little is known about the pricing of the two pay services, but AT&T says that content will include on-demand and live programming from TV networks, as well as premium ad-on options. 
Periscope may have beaten Facebook to the live-video game, but Facebook is doing its best to come out on top. Now that its live-streaming tool has launched for both iOS and Android, the social network has altered its News Feed algorithm to prioritize live video or regular video. Live streams, rather than regular video and archived feeds, will be placed toward the top of the News Feed. “People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live,” explained Facebook Product Manager Vibhi Kant in a post.
As Yahoo gears up for a likely sale or merger (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Time Inc. have all been reported as possible suitors), the company has other things to worry about.  In an SEC filing, the company disclosed that it is “reasonably possible” that it will write down 100 percent of the remaining value of Tumblr. Yahoo acquired the micro-blogging site in 2013 in a $1.1 billion deal. It went on to perform under expectations.


The movie and TV studio Mance Media is launching 4KUniverse, a new entertainment channel devoted to 4K Ultra HD programming. The service will be available through YouTube and Vimeo to cable, IPTV, and MSO subscribers. Programming includes both documentary and narrative films. The channel, which debuts internationally in April, costs $5.99 per month. Mance Media also says that it is actively seeking more 4K programming for the channel.
Variety reports that Netflix is in final negotiations to acquire worldwide streaming rights to Skyladder, a documentary about Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. The film, directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January. More and more these days, Netflix is feasting on festival offerings. Including Skyladder, the service acquired the global streaming rights to eight films from this year’s Sundance alone. Look for Netflix to make its mark at later 2016 fests as well.  


Between its upcoming SVOD-first Star Trek series and its NFL football streaming aspirations, it’s clear that CBS has its sights set on the digital space. That includes its news operation. Josh Elliott of Good Morning America and NBC Sports, will serve as an anchor for CBSN, CBS News’s streaming service, beginning in late March. “CBSN is the future of news,” said David Rhodes, President of CBS News, in a statement. “CBSN is building momentum and drawing a growing audience of highly engaged viewers across platforms, and we know that Josh will help our team continue to push that forward.”
Bravo Media has launched Jet Set, the latest in a series of lifestyle destinations recently launched on BravoTV.com. The vertical focuses on adventure and aspirational travel content. At launch, one bit of content will include The Tour Group Guide, a short-form video series showcasing exotic locations around the world, and featuring tips from travel experts.


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The Knick
, The Girlfriend Experience, and Red Oaks apparently weren’t enough for Steven Soderbergh.  The acclaimed director/producer has joined with Scott Frank, director of Soderbergh’s 1998 film Out of Sight, on an upcoming limited series for Netflix. Called Godless, the series is an 1880s-set Western. Beyond that, not many details are known. Soderbergh will serve as an EP, and Frank will script, direct, and co-EP the series along with Casey Silver. The series will film in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


The programmatic video platform SourceKnowledge announced that it has received $1.5 million in funding from BDC Capital. SourceKnowledge measures success based on post-click behavior. The company says it will use the funding to grow the company’s Engage platform, which is designed to help advertisers leverage video and display assets, as well as data-targeting, across multiple devices.


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 are the purest form of showing interest digitally, since they’re organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
Streaming Only (2/22/16 – 2/28/16)
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 Facebook, Google+, 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.


The location-based mobile advertising platform Retale commissioned a study to examine the ad blocker usage of U.S. adults. Here’s some of what they found:
– 63% of Millennials use ad blockers
– 57% of those surveyed said that they use an ad blocker to prevent viewing display ads while on a PC. 43% said that they don’t currently have an ad blocker installed. The numbers differ by age groups.
– Among Millennials (18-34 years of age), 63% say they use ad blockers while on a PC. For those 35-54, 57% use ad blockers, while only 44% of those 55 and up use them.
– 20% use ad blockers on mobile
– When asked if they use an ad blocker while on a smartphone or a tablet, 20% of all respondents said that they do, while the overwhelming majority (64%) said that they don’t. For those 18-54, the numbers were almost identical, with 21-22% saying they do use ad blockers on mobile devices. For those 55 and older, only 13% are using mobile ad blockers today.
– When asked if they were using an ad blocker on mobile, an additional 16% said that “they want to” but don’t think they can with their current device.
In a study for ESPN, the market research firm GfK found that the use of mobile media devices in Latin America is rapidly rising, accounting for over 19 hours weekly, which is almost a third of total media time. Latin American consumers, GfK finds, are adding media time for mobile, as opposed to replacing traditional usage. “We are discovering many of the same patterns in Mexico and Brazil that emerged a decade ago in the US – with consumers simply adding more media time to accommodate their growing passion for smartphones and tablets,” said David Hobbie, ESPN’s Associate Director of International Research, in a release. You can check out the full study here.


has hired Sriram Krishnan as part of its growth revenue team, Re/code has reported. The specifics of the role are unknown as of yet. A major figure at Facebook, Krishnan had been running Audience Network (Facebook’s ad network), which he helped launch after joining the company in 2013.
The multi-screen ad delivery and measurement platform Extreme Reach announced that it has hired Melinda McLaughlin as Chief Marketing Officer. Previously, McLaughlin served as CMO of Tremor Video. Cynopsis Digital asked Extreme Reach about the hiring, and about the importance of multi-platform ad strategies in today’s media landscape. “Every big brand marketer fundamentally is embracing the notion of TV and video convergence as the new paradigm for brand building in an all-screen, content everywhere world,” explained company CEO John Roland, CEO. “We see some progress in the recalibration of spend to better mimic media consumption, where over 50% of viewing is happening outside the traditional TV environment. That said, there is still significant work to be done to truly converge the disparate workflows and operational silos that underpin each part of that equation…Melinda’s career has mapped perfectly to the evolution of the advertising business and so she brings agency, TV, and video ad tech experience to the company bringing that all together to power the future of TV and video advertising.”



Join CYNOPSIS and your peers on THURSDAY, APRIL 7 in New York City at our 2nd Annual SOCIAL GOOD AWARDS BREAKFAST as we honor everything from sustainability partnerships and PSA’s, to diversity campaigns, environmental initiatives, and more. Last year’s event sold out, so book your company’s table today!



If you don’t have a soft spot in your heart for Street Fighter, you’re probably not a video game nerd. But if you are, you’re in luck: On March 15, Machinima will debut Street Fighter: Resurrection, a live-action web series for Verizon’s Go90 streaming service. You can check out the trailer here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

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

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