03/12/15: Verizon seals multi-year deal with AwesomenessTV; Snapchat’s plans next play with sports’ leagues; Vox Media announces Vox Entertainment, WME TV and film deal


Good morning. It’s Thursday March 12, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Verizon signed a multi-year deal with AwesomenessTV to add more than 200 hours of original content per year through over-the-top (OTT) video. Available only in the U.S., the AwesomenessTV channel will target teens and young millennials with new scripted and unscripted series; DreamWorksTV will include live action and animated short-form content as well as some of DreamWorks Animation’s recognizable characters. “Mobile is where our audience lives, which is why we are looking forward to working with Verizon to introduce our programming and talent to their massive customer base,” ATV CEO and Co-Founder Brian Robbins said.
Vox Media will dive deeper into video and digital talent with its new production arm Vox Entertainment and its deal with WME to develop TV and film projects. "Our approach is to become a programming company as much as an editorial company," Vox Enteratinment Creative Director Chad Mumm told The Hollywood Reporter. Vox raised $47 million in venture capital in November last year, and has 160 million monthly visitors. The SB Nation, The Verge, Polygon, Curbed Network (Eater, Curbed and Racked) along with news site Vox.com are all under the media company’s umbrella. Most recently, Vox Studios co-created the comedic web series with Vimeo’s SRSLY channel, titled Try Hards.
The National Geographic Channel launched a second-screen platform for its upcoming three-hour TV event Killing Jesus. The site is broken into eight parts depicting the life of Jesus from three different points of view. Compared to Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, this site is four times the size and contains a whopping 290,094 lines of code, 84 custom soundfx, music tracks and voice-overs as well as 72 interactive scenes. The platform is available now at natgeotv.com/killingjesus and premiering on the NGC on March 29 at 8p ET.
premiered the third season of the web series Who Am I on Oprah.com and its YouTube channel yesterday. The latest season of the celebrity interview series features guests Henry Winkler, Kenna, Noor Tagouri, Sasha Diguilian, Shiva Rose and Joy Cho; and each 2-3 minute episode will roll out every Thursday.
For the third day of MTV’s first-ever Break the Record Week, the net kicked off the #MostMeowsInAMinute challenge across the web. Hosted by The Vampire DiariesKat Graham and internet favorite Grumpy Cat, the duo dared audiences and celebs to submit their own attempts to set the record for most meows in a minute with the hashtag #MostMeowsInAMinute all day on Wednesday. From Ne-Yo to Nick Jonas, celebrities trying to break the record were featured across MTV’s social platforms and on-air. The record-setting video broadcasted on MTV at 11 p.m. ET last night.
British TV streaming service Acorn TV will feature the U.S. premiere of BBC thriller The Driver starring David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) beginning April 13. Acorn recently announced the U.S. debut of BBC period drama Jamaica Inn and “Australian Downton Abbey” series A Place to Call Home, Season 2. The service is available at Acorn.TV, Roku and the iTunes app.
Fuhu, the creator of the children’s Nabi tablet, finalized an agreement with Disney and Discovery Communications to bring videos, apps, games and e-books from their content libraries to the company’s Nabi Pass subscription service. Disney and Discovery join Fuhu partners supplying content to the SVOD service, including National Geographic Kids, DreamWorks Animation, Cupcake Digital, Garfield and Walt Disney Records.


Snapchat is looking to score partnerships with sports leagues. According to Digiday, the app is working on media-rights deals with the NCAA and Turner so it can feature live sports in the “Our Story” feature. Starting with this weekend’s NCAA Final Four tournament games, Snapchat plans to seal similar deals with other sports nets in the future. Snapchat recently released media channel Discover with networks such as Comedy Central, ESPN, National Geographic and Vice.
Photo-sharing app Instagram held its first Q&A series with Madonna yesterday. Using #AskMadonna, the pop star responded to fan’s questions directly on Instagram comments. Madonna (@Madonna) has more than 3.2 million followers.
, aka RLJ Entertainment’s Urban Movie Channel, is now available on Roku devices. UMC features urban-themed movies including Mysterious Ways starring Gary Dourdan (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation); Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game); live stand-up performances with Kevin Hart and Charlie Murphy; documentaries Dark Girls and I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac; as well as both new and classic feature films.


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Tuesday, March 31, 2015 | 1:30 to 2:45PM
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Univision Contigo, the empowerment platform from Univision Communications, launched a new campaign designed for Latino small business owners and entrepreneurs. The campaign will support town halls, workshops, seminars, national public service announcements across Univision Networks, a digital platform with stories from Hispanic entrepreneurs and additional resource tools and surveys.
Hear from sales expert Bob Maund, West Region VP, Digital Sales for CNBC & NBC News Group at NBC Universal and Steve Bookbinder, Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, for the Cynopsis webinar, “How to Sell Digital Advertising in a Fragmented Media World,” on Tuesday, March 31st. Register your team today at http://cynopsis.com/webinar/need-know-now-programmatic-ad-buying 


Digital music talent platform StarMaker announced that Raine Ventures led a $6.5 million Series B financing round for the company. Crosscut Ventures, Three Bridges Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, iGlobe Partners, GREE International as well as Allen DeBevoise of Machinima and Joe Perez of Tastemade are also investors. The funds will help SM expand programming and its platform to a global scale, which currently boasts more than 30 million users via its music video production and consumption mobile app. SM has partnerships with TV series American Idol and The Voice.


RLJ Entertainment promoted Jen Linck to the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Business Development, Digital Channels. Linck will identify and establish strategic partnerships with RLJE’s current digital streaming channels – Acorn TV (British TV), AcaciaTV (Fitness) and UMC (Urban Movie Channel). Previously, she was Vice President of Acorn TV.
Proper Rights
appointed Jenn Kuzmyk as the Director of Distribution. Kuzmyk has worked in the international media industry for more than 18 years across development, distribution, production, and industry analysis. Prior to joining the distribution company, she worked with Boxing Cats Productions and was Vice President of Development at Cream Productions.


Want to find out what shows are online and when?

Check out the Watcheroo Digital Programming Guide

Organized by show name, date, and platform, we have everything you’ll need to be caught up on digital premieres, ongoing programs, live-streamed events and integrated series.



AOL debuted the trailer for its first long-form series Connected, based on the Israeli factual show, out on March 31. The docu-drama will capture American life through six New Yorkers, including one story from actress Susan Sarandon. Four episodes will roll out every two weeks until May 25, for a total of 20. AOL Originals Dermot McCormack, Koda CommunicationsRam Landes and Ami Teer as well as Morgan Spurlock of Warrior Poets serve as executive producers on the show. Check out the first look at Connected at www.cynopsis.com/#video.

See you tomorrow,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese

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