Good morning. It’s Thursday March 24, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Nielsen’s much-anticipated Total Audience Measurement product won’t be available for another few months, but in the meantime, this is still a pretty big deal: Starting April 25, the company will make brand-level data available from connected smart TVs and, more importantly, connected TV devices, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, and other streamers and game consoles. The data will enable Nielsen clients to track the number of U.S. homes that own connected devices, the most commonly owned device brands, and how much time people spend using which devices. Clients will also be able to link program viewing to specific devices. In addition, Nielsen says that it is creating a new metric, Total Use of television (TUT), which will combine linear usage with connected TV usage, offering a “complete view” of TV usage.
Fuse Media announced the launch of several new digital initiatives, including a mobile app, a podcast network, and expanded digital content offerings. The mobile app, featuring access to select Fuse originals ahead of their linear premieres, is now available for iOS and Android. (Season two of Fuse series Fluffy Breaks Even will launch on the Fuse app on March 31, a week ahead of the show’s April 7 linear premiere on Fuse Network.) Meanwhile, Fuse platforms Fuse.tv and FM.tv will be expanding their portfolios throughout 2016, according to the company.
Apple has acquired The Score, a new six-episode docu-series from Vice Media. The series, which explores local music in different locales around the world, will be available exclusively on the Apple Music subscription service. Episode one, which centers on hip-hop culture within a Minnesota Native American tribe, is available now.
Verizon’s Go90 mobile streaming service is set to launch Dance-Off Juniors, a new unscripted series from DanceOn. Three contestants will compete in a series of dance challenges, vying for a cash prize. So far this year, perhaps no digital platform has been as hungry for new content as Go90. Indeed, Dance-Off Juniors will be the third DanceOn-produced original series to hit the service – out of a planned 25. The series, which will air weekly, debuts on April 20.
As the great YouTube Red experiment ramps up, it remains to be seen whether Google’s paid subscription service can compete with the likes of Netflix. One thing is clear: Compelling content is paramount. Next up for YouTube Red is We Love You, a new romantic comedy from AwesomenessTV. The movie features YouTube star Yousef Saleh Erakat (better known as FouseyTube), Vine star Lele Pons, and actor Justin Dobies. It will be the third project that AwesomenessTV has produced for YouTube Red. Production began last week.
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In a deal with BBC Worldwide North America, Netflix has commissioned an eight-episode second season of the not-so-wholesomely-titled comedy Scrotal Recall. A U.K. production, season one of the series initially debuted in 2014 on Channel 4, before debuting on Netflix in 2015. Clerkenwell Films will produce season two, exclusively for Netflix. The service will debut the series globally later in 2016.
Univision Digital, the digital division of Univision Communications Inc., announced that it has launched Univision Beta, a new initiative geared toward accelerating digital reach and innovation across social and digital platforms, with a particular focus on news and information. Essentially an in-house innovation lab, the Univision Beta team will experiment with new products, tools, technologies, and formats that can enhance Univision’s digital efforts. The initiative was created as part of a three-year collaboration between Univision Digital and the MIT Media Lab. The Univision Beta team will be led by Carlos Martínez de la Serna, Univision’s Director of Digital Innovation. “It is exceptionally important for us to continue to expand and adjust our digital efforts in order to match, and get in front of, our growing digital audience and their changing preferences as they relate to content consumption,” Martinez de la Serna told Cynopsis Digital. “We’re not only trying to reach our audiences on their favorite screens – and there are currently 33 million Hispanics on mobile platforms – we’re working to be ahead of the fray, to be ‘what’s next,’ so we’re setting the tone for the rest of the media industry. That’s why we’ve engaged the MIT Media Lab, which will provide us with the tools necessary to reach our goal.”
Discovery Communications has debuted One Discovery, a wide-ranging new marketing platform. Launching just ahead of the 2016-17 Upfronts, the platform places a particular emphasis on reaching younger viewers. One Discovery will include Discovery Engage (Discovery’s data management and analytics platform), Discovery Digital (Discovery’s TV Everywhere platform), as well as Discovery VR, Discovery Web-Native Networks, and the in-house production team Discovery Brand Studios.
The video ad tech company Unruly announced a new integration with the video advertising platform Videology. Videology’s platform users in the U.S. will now have access to Unruly’s outstream In-Article and native In-Feed video formats across hundreds of premium websites via UnrulyX, Unruly’s viewable video SSP. Unruly In-Article is Unruly’s viewable outstream format, which places branded video ads directly within premium editorial content and only begins to play when the video is 50% in-view. Unruly In-Feed, meanwhile, is a native video format, which gives clients access Unruly’s Liquid Layout Technology, which automatically adapts a video ad to the design and layout of a publisher site in real-time.
The mobile-first ad network MobileFuse – which bills itself as the “leader in targeting ‘moments’ in mobile and digital advertising” – has announced the next generation of Mindset Targeting, its tool leveraging location-based information to understand user behavior. In addition to new creative units that will be made available to help advertisers, MobileFuse says that advertisers will now be able to take existing data sets, customer lists, or audience segments, targeting specific “mindsets” within those groups. “It’s become clear over the years that just targeting people with specific interests is not enough, and in many ways, timing is everything,” Val Katayev, MobileFuse’s Founder & Managing Partner, told Cynopsis Digital. “With mobile, the data we have is more granular than ever, and when you look at the opportunity to leverage location too, we have an opportunity to understand what a receptive moment is in a way that is not really possible in any other channel. Our product is all about understanding mindsets, and how the mindset of a consumer may change as they go about their day.”
The money just keeps on pouring into virtual reality. The latest VR startup to rake in the VC dollars is Visionary VR, currently developing a content creation platform for VR storytellers. The company has raised $6 million in a new round of Series A funding from DFJ, the Virtual Reality Fund, BDM, and Greylock, among others.
If you’ve recently watched a season of TV in one marathon streaming session, barely pausing to take a bite of food, don’t worry – you’re not alone. According to a study from Deloitte, 70% of U.S. consumers binge-watch shows. The study, conducted last fall (but only just released), found that an average binge session clocks in at five TV episodes, and that 61% of streaming subscribers ranked Internet video services amongst their top three most-valued paid services. (The number was 17% in 2012.) Meanwhile, the study found that viewers aged 14-25 value SVOD services over pay TV, in contrast to older demos. And about 46% of Americans are now subscribers to streaming video services. You can learn more about the study here.
The mobile marketing company S4M has appointed Frederic Joseph as its U.S. CEO, based in the company’s NYC office. Joseph joined the company in 2015 as Global COO – a position he will continue to hold in conjunction with his new role.
Journalists on the front lines of warzones deserve our thanks. Journalists who fake wartime broadcasts from the comforts of New York City hideaways? Not so much. That’s the premise of the film Special Correspondents, an upcoming original comedy from Netflix. The film, starring Ricky Gervais, drops on April 29. The service just released the trailer – you can check it out here.
See you tomorrow,
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