04/04/14: Directors Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Discovery announce digital studio


Good morning. It’s Friday, April 4, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Academy Award winning directors Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind) and Discovery Communications are teaming up to create a new digital studio called New Form. The studio will produce scripted and unscripted series to be distributed across Discovery and partner platforms. Kathleen Grace, former head of creative at YouTube Space LA, will join New Form as Chief Creative Officer. "Technology is rapidly changing the entertainment landscape for studios, producers and audiences, and Ron and I could not think of a better partner to invest with than Discovery to expand beyond film and television and enter into the digital frontier," Grazer said. To cement his commitment, Howard even made an appearance at Discovery’s upfront yesterday.

Crackle and NBCUniversal Television & New Media Distribution announced a content licensing deal to stream films from NBCU on Sony‘s streaming service. Titles include Miami Vice, Jarhead, King Kong and Ray.

Microsoft is expanding its plans for the Halo franchise beyond the expected live-action TV show being produced by Steven Spielberg for Xbox One. Now, Xbox Entertainment Studios, filmmaker Ridley Scott‘s Scott Free Productions (Battlestar Galactica) and 343 Industries are creating a different web series for Halo. The Wrap reports the companies are possibly looking to Prison Break‘s Paul Scheuring to write the series.

California’s hipster clad music festival Coachella is coming to a YouTube stream near you this year, thanks to a partnership between the vid giant and T-Mobile. From April 11-13, Coachella’s YT channel will provide on-demand clips, live streamed shows, artist interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and highlights from each day. Los Angeles’ KCRW music director and Morning Becomes Electric host Jason Bentley, will host the YT Coachella broadcast. Zedd, Ellie Goulding, HAIM and OutKast are a few of the headlining acts at this year’s festival.

YouTube‘s Geek & Sundry channel and Microsoft debuted a new series called Unplugged yesterday. The show pits YouTubers against each other in real-life adventures inspired by multiplayer online battle arena games. Ashly Burch (Hey Ash Watcha Playin’) hosts each weekly episode, which will also be automatically included in the Surface Pro 2 tablet.

Tribune Digital Ventures has acquired research and editorial firm TV by the Numbers, and is also re-launching its entertainment and TV discovery website, Zap2it. TV by the Numbers has produced TV Rating’s content on Zap2it since 2010. "Our goal is to make TV by the Numbers a must-have analytics and data resource for passionate viewers and Hollywood insiders alike," Tribune Digital Ventures President Shashi Seth said. "Viewership numbers, audience reviews and social data are increasingly becoming reliable indicators of TV show popularity, making TV by the Numbers analysis data essential to the evolving ecosystem."




What’s your favorite birthday dessert?

One participant will win a $25 Crumbs Bake Shop gift card + the winner will be announced on Monday, April 7th.


Streaming gamer platform Twitch introduced a group chat feature yesterday, which will allow users to create invite-only rooms separate from the current Channel Chats. For now, only members of the Twitch Partner Program can create the chats on the desktop version of the service.

TiVo cofounders Mike Ramsay and Jim Barton‘s newest video streaming service Qplay is now available for everyone. As previously reported, the service that curates personalized video streams was only available to iPad users with the Early Adopter bundle for $49. Yesterday, the restriction was lifted and more content was released from Vanity Fair, Reddit, College Humor, Funny or Die and more.


Social media analytics firm Unruly released the Top Social Video Brands in March 2014, and the results include:
1)  Wren: 1,439,096 shares; not in top 100 last month; notable campaign was Wren Clothing: First Kiss with 1.44 million shares.
2)  Samsung: 1,072,906 shares; placed 34th last month; notable campaign was Samsung: Galaxy S5 – Official Hands-On with 384,551 shares.
3)  Save the Children: 869,657 shares; not in top 100; notable campaign was Save The Children: Most Shocking Second A Day Video with 866,365 shares.
4)  Coordown: 718,900 shares; not in top 100 last month; notable campaign was Coordown: Dear Future Mom with 718,900 shares.
5)  Pepsi: 635,818 shares; placed 12th last month; notable campaign was Pepsi Max: Test Drive 2 with 423,204 shares.
6)  Chanel: 350,738 shares; placed 57th last month; notable campaign was Chanel: Coco Mademoiselle – She’s Not There with 214,089 shares.
7)  Edeka: 323,848 shares; placed 6th last month; notable campaign was Edeka: Supergeil with 152,017 shares.
8)  Failte Ireland: 224,495 shares; not in top 100; notable campaign was FailteIrelandTV: St Patrick’s Day – #irelandinsires with 224,495 shares.
9)  Coca-Cola: 200,735 shares; placed 2nd last month; notable campaign was Coca-Cola: Social Media Guard with 127,862 shares.
10)  Walt Disney: 144,176 shares; placed 21st last month; notable campaign was Disney: Frozen – Let It Go with 116,464 shares.

"Shares are the global currency of social video, and a measure of deep engagement," Unruly’s U.S. VP of Marketing and Insight Devra Prywes told Cynopsis. "Views can be purchased, but shares have to be earned. A high-impact recommendation (such as a video share from a peer or friend) is up to 50 times more likely to trigger a purchase than a low-impact recommendation such as a TV-ad according to [research from] McKinsey."


U.S. consumers may not be sold on wearable tech yet, despite the latest surge in new software for devices, like Google‘s Android Wear. According to new research from Endeavour Partners, one-third of American consumers who owned a wearable product stopped using it within six months. Additionally, half of the one in ten American adults who owned an activity tracker already abandoned using them. However, Android Wear may transform these stats after Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG use the tech in future smartwatches.


Clearleap is partnering with iStreamPlanet to help distribute linear live and premium TV to connected multiscreen devices. "Premium content owners and distributors are ready to take advantage of the explosive growth of live streaming on connected devices," iStreamPlanet’s VP of Business Development and Marketing Robin Cole said. "Combining the cloud-based efficiencies of Aventus with Clearleap’s platform enables our customers to accelerate the launch of live events and channels."


Ad tech and audience measurement company Quantcast announced that Mike Kelly has joined the company’s board of directors. Kelly was previously CEO and president of The Weather Channel Companies from 2009 to 2012, and from 2004 to 2007 he was the founding president of AOL Media Networks.

Saban Brands appointed Leila Ouledcheikh as Vice President of Distribution for EMEA. She most recently co-founded distribution company Headway Media & LOK Media Ltd.


Get Your Tickets Now!
We’ve announced the Cynopsis Sports Media Award finalists; now join us in saluting them at the Awards breakfast!

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Location: Yale Club, NYC
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YouTube channel Half Day Today reimagined what the Oscar nominated film The Wolf of Wall Street would look like if it were actually about BuzzFeed. Take the parody trailer, The Wolf of BuzzFeed, as commentary on the culture of the internet and the craze over BuzzFeed quizzes and lists, or just have a laugh when you check it out at www.cynopsis.com.


2014 NewFronts Special eReports

NewFronts Preview [4/24] We’ll review the past few NewFronts and talk to Digital Publishers, Programmers & Agencies/Brands to find out what worked, what didn’t, and what are the 2014 expectations.

NewFronts Wrap-up [5/9] We’ll take a look at all of the breaking news that came out this year, as well as all of the highlights + new buying strategies that were presented.

Ad space is limited, contact Mike Farina (203.218.6480) to reserve your spot!

See you tomorrow,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese

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JOB OPENING: AFFIL MKTG MGR/Asia TV USA/NYC: 3-5 yrs Affiliate Mktg Exp at a cable network/MVPD. Understanding of the dvlpmnt & implementation of campaigns that drive subscriptions. Premium Network exp a + Resume to: [email protected] (4/9)

JOB OPENING: CORP COMMS SPECIALIST/THE WEATHER COMPANY/NYC: Publicity for Weather Channel prog, digital cont, ad sales comm, int comm. Skilled w/Cision, TV Eyes, Meltwater News, intranet. 3 yrs exp. Apply: [email protected] (4/9)

JOB OPENING:  DIRECTOR, CONSUMER MKTG/BRAVO/NYC: Oversee strategy & implementation of consumer mktg campaigns & promotions for Bravo. 7+ years marketing exp required. TV/cable exp a plus. Apply at http://bit.ly/1iAPN64 (4/9)

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