A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM CRACKLE
Crackle Upfront 2016 April 20th Nearly HALF of all TV households have access to subscription video on demand*
Great News. We’re 100% committed to advertising.
Crackle offers brands: Incremental Reach, 100% Viewability & Integrated MarketingContact James_Smith@spe.sony.com to RSVP today / www.crackle.com Source: Nielsen Q4 2015 Total Audience Report
Good morning. It’s Friday April 8, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
3V Ads: Snapchat’s full-screen vertical video advertising format. 3V ads appear on Snapchat’s publisher-operated Discover platform, as well as on Snapchat’s Live platform. As Snapchat is quick to point out, the ads are 100% viewable.
Is it really, finally happening? Bloomberg reports that, come next week, Verizon will make a first-round bid for Yahoo’s Internet business. To sweeten the deal, Verizon’s willing to make a bid for the company’s Yahoo Japan Corp. stake, according to Bloomberg’s sources. And Bloomberg reports that, should Verizon succeed, it will merge Yahoo’s assets with AOL’s. (As Cynopsis Digital recently noted, such an outcome would help AOL and Verizon to scale some monumentally ambitious digital advertising goals.) Google, Time Inc., and the private equity funds Bain and TPG are also reported to be considering a bid. Meanwhile, AT&T, Comcast, and Microsoft have decided against bidding.
Who says cablers and SVODers can’t be friends? Cablevision Systems Corporation has integrated Hulu directly into Optimum TV. Just hop on over to channel 605; if you’re a Hulu sub, you can access Hulu’s library directly through your cable box. If not, you can access a free a trial, and then subscribe to the service. Hulu and Cablevision do make for unlikely bedfellows. But it’s easy to see the “can’t-beat-‘em-so-join-‘em” logic behind the partnership, the plans for which were initially announced in April 2015. It remains to be seen whether other streaming services – and other cablers – will follow suit.
Mashable is mashing up its business model, not to mention its personnel. In a note to staff (and later shared on LinkedIn), CEO Pete Cashmore announced that the digital media company is making a major shift toward TV, OTT, social video, and branded content. As a result, many of its more traditional journalistic efforts – not to mention some of its employees – are being ushered out the door. The company has moved forward with numerous layoffs; among those leaving are Executive Editor and Chief Content Officer Jim Roberts and Chief Revenue Officer Seth Rogin. Mashable’s video and branded content efforts have taken on new urgency in recent months; in retrospect, none of this seems too surprising. But needless to say, some journos and (now-former) Mashable employees have expressed harsh disapproval.
Will Al Roker be the face of the live video revolution? The famed Today show anchor – already no stranger to digital projects – has launched Roker Media. The new initiative is calling itself “the first Live Streaming Network,” or “LSN.” The digital network will develop shows in several categories, including food, sports, and music, all to be distributed across major live-streaming platforms such as Facebook Live, YouTube, Periscope, and YouNow. Ronald C. Pruett, Jr., the former As Seen On TV CEO who co-founded Roker Labs in 2014, will head up Roker Media as CEO. Lately, more and more media companies have been taking advantage of live video. Pruett has some thoughts as to why that’s happening. “We believe live streaming is taking off now for a few reasons,” Roker Media’s CEO told Cynopsis Digital. “Firstly, timing and technology. Consumers can now easily access live streaming on their cell phones. Not too long ago this was more or less restricted to larger companies using live stream platforms for mostly corporate purposes. Now anyone can do it and share with their friends. The fact that so many platforms are evolving, such as Periscope and Facebook Live, underscores this point. Secondly, marketing demands. Brands and marketers want the next big thing, and distribution sources that get them directly in front of their customers. Live streaming is a uniquely formatted direct channel, and will explode for marketers and advertisers in the near future.”
The Video Call Center, a digital media company with a focus on live and interactive programming, has announced a new licensing deal: The broadcast and digital media company Tegna now has global rights to VCC’s video management and products technologies. Tegna, already a VCC investor, will also be increasing its investment in the company, according to VCC managing partner Wolzien LLC. The Video Call Center is best known for spearheading “video caller television” programming, in which programs are built around video calls from around the world. “We are seeing a pick-up in programmers’ desire for live television because pre-recorded content is becoming more difficult to monetize," Larry Thaler, CEO of The Video Call Center, told Cynopsis Digital. “The DVR, VOD and OTT program sites mean that live, original content becomes increasingly more valuable. That’s the power of The Video Call Center. We help programmers create live compelling content from their viewers’ smart phones in a way that engages the audience and makes them part of the story. It’s appointment television for the selfie-generation.”
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
What does SnagFilms snag, exactly? Funding, apparently. ViewLift, the Snag-owned OTT content distribution and monetization platform, has raised $8 million in new funding from Weekapaug Partners and Robert Hisaoka. Meanwhile, SnagFilms has launched its new Apple TV app; like the SnagFilms website, it provides free indie films and TV shows. In addition, SnagFilms is in the process of developing Apple TV support for more ViewLift clients. (Other ViewLift clients include Tegna, Monumental Sports Network, and others.) These are some noteworthy developments for Snag; no longer content to operate its own OTT platforms, it sees investment-worthy value in helping others create their own.
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, has retained the services of Modern Craft, a newly launched digital strategy firm. The new firm was founded by former Blast Radius executives John Ounpuu, Randy Siu, and Nathan Paziukt. Sesame Workshop says it that Modern Craft will help it formulate a more focused digital strategy.
DigiTour Media, a startup that produces live events featuring digital stars, announced a new Latin American tour featuring Vine star Nash Grier. Dubbed The Wave, the tour will run May 11 through May 22 in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Mexico.
Legends of Gaming, the YouTube eSports series that runs on Endemol Shine Beyond’s Smasher network, made its second season debut yesterday. Along with the premiere, Smasher is launching new Legends of Gaming-related material in YouTube’s 360-degree video format. “VR complements eSports effortlessly, as the gaming community wants to be as close to the action as possible,” Matthew Forrest, VP of Production & Operations at Endemol Shine Beyond USA, told Cynopsis Digital. “VR enhances the gaming experience by literally placing the audience on the set with the gamers, or inside the game they are playing.”
Along with SnagFilms’ $8 million fundraising round for its ViewLift platform (see VC FUNDING + INVESTORS), the company has made a new hire. Steven Brown will now serve as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer. Brown previously served as SVP of Platform Sales & Advertising Solutions for NeuLion, a tech company that creates digital platforms for the sports and entertainment industries. Given Snag’s abovementioned foray into OTT platform building, and Brown’s particular areas of expertise, the timing of his hire hardly seems coincidental.
Their name may be missing from the title, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Which game developer did HTC partner with to create the HTC Vive virtual reality headset? You can find the answer here.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
April 21 | New York Athletic Club | 8:15-10:30am | REGISTER NOW
CYNOPSIS SPORTS will honor 4 executives who changed the way their sports entities connected with fans around the country:
LEGACY AWARD — Eric Shanks, President, COO & EP – Fox Sports
VISION AWARD — Don Garber, Commissioner – MLS
NAVIGATOR AWARD – Rob McGlarry, President – MLB Network
GEM AWARD – Mike O’Brien, VP, Corp. & Prod. Planning – Hyundai
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, is out to empower girls and young women – even in countries where that’s harder to do. Enter Zari, Sesame Street’s first female Afghan muppet, set to make appearances in season five of Baghch-e-Simsim, the local Afghanistan production of Sesame Street. Episodes featuring Zari will explore topics such as girls’ empowerment and national identity. Want to meet her? Then go here.
See you Monday,
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