04/29/16: Amazon reports monster Q1 revenue; DreamWorks’ Katzenberg to oversee AwesomenessTV after Comcast acquisition; Vevo launches redesigned site



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
04.29.16

Good morning. It’s Friday April 29, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TODAY’S CODEBREAKER

 
TV Everywhere
: A TV Everywhere platform (generally a mobile app or an Internet-based service) allows consumers to view pay TV content by authenticating themselves as current subscribers to a channel. As long as you subscribe to a major cable or satellite TV service, you likely have access to a lot of TV Everywhere content.
 
 

TOP NEWS
 

Comcast’s NBCU has reached a deal to acquire DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion by the end of 2016. So how does that affect the digital landscape? Likely in many ways, both large and small, that will be felt in the coming months and years. Most immediately, it should be noted that DreamWorks Animation is partnered with Netflix on several upcoming original series; NBCU and Comcast will now be connected to those projects. In addition, DreamWorks Animation owns a controlling stake in the digital entertainment company AwesomenessTV. Once the acquisition is completed, the plan is for DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg to become Chairman of DreamWorks New Media, a unit comprised of AwesomenessTV and the visualization technology platform NOVA. Katzenberg himself confirmed the news in a statement.
 
The music video platform Vevo launched a redesigned website, echoing many of the features of its recent redesigns of its iOS and Android apps. The site features larger images, and a more personalized experience guided by a users’ expressed tastes. Meanwhile, Vevo has axed Vevo TV, its ad-supported web TV platform. Vevo TV’s stations have instead been folded into the relaunched website’s playlists.
 

 
PLATFORMS + DEVICES
 

BET Networks has redesigned and relaunched its digital offerings, most notably the flagship BET.com website (for both desktop and mobile) and the BET Now app for iOS and Android. Last week at the network’s NYC office, the BET Digital team previewed the new products for the writer of this newsletter. The new website features convenient, prominently-displayed search and discoverability features. Just as importantly, the site employs a chronological feed that allows for continuous scrolling and all-around easy browsing. The digital team compares that approach to other prominent web and mobile platforms. “What are the apps our audience is always using?” said Ross Robbins, Director of Product Management.Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…We know how are users are behaving digitally. We want to mimic that behavior so they feel comfortable.” And the site’s way of encouraging continuous scrolling has allowed the team to implement a visually striking advertising and messaging format, in which prominent promotional images and text crop up in-between editorial content as users scroll downward, temporarily taking over most of the screen. The BET Now app, which includes both free ad-supported content and subscriber-only TV Everywhere content, is similarly geared toward scrolling and easy browsing. And its ad placement is strategically designed to remain viewable while a user browses; when not in full-screen mode, videos (and ads) will occupy the upper portion of the screen, while users are free to continue browsing through content in the bottom section. “In an average month, 60 to 70 percent of our traffic is from mobile – either mobile web or from our app,” said Kay Madati, EVP and Chief Digital Officer. So the digital relaunch, he said, was built with a mobile-first approach. “We’re assuming that you’re going to be looking at this on your phone or tablet.” Madati also said that BET is measuring exensive data about its digital audience on a daily basis. “The real benefit is connecting that information, knowledge, and understanding to our advertisers,” he said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re in lockstep partnership with our sales colleagues to actually help our advertisers figure out the right creative and the right messaging that packages well with this kind of content.” BET also recently announced plans to renew its partnership with Snapchat, and to partner with the content marketing company WhoSay on a new initiative to help brands partner with African American influencers.
 
Comcast announced that it will soon up its data limit for broadband customers to one terabyte per month – more than triple the current limit. As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, tight data limits can have the effect of encouraging audiences to ration their Internet video consumption…which explains why Netflix CEO Reed Hastings reacted to Comcast’s decision by tweeting this: “Huge for me as a Comcast customer. Now I’ll never be able to watch enough to hit my cap.”
 


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


It’s time to SHOWCASE YOUR !MAGINATION

Entries are open for the 2016 Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards. With new categories to choose from such as:

Best Guest Appearance on a Kids Show
Best Kids Sports-Related Series or Special
Best Kids Tech Activation
Best Use of Music in a K6-11, Preschool or Tween Show
and more!
What are you waiting for? Enter by 5/18.



 

AD TECH
 

Under a new partnership, Viacom will be able to utilize aggregated audience insights from Roku in order to deliver targeted ads on the Roku platform. The companies are calling it a first-of-its-kind partnership between an OTT platform and a programmer.
 
 

ADVERTISING
 

YouTube has adopted an updated policy for its content ID system. Slated to roll out over the next few months, the new solution will enable videos to continue generating advertising revenue while ownership and copyright disputes are being evaluating. The move is meant to appease content creators, many of whom have expressed the conviction that such copyright claims can range from dubious to flagrantly invalid.
 
 

OTT + SVOD

 
Mubi, the SVOD service geared toward indie and art house films, announced its intentions to invest in self-produced original content.  “It is the only way to get new content,” said Mubi founder Efe Cakarel at the APOS conference in Indonesia. “Because if we talk to our studio partners they cannot give us their new films quickly. They have output deals with pay-TV platforms worth hundreds of millions of dollars.” To bring those production plans to fruition, Cakarel said that the company will have to raise over $100 million in growth capital by 2017.
 
 

VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 

It’s understandable that some media companies would quickly transform into VR evangelists – but The New York Times? Next month, the company is set to mail out 300,000 Cardboard virtual reality viewers to subscribers of its digital edition. If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind they sent out one million last October. Also next month – May 19 to be exact – the Times will be releasing Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart, a new VR video. The Times’ big VR push comes as part of a broader effort to shore up the paper’s digital presence. That includes an upcoming $50 million investment in its international digital efforts.
 
 

CONTENT DEALS
 

More news out of APOS: Viacom International Media Networks Asia has struck a multi-year content deal with Chinese electronics and streaming services company LeEco, which operates one of China’s major online VOD platforms. Under the deal, LeEco will have exclusive broadcast rights for the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, marking the first time the U.S. show will air in China. The deal also gives LeEco exclusive OTT rights to select episodes of Nickelodeon TV series.

 

 

EARNINGS + REVENUE
 

It’s a good day to be Amazon. The company shattered Wall Street’s Q1 estimates, reporting revenue of $29.1 billion – an increase of 28%. Analysts had projected revenue of $27.9 billion. The company’s net income for Q1 was $513 million – up from a $57 million net loss in Q1 2015. Amazon cited Amazon Studios’ original programming and acquisitions as a prime driver in its Q1 success.

 
 
MOBILE APPS
 

If you’re an election junky, there’s a good chance you’re a data-junky as well. That’s why CNN has launched the CNN Politics mobile app. Available for iOS, the app features exclusive data-driven stories and visualizations related to the 2016 election, as well as election results and other breaking news. The app also tracks info such as polling, delegate, voting, and fundraising data. The app was built with CA Technologies’ API management and mobile analytics software.
 
A notable if subtle bit of strategic repositioning from Twitter: The company no longer lists itself under the “social networking” section of Apple’s App Store, now occupying the “news” section instead. The change comes immediately on the heels of underwhelming Q1 growth. It’s a small change, and perhaps there isn’t much to be read into it. On the other hand, it could also represent a recognition on Twitter’s part that it isn’t likely to beat Facebook at its own game of social connectivity. To many, Twitter’s functionality as a real-time news feed is its most useful feature, and some of Twitter’s recent initiatives – notably the curated Moments feature – would seem to acknowledge and reflect this fact.
 
 

EXECUTIVE MOVES
 

The digital media company Defy Media has named Chris Acquaviva as its new Chief Financial Officer.  Acquaviva is something of a heavyweight; he most recently served as CFO of Disney’s Marvel Entertainment. The hiring comes at an important moment for Defy, which has expanded its business over the past year or so. That includes the November 2015 launch of its ScreenJunkies Plus SVOD service, as well as content deals with companies such as Comcast, Sky TV, and Amazon Prime Video.
 
Condé Nast Entertainment
, Condé Nast’s digital media arm, has a new exec. Maria Valero will now serve as Vice President, Business Affairs. In the new role, Valero will oversee all business affairs and legal matters related to content production and distribution, and advertising relationships, and any other areas of CNE’s digital video operation. Joy Marcus, CNE’s EVP and General Manager of Digital Video, made the hire. Valero previously served as VP of Business Affairs and Content at the Amazon-owned company Audible.
 
DanceOn, the digital programming brand focused on music and dance, made two new hires. Karen Schuchardt will serve as Chief Revenue Officer, while Betty Tran will serve as Executive Vice President of Marketing. Schuchardt most recently served as VP of U.S. Video Sales at Disney ABC Television Group, while Tran most recently served as EVP of Marketing and Media at Insomniac Events.
 
 

TRIVIA
 

As mentioned up top, DreamWorks Animation owns a controlling share in the digital entertainment company AwesomenessTV. Two other companies each own a 24.5% stake in AwesomenessTV. What are the two companies? You can find the answer in tomorrow’s newsletter.

 

Yesterday’s Trivia Question: Verizon and Hearst recently teamed up to buy which male-oriented media company? Answer: Complex Media
 


A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE


CYNOPSIS WEBINAR: OUT-OF-HOME MARKETING

Programmers, TV marketers, and consumer-facing brands are always on the lookout for creative ways to engage with audiences beyond on-air promos. At the Cynopsis Out-of-Home Marketing webinar, you’ll learn how to craft cross-platform marketing campaigns that combine OOH and digital to drive awareness, tune-in, and social amplification.

Questions?  I  Register Now..


 
 

DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT
 

This is what major-brand video advertising looks like in the digital age. This summer, Pepsi will roll out new emoji-themed five-second thoughts, both on TV and in search-triggered digital media…And the company cre6ated a hundred of them. The agencies Motive and Quietman developed the ads, though the latter agency acted as the sole producer. You can check out some of the spots here. 

See you Monday,
David Teich
04.29.16

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

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