05/06/15: Discovery adds adventurer Louis Cole; Bill Nye gets into emojis; Comcast lets users stream to their TVs



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Good morning. It’s Wednesday May 6, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Discovery Digital Networks nabbed YouTube adventurer Louis Cole to take its users on exploits of all sorts, it was announced at Discovery’s NewFront yesterday. Cole’s FunforLouis content will join Discovery’s Seeker Network and later this year the brand will launch Flying the Globe with the man who has 1.3 million YouTube subscribers as he travels via small aircraft to 22 cities around the world. Discovery also introduced new platform TLCme, described as “an extensive online destination featuring real-life stories full of heart, laughter and inspiration.” Content will come from a variety of contributors, including Stacy London, the host of Discovery-owned TLC’s Love, Lust or Run.
Collective Digital Studio, which boasts more than 1.5 billion monthly views (with 70% of their viewers between 18-34), has hooked up with Insomniac Events to get into electronic dance music (EDM), the company revealed at its NewFront yesterday. CDS will create content for Insomniac websites and festivals, including Electric Daisy Carnival. Also coming down the pike is a new dish from Epic Meal Time: Epic Tool Time, a series focused on the creation of extreme gadgets (some of which may be encased in bacon). Good Mythical Morning’s Rhett & Link will launch series ReThink, which will allow the duo to share their take with such cultural curiosities as graduation gowns, piñatas, and Easter egg hunts. Charlie Todd and his Improv Everywhere team will build a fake office to serve as a hidden camera playground where the team will surprise unsuspecting workers with the weirdest, most fun day on the job they’ve ever had in Fake Company Incorporated. Finally, CDS introduced CDS Connect, a new solution that marries custom ad units starring top influencers with the re-targeting capabilities of AdWords.

Defy Media took the stage Monday night for its NewFronts presentation and made sure to emphasize its top program, Smosh. The title, which has more than 20 million subscribers on YouTube, will become a feature film, released this summer. “The Smosh Movie” will feature other YouTube celebs including Jenna Marbles and Grace Helbig. Defy will also produce 30 new series this year and plans to build up its relationships with advertisers in order to be able to pitch directly as series develop. Programs introduced include Every [Blank] Ever, a scripted format that covers things millennials care about, featuring four new Smosh cast members; Made Man’s Gentleman Up, a how-to series hosted by Rob Riggle; Speakeasy, a celebrity interview series with Paul F. Tompkins; and Mantervention, which follows a host and subject-matter expert as they stage an intervention for a fella whose friends have found fault with him. Last year, the company claims that it collected 500 million views per month on all content that was produced in-house. Defy has more than 52 million YouTube subscribers and.2 billion visitors to its non-YouTube content last year.
National Geographic showed off its Instagram account at its NewFronts event Monday. And why not? It’s the only brand in the top 20 most-followed accounts that isn’t a celebrity. The account boasts more than 17 million followers, 75 percent of whom are millennials. The brand is also keeping busy with a number of video projects, including Your Doc, a user-generated video community that mashes up Nat Geo producers with viewers to encourage storytelling and engagement; In a Weekend, in which pals band together to finish an incredible adventure in one weekend; and Take It Outside, in which five photographers in five locations take images and combine them into one social-media campaign. NatGeo has quadrupled its short-form video production.


Bill Nye the Science Guy has a new web series backed by General Electric. Nye’s five-episode Emoji Science will air on the website of the same name and have the backing of the National Science Foundation and The National Science Teachers Association. New episodes will roll out this summer along with downloadable teaching materials for educators.
Hulu has reached agreements to offer its subscription streaming service to five multichannel video programming distributors including Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications, and WideOpenWest (WOW!). Last week, it made a similar deal with Cablevision.
comScore, Inc. has acquired analytics company Proximic, which focuses on bringing transparency to digital advertising  for both buyers and sellers.
TiVo has broadened its current agreement with Universal Electronics Inc., which currently provides TiVo remotes in European markets. The new deal will see UEG providing remotes in Canada and the United States. Other providers already in that space include Mediacom, RCN, Suddenlink and others.
Zype, a cloud platform for video publishing and distribution, has announced its new Distribution Connection network, with VHX as its first partner.


AOL Networks chairman/CEO Tim Armstrong offered several predictions about the video programming business, noting, “The value of content is going to skyrocket, which is the opposite of what most people are thinking.” He also said, “advertising is going to get really expensive,” telling the general session crowd that AOL ad prices have increased double-digits over last three years. “The consumer is going to end up getting a big win out of this because all the companies are trying to get down to the Rule of 7.” Who’s in trouble as the industry evolves? “Any company that doesn’t see change as a weapon for the future,” he said. “If you’re not willing to put your content on the Internet and mobile, you’re playing with fire.”
Skinny bundle, anyone? Chernin Group head Peter Chernin offered his two cents, noting, “What you’re seeing is a tremendous distribution explosion. I’m not convinced you’re going to see the collapse of the bundle; that’s been widely overstated. We’re seeing an explosion of new alternatives [such as] Netflix and YouTube that will ultimately force the bundle to justify itself and that’s honestly not the worst thing in the world.”



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A new study commissioned by ad technology company Canoe and conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates shows that ads viewed in a network’s cable free video on demand (VOD) programming in the Day 4+ window have a stronger lift on brand metrics than those viewed in general TV advertising, which includes viewing on live programming, DVR, and VOD anytime. Specifically, the study found that ads viewed in free VOD programming between the 4th and 7th day after the live airing outperformed general advertising on brand opinion by 14%, intent to recommend by 37%, and intent to purchase by 3%.


Apple is revising its minimalist remote for its Apple TV for the first time. The new remote that will be on the market this summer will have a touchpad, the New York Times reports. There will also be two physical buttons on the remote as well. The current version has three buttons. This will be the first change to the remote since Apple TV was launched in 2007.
Vu Digital aims to help customers figure out what is actually in each video they see. The company’s product actually breaks down videos frame-by-frame to identify all of the objects, the music, dialogue, faces, logos, graphics, and text. It remains to be seen how the data will be used but one plus for brand marketers is that it can track just long and how prominently a product appears in a video.


Comcast users will be able to live stream video from their mobile phones to the TV of another Comcast customer. This is possible through the company’s new app, Xfinity Share, built for Comcast customers to be able to document such moments as birthday parties, weddings, or vacation moments with those who can’t be in attendance.
Google has acquired Timeful, an app that launched last year that uses artificial intelligence to help people mange their time better. It will now be integrated into Google’s existing products.



Surviving Disruption: The Latest Strategies for Monetizing OTT

Thursday May 28, 2015  I  1:303:00 PM ET

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Speakers from:
Hulu  |  SeaChange International  |  Frank N. Magid Associates



Qantas Airlines has gotten into the video-marketing game with a new web series featuring comedians talking about what they put in their carry-on bags. They will air across the airline’s social-media channels. www.cynopsis.com/#video.

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