05/20/16: Snapchat works on curatorial algorithm; Google unveils VR initiatives; Charter CEO eyes streaming service integration


Good morning. It’s Friday May 20, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


First party data, second party data, and third party data: First party data is information compiled about visitors’ direct relationships with particular sites. Second party data, which is provided by digital media companies or by advertisers, refers to information previously aggregated from online and offline sources. And third party data refers to descriptive data than can be collected by outside vendors in order to create broad sets of data segments


Fresh off his company’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said that Charter is looking to integrate streaming services into its pay TV platforms. "Most consumers only understand broadband capacity from a video application perspective," he said at the MoffettNathanson conference. "Having these products makes your broadband more attractive, and having these products as quasi substitutes makes your programming cost not as aggressive and maybe even lower." Charter wouldn’t be the first company to pursue such an arrangement: Cablevision began offering Hulu service through its set-top boxes early last month. 
Snapchat is a developing a new algorithm that would fundamentally change the way users receive messages from brands and publishers, Digiday reports. Currently, users see messages from the accounts they follow in chronological order. According to Digiday’s sources, a new algorithm would curate content from publishers and brands. No word yet on when the changes would take effect.
The likes of Netflix and Amazon may soon come under increased regulatory restrictions in the European Union. According to the Financial Times, the EU’s European Commission is about to unveil a planned overhaul of its broadcasting rules, mandating that streaming sites devote “at least” 20% of their catalogues to European content. The Commission also looks set to propose local content investment quotas for streaming companies. Netflix didn’t take kindly. “Rigid numerical quotas risk suffocating the market for on-demand audiovisual media services,” the company wrote in its response to the European Commission.  “An obligation to carry content to meet a numerical quota may cause new players to struggle to achieve a sustainable business model.”


Tuesday, June 7 / NYC

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If you need any evidence that big data is becoming increasingly crucial to marketers, look no further than IBM’s new expansion of its Marketing Cloud services. At its annual Amplify summit, the company premiered new data-driven and predictive machine-learning tools, which learn about customers over time in order to help marketers to personalize advertising and marketing communications. (The tools are powered by Watson, the company’s cognitive supercomputer.) The company also announced that it’s beginning to merge its Weather Company assets into Watson. The goal, ultimately, is to help marketers use local weather forecasts to guide their marketing communications in specific areas and with specific customers.


A day after revealing specs for its upcoming ‘Daydream’ VR platform, Google dived deeper into virtual reality at its I/O developer conference. Jump, the company’s software platform for shooting and stitching VR footage, has partnered with IMAX and China’s Yi Technology. Google will team with both companies to build 360-degree video cameras that can directly upload content to Jump’s VR editing platform. No word yet on when the cameras will be available.
Speaking of the Daydream platform (which will consist of a high-powered smartphone, a new version of Android temporarily dubbed Android N, and new VR headset with a handheld remote): Google already has big plans. In a new blog post, YouTube announced that it will be launching a VR-centric app for Daydream-compatible phones. As part of the new initiative, the company said that it would work with creators such as BuzzFeed and the NBA to develop VR content. In addition, YouTube will launch efforts to let its creators work in VR. To start, the company will bring its Jump VR camera program to its New York and Los Angeles YouTube Spaces. And at the I/O conference, YouTube Creators Director Jamie Byrne confirmed that advertising will figure into Google’s VR monetization strategy. “Ads are going be an important part of the VR monetization landscape,” he said, pointing out that BMW and other advertisers have already tried out 360-degree videos on YouTube.
One last note on the Daydream platform: On Wednesday, Google announced that it would make specs for the Daydream headset and remote available to developers. Many took that to mean that the company wouldn’t be manufacturing hardware of its own (the same model it followed with the Cardboard). But that turned out to be wrong. Yesterday during a special session, VP of Virtual Reality Clay Bavor said that Google will indeed build its own Daydream controller and headset.


also announced plans to bring the Google Play Store to its Chromebook computers. "Developers can start to optimize their app for the Chromebook form factor in advance of launch later in 2016," the company wrote in a blog post. After launch, Chromebooks will be able to run most Android apps.


Curious World, a multimedia startup geared toward kids aged 2-7, has launched its multimedia platform for the next gen Apple TV. The platform features e-books, videos, and games.
Oznoz, a media platform targeting a multilingual child audience, announced that it has partnered with the children’s tablet maker Kurio. Under the partnership, Kurio will make the Oznoz app available on its tablets. Oznoz’s content includes shows, movies, and books. The app will debut on Kurio tablets later this year.


Nowave, an upcoming SVOD platform centered on arthouse content, is set to launch in France and the U.K. next month. The service will launch a new selection of curated themes each month, with each new slate centered around a specific theme. The service was founded by producer and distributor Berengere Dastarac-Waked.


Alki David’s FOTV Media Networks, the Internet-video conglomerate made up of FlmOn TV Networks, CinemaNow, and Hologram FOTV Productions, has acquired OVGuide. Founded in 2007, OVGuide provides a large directory of online video content, allowing users to discover videos through search and browsing. The OVGuide property will now be merged into FilmOn TV Networks (FOTV’s Internet TV provider), as well as CinemaNow, FOTV’s TV digital download service.


Amazon has acquired Fleabag, a new half-hour comedy starring and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (ITV’s Broadchurch). Described as a “poignant window into the mind of a dry-witted, sexual, angry, grief-riddled woman…as she hurls herself at modern living in London,” the six-episode series will debut on Prime Video in the U.S. this fall.



For its Q2 survey exploring online video-watching habits (conducted in March using over 1,100 U.S. respondents between ages 18 and 65), the video-creation platform Wibbitz found that 55% of viewers who report frequent video use are watching on smartphones. The study also found that 65% of frequent video viewers are more likely to watch an entire video ad on mobile than on desktop, and that 56% of less frequent video viewers are more likely to watch a full video ad if it’s on desktop. There’s a lot more info to be found in the study. It’s called Personalized, Silent, and Mobile: The Video Advertising Trifecta. You can find it here.
In its Mobile Insights report for Q1, the mobile advertising company Opera Mediaworks finds that gaming and broad-based entertainment apps (i.e., categories such as news, arts, and music) are where mobile app users spend the largest amounts of time. The company found that Games is the top category for ad impressions: Apps in the Games category have long average session times, and ads in the category convert at a higher rate than any other category. Meanwhile, OM found that Music, Video & Media – as measured by clickthrough rate – is the number one category for engagement, followed by Travel and Lifestyle. And looking at the difference between mobile app use and mobile web use, the company found that, while the volume of impressions is comparable on both, apps generate more than twice the engagement and 13.5 times the revenue. OM’s data was based on aggregated information from its mobile ad platform and mobile ad exchange servers. You can read the full report here.


Supergravity, a producer and distributor of content starring digital celebs, has formed Red Sun Entertainment, a new talent management firm focused on digitally-native creators. The firm will be helmed by talent management vet Evan Weiss, alongside Supergravity co-founders Max Benator and Marc Hustvedt. Weiss is joining Red Sun Entertainment from Studio71, where he previously served as served as EVP and Head of Talent


CollegeHumor and Vimeo are owned by the same parent company as Match.com and OkCupid. Which company is it? You can find the answer in tomorrow’s newsletter.


Yesterday’s Trivia Question: Conan O’Brien recently made a guest appearance on the Korean drama One More Happy Ending. The series then made its Western debut on what streaming service? Answer: DramaFever


Are You Already Behind the Curve?

Live video is busting out of the gate. If you’re not thinking about how your business can leverage live platforms, you’re already behind the curve. Before you jump in, join Cynopsis Digital on June 6 for the latest webinar “Live Video Webinar Live From… Everywhere: Maximizing and Monetizing the Live Video Landscape” and arm yourself to make the most prudent decisions to maximize and monetize live streaming platforms.

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The IAB is out with a video overview of the VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) 4.0, as well as its updated Digital Video Ad Format Guidelines. You can check the video out here.

See you Monday,
David Teich

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

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