05/21/15: Spotify unveils video platform; PBS Digital content headed to Xfinity On Demand; Wibbitz raises $8M in Series B funding round


Good morning. It’s Thursday May 21, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Music streaming service Spotify has been busy. On the heels of its recent deal with Starbucks, Spotify unveiled a new platform that includes video, podcast and interactive features. The service struck video deals with Turner Broadcasting, Walt Disney Co., Maker Studios, Vice Media, multi-platform network Rightster and others, and is diving into original programming with A Full English, featuring artists and other personalities who search for common ground over breakfast. The new interface will also offer its 60 million users content recommendations based taste and mood, and a running service that adapts to a listener’s speed.


PBS and Comcast joined forces in a new contract that will double the amount of PBS programming available via Xfinity On Demand. Recently-aired episodes from more than 50 PBS series will be featured on Xfinity On Demand, including installments from American Experience, American Masters, Antiques Roadshow, Call The Midwife, Frontline, Nova, Downton Abbey, Wolf Hall, Mr. Selfridge, Grantchester and Poldark. “Offering an enhanced selection of PBS programming on highly engaged platforms like Xfinity On Demand is a great way to help grow our audience, introduce new viewers to our programming and offer new promotional opportunities,” said Ira Rubenstein, Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS Digital.
In more Comcast news… Xfinity TV customers can now use their Amazon Fire TV devices to access HBO Go and Showtime Anytime. The Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick join Roku, AppleTV, Xbox One and Google Chromecast devices that allow subscribers to download the network’s app, sign in with Xfinity TV credentials, and watch the channel’s shows and movies. 
Streaming media platform Ownzones added video game reviews and gaming culture programming from GINX TV to its channel line up. GINX is known for its original shows, including Gamesport and The Essentials and Games Evolved. For 99 cents/month, the channel’s subscribers can access to the latest trends and developments in the gaming world.
VH1 is getting its emoji on. The network launched a new keyboard to shine the spotlight on fans’ favorite VH1 shows and celebs, allowing users to send friends a wink or side-eye from Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s Momma Dee, Stevie J and K.Michelle; Mob WivesBig Ang; or Candidly Nicole’s Nicole Richie. The keyboard includes more than 30 VH1 emojis, stickers and GIFs from VH1 shows.



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Programmatic, meet transparency. Ad tech and programmatic platform Collective launched VISTO, a self-serve interface that the company says eliminates the need for multiple user interface with a unified data and reporting system. Collective also announced a partnership with agency Allscope Media which gives Allscope access to Collective’s programmatic tech, including VISTO, enabling the company to scale campaigns for its clients across multiple channels.
Moat and RhythmOne have partnered to create a mobile in-app viewability solution. Brand advertisers who already use Moat Mobile Analytics will be able to review and optimize performance of their RhythmOne in stream mobile video ad campaigns by in-view impressions, viewable exposure time, video audibility, interactions and interaction time, as well as other standard industry metrics.
DoubleVerify’s pre-bid digital targeting solutions, DV Pre-Bid IQ, are now integrated for advertisers using the Turn digital marketing hub. “Through this integration with DoubleVerify, our clients will access MRC-accredited media authentication tools directly in the Turn platform, ultimately curating their optimal media delivery environment and driving better performance,” said Mark Balabanian, VP of business and corporate development at Turn.
Dubsat, a global provider of management and fulfillment for advertising, selected Yangaroo to extend their video delivery network. “Through a single browser interface, Dubsat’s customers, both local and abroad, may now seamlessly access Yangaroo’s wide-ranging network of radio and television destinations in the U.S. and Canada,” said Grant Schuetrumpf, CEO, Dubsat. “This service interoperability directly increases customer value as we extend our solution capability and offering in the North American market.”


Wibbitz, the text-to-video startup for publishers, raised $8 million in a Series B funding to expand into the U.S. market. NantMobile, founded by entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong and a part of the NantWorks network, led the financing round. Existing investors, such as Horizon Ventures, lool ventures, Initial Capital and Kima Ventures also participated. CEO Zohar Dayan told Cynopsis, “Wibbitz has seen success abroad, and we’re excited to be able to bring our product to U.S. publishers as they build out their digital media strategies. We’re proud to have created a technology that evens the playing field for midsize publishers and empowers them to produce content on a scale that is ordinarily contingent on big budgets. Automated news is a fast, affordable, and scalable solution for publishers to meet consumer demand.”


OpenSlate Engagement Data for the Comedy vertical, based on the engagement metric for the week ending 5/19.
Channel/(Engagement)/Monthly Views/Total Subs/SlateScore
elrubiusOMG (9.8) /
102896520 / 11459284 / 828
jacksfilms (9.8) /
29324760 / 1818613 / 808
rhettandlink2 (9.7) /
100238070 / 6834700 / 811
JimmyKimmelLive (9.5) /
100037490 / 5879426 / 831
latenight (9.3) /
176556990 / 7291989 / 812
comedycentral (9.2) /
78034530 / 4045688 / 804
0214mex (9.2) /
75165690 / 1603328 / 666
mirandasings08 (9.2) /
32391720 / 3977867 / 776
enchufetv (9.1) /
98842110 / 8524953 / 786
collegehumor (9.1) /
81297420 / 9596967 / 808
Source: The Engagement metric is one of OpenSlate’s component scores, and is a measure of a producer’s ability to evoke meaningful interaction with their audience. It is calculated on a scale of 1-10 with higher being better. The OpenSlate Engagement score uses a subset of the data incorporated in the SlateScore to perform a set of unique calculations. It factors in views, comments, likes, and more.


Frank Kavilanz joined Turner Broadcasting as Vice President of Social and Mobile. He previously was the General Manager of Partnerships and Revenue at Bedrocket Media Ventures, where he helped to launch the recent joint venture with the PGA Tour (Skratch TV).

David Katz, formerly of Starz, joined CBS Interactive yesterday. He will serve as Vice President, Content and Business Development, Advanced Media at CBSi. Katz was most recently the Vice President Of Digital Media for Starz.


Do you or a loved one suffer from selfie stick abuse? Pizza Hut encourages selfie-takers to selfie responsibly in its new video spot. The pizza chain warns that the extended single-limbed tripod will obscure the traditional shot with other people and surrounding objects (sound familiar?). Check out the spot created by Shareability, at www.cynopsis.com/#video.

See you tomorrow,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese

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

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JOB OPENING: SR RESEARCH ANALYST/GSN NY: 2 yrs exp in Media (TV, Digital, Social, CBL) Knowledge/Skill in (Nielsen NPower, Nielsen AdViews, comScore, Rentrak, Wide Orbit, Custom Show & Simmons) Microsoft Suite (Word, PowerPoint & Excel) Detail Oriented. Send res and CL to [email protected] (5/27)

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