07/15/16: YouTube and Facebook plan live political convention coverage; Twitter to stream Pac-12 events; Evercore projects YOY drop in Q2 cord-cutting


Good morning. It’s Friday July 15, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Social VR: Social VR refers to a type of virtual reality app designed to create a shared VR space in which users can interact and participate in activities. The social VR startup Altspace VR is a good example; among other activities, the app allows users to play virtual Dungeons & Dragons together.



It can feel like an ideologically divided country at times, but at least live-streaming is bipartisan. YouTube announced that it will serve as the official live-stream partner for both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Google’s video platform will live-stream both conventions from start to finish. In addition, several YouTube creators, including The Young Turks, Complex News and Ingrid Nilsen, will cover the conventions, reporting to their followers using tools such as mobile live-streaming and Jump VR cameras. (Google’s Jump program, initially announced in May 2015, is an initiative geared toward designing and implementing increasingly sophisticated VR camera rigs and software; Jump content is generally playable on YouTube’s Android app.) The RNC will air the week of July 18, while the DNC will air the week of July 25. The former can be streamed here, and the latter can be streamed here.
Facebook is not to be outdone. The social media giant will set up a lounge at both the RNC and DNC convention halls, inviting 22 media organizations to use the spaces for live video broadcasts. (Media organization receiving invites include Fox News, CNN, and the New York Times.) In addition, C-SPAN will live-stream coverage via Facebook Live each night of the conventions. And Facebook will also encourage convention delegates to use its live-streaming tool.
’s push to include live sports content on its platform continues unabated. The company reached a deal with Pac-12 Networks to stream at least 150 sporting events and games during the 2016-2017 academic season. Twitter will also be the premier streaming partner for Pac-12 Plus, the online live events network of the Pac-12 college athletics conference. Note, though, that Twitter won’t hold the exclusive streaming rights; Pac-12.com, and Pac-12’s member universities, will still be able to stream the events. Twitter has been aggressively pursuing live sports and news content of late. Just this week it reached streaming partnerships with Bloomberg Media and CBS News. The company will also stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games this coming season, and recently streamed live content surrounding the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Reportedly, the company is pursuing live-streaming deals with several other major sports leagues.


Google’s programmatic video business is growing, and fast. The company says that programmatic buying on its DSP, DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), has grown at a month-over-month rate of 55% since September of last year. (That was when YouTube’s TrueView” pre-roll vide ads first became available programmatically.) According to a source who spoke with AdExchanger, YouTube buys represented a significant majority of the inventory that was transacted programmatically through DBM in Q1 of this year. But now that may change: Google says that outside media partners have begun putting video inventory up for programmatic buying through DBM.


It List Awards

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The most innovative + freshest thinkers in digital media who excel in:
Digital Content | Marketing | Advertising | Social Media | Online Content

Deadline to Enter: August 4, 2016 | Awards Event: November 4, 2016

Winners will be honored at the Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards.



The Chinese ad tech company Mobvista has acquired GameAnalytics, a Denmark-based behavioral analytics platform geared toward game developers. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. The acquisition is intended to provide game developers with an ad-tech platform to help drive revenue. It also bolsters Mobvista’s global reach.


The U.K.’s Channel 4 has greenlit a third and fourth season of Catastrophe, the popular comedy starring and written by Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan. As has been the case with seasons one and two, the two new seasons will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S. The third season is expected to debut on Amazon in 2017, and the fourth season is expected to premiere in 2018.
Awestruck, the AwesomenessTV brand geared toward moms, announced that it has renewed  Snooki & Jwoww: Moms with Attitude. The unscripted series, which stars the titular Jersey Shore alums, will debut its second season September 12. It will be available on Verizon’s Go90 service; weekly clips will also air on Awestruck’s YouTube channel.


Last year, Turner Entertainment Network’s ‘Conan Visits Taco Bell’ took home the gold for Best Branded Video. Who will win this year? Maybe you. Enter the Cynopsis Digital Awards to be considered. The deadline is August 4 – but don’t wait until the last minute to submit.


According to a projection from the investment advisory firm Evercore, cord-cutting will see a year-over-year drop in Q2 of 2016. During last year’s Q2, the pay-TV industry shed about 625,000 subs. This Q2, Evercore projects that the number was about 520,000 and that 261,000 of those were from cable. (It’s worth noting that Evercore thinks Sling TV, Dish’s Internet-based live TV service, added 129,000 subs, after adding 179,000 in Q1.)  Q2, traditionally, is the industry’s most negative quarter for customer trends. But if this forecast proves accurate, at least things will have improved a bit compared to last year.


The premium cable network Epix has hired Jonathan Dakss as Chief Digital Officer. Dakss, who formerly served as VP of NBCUniversal’s Media Labs, is tasked with overseeing Epix’s digital products and collaborations with business partners. Hopefully his tenure will prove superior to that of former Chief Digital Officer Emil Rensing, who was charged with stealing over $8 million from the network in an elaborate fraud scheme. Rensing was fired in August 2015, and arrested in April 2016.
Fullscreen Media, the digital media company owned by Otter Media (a joint venture between AT&T and The Chernin Group), has named Scott Reich as its new SVP of Programming. The hire comes at a particularly crucial time; Fullscreen Media launched a new SVOD service (simply called Fullscreen) in April, and the company is still building up its content library. Reich will oversee the development of both scripted and unscripted content, as well as content acquisitions, for the Fullscreen SVOD service and other platforms. Reich previously served as Head of Programming and Original Content at Vevo


Before creating the Amazon original series Transparent, Jill Soloway worked as a writer and co-executive producer on which mid-2000’s HBO series? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone.)

Our Last Trivia Question: Who wrote and performed the theme song for Netflix’s Orange is the New Black? Answer: The song, called You’ve Got Time, was written, composed and performed by Regina Spektor. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Heather Wagaman-Almo Pro AV/FL, Sarah Andelhamid-Initiative/NY, Jason Zelamsky-EPIX/NY, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment,Inc./CA, David Westberg/SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Mary Schwind-NBC Universal/ NY, Jenai Cato-Viacom/NY, and Alyssa Cohen-R&R Partners/NV






We all remember when pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger executed a successful water landing after a bird strike took out both of his plane’s engines. But if Clear Flight Solutions has its say, similar heroics will never be necessary in the future. The company, which builds unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., drones), specializes in bird control for aircraft. Specifically, Clear Field Solutions has built a drone that looks and flies like a bird of prey. The drone scares away other birds, making the air safe for airplanes. Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s YouTube page, take a look here.

See you on Monday,
David Teich

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

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