07/20/15: Hulu considering ad-free option; DEFY Media lands digital-first game show development deal; Taryn Southern to launch Moxy Hotels YouTube channel with new series


Good morning. It’s Monday July 20, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for July 20-26:
People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include YouTube stars Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla (Smosh: The Movie), Nick Lachey (Lachey’s Bar), singer Kelsea Ballerini, The Bachelorette’s Kaitlyn Bristowe, Cara Delevigne (Paper Towns), George Hamilton, Kim Stewart and Alana Stewart of Hamiltons and Stewarts and Michelle Monaghan (Pixels).
Great American Stories on CNN Digital: New episodes out every Wednesday through September on CNN.com and the mobile app.
Making Room on Scripps NetworksUlive: Premiering on July 22, available at ulive.com/making-room.


Hulu subscribers may soon have an ad-free option, but it will cost them. Currently, users pay $7.99 for the streaming service’s premium version, which includes commercials. According to the Wall Street journal, an ad-free tier could launch this fall for $12-$14/month. Hulu has about nine million paid subscribers, versus ad-free Netflix’s 65 million worldwide.
DEFY Media
landed a digital-first deal with Emmy-winning game show creator and producer Andrew Golder (Win Ben Stein’s Money), to develop a slate of game shows for the network. The pact includes at least four game show concepts over the coming year for DEFY’s millennial audience; DEFY will also work with Golder via Generate’s television production and management arm.
Google beat expectations in its Q2 earnings call last week, with net revenue (excluding payments to advertising partners) of $14.35 billion, and $6.99 earnings per share. Wall Street had predicted $6.70 a share and $14.26 billion in revenue. Mobile view time on YouTube doubled year-over-year and cost-per-click pricing is lower than normal on YT’s TrueView ads, Google’s Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat told the Wall Street Journal after the earnings call.



For the farewell season of American Idol, digital music talent platform StarMaker and the competition series have paired up to release a video audition app. Users download the free StarMaker app, choose a song from the library and use their mobile device’s front-facing camera to create a music video of their performance.


20th Century FOX, Atlantic Records and YouTube Space LA hosted the live #GetLostGetFound event for feature film Paper Towns on Friday. The event included a Q+A with YouTuber and best selling author John Green as well as cast members Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne. Among the true confessions: Wolff got his driver’s license (“I passed by like two points”) just days before filming for the road trip movie started.


are open to all individuals and teams worldwide with popular categories including:

Multiplatform Marketing Campaign: Cable TV  I  Best Host in a Web Series or Channel  I  Best New Web Series  I  TV Everywhere App  I  Social TV Service  I  Branded Web Video  I  Branded Integration in a Web Series  I  Social Media Campaign For Cable TV  I  Digital Video Technology Platform


Questions? Contact Sarah Martinez.


YouTube celeb Taryn Southern is helping launch a YT channel for Marriott’s new Millennial-targeting (“It’s just like home, but with a bartender”) Moxy Hotels brand with eight part web series Between the Sheets. Southern will interview fellow influencers in a prototype of the Moxy bedroom, and play games involving items like overnight bags and minibar goodies in the series produced but Marriott international’s Content Studio.


Tubular Labs released the June rankings of Online Video Creators and Brands, with measurement across desktop, tablet and mobile, and YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, and Twitter.
– Last month, Buzzfeed Video again landed the top spot with 835 million total video views. Buzzfeed’s additional properties, such as Buzzfeed Food, Buzzfeed Community and Buzzfeed BFF contributed an additional 776M cross-platform video views, for a total of 1.6B views in June. BF Video also took the top spot in Facebook views (473 million).
– The NBA played well on Instagram, scoring the top spot with 103 million views, and 1.1 million new followers.
LeLe Pons was the top Viner last month, with 390 million views and 342K new followers.
– The Taylor Swift Vevo channel was the top YouTube creator last month, at 424 million views and 747K new subscribers.


Cynopsis quizzed Disney’s Maker Studio’s Chief Strategy Officer Courtney Holt about the media company’s recent deal to acquire start-up Instafluence, which connects social influencers with advertisers. Instafluence reports 10,000 sponsored posts with more than 150 million engagements for brands, including PacSun, Crossmedia and VH1.
What led Maker Studios to buy Instafluence?
We’ve always valued social influencers, and although YouTube is still our core business with 55,000 creators exclusive for us on YouTube, we are looking ahead at the evolution of talent and publishing platforms. Influencers are using Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to tell a different type of story or to extend their brand. We wanted to make sure we provided the full suite of opportunities to our talent, and Instafluence gave us an expertise in these platforms that complements what we do.
What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to connecting influencers with brands?
It was very complicated at first to explain to a brand why YouTube is important. Another challenge is that brands look at each platform in a different way. When you look at Facebook and Twitter as social platforms, YouTube as a content platform and SnapChat and Instagram as something else, the brand is doing three different strategies. They are doing a disservice to themselves. These are really all content platforms, and you have to think about it that way with strategy and the influencers involved.
What do you think is next for multi-channel networks in the digital marketplace?
You will see more attention to online video, and hyper growth on all content platforms. Google’s earning’s call showed just how much YouTube is constantly growing. There will also be a lot more venture capital in the space. Our acquisition of Instafluence is how we are making an acquisition for the future.


AwesomenessTV hired Paula Kaplan as the Head of Talent and Live Content. Prior to joining AwesomenessTV, Kaplan served as a consultant for digital brands and film companies, working on the CBS Films’ 2015 release of The Duff.
Instagram appointed former Lucky magazine editor Eva Chen as its new Head of Fashion Partnerships. Chen tallied nearly 400K followers on Instagram prior to landing her new role.
Kre8 Media
, a DRTV, digital media, and brand advertising agency, promoted Eureka Vanterpool to Senior Vice President, Operations.


Judging is in, and we have announced the finalist for the
Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards

The complete list of finalists can be found here. They include: 7ate9 Entertainment, Amazon Studios, Cartoon Network, Cupcake Digital, Disney, DreamWorks Animation, Food Network, JetBlue, Litton Entertainment, National Geographic Kids, Nickelodeon, PBS KIDS, Random House, Saban Brands, Steve Rotfeld Productions, The Jim Henson Company, Thirteen/WNET, Time Inc. and more.




How much do view counts on video really matter? To make the point that the number can be irrelevant, ad agency Solve Ideas conducted a blank video pre-roll experiment. The agency has only one subscriber, but spent $1,400 to buy 200K+ impressions. Yet, more than 100K viewers still watched past the 30-second mark to count as a view on the vid. Time to rethink strategy? Check it out 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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