08/10/20: Cynopsis Media Tech Update

 

Medias First Morning Read
Monday August 10, 2020

Twitter has reportedly had preliminary talks with TikTok about a deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. The news comes after President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting TikTok from operating in the US after September 15 if US operations in the companies are not sold. The order says data from video app TikTok “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information – potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

Responded TikTok, “We are shocked by the recent executive order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed.” Instead, said the company, the administration “paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.” Microsoft had already been in discussions with ByteDance about a deal for its operations in the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand and is considered the front-runner.

Twitter is introducing new labels for accounts and tweets tied to state-affiliated media and government officials, “to provide people with context so they can make informed decisions about what they see.” Personal accounts of heads of state will not be labeled “at this time,” said a Twitter blog post, because “these accounts enjoy widespread name recognition, media attention, and public awareness. Institutional accounts associated with their offices that changeover depending on election results will be labeled, however.”

Facebook is allowing employees to continue to voluntarily work from home until July 2021, “based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions,” Employees will get an additional $1000 to spend on “home office needs.” Last month, Google said employees to work from home until the end of June 2021.

The newest Firefox release will block an advanced tracking technique called redirect tracking. Enhanced Tracking Protection 2.0 clears cookies and site data from tracking sites every 24 hours, with the exception of those users regularly interact with. “Tracking poses a threat to society, user safety and the autonomy of individuals,” wrote Mozilla’s Steven Englehardt in the company’s security blog.

Spectrum Networks launched the Spectrum News App, a local news app that combines reporting from existing newsrooms and weather teams, original content, and curated content from partner news organizations. The app also showcases the linear feeds of all Spectrum News networks. “Internet and mobile customers are the fastest growing segments of Spectrum’s customer base, and our viewers are consuming news online more now than ever before,” said Mike Bair, EVP, Spectrum Networks. “The Spectrum News App is the first content product available to all 28 million residential Spectrum customers, adding significant value to our existing local services, but particularly our internet-only customers who could not previously access our news reporting.”

Illegal piracy subscription services in the United States have grown into a billion-dollar industry, according to an report from Digital Citizens Alliance and NAGRA. The “Money for Nothing” report outlines an elaborate ecosystem:
* An estimated 9 million fixed broadband subscribers in the US use a pirate subscription IPTV service. They get these services from at least 3,500 US-facing storefront websites, social media pages, and stores within online marketplaces that sell services.
* The overall piracy industry is in fact much larger when the sale of pirate streaming devices used to receive the content and ad-financed piracy are included.
* Because the providers of these services pay nothing for the programming that makes up their core product, they operate with estimated profit margins that range from 56% (“Retailers”) to 85% (“Wholesalers”).
* The ecosystem also depends upon legitimate players, including hosting services, payment processors, and social media. The extent to which these legitimate players are aware of their role is a subject of debate.“
* When it comes to piracy, the scope of the risk to consumers, small businesses and others is in direct proportion to the size of the industry, which is why we need to stop the reach and depth of this ecosystem before it grows even bigger,” said Digital Citizens Alliance Executive Director Tom Galvin. “
This report underscores how outdated laws and a lack of focus and enforcement has let thieves, hackers, and scammers create a major criminal enterprise.”

Massively.ai is launching a product built off its Conversational Marketing platform – MAT by Massively, which aims to empower businesses to build and deploy custom AI Chatbot solutions without coding. The new product launches with a bot-development toolkit, and is accessible for anyone, including those with no programming experience.“Since 2014, we have continuously broken new ground enabling businesses to have meaningful conversations with their customers,” said Russell Ward, CEO of Massively. “Messaging is now an essential medium for meaningful personal relationships between brands and individuals.” For more advanced users, MAT by Massively allows businesses to integrate external data sources that can deliver dynamic, customized, up-to-date answers on topics such as inventory availability or order status, as well as store preferences and response data for enhanced conversations.

The Weather Channel debuted two new immersive mixed reality segments, as they integrate the technology into more on-air programming. Timed to NASA’s Perseverance Rover launch, the “Mission to Mars” IMR segment provided a hyper-realistic depiction of the rover vehicle, its functions, and the data it will collect on the red planet. In “Scorching Car Scale,” IMR helped demonstrate the dangers of hot cars and how temperatures drastically rise in a short amount of time to hopefully curb the amount of hot car deaths this Summer. The network is continuing to include new IMR elements into its daily broadcasts heading into the peak of hurricane season.

Wideband hybrid fiber wireless internet service provider Starry announced its “Fresh Start” debt forgiveness program, for subscribers who were unable to pay their broadband subscription fee due to the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis. The Fresh Start program erases debt owed to Starry through July 31, 2020; eligible subscribers start with a zero dollar balance beginning August 1.

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ADVERTISING

ViacomCBS announced the planned launch of ViacomCBS EyeQ, a new connected video advertising platform that will serve as a single transactional point of entry for digital video content from ViacomCBS’ portfolio networks, with enhanced capabilities to deliver incremental reach. “The launch of EyeQ marks the arrival of one of the biggest premium video platforms in digital media,” said John Halley, COO of Advertising Revenue at ViacomCBS. “In unifying the operating backend and go-to-market of three large pre-existing players – CBS Interactive, Pluto TV, and Viacom Video – we have consolidated a massive audience footprint that will deliver quality, scale, and capabilities that cannot be matched.”

The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media, made up of industry organizations including the ANA, 4A’s, IAB, along with advertisers and agencies, has been created to “advance and protect” ad companies’ ability to serve personalized digital ads and collect data used for analytics, in a way that safeguards privacy and improves the consumer experience. The group will approach browser and platform developers about reconsidering decisions to limit tracking that could have a major impact on the advertising ecosystem, like Google’s plan to configure the Chrome browser to block cookies set by third parties, and Apple’s upcoming new operating system, which will allow consumers to prohibit tracking by an app.

RMT and Semasio announced a strategic partnership to bring targetable audiences based on motivational understanding of 276 million Americans to DSPs, as well as to LiveRamp’s Data Marketplace. The partnership will allow advertisers and agencies to choose from among 15 RMT Motivations, which are a summary view of 265 psychological traits or states, for campaigns so that they can better understand their audiences and adjust according to their needs.

Ad technology provider Centro announced transparency requirements that bridge the relationship between programmatic marketers and publishers. Now, advertising exchanges and advertising networks that want ad spend from Centro will need to implement sellers.json and SupplyChain Object. Centro will block ad intermediaries that do not comply. Centro is also setting a “two-hop” limit, whereby its demand side platform will accept an impression only when an exchange works with a publisher directly, or when an exchange works with an ad monetization intermediary that works with the publisher directly. “Centro’s supply path optimization strategy focuses on minimizing the number of partners it takes to deliver an ad to a publisher and reducing the duplicative efforts of advertisers,” said Ian Trider, director of RTB operations, Centro. “By operationalizing our new requirements in parallel with our ongoing enforcement of ads.txt and app-ads.txt, Centro’s actions clean, shorten and streamline the programmatic ad ecosystem’s supply chain.”

Survata, the intelligence platform for brand campaigns, announced the launch of an enhanced suite of CTV measurement capabilities, including a new Targeting Verification technology and expanded scale of the Survata Digital Network. Targeting Verification confirms the percentage of a campaign that truly reaches a specific behavioral and/or demographic segment across CTV, linear and digital video channels. “CTV is now in the position digital was in ten years ago. Marketers are turning to it with increasing frequency, and they’re asking for proof that their investments are paying off,” said Survata CEO Chris Kelly. “They are tired of flying blind, so are demanding proof their CTV ads reached the right people and drove those people down the brand funnel. And they want this measurement on all CTV campaigns, not just their largest ones.”

In a new report, “Tracking Metrics,” FreeWheel looked at metrics that can help buy and sell sides understand inventory. Four sets of metrics were identified to help manage revenue, improve the viewer experience and deliver the most value to advertisers. Key takeaways include:
* The most sophisticated publishers in the video industry don’t just monitor a small set of metrics, they’ve built full dashboards customized to how they run their business, looking out for viewers, advertisers, and their own revenue.
* Publishers commonly look at “fill rate” to see how well they are monetizing their inventory, but with video commercial breaks, the added dimension of time means that a “fill rate” can look different depending on how you calculate it.
* Digital video viewers want to see relevant ads with minimal repetition, but many systems need to work together correctly to ensure that happens.
“Through our work with some of the largest video publishers, we found a nuanced set of metrics that help them identify risks to their revenue, viewer experience and advertisers that are unique in long-form video,” said David Dworin, Head of Global Advisory Services, FreeWheel.

Sixty-eight percent of digital ad spend in 2020 is expected to be programmatic, according to the IAB International Report on Programmatic In-Housing. With programmatic ad spend in the US set to hit $91 billion by 2021, and third-party cookies vanishing, nearly two-thirds of all U.S. brands have insourced some or all programmatic advertising, said the report. Almost a fifth of brands have completely moved programmatic advertising in-house in 2019, and 51% are taking a hybrid approach, shifting some functions in-house while letting partners handle others – an increase of 4% year-over-year.

Mediaocean has expanded its European operations with the acquisition of Symsys, the Dutch media management software provider. The deal expands Mediaocean’s global presence and will integrate media planning and digital media buy management to its existing production, creative, and bill-pay applications in the Dutch market. “The acquisition of Symsys is another key step in Mediaocean’s continued expansion in Europe and worldwide, servicing global marketers, agencies, sellers and the wider advertising community.” said Bill Wise, CEO, Mediaocean. “Incorporating the Symsys team and platform will helps Mediaocean deliver our modern system of record for omnichannel advertising across geographies.”

Live Board, a joint venture between NTT Docomo and Dentsu, has joined out-of-home marketing organization DPAA. Headquartered in Tokyo, Live Board is the first DOOH network in Japan to offer impression-based, programmatic sales. They’re building an ad network of DOOH screens in locations with heavy foot traffic.

DIRECT TO CONSUMER

Discovery Inc. will share details on a new direct-to-consumer offering in the very near future, said CEO David Zaslav in an earnings call. Describing the product as “a new SUV,” Zaslav said, “We’ve got a lane. It’s almost like that lane is ours.”

ViacomCBS Networks International is launching a premium streaming service internationally, aimed at all ages and “competitively priced.” The new SVOD service will offer exclusive premieres of new Showtime series and CBS All Access originals, along with movies from Paramount Pictures and premieres and box sets from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network, and originals from ViacomCBS International Studios in some markets. Rollout is slated to begin in early 2021.

TEGNA’s. True Crime Network has launched on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, via mobile and table apps on iOS and Android operating systems, with Roku coming later this month. “The app is free, setting it apart from other true crime OTT streaming apps that require a subscription fee or cable login,” said Brian Weiss, President and GM of True Crime Network. “The True Crime Network app is an unbeatable bingeworthy option for true crime fans, and further sets TEGNA apart as an innovator in the OTT space.”

MAVTV Motorsports Network’s new, free streaming channel, MAVTV Select, has been added to Plex. The channel broadcasts motorsports and auto racing events.

Amazon Prime Video reported the highest growth in new subscriptions in second quarter 2020, according to Kantar’s latest Entertainment on Demand reports. Prime Video subs accounted for 23A% of SVOD subscriptions, up from 14% last quarter. HBO Max snatched one in ten new SVOD subscriptions, with 33% of respondents saying content was a motivating factor for signing up; The Sopranos, Westworld and Game of Thrones were HBO Max’s most-cited titles. “HBO can be pleased with progress to date in terms of new subscriber numbers, and importantly at the end of Q220, just 18% were on free trials,” said Kantar SVP Dominic Sunnebo. “The key challenge for HBO Max will be enduring longevity of subscribers – there are already some signs that attitudinally, HBO Max subscribers do not view it as a long-term commitment, in the same way they do Netflix. Driving engagement with newer HBO content, alongside headliners like Sopranos and Game of Thrones will be important.”

Disney+ counts 57.5 million subscribers, up from 54.5 million at the beginning of May and well on the way toward the 60-90 million subs the company told investors to expect by 2024. Hulu now has 35.5 million subscribers, and ESPN has scored 8.5 million – more than triple the number it had one year ago. “Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses,” said CEO Bob Chapek. “The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions — a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company.”

Pluto TV announced a global distribution deal with LG Electronics, making Pluto TV available on LG smart TV models (2020) in the US, with rollouts on 2016-2019 models beginning in the fall. Expansion plans to other regions will be announced at a later date. Pluto TV currently has a global footprint spanning 22 countries across three continents.

AMC Networks streamers Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now and UMC “delivered impressive year-over-year growth in revenues and subscribers,” said Josh Sapan on Tuesday’s call with investors, with horror service Shudder “doing extraordinarily well.” Added Sapan, “What is uniquely attractive about targeted subscription services, which is somewhat less true of something-for-everyone, big SVOD services, is they are slightly less individual-show dependent.” AMC Networks said it expects to see 3.5 million to 4.0 million paid subscribers for its streamers by the end of 2020.

Despite complaints from filmmakers, Netflix is moving forward with a feature that lets users of its Android mobile app to slow down and speed up video playback, and is testing the feature on its iOS and web apps. “We’ve decided to press ahead for several reasons,” said Netflix VP Keela Robinson in a blog post. “Similar functionality has been available on DVD players and DVRs for years and the feature has been much requested by members. Most important of all, our tests show that consumers value the flexibility it provides whether it’s rewatching their favorite scene or slowing things down because they’re watching with subtitles or have hearing difficulties.”

Sony Pictures Television has launched two Spanish-language AVOD channels, targeting the US Hispanic audience and available via VIZIO SmartCast. Sony Canal Competencias features reality competitions and game shows, and Sony Canal Comedias will air comedies and dramady remakes from Latin America. “The addition of Sony’s Competencias and Comedias channels to the VIZIO SmartCast line-up is an important move for us as we look to expand the entertainment options for our Spanish-speaking audience,” said Katherine Pond, VP of Business Development for VIZIO.

Cinedigm is partnering with Fantawild, a Chinese theme park operator and producer of children’s animation, for the launch of a new global streaming service. The Fantawild channel is set to debut in the second half of 2020 and will be available worldwide for linear and AVOD platforms on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media-streaming devices, as well as the web. In addition, Cinedigm will distribute select Fantawild programming in North America across the broader OTT landscape to its network of of distribution partners in the streaming space.

Netflix has rolled out support for the Hindi language in India, allowing subscribers to choose it from the “Manage Profiles” section on the welcome screen. “Delivering a great Netflix experience is as important to us as creating great content. We believe the new user interface will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit members who prefer Hindi,” said Monika Shergill, VP-Content at Netflix India. Hindi speakers number about half a billion in the country.

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Job of the day
CONTENT DIRECTOR
Magnolia
New York, Knoxville, Austin

CD w/a strong eye to oversee dev of original programming for Magnolia partnering with Chip & Joanna Gaines. Build new talent and concepts across varying platforms. 7+ yrs network/production exp req’d. Full info HERE (8/24)

Reporter >>
Newsmax Media/Washington D.C.: Seeking proven on-air reporter, in possession of an already-developed contact list, including many “who’s who” leaders in Congress, and related government agencies. Min 3 yrs exp with outstanding writing/production skills. Full info HERE (8/21)

SENIOR LINE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production and execution of live political news programming, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs experience line producing. Full info HERE (8/19)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER PRIMETIME >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for designing and building prime time show, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (8/19)

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Responsible for designing and building shows, managing show hosts and production team, identifying and integrating guests, overseeing and executing the production of key video & graphic elements. 3+ yrs EP exp or political news & talk programming. Full info HERE (8/19)

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC: Write for fast paced news and opinion show. You are an exceptional storyteller with a command of political news and cultural trends. At least 3 years of national or large market local news experience. Full info HERE (8/19)

PRODUCER >>
Newsmax Media/NYC:
Responsible for the production of live news & talk show, and recorded video segments for television, and digital platforms. 3+ yrs in TV news and/or talk production. Full info HERE (8/19)

DIRECTOR, BRAND PARTNERSHIPS >>
Omnia Media/LA or NY: Seeking individual to sell a portfolio of social and digital ad products, including custom branded content, video spons, programmatic inv and influencer mktg. With a strong grasp of video games/gaming culture, and dig platforms. 4 yrs exp in video content/dig media. Full info HERE (8/15)

VIDEO EDITOR, MARKETING >>
VICE Media/Brooklyn, NY: Seeking experienced editor for cutting trailers, TV campaigns, digital spots/campaigns, special content and in-house reels. Must have 5 yrs exp, be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment as well as prioritize on-going assignments. Full info HERE (8/15)

SENIOR MANAGER, GROWTH MARKETING >>
Kanopy/Remote, USA:
Seeking multi-disciplinary background candidate with mrktg, business strategy, and data analytics exp. Plus a passion and knowledge of the entire film ecosystem. Min 5 yrs dir-to-consumer mktg exp at a subscription-based/video streaming co with a proven record of executing growth mktg strategies. Full info HERE (8/15)

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS >>
The Hive/Knoxville, TN: Seeking highly qualified individual to oversee the orderly day-to-day function of production operations, with a particular emphasis on post prod operations for TN & NY offices and TN facilities management. Reports directly to the Pres and VP of Production. Full info HERE (8/15)

DIR, BRAND MARKETING & STRATEGY PLANNING >>
Nickelodeon/NYC: Seeking a group brand leader responsible for the development of mktg strategies in support of Nickelodeon and any of its related content and sub-brands. Min 7yrs exp in consumer strategy, digital, marketing or media. Full info HERE (8/14)

ASSOCIATE PRODUCE >>
Sesame Workshop/NYC:
Oversee the production of 2 consecutive 30-minute animated specials and 20×5-minute animated segments. 5+yrs in Series Animation Production at a Production Co. or Studio preferred. Full info HERE (8/13)

LINE PRODUCER >>
CNBC/Englewood Cliffs NJ:
Responsible for managing line production for 1 hour of a live show. 5+ exp segment producing and/or booking in a live television environment with demonstrated written communication and research skills, Full info HERE (8/13)

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