08/05/15: Hugh Dancy joins Hulu original The Way; The Otter’s new SVOD gets a name; Instagram opens up doors to API


Good morning. It’s Wednesday August 5, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy has joined the cast of Hulu Original, The Way, with Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Michelle Monaghan (True Detective). The 10-ep drama examines a family at the center of a controversial movement struggling with relationships, marriages and power struggles. Production will begin in New York this September, for an early 2016 launch.
The new SVOD service from the Chernin Group and AT+T’s joint venture, Otter Media, has a name: Ellation. The platform will house Otter’s digital brands CrunchyRoll, Creative Bug and ScoompiTV, with an anticipated on 30-50 more channels on the way. Former YouTube Vice President of content Tom Pickett will head division.


Paramount Digital Entertainment
’s latest comedy special, Crash Test, will land exclusively on Vimeo On Demand on Aug. 18. Adapted from the Upright Citizens Brigade, Crash Test showcases Rob Huebel (Transparent) and Paul Scheer (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp) on a party bus adventure. “We were worried about lawsuits…but that didn’t keep us from getting sued a lot,” Huebel joked about the special. Price tag: $3.99.
and crowd funder RocketHub will launch Creative Studio in October, a joint initiative designed to assist artists in their creative projects. The service will provide pre-launch tips and training, marketing support, on-air promotion on Ovation TV, social media marketing and support throughout fund-raising campaigns. “Creative Studio addresses a very real obstacle that many artists face in obtaining funding for their projects and furthers Ovation’s commitment to the arts and digital expansion,” said Charles Segars, CEO of the arts net.
Speed of Joy Productions is releasing a new web series focused on the dating lives of transgender and queer women titled Her Story. The show will include trans activist Jen Richards, currently featured in E!’s I am Cait, trans entrepreneur Angelica Ross and writer/actor Laura Zak, star of #Hashtag. Speed of Joy launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo this week to help fund post-production and marketing, with plans to premiere the series this fall.


Ownzones added three new channels to its network from WHO?MAG. The new programming includes music centric video channels Dance Music TV (DMTV), Video Vision and WHO?MAG TV. “There’s been an increasing demand for content centered on various trends in the music industry, and the partnership with WHO?MAG TV certainly helps us fill that void,” said Dan Goman, Ownzones Founder and CEO.


Sad news for Community fans: series’ star Joel McHale says that despite Yahoo’s sixth season pick-up after its NBC cancellation, the actors’ contracts are officially up and the show won’t go on for a seventh run. “All the actors on the show, almost without exception – their stock has risen significantly and it’s out of the pay rate that is affordable to make the show,” McHale told Metro Weekly. “So you’re not going to be able to get Alison Brie or Gillian Jacobs at a normal television salary anymore. There is just not enough money to be able to pay for the show.”
Univision and Fusion will serve as media partners of 2015 Social Media Week Miami from Sept. 16-18. During the conference, Univision News and Fusion talent will host town hall meetings and panel discussions focused on Hispanic digital media users.


YouTube darling Hannah Hart (2.76 million subscribers and 180 million views) signed a multi-year deal with women’s multichannel network Kin Community. The MCN will assist in brand integrations, media opportunities and new programming production.


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Endemol Shine UK rolled out an app based on BBC Two quiz show Two Tribes. The Two Tribes app recreates the studio environment with an animated Richard Osman character, voiced by the TV presenter himself. Quiz game is available to download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play store.


Instagram opened up its application programming interface (API), a game-changer for marketers that allows them to plan campaigns in a more automated fashion. A select group of Facebook Marketing Partners and agencies will be the first welcomed aboard Instagram’s API, with expansion later this year. Bottom line: eMarketer projects Instagram will generate $595 million in revenue this year, on track to pass Google and Twitter in mobile display ad revenue by 2017..


Mobile ad platform StartApp announced a 360-degree interactive advertisement format for mobile app developers. “Over the years we’ve witnessed the evolution of the mobile ad, starting with the common banner and then the rise of its predecessors – the interactive ad, the video and the native ad,” said Dror Yosef, StartApp’s Chief Data Officer. Jelly Button Games will be StartApp’s first client to utilize the new format.
Software solution provider Embarcadero Technologies partnered with mobile video ad platform AerServ to provide developers a new way to monetize apps. “By providing access to a third-party component for mobile video ad mediation, developers can now deploy video ads that are connected to a robust ad network and will generate a higher CPM within their applications,” said Michael Swindell, Senior Vice President of Products.


Minneapolis-based creative agency mono will head west, opening a new office in San Francisco, with Director of New Business Jeffrey Gorder, Group Account Director Jane Delworth and Creative Director Paula Biondich leading branch. Gorder and Delworth will be promoted to Managing Directors of mono San Francisco; Biondich becomes Managing Creative Director.


Nearly 46% of video ads across desktop & mobile web are never seen, according to a new report from Google; meaning nearly 50% of online ads are served and paid for, but not actually seen by a consumer.

On Wednesday, August 19 (1:30-3p ET) Cynopsis will host the webinar:
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Bryan Cranston’s Amazon pilot, Sneaky Pete rolled out its first trailer yesterday. The show follows a con man who takes his former cellmate’s identity when he gets out of prison. Co-written with David Shore, it stars Giovanni Ribisi (Ted) along with Marin Ireland, Margo Martindale, Libe Barer, Peter Gerety and Shane McRae. Check it out at www.cynopsis.com/#video.

See you tomorrow,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese

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