Posting stories as Facebook Instant Articles has boosted engagement across the station group’s local affiliates – but experience has honed their strategy, Tribune’s VP of product Steve Baron told Facebook’s local news partnerships manager, Josh Mabry in an interview for social media giant. While at first, all Tribune Media content was published as Instant Articles, “after a few months, we realized we had to be smarter about what content was enabled as an Instant Article to bring revenue in line with mobile web,” said Baron. Testing determined that the “sweet spot” for the publishing tool, where the amount of ads equaled or exceeded performance on mobile web, was articles no longer than a few paragraphs.
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
Hong Kong telecom company PCCW, operator of services in 24 territories, has raised $110 million from investors for OTT ventures. New backers Hony Capital, Foxconn and Singapore wealth fund Temasek are taking an 18% stake in PCCW International OTT.
It appears new funding could rescue SoundCloud from signing off. The troubled music streaming service is expected to close a deal today for about $170 million from the Raine Group and Singapore’s Temasek. Under the deal, the new investors would acquire more than 50% of the company, which let go 40% of its staff in July.
Facebook announced the launch its tab for watching short, episodic original video shows. Watch, available on mobile devices, desktops, laptops and TV apps, will be personalized to help users discover TV shows, and users will be able to like and comment during broadcasts. “On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together,” wrote Facebook director of product Daniel Danker in a blog post. “As more and more people enjoy this experience, we’ve learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos.” Initial content partners include NASA, Mashable, Hearst, Quartz, MLS and McClatchy.
Oxygen Media, rebranded as a true crime network, yesterday launched an interactive Facebook Live crime thriller game, “The Pursuit.” Created in collaboration with digital agency Grow, the immersive experiences is one of the first branded uses of Facebook Live 360. New crime evidence will be shared on Facebook daily, leading to the live interrogation finale event on Friday, August 18, where viewers can ask questions and hear the response in real time.
YouTube ordered kids magazine series We Are Savvy for its YouTube Red service, to be hosted by Annie LeBlanc from YouTube’s Bratayley channel. The first season of the show, which has music, fashion and lifestyle segments, aired on Canada’s Family Channel.
Netflix gave a straight-to-series order to an untitled terrorism drama from Lior Raz and Avi Issacharoff, the team behind the streaming service’s acquisition Fauda. Netflix is also developing their political thriller, Hit and Run.
Speaking of Netflix, season 2 of The Crown is slated for global release on Friday, December 8. Story starts with soldiers fighting an illegal war in Egypt.
APPS + PLATFORMS
Uber is rolling out a new in-app messaging feature that allows passengers and drivers to send text messages directly to each other once they book a ride. A chat option appears that shows the driver’s name, vehicle type and plate number at the top of the messaging window, and riders can see receipts for messages sent. (For safety’s sake, drivers’ messages will be delivered via audio, and they can respond with a one-tap “thumbs up” emoji.) Uber Product Manager Jeremy Lermitte said sensitivity about using limited SMS plans was among the reasons to bring messaging in-app.
You.i TV named Rob White as CFO, responsible for developing and executing financial and investment strategies to underpin the company’s efforts as a provider of video app development software. White had been CFO and COO of Object Technology International.
Adam Ostrow is joining TEGNA as Chief Digital Officer, tasked with creating, evangelizing and implementing TEGNA’s digital vision and strategy. Ostrow was previously been Chief Strategy Officer at Mashable.
Which Silicon Valley-set series featured Ed Begley, Jr. in a recurring role? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
Our Last Trivia Question: Amazon Video’s ‘The Tick,’ set to debut on August 25, is only the latest iteration of a character who’s been crawling around since 1986. Who created him? Ben Edlond. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/College Station, TX, Jerry A. Kapner-Kapner Group/Montclair, NJ, Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NYC, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/LA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union Burbank, Lorrie Shilling/El Segundo, CA