Amazon has announced a new original series for its Japanese streaming service. Called Final Life: Even if You Disappear Tomorrow, the series will star Korean singer Taemin and actor Shota Matsuda. Final Life will center on a detective (Matsuda) who comes in contact with a former medical student (Taemin) who lost his memory in a failed experiment. When it comes to Amazon’s international ambitions, Japan is fairly central; the company has already launched a number of Japanese-language originals. Final Life debuts on Prime Video on September 8.
Snapchat has unveiled some new ad controls. Marketers who buy 10-second Snap Ads using the company’s software (or using its self-serve-platform or API) now have new tools to limit the placement of their ads. Advertisers can now manually remove six types of content from their media buys within Snapchat’s Discover and Stories platforms. Those categories are news, entertainment, beauty and fashion, men’s lifestyle, science and technology, and general lifestyle. Another new control lets marketers limit their ad buy to only premium Discover inventory, in addition to a category filter. (So a marketer can choose to advertise only within Discover, but not next to, say, beauty and fashion content.) Finally, advertisers can now choose to target only user Stories, while avoiding Discover. While Snapchat already had deals in place with a number of third-party measurement partners, the new manual tools are meant to give advertisers more control – especially if they have brand safety concerns when it comes to running ads with certain types of content.
Entertainment content distributor Cinedigm announced that it has chosen Bamboo as the agency of record for its OTT channels. Cinedigm’s OTT platforms include the family-oriented Dove Channel, the comic geek-friendly CONtv, the documentary channel Docurama, and, launching this fall, the news and information channel The Wham Network. Bamboo will handle media, creative, and analytics services in support of all four channels.
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
To promote this Sunday’s Video Music Awards, MTV is trying some new tricks. For one, the network is rolling out an augmented reality effect. Created by Viacom NEXT (Viacom’s creative group focused on VR and AR), the new AR feature works in conjunction with the Facebook Camera Effects Platform. The effect places a user’s head within a space helmet; meanwhile, an MTV “Moon Person” floats past, and a clock at the top of the screen counts down to the VMA broadcast. In addition, MTV and Viacom Velocity (Viacom’s branded content division) used the app Holo to create Moon Person holograms. Using the Holo app, users can download 3D Moon Person decals to add to photos and videos. Finally, MTV is promoting the VMAs via both Snapchat and Instagram. Tomorrow, MTV will debut a Verizon-sponsored collection of live content on Snapchat, interspersed with Snap Ads for Verizon. And on Sunday night, the girl group Fifth Harmony will take over MTV’s Instagram account.
Facebook users can now set 360-degree photos as their cover images. Users can capture the 360-degree images by using their Facebook Camera. (Essentially, they just have to turn around as they take their photo, taking care to stay within guiding lines that appear on their screen.) In addition to setting it as a cover image, users can simply share a 360-degree photo on their timeline. The feature is available to both iOS and Android users, though you may need to update your app.
PLATFORMS + APPS
Microsoft’s LinkedIn officially announced the launch of its video-sharing platform. Users will now be able to post videos to the site; the clips will be hosted on an in-house video player, which users can access by tapping on a new icon that appears in both the Android and iOS LinkedIn apps. Microsoft is rolling the video platform out slowly, though (as Business Insider recently reported) a number of users gained access to the feature on Tuesday.
OTT + SVOD
Stadium has been inking live-streaming pacts right and left. Earlier this week, the sports-streaming network reached a deal with Facebook to provide exclusive broadcasts of college football games. Now, as part of a previously announced partnership, Stadium is officially coming to Twitter. Starting yesterday, the social media platform began streaming Stadium content – including live and on-demand games, classic games, studio programming, and highlights – 24 hours a day. In addition, this content will be available via Pluto TV, a free internet-based TV service, and through Stadium’s own website.
Trusted Media Brands, the multi-platform media company that owns properties such as Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home and The Family Handyman, announced that it has made a slew of recent digital hires. Of the 60 positions it’s filled this year, TMB says that half have been digital. Those hires include Alexandra Rosario Kelly, the new Digital Editor of ReadersDigest.com, Chantal Waldholz, TMB’s first-ever Social Media Director, and Danny Debold, Senior Product Manager of Advertising Technology. Kelly formerly held editorial positions at TODAY Media and The Huffington Post; Waldholz previously worked at the social media monetization platform Wetpaint; and Debold has previously held programmatic advertising roles at Vice Media and Slate.
Amazon original series The Last Tycoon was loosely based on an unfinished novel of the same name. Who wrote it? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
Our Last Trivia Question: Brian Yorkey, who developed Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, also has a background in theater. He wrote the book and lyrics for a 2008 musical, which would go onto win three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. What was it called? Answer: Next to Normal. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, Dan Quitério-Understood/NY, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, Joe Brucia-AMC Networks/NY, Jen Taylor-A+E Networks/NY, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, and Lorrie Shilling/CA