09/21/20: Cynopsis Media Tech Update

 

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Medias First Morning Read
Monday September 21, 2020

President Trump has given his approval “in concept” to a deal between TikTok parent ByteDance and Oracle. The arrangement prevented a ban on TikTok in app stores that was to have taken effect at midnight on Sunday. ByteDance would continue to be majority owner under the deal, with Oracle and Walmart forming a new entity called TikTok Global. Oracle will host all of TikTok’s US user data and safeguard TikTok’s computer systems “to ensure U.S. national security requirements are fully satisfied,” TikTok said in a statement. “While we strongly disagree with the implications of TikTok as a national security threat, we nonetheless understand the concerns,” said Vanessa Pappas, Interim Head of TikTok. “We’ve confirmed a proposal that resolves the Administration’s security concerns and settles questions around TikTok’s future in the US.”

The PlayStation 5 console is set to go on sale November 12, for $399 or $499 with and Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Sony’s last new console was introduced in 2013. “This year has been unlike any other, and there have been many challenges the world has faced,” wrote Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan in a blog post. “Everyone at PlayStation, along with all of our partners in development, publishing, technology, and retail, have devoted a lot of effort to launch PlayStation 5 in time for the holiday season. We’re all working closely together to achieve our mission of delivering the best that gaming has to offer to our community.” Microsoft is launching new Xbox units on November 10.

Virtual reality company Dreamscape Immersive and Arizona State University are teaming to deliver fully immersive VR learning systems. Dreamscape Learn will add avatar-driven VR experiences to both campus-based and online courses, starting with introductory biology and eventually expanding throughout the sciences and beyond. The partnership will also include the establishment of immersive, experiential Dreamscape Learn Labs on ASU campuses, where students will work beside science, arts, and engineering faculty to solve problems, explore, and engage with virtual worlds and spaces that are attuned to specific courses and disciplines. The initial Dreamscape Learn experience built for ASU students will be based on Dreamscape’s first original VR adventure, Alien Zoo, which transports users to an orbiting wildlife sanctuary for endangered lifeforms from the far corners of the universe. The concept was developed by Dreamscape Immersive CEO and Co-Founder, Walter Parkes, along with director and producer Steven Spielberg.

You.i TV, provider of software tools for OTT application development, has launched a new generation of its You.i Engine One product, with MediaKind as an initial deployment partner. MediaKind will use You.i Engine One 6.0 to accelerate deployment and enable its video provider customers to offer more engaging user experiences. “Consumers are rapidly adopting new OTT services and viewing on a growing plethora of devices, so it’s more important than ever for video providers to offer differentiated, highly-immersive viewing experiences that can reach all screens,” said Jason Flick, CEO and co-founder of You.i TV.

Wideband hybrid fiber wireless internet service provider Starry unveiled its second generation suite of technology, currently being deployed across its markets, including enhanced versions of its existing base station (Starry Titan) and building receiver (Starry Trident), which increases capacity, range, and network performance in a smaller and more lightweight form factor. Starry also unveiled its updated single-family home receiver, Starry Comet, which is currently in limited trials. Starry Comet enables the company to serve consumers living in single-family homes and smaller apartment buildings and expands Starry’s footprint allowing for growth into suburban and exurban communities.

With at-home workouts on the rise due to the pandemic, Apple is starting a remote fitness service. Fitness+ will be available before the end of the year for $9.99/month, shared Jay Blahnik, Apple’s Senior Director for Fitness Technologies during an online company event. Blahnik said the service would offer new online workouts each week, with 10 types of exercises, including yoga, cycling, strength training and “even mindful cool downs.” The service will be integrated with an updated Apple Watch and Apple’s music service.

Apple is also launching new service bundles later this fall. The “Individual” plan ($14.95/month) will include Apple TV Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade and iCloud with up to 50 gigabytes of storage. The “Family” plan offers those services, with access for up to six members per account, and up to 200B of iCloud storage. For $29.95/month customers can get the Apple One bundle, which adds Apple News Plus and the aforementioned Apple fitness service, and offers 2 terabytes of iCloud storage.

Synacor announced that Epix has deployed Cloud ID, the consumer identity and access management platform. The rollout was completed via a migration that did not disrupt subscriber viewing sessions, replacing a legacy identity management solution at the TV network. “Identity management has become critically important to overall subscriber experiences and after considering all options, ranging from in-house development to a number of competitive solutions, Synacor’s Cloud ID emerged as the ideal platform for Epix,” said Sacha Stanton, CTO, Epix. “As we aim to quickly integrate with new devices and meet increasing subscriber demand for streaming content, Synacor’s extensive track record of success gives us the confidence that we have the right partner for the journey ahead.”

Data solutions company Kochava and Univision announced the addition of deep linking technology to Univision’s ongoing multi-platform, voter registration campaign, Vota Conmigo. SmartLinks for TV powered by Kochava enables a quick response code for deployment across Univision’s linear and digital platform; users will be able to scan the campaign QR code with their mobile device from their television and computer screens within relevant Vota Conmigo content, and be dynamically linked to Univision’s Vota Conmigo portal where they can register to vote, learn about mail-in ballot options, and find out where they can vote early and on election day.

Altice USA is now offering flexible data options starting at $12/month. Customers can choose between 1 GB, 3 GB, and Unlimited GB of data with the ability to switch at any time. “We know that data consumption can vary from consumer to consumer and on a month to month basis,” said Hakim Boubazine, President of Telecommunications and COO. “Altice Mobile’s flexible data options provide customers more control over their wireless experience with the ability to switch plans based on what makes the most sense for their lifestyle.”

Consumer insights platform DISQO announced its official partnership with Research Wonks, an industry forum for professionals in media and advertising research, analytics and data science. “Several DISQO executives have been long-time members of Research Wonks and we are excited to be engaging with our fellow Wonks through this sponsorship,” said Armen Adjemian, Co-Founder and CEO of DISQO. “We look forward to bringing unique perspectives to important industry topics, and hopefully sparking further dialogue and action alongside our research peers.”

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IAB Tech Lab announced companies publicly pledging support of Project Rearc, a call-to-action for stakeholders across the digital supply chain to re-think and re-architect digital marketing to support core industry use cases, while balancing consumer privacy and personalization. Companies include: ConsenSys, Extreme Reach, GroupM, GumGum, Index Excahnge, LiveRamp, Media.net, MediaMath, Neustar, OpenX, Oracle Data Cloud, PubMatic, Quantcast, Tapad, The Trade Desk and Xandr. “Collectively with our members, we support an open ecosystem, and technical standards that fuel innovation in content and services while offering consumers transparency, choice, and control across all their experiences,” said Dennis Buchheim, President, IAB Tech Lab.

As the cookie crumbles, TV measurement and attribution TVSquared and Blockgraph, a privacy-focused audience platform for media companies, have partnered to provide omni-channel TV measurement and audience activation. By combining TVSquared’s measurement of reach and frequency across linear and OTT services, and Blockgraph’s peer-to-peer audience insights and authentication platform, the partnership offers advertisers cross-channel measurement and identity resolution. “Attempts to solve for the needs of today’s TV ecosystem with technology that is decades old is a losing battle,” said Jo Kinsella, President, TVSquared. “The only way for advertisers to effectively and efficiently buy on a cross-platform basis is with world-class measurement and audience identity resolution. TVSquared and Blockgraph have the capabilities needed to solve for this in a way that meets the privacy, security and data concerns of the new world.”

Ad tech company Centro announced an integration with Deep Root Analytics, an audience-powered analytics company. The combined solution allows advertisers to activate against Deep Root’s proprietary audiences across the video advertising ecosystem. Deep Root’s audiences are leveraged across multiple verticals including, corporate reputation, public affairs, issue advocacy, and political, and anonymized in order to protect privacy and identity. “Deep Root has invested heavily in building best-in-class audiences for corporate reputation, public affairs, issue advocacy, and political advertisers. Aligning with Centro gives us opportunities to showcase the power of our technology in the most active and competitive places,” said David Seawright, CRO of Deep Root. “Because of the increasing uncertainty about what compels audiences to take action, advertisers can benefit greatly from using our finely-tuned data and Centro’s media activation capabilities.”

Google announced features for Ad Manager’s Dynamic Ad Insertion that enables ad insertions during live events. DAI Prefetch distributes ad requests and accommodates longer ad times, enabling a high-quality experience for concurrent users, and increasing the ability for the ads ecosystem to manage the scale of large live events. Google also launched an Early Break Notification API in Ad Manager’s DAI, to make it easier to use real-time ad break data to monetize live events.

Discovery platform Taboola is partnering with digital ad verification company Integral Ad Science to introduce an integration to directly apply pre-bid brand safety within a native discovery platform. “Now Taboola’s large number of global advertisers can feel secure knowing that their content will only appear in locations that have been deemed appropriate by IAS technology,” said Adam Singolda, Founder and CEO at Taboola. “IAS has proven to be a brand safety innovator and a key strategic partner for Taboola. By extending our partnership and introducing this first-to-market offering, we’re giving advertisers yet another way to benefit from Taboola’s audience scale and ultimately ensure ROI.

DoubleVerify uncovered and shut down an aggressive botnet, “MultiTerra”, designed to create fraudulent inventory across CTV and mobile platforms. DV identified that the botnet undermined the monetization potential of legitimate CTV supply providers by artificially inflating inventory and directing away media investment from these platforms. MultiTerra generated more than 3 million fake impressions a day at its peak on both the platforms, according to DV.

Identity resolution company Tru Optik is partnering with global technology and services company Triton Digital to offer advertisers the ability to purchase digital audio inventory on an audience-addressable basis according to political interests and behaviors. Triton Digital’s Tap ad server activates audience segments within the Tru Optik Political Data Cloud, enabling advertisers to reach streaming audio listeners based on political characteristics, such as Leaning Democrat, Leaning Independent, Leaning Republican, Swing Voters, and Undecided. Political data segments can be paired with demographic, behavioral, and interest-based parameters.

DirecTV and INVIDI Technologies have entered into an alliance with Adcuratio Media to build a platform for national addressable inventory across network cable and broadcast. DISH Media has also joined with Adcuratio, which has programmer partners including A+E Networks, FOX Corp and ViacomCBS. The new agreement significantly expands the distribution footprint and national network inventory available for ad-versioning addressable television across all DMAs. “Our plan has always been to scale the local-break addressable business via our national sales force to a sufficient level of maturity, which we have done, and now are more than ready to enable the programmers’ national minutes,” said Jason Brown, who leads national sales efforts for DirecTV’s addressable TV business. “Programmers’ advertising teams no longer have to be selling a single spot with the same creative to all households.”

Verizon Media announced the launch of OTT Smart Auction, a header bidding-like solution for OTT publishers. The server-to-server container integration, enabling OTT programmatic demand to compete with reserved demand in a real-time, unified auction in a publisher’s ad server, was created to meet the needs of premium video publishers that deliver longform on-demand or live streaming content through CTV or mobile apps, including broadcasters, cable networks, DMVPDs, and more.

UK’s UniLED Group has joined DOOH association DPAA. Barry Frey, President & CEO, DPAA, said, “UniLED is doing great work in the delivery, verification and transparency of DOOH campaigns, which will help drive the industry forward in the UK and beyond.”

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STREAMING SCOOP

AT&T will introduce an ad-supported version of HBO Max at a lower price next spring. The new version will have a “light ad load,” AT&T CEO John Stankey told Bloomberg, with some shows remaining ad-free and exclusive to subscribers who pay the full price. “Having an advertising option is going to be important to making sure the broadest cross section of content is available to people moving forward,” said Stankey. “HBO has had to remake itself multiple times over the last few decades, and this is one of those moments where it’s time to remake itself.”

Tubi Monthly Active Users hit 33 million in August, an increase of 65% year-over-year. Total View Time surpassed 200 million hours streamed in April and has been above 200 million hours each month since, with an average increase of 104% year-over-year. Internationally, year-over-year TVT rose by 95% in Canada, and 242% in Australia. “Tubi’s surge in viewership is a testament to 2020 becoming the year of AVOD,” said Farhad Massoudi,” CEO of Tubi. “As we further grow our offering and capitalize on our partnership across FOX’s IP, we continue to develop a unique value proposition for many of today’s households seeking cost-free premium entertainment.” Tubi is a division of Fox Entertainment.

Speaking of Tubi, dedicated Spanish-language destination Español launched within the Tubi app on Roku devices in the US. Presented by Metro by T-Mobile, it offers over 1000 titles free to viewers. “Tubi en Español marks one of many milestones in our commitment to super serving underserved audiences,” said Adam Lewinson, Chief Content Officer of Tubi.

Gracenote, a Nielsen company has launched Gracenote Streaming Sports Catalogs, enabling TV providers to connect fans to live games and related content available across different OTT sources. The data solution ensures that sports content is easily searchable and discoverable across previously siloed TV platforms, services and devices. “While increasing consumer choice, the rapid rise of sports driven OTT services is making it ever more challenging for sports fans to find and watch their favorite teams play,” said Simon Adams, Chief Product Officer of Gracenote. “Our breakthrough Streaming Sports Catalogs solution allows TV providers to connect sports programming to its most fervent fans in a simple way that enables powerful new engagement opportunities.”

YouTube has introduced a short-form video experience, YouTube Shorts. Starting in India, users will be able to upload 15-second-or-less videos with creator tools including a multi-segment camera, set to music from YouTube’s extensive library of songs. Instagram recently introduced its own TikTok competitor, Reels.

FuboTV has added options including a cloud DVR with 1000 hours of space for $16.99/month, and Family Share Max, allowing subscribers to watch simultaneously on five devices on their home internet connection and two outside the home, for $9.99/month.

In partnership with Party Crashers Media, Cindedigm is launching “a progressive political, news and lifestyle” OTT network. The Party Crashers Channel will debut in 1Q21 on free ad-supported linear television and AVOD platforms across Cinedigm’s global footprint. Cinedigm will distribute the channel across distribution partners including Vizio, Samsung, Xumo, Tubi and more. “Progressives, particularly GenZ and Millennials, are united in their vision of a more humane and egalitarian world and we will showcase that sensibility in our programming and across our Channel,” said Party Crashers’ Sue-Ling Braun and Jamie McGurk.

The Paley Center for Media inked a deal with Verizon that will grant the tech giant exclusive streaming rights to the Paley Center’s lineup of 2020-21 events. Verizon will also serve as the official sponsor of the Paley Center programs.

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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 (9/23)

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