09/02/15: Amazon Prime allows download-to-watch; Apple may be moving toward original content; Vice teams with Carmelo Anthony for digital destination



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
09.02.15

Good morning. It’s Wednesday September 2, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TODAY’S TOP NEWS
 

Get ready to watch Amazon Prime content on the subway. Download-to-watch is now available for Prime subscribers using iOS and Android devices: Thousands of Amazon titles, including original series like Transparent, can be viewed sans Internet connection, for no extra charge.  The move sets Amazon apart from competitors like Netflix and Hulu. “We are proud,” said Amazon Digital Video VP Michael Paull, “to be the first and only online subscription streaming service that enables offline viewing.”
 
Apple is about to jump into the original content game, according to Variety. The trade pub reports that Apple has met with Hollywood execs in recent weeks in order to gauge their interest in producing entertainment content. One high-level executive who talked with Apple told Variety that the company’s goal is to create development and production divisions that would churn out long-form streaming content. In other words, compete with the likes of Netflix.

 
NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
Netflix Spain
inked its first distribution deal: This October, the Spanish telco Vodafone Spain will integrate the streaming service into its platform. Vodafone TV subscribers will be able to access Netflix content using set-top boxes, as well as tablets and smartphones.

 

Digital producer Defy Media has signed with WME. The Hollywood agency will work with Defy to package a development slate of original TV and film projects for several platforms, including linear TV. Defy, best known for the Smosh comedy channel on Youtube, has also entered into a development deal with Brett Ratner and James Packer’s RatPac Entertainment, which is itself repped by WME.  


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ADVERTISING

 
Ever accidentally clicked on an app-install ad that blanketed an entire mobile web page? Well Google’s about to make sure that never happens again. The company announced that it will penalize sites for using app install ads that “hide a significant amount of content on the transition from the search result page,” revoking the “mobile-friendly” status of such transgressors – effectively downgrading their rankings on Google’s mobile search results page.
 
 

OTT + SVOD

 
CONtv’s offering a backstage pass. Users of the comic-con themed OTT service – a joint venture between Cinedigm and Wizard World – will now have streaming access to a “virtual Con.”  Showcasing highlights from the recently-concluded Wizard World Comic Con Chicago, the virtual Con will feature celebrity Q&As, interviews, and workshops; it concludes Friday, Sept. 4.  
 
 

PIRACY WATCH
 

Game of Thrones is a famously ripe target for digital piracy, and its efforts to crack down on theft have officially placed the HBO fantasy series in the record books. Come 2016, GoT will enter the Guinness Book of World Records for broadcasting the largest TV simulcast in history. On April 20, Season 5, Episode 2 was seen in 173 countries simultaneously. Apparently there’s no need to pirate something when half the world’s seen it already.
 

 
VC FUNDING + INVESTORS

 
Mobile startup LotusFlare raised $6 million from Social Capital, a venture capital fund started by former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya. Founded by Sam Gadodia and Terry Guo (both formerly of Facebook), LotusFlare aims to become a go-to service provider for poorer nations. The company has built an app that helps users identify how much data they need, and then buy it as cheaply as possible. For instance, a user might buy just enough data to use apps like Facebook or Snapchat for a week. “As Internet access increasingly becomes a human right,” said Palihapitiya, “the issue won’t be availability…but affordability.”

RESEARCH

 
The VMA numbers keep rolling in, and one thing is clear: digital won. According to Nielsen, Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards snagged 9.8 million TV viewers – down 5% from last year’s ceremony. But the ceremony racked up 19.1 million streams – an increase of 155% over 2014.
 
Join our Cynopsis Social Media webinar Harnessing the Power of Periscope on Tuesday, September 22 to learn how to stake your claim, engage viewers and drive traffic on this wildly popular, Twitter-owned interactive streaming platform.
 
 

CONTENT MEDIA

 
Welcome to The Clubhouse. Vice Sports and New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony have launched a digital destination for viewers to watch athletes discuss their lives outside of their careers. The first episode of The Clubhouse episode centers on Anthony as he explores the streets of Cuba. Like the premiere, all future installments will be available on the Vice Sports Youtube page.
 
Scripps Networks Interactive is working on TV Everywhere actually being everywhere, widely offering web and mobile livestreaming of HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY network, and Cooking Channel. (The livestreaming was soft launched in June.) The TV Everywhere and OTT platform provider Anvato is powering the livestream for each network’s website, as well as the iOS and Android apps for HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel. With Anvato’s help, Scripps will now be able to use dynamic dd insertion (or DAI) to targeted online advertising for linear TV ads.
 
 

EXECUTIVE MOVES

 
Shout! Factory promoted four execs: David McIntosh now serves as Senior VP of Business Affairs and Digital Distribution; Melissa Boag rises to Senior VP of Kids & Family Entertainment; Jordan Fields becomes VP of Acquisitions; and Tom Chen is now VP of Publicity. McIntosh and Boag have been with Shout! Factory since its founding in 2003, while Fields and Chen have been with the company since 2007.


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Cynopsis Kids !magination Awards Breakfast

Three reasons not to miss the fourth annual event:

1) Celebrate the Winners and industry achievements of 2015 (view finalist list)

2) Hear from programming pioneers from Amazon Studios, Cartoon Network, Disney Channels Worldwide and Nickelodeon Group

3) Network with the industry’s best executives

Register now to reserve your space at the event


 
 

DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT

 
The U.S. Open is just underway, and the players may have to suffer through rain delays one last time. Next year, though, the long prayed-for roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium will be completed. The U.S. Open’s got an exclusive video about its construction is here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
09.02.15

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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