09/17/15: Apple unveils its latest OS; News Corp acquires ad tech company Unruly; ABC news



CYNOPSISDIGITAL
09.17.15

Good morning. It’s Thursday September 17, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

TODAY’S TOP NEWS

 
Apple debuted iOS 9 for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The company’s latest operating system features faster performance, better security, and another hour’s worth of battery life. In addition to numerous other new features, the OS makes it easier to find apps and other information: A new feature called Siri Suggestions shows you your most-recently used apps, in effect predicting which ones you’re likely to use. (It also isolates users’ most recently used contacts, as well as other info.) Meanwhile, the OS’s updated search bar can pull up apps from the App Store, as well as existing apps on your device.   
 
Meanwhile, Apple delayed the release – expected in conjunction with iOS 9 – of its newest Apple Watch OS, the watchOS 2. The company cited a bug, which it says will be fixed shortly. The newest update will make it easier for developers to build apps running on the device.
 
News Corp is acquiring video ad tech company Unruly. News Corp CEO Robert Thomson called Unruly a “feisty and creative company with a startup sensibility that fits perfectly with our own approach to developing businesses in the digital age.” Unruly will continue working with its existing clients as it begins collaborating with News Corp business units. News Corp paid 90 million dollars for the company, and could pay up to $86 million more, depending on Unruly’s future performance.

OTT + SVOD

 
YouTube multichannel network FullScreen announced its intention to launch a new streaming entertainment service. Details are sparse, but according to a blog post from Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos, the service will include original scripted and unscripted series, hosted shows, feature films, podcasts, editorial content and more. “We’re building something special for a very specific audience,” he wrote, “[a] community of viewers who grew up online and live on their mobile devices.”
 
Amazon
added HBO’s Sex and the City to its SVOD service. Prime users can now watch and download every episode. The show initially ran for six seasons, ending in 2004.   
 
In a gift from the comedy gods, an upcoming reunion series starring and written by David Cross and Bob Odenkirk has an official launch date. Netflix announced that W/ Bob & David will premiere on Friday November 13. The series, which consists of four 30-minute episodes, is the duo’s second collaboration in sketch comedy; they starred in the now-legendary HBO series Mr. Show with Bob and David from 1995 to 1998.
 
 

CONTENT PROGRAMMING
 

Actress and new mom Jessica Biel is developing a sex education web series alongside Saundra Pelletier, the founder of women’s health nonprofit WomanCare Global.  The series, says Pelletier in an introductory video, “is about everything to do with women’s bodies. There is no topic that’s off limits.” Starting September 28, the series will be available on womancareglobal.org, as well as WomanCare Global’s Youtube page.
 
Perhaps six seconds wasn’t quite long enough. The Huffington Post has released HuffPost 6X60, a weekly web series starring Vine star Chaz Smith. The series, in which Smith interviews other Vine stars, is set air on The Huffington Post’s YouTube channel over the next few weeks. The premiere episode, which debuted Tuesday, was over three minutes long. Which must have felt like an eternity to Smith.
 
Fortunately for Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, their track record is better than their spelling. The Seth Green co-founded production studio behind Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken launched a new web series based on the Madden video game series. The Madden 16 features a group of athletes and celebs who team up to become Madden gamers. They’re all puppets, but celebrity voices include New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Criminal Minds actor A.J. Cook, and several others. EA Sports, the distributor of the Madden games, sponsors the series. It airs on EA’s YouTube page, Stoopid Buddy’s website, and the series’ official Tumblr.

BRANDS AND INFLUENCERS
 

Digital star Bethany Mota, best known for her fashion-themed YouTube channel and her 2014 appearance on Dancing with the Stars, will make an October 5 appearance on home shopping channel QVC. Mota will sell items from her self-titled clothing line, which was created in partnership with Aéropostale.

 

Production company Citizen Skull is forming its own talent division. Called CSP Management, the company’s primary goal is to help social media influencers form brand partnerships and, if possible, break into film and linear TV. As a production company, Citizen Skull is best known for the films Manson Family Vacation, 9, and Gnomeo and Juliet.

NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS

 
From hiring new execs to inking new licensing deals, Paramount Pictures has had a busy few days. Now there’s another licensing deal on the books: Chinese SVOD service Youku Tudou will add more than 100 Paramount titles to its library. The additions include films from the Mission: Impossible and Transformers franchises.
 
Tmall Box Office, a Chinese SVOD service launched by the Alibaba Group just this month, acquired over 1,200 hours of kid-friendly content in a deal with DHX Media. Chinese subscribers will gain access to titles including Teletubbies, Paddington Bear, and Johnny Test.
 
Multiplatform video service provider Vubiquity acquired Warner Bros.Digital End-To-End (DETE), a managed content technology service. Vubiquity says that the deal will give it access to DETE’s sizable network of distributors and enable the company to expand its content services. Among other things, Vubiquity says, the agreement gives the company exclusive distribution rights to all of Warner Bros.’ movies and TV shows for “several years.” The deal’s financial terms weren’t announced.
 
Open Book Productions has partnered with media company BroadbandTV. The production company, best known for its web series Venice the Series, will now have access to Open Book’s content. Crystal Chappell, who serves as Open Book’s CEO and stars in Venice the Series, spoke with Cynopsis Digital. “One of the things that we struggle with as a smaller company is finding…advertisers that fit,” she said.  BroadbandTV, she said, help Open Book find the brands to help back its projects.


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VIRTUAL REALITY

 
A hyper-immersive simulation of war-torn Syria can be more fun than it sounds. Just ask ABCNews. If you tuned in to last night’s edition of Nightline, you had the opportunity to use virtual reality to explore Damascus. During correspondent Alexander Marquardt’s newscast, viewers were encouraged to view panoramic images of the city. The VR features were accessible via ABCNews.com/VR, as well as through a virtual reality app (created by VR developer Jaunt) for iOS and Android.
 
 

ADVERTISING

 
On Tuesday, AOL debuted One by AOL: Creative. It’s an ad-creation counterpart to One by AOL, the company’s programmatic ad tech tool. Among other features, Creative leverages reams of data to allow advertisers in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to effectively tailor an ad’s creative content to a brand’s audience. David Miller, AOL’s Vice President of Ad Product Management, spoke with Cynopsis Digital, and summed up Creative’s value to advertisers. “[Advertisers] are leveraging all the data they have access to,” he said. “But they’re not necessarily taking all that information into the creative experience.” According to Miller, advertisers on-board for One: Creative’s beta launch include Toyota and L’Oreal Paris. AOL’s global marketing platform Pictela has been folded into Creative, and the brand name has been retired.

RESEARCH

 
With the NFL’s opening weekend in the digital books, it’s worth closely examining how folks responded on social media. Thanks to some exclusive info from the analytics team at StatSocial, Cynopsis Digital can do just that. As game day started, each game and team quickly became trending topics on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The audience was 82% male, and over a third were teenagers. Football was their #1 interest. And nine out of 10 of their favorite brands were sports-related. Surprisingly, few of their top 10 favorite celebrities were NFL players. For more info, take a look at the below chart from StatSocial.

[] 
 
StatSocial also tracked the Tuesday premiere of FX series The Bastard Executioner and found that series creator Kurt Sutter was viewers’ second favorite celebrity influencer in this group. 53% of the social audience demonstrated an affinity for FX programing like American Horror story and Sons of Anarchy (also created by Sutter). But Game of Thrones tops the list. See another exclusive StatSocial chart below.

[] 
 
Floyd Mayweather, Jr.’s Saturday victory over Andre Berto marked the end of his storied career. Showtime Sports was there for the social media conversation, driving the discussion across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr, and YouTube with the hashtag #MayweatherBerto. The fight ranked #1 across Broadcast, Cable and Syndication on the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings. And #MayweatherBerto trended worldwide throughout fight night.

 

EXECUTIVE MOVES

 
Disney/ABC Television Group
added two execs on Tuesday. Cindy Davis will serve as Executive VP of Consumer Experience, developing research capabilities for all of Disney/ABC’s platforms. John Frelinghuysen will serve as Executive VP of Digital Media, Strategy and Business Development, overseeing Disney/ABC’s business and strategy developments across digital and mobile. Both positions are newly created. Davis previously worked as head of Walmart’s consumer research group; Frelinghuysen served as AOL’s head of strategy.   
 
Also on Tuesday, Dick Glover announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Funny Or Die. But while his days in comedy may be over, he’ll still be a boss: Glover will be taking over as CEO of production company of Mandalay Sports Media. For at least the time being, Funny Or Die’s COO, Mike Galbraith, will take over the company’s day-to-day CEO duties.


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DIGITAL SPOTLIGHT

 
English singer Toby Randall has rapidly become a musical celeb, and he’s not even out of braces; such is the impact of YouTube. Not surprisingly, he’s got some sharp insights into the power of digital content creation. Randall discussed his (very young) career over on YouTube Spotlight – available to watch here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich
09.17.15

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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