09/19/14: Larry Ellison leaves Oracle, Collective Digital Studio adds Maria Menounos YouTube channel, Microsoft cuts Xbox Entertainment Studios ahead of schedule, lays off 2,100 employees


Good morning. It’s Friday, September 19, 2014, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Larry Ellison left his position as CEO of Oracle, the information-technology giant he co-founded in 1977, and will instead take on the role of executive chairman and chief technology officer. Former president and CFO Safra Catz and Mark Hurd, former Oracle president, will become co-CEOs. Chairman Jeff Henley was named Vice Chairman of Oracle’s board. “Larry has made it very clear that he wants to keep working full time and focus his energy on product engineering, technology development and strategy,” Michael Boskin, presiding director of the Oracle board, said.


Collective Digital Studio added entertainment channel AfterBuzz TV to its network. The YouTube channel was created by E! host Maria Menounos as a TV fan talk show, and receives 20 million weekly downloads from more than 150 countries. “We wanted to work with AfterBuzzTV because their concept is one that’s rarely seen in the online community,” CDS President Dan Weinstein said. “[It’s an] innovative…online broadcast network devoted to producing ‘after shows’ for popular TV programs where major topics are discussed and A-list guests are interviewed.” AfterBuzz produces up to 80 weekly shows for TV series, and a more in-depth series, called “Spotlight On.”
Lionsgate acquired distribution rights for The SMOSH Movie, a DEFY Media and AwesomenessTV production. The movie stars Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of SMOSH and YouTube celebs Grace Helbig, Jenna Marbles, Harley Morenstein, Shane Dawson and others that combined represent 32 million subscribers. The movie is based on Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, where an embarrassing video of Anthony surfaces online before his fifth high school reunion.
International video network DramaFever announced its fall slate yesterday. All series will premiere 24 hours after their original international airings with subtitles, including: Blade Man (available now), After School: Lucky or Not (Sept. 20), The Greatest Wedding (Sept. 27), Servant (Nov. 17), My Lovable Girl (Sept. 18), Secret Door (Sept. 22), Boarding House 24 (Sept. 23), Modern Farmer (Oct. 18), Birth of Beauty (Nov. 9) and Pinocchio (Nov. 13). DramaFever has more than 20 million unique monthly viewers and an audience comprised of ethnically diverse young women (40 percent Caucasian, 20 percent Latino, 15 percent Black and 15 percent Asian).
CBC’s online comedy channel, Punchline, will roll out two new original series in the following weeks. The first, Doing It! With Brian & Dorla, will premiere on Sept. 24 and Womanish will follow on Oct. 22. Doing It is a five episode series parodying the theme of online “life hacking,” featuring Naomi Sniekus (Mr. D) and Matt Baram (Seed). Womanish is about two young lovelies stuck between girlhood and adulthood, starring comedy sketch duo Gwynee Phillips and Briana Templeton.
Join us on October 16th for the Cynopsis Future TV Summit as our experts share the latest business and advertising models for success. Early bird registration ends Friday, September 26! Register today to secure the lowest rate: http://www.cynopsisfuturetvsummit.com.


Ahead of schedule, Microsoft shuttered Xbox Entertainment Studios yesterday. The company cut 2,100 jobs out of the planned 18,000 layoffs predicted by the end of the year. However, XBE Chief Nancy Tellem and Executive Vice President Jordan Levin will remain with the company and continue to sell the studio’s programming and even the studio itself, according to The Hollywood Reporter. As previously reported, Warner Bros. may be eying XES, and most recently the drama series Humans was sold to AMC. The Steven Spielberg produced Halo series is still in limbo, but is expected to be sold to Showtime.
YouTube mega beauty guru Michelle Phan has a bone to pick with Ultra Records. In July, the label launched a lawsuit against Phan for using music from an artist’s video without receiving permission. Phan is now fighting back, saying she did receive consent, and that she’s now seeking compensation for the ad revenue she lost due to Ultra’s infringement claims. The case is expected to hit courts next, as the counterclaim ended with: “Michelle Phan hereby demands trial by jury of this matter.”
BET Digital
is gearing up for the Hip Hop Awards 2014 with a new multimedia site that includes video content, games and quizzes leading up to the show. The site will feature a voting component and BET is also asking fans to chat about memorable hip hop moments with the hash tag #WhereWereYouWhen? on social media outlets. In addition, each week hip hop crews will be placed in a social bracket and voted for across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and more. The show broadcasts on Oct. 14 at 8p ET.


Navigating The Kids Tablet Market eBook
If you’re developing apps for the kids tablet market  and who in the youth media business isn’t?  this road map is for you.

Featured Chapters Include:
So Many Devices, So Little Time: Navigating A Fragmented Market
How Your Product Can Stand Out in the Crowd
Big Curiosities, Little Hands: What Kids Need From App Design

If you have any questions, please contact Trish Pihonak at trish@cynopsis.com.



There are more affluent Americans spending time and money on traditional media than ever before, according Ipsoslatest annual U.S. Affluent Survey for Media and Consumer Insights. The study categorized 12,700+ affluents ($100,000+ households), 3,600+ ultra affluents ($250,000+) and 859 wealthy Americans ($500,000+), but estimated there were 67.5 million affluents in the U.S. with the average age of 46.1 years old.
Based on self-reported statistics, affluents:
* Watch 16 hours a week of TV
* Watch 15 hours a week of cable channels
* 69 percent own TVs
* 47 percent own connected web TVs
* 23 percent own a Smart TV
* 23 percent own a media receiver or streaming device.
Other findings included:
Compared to other populations, Affluents spend 42.9 hours a week using digital media online while millennials spend 46.5 hours a week, Gen X spend 47.6 hours a week, the boomer generation spend 39.5 hours a week and the most wealthy in the population spend 55.3 hours a week.
Affluents spend the most time on Facebook out of all social media outlets, with 70 percent on the social network six hours a week, 60 percent on YouTube for two hours, and 20 percent on Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat for 3-4 hours a week.


Twitter unveiled new audience-targeting tools and a new group dubbed Twitter Creative Performance Partners. The new apparatus includes a “look-alike-only targeting” platform that allows advertisers to focus on audiences that mesh with their existing consumers. The new group also reels in ShopIgniter to help marketers more easily attach photos, videos and other media to tweets, as well as test them programmatically.
announced a partnership with digital ad company engage:BDR. “These data segments allow our users precision in their campaigns,” engage:BDR President and CEO Ted Dhanik said. “When overlaid with our reach, which has been measured at hitting 97 percent of unique U.S. internet users, we’re creating a marketplace in which target audiences not only live, but are identifiable. This eliminates wasted spend on irrelevant users while still being scalable.”
"My wife has never slept with an escort.” So says USA’s Satisfaction Creator/EP Sean Jablonski in the new Cynsiders column. He says a lot of other interesting stuff too, when it comes to the challenges of writing a post-modern love story.


Music streaming service TIDAL appointed Daniel Green as Head of Global Marketing. He was most recently Director of Digital Strategy with Viacom International.


Sports fans were buzzing yesterday on social media when Gatorade released a new 90-second spot celebrating New York Yankees all-star Derek Jeter before he officially retires. Fans will be glad to know that Jeter himself wrote part of the ad copy and even suggested the tune “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, according to Adweek. Whether you’re a Yankees fan or not, check out the charming spot at www.cynopsis.com/#video.

See you Monday,
Jessica Reese  @JMarieReese

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director @robertacaploe
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