11/05/15: Bryan Cranston’s ‘Sneaky Pete’ officially picked up by Amazon; Facebook reports stellar Q3 numbers; Verizon and the NBA ink a $400 million dollar sponsorship pact



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Good morning. It’s Thursday November 5, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


Facebook’s Q3 earnings release contained some significant news: Namely, that Facebook is an unstoppable juggernaut bent on world domination…Okay, maybe that’s extreme. But consider this: The company now sees more than one billion users, and eight billion video views, every year. Wait, scratch that. It’s actually every DAY. The company also announced that it has generated $4.5 billion dollars in revenue in Q3, up from $3.2 billion dollars in Q3 of 2014. Facebook has 1.55 billion monthly active users.
*Swish.* That’s what $400 million sounds like. Verizon has inked a huge exclusive sponsorship deal with the National Basketball Association; according to USA Today, it’s worth $400 million over three years. As part of the deal, Verizon plans to launch tons of NBA-related content on its Go90 digital streaming service, including daily highlights and some original content produced alongside the league. Go90 users will also be able to buy the out-of-market games package NBA League Pass, though that content won’t be exclusive. Verizon is now the official wireless service provider of the NBA, WNBA, NBA Development League and USA Basketball. Verizon branding will be integrated into NBA TV, as well as NBA.com, the NBA App, and other NBA-related digital platforms.


Women’s tennis is coming to the middle kingdom. Chinese streaming video platform iQiyi has signed a 10-year content deal with the Women’s Tennis Association, taking effect in 2017. It’s non-exclusive, though the partners involved call iQiyi “the WTA’s rights partner in China.” Streaming content will include singles and doubles matches, as well as highlights and interviews, viewable on laptops, phones, and other devices.
Ah, 1992. A simpler time, when Ben Stiller looked young enough to earn a merit badge. The CW has rescued The Ben Stiller show, placing it on CW Seed, the network’s streaming site. All 13 episodes of the short-lived cult classic sketch series are available for free.  The CW acquired the rights from Warner Bros. Television. (The CW itself is a 50-50 joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS.)
Project Greenlight just wrapped its fourth season on HBO. Now it’s going digital.  Digital production company Adaptive Studios has launched an online version of HBO’s docu-series. Adaptive worked with the producing partners Pearl Street Films and Miramax. Available at projectgreenlight.com, Project Greenlight Digital Studios will offer curated, crowd-sourced content for digital audiences, along with ongoing competitions. The site launched Tuesday with its opening competition; its winner will receive a $25,000 to help produce an original digital series.
The CBS Television Stations group and Health Media Network have announced a new multi-year partnership. HMN, a Point of Care Media company that uses digital TVs to offer patient education in waiting rooms and medical practices, will now deliver CBS Television Stations’ health and lifestyle content to consumers.



Starz is increasing its foothold in digital, and the network is opening its wallet to do so. As part of a $7 million round of funding, the premium cable net has taken a stake in the movie-streaming SVOD service Fandor. DNS Capital and the investment bank LionTree Capital Partners also participated in the funding round.


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It’s official: Bryan Cranston’s new show is sneaking onto Amazon Prime. Amazon has confirmed what Deadline reported in early September: Sneaky Pete, Executive Produced by Cranston and starring Giovanni Ribisi, has been picked up for a full season order. In 2016, the series will debut exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in the U.S., U.K., Austria, Japan, and Germany. The show about a con man recently freed from prison, whose pilot debuted on Amazon Prime in August, was co-produced by Sony Pictures TV
These cyborgs are way cooler than anything you’ll find in a sci-fi flick. Conde Nast Entertainment has partnered with Reddit to launch Cyborg Nation, a six-part documentary series about the rise of human-technology interfaces. Topics will include profiles of Hugh Herr, a rock climber who uses bionic legs, and the company SynTouch, which produces a mechanical sensor that amputees can use to replicate the sense of human touch. With episodes about five minutes long, the series premiered yesterday on Wired’s channel on The Scene, CNE’s video platform. This is Reddit’s first entertainment deal.
The Frederator animation network, best known for scripted series such as Bee and PuppyCat and Bravest Warriors, has launched Frederator Flux, a new production wing for unscripted content. The division was in large part formed due to the success of 107 Facts, Frederator’s trivia-focused series. Frederator Flux will produce new episodes of 107 Facts, as well as additional (as-yet unannounced) scripted series.
It’s easy to love sports. But this year’s 2015 Model D Awards Finalists for Best Original Sports Web Series somehow found a way to make us love them even more. ESPN Creative Works, Turner Sports, and University of San Francisco Athletics blessed us with the best of the best in new digital sports programming. Check out some of their work, and register for the
2015 Cynopsis Digital Model D Awards Luncheon, HERE: http://cynopsis.com/model-d-finalists/


WWE is bodyslamming its way into virtual reality. Variety reports that the network has launched two 360-degree VR videos, exclusively on Samsung ElectronicsMilk VR service. The videos, featuring highlights from two recent matches, are available on the developer-friendly Samsung Gear VR Innovator edition, and will also be available on the consumer-oriented Gear VR, which debuts November 27. WWE worked with the studio Reel FX to produce the videos.
WakingApp has raised $4.3 million in series C funding. The company provides tools for streamlining VR content creation. Chinese game developer Youzu Interactive was the lead investor.



Even local news is going over the top. Startup venture NewsON has launched a free, ad-supported local news app for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, as well as Roku devices. The service covers about 75% of the U.S., including 118 stations in 90 different markets. Content includes live news, clips, and previous broadcasts. NewsON is owned by Cox Media Group, Hearst Television, Raycom Media, Hubbard Broadcasting, Media General, and the ABC Owned Television Station Group.
Them’s fightin’ words. Yesterday, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes suggested that the company intends to license less content to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon. “We are evaluating whether to retain our rights for a longer period of time and forego or delay certain content licensing,” he said. “This would effectively push the [subscription video] window for content on our networks to a multiyear period more consistent with traditional syndication.” The apparent goal would be to get viewers to watch content on Time Warner’s own networks, instead of accessing it elsewhere. Though as Re/Code points out, Time Warner has already signed multiple streaming deals that are set to run for several years, so nothing will change immediately.


’s digital media division keeps on growing. The latest addition is the agent Sara Early. Early will identify and represent brands, platforms, and digital influencers for UTA. Previously, she served as an agent at ICM.
TruSignal, a company that uses data and predictive analytics to power digital advertising, has announced a new hire. Dave Oliveira will serve as Chief Revenue Officer. Most recently, Oliveira served as CEO of search-optimization platform Balihoo.


Shine a light on your team’s work in the
CYNOPSIS Social Good Awards

Media professionals’ commitment to community is honored in the Cynopsis Social Good Awards, recognizing individuals and organizations who give back to the public through innovative linear TV, digital and marketing campaigns. We’ll be celebrating promotions for diversity, environmental initiatives, anti-bullying and much more.



How do you think Aladdin would fair in modern-day New York City? Surprisingly well, as it turns out. Courtesy of PrankvsPrank and filmmaker Casey Neistat, learn what happens when someone rides a magic carpet through Manhattan’s busy streets. Check it out here.

See you tomorrow,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
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JOB OPENING: CREATIVE DIRECTOR/SundanceTV/NYC: Oversee daily creative ops of On-Air Promos. Mng team Writer/Preditors & external resources to support projects. Work w/SVP of Brand as well as Marketing, to identify & solidify brand identity. Full info/apply HERE (11/6)

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