11/17/16: Univision Communications confirms over 200 upcoming layoffs, many from Fusion


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


Dark Social: The phrase dark social refers to the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by online analytics programs. The term was coined by Alexis Madrigal, formerly a senior editor at The Atlantic, now an Editor-At-large for Fusion. And speaking of Fusion…


For Univision Communications, 2016 has been all about addition: Acquisitions, investments, new initiatives. But now there’s some subtraction on the way, and it comes as a bit of a shock. The company confirmed that it will lay off between 200 and 250 employees, many of them from the millennial-oriented cable net and digital media company Fusion. In an interview with the Washington Post (the first news outlet to report on the layoffs), Univision exec Isaac Lee said that business and editorial employees across Univision would be included in the layoffs. Notably, Lee told the Post that no employees of Gizmodo Media Group, the network of former Gawker Media sites that Univision acquired over the summer, would be among the layoffs. With the layoffs also comes some restructuring: Fusion.net and TheRoot.com will join Gizomodo Media Group, and Fusion’s Real Future vertical will become a part of Gizmodo.com. "Constantly adjusting our scale and our processes is a reality of the business we are all in, and is not unique to us," Lee wrote to employees in an internal memo.


Just last month, Facebook admitted to measuring video ads in a way that inflated users’ average view time. Now the company is copping to more inaccuracies. In a new blog post, the social giant admitted that its Page Insights summaries have been miscalculating page reach “as a simple sum of daily reach instead of de-duplicating repeat visitors.” (The company insists that “the vast majority of reach data” in its Page Insights was unaffected, including graphs, historical reach, and other info.) Facebook says it’s revising how it gauges Page organic reach, now measuring reach counts based on viewable impressions. (In other words, organic reach will be measured only when a News Feed post actually enters a user’s screen.) Facebook estimates that the new standard – similar to its standard for paid ads – will lower reported reach by 20% on average. The company also admitted to over-reporting users’ average time spent on Instant Articles for over a year, and to over-counting the number of clicks that referred users directly to an app or website.
Facebook’s measurement woes were actually buried at the second half of the blog post (worth checking in full – here). First the company announced some new partnerships. Facebook says it’s teaming with third-party viewability verification companies including IAS, comScore and Moat. And the company says that Nielsen will start including Facebook video and Facebook Live viewership in its Digital Content Ratings. Facebook also says that it will begin “communicating more regularly” about updates to its metrics. To that end, the company says it will create a new Metrics FYI blog devoted entirely to such updates.


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ABC’s Freeform just launched some new digital content. Party Girl, an exclusive 10-epiode short form series produced by Maker Studios and New Form Digital, has debuted on the Freeform app and on Freeform.com. The series, which stars co-creator Lisa Schwartz, centers on a young woman working at a party company that specializes in themed birthdays.


In a recent post, Nielsen points out that eSports content is rapidly gaining in popularity. 14% of the 13-years-and-older populationare now fans of pro competitive gaming. That’s a 5% increase from last year – and the numbers are only growing. That’s why Nielsen calls eSports a “potentially lucrative complement to the sports status quo.” And there’s no better time to learn more. There’s still time to register for today’s Cynopsis webinar, eSports: How to Maximize & Monetize Competitive Gaming. The webinar starts at 1:30pm ET – and you can register here.


Twitter has spent much of 2016 locking up the rights to live-streamed content, including weekly NFL games. And sometimes viewers just don’t want to watch such programming on anything other than a TV. That’s why Twitter launched Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One apps about two months ago. Now Android TV joins the list. In addition to live-streams, the app offers access to popular tweets, as well as the ability to watch popular Periscope broadcasts. Another feature: Users can watch live broadcasts and a curated feed of tweets side-by-side. 


Amazon reportedly paid a fortune to land the cast of Top Gear for its new automotive show. And one thing’s for sure: Amazon intends to get some bang for its buck. The Grand Tour debuts tomorrow in five countries, including the U.S. and the U.K. New episodes will roll out weekly for 12 weeks. But it won’t stop there: In an announcement on the show’s YouTube channel, The Grand Tour’s stars revealed that, come December, the show will debut in 200 countries. It’ll be available exclusively on Amazon.


This month’s Model D Awards honored the digital media industry’s best and brightest. “We are incredibly proud to receive the honor of Best Branded Integration Web Series,” said Krista Liney, History’s SVP of Brand Creative. “ROOTS was groundbreaking in many ways, and the HISTORY team was so pleased to be able to partner with 23andMe on a contextually relevant “Know Your Roots” campaign, working with our talent to discover more about their ancestry while shining a light on the belief that identity extends beyond race.” Lukas Cudrigh, Senior Vice President of Digital Red Bull Media House, had this to say: “Winning four Cynopsis Model D awards is both a tremendous honor and a significant recognition of our commitment to establish Red Bull TV as a premier content and digital TV service provider.”


@mandy1o28: this was one depressing episode of greys anatomy I miss Derek
Canvs, the language analytics company that measures emotions around content, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from Nov. 9-15 using Twitter data from Nielsen. (Election-related tweets are excluded from this analysis.) Insights from the 3,599,418 tweets expressing a specific Emotional Reaction (ER) include:
– 17.8% of viewers who thought something they were watching was crazy were tuned into NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
– 10.8% of people who said their minds were blown while watching TV witnessed the Iowa Hawkeyes beat the undefeated Michigan Wolverines on ABC.
– 9% of viewers who mentioned that something on TV was awkward were watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo.
– 3% of people who talked about being sad while watching TV were keenly affected by a particularly depressing episode of Grey’s Anatomy on ABC.


Time Inc. has landed a new exec. Scott Kelliher, Yahoo’s chief of technology and telecommunications ad sales, will hold a similar position at Time Inc., overseeing technology, revenue growth and telecom ad sales across the company’s brands. He’ll hold the title of President of Technology and Telecommunications. Meanwhile, Michael Schneider, who heads up financial services, tech, and telecommunications for the East Coast, will be promoted to SVP of financial services. Both execs will report to Mark Ellis, Time Inc.’s President and COO of Sales and Marketing. Kelliher starts at Time Inc. on December 5.


seems to have a thing for actors named Hugh. In fact, two of them feature prominently in Hulu original series that debuted this year. What are their last names, and what shows do they star in?  (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)


Our Last Trivia Question: What Fullscreen-owned digital media company is responsible for sci-fi and fantasy shows such as Red vs. Blue and RWBY? Answer Rooster Teeth. Kudos to Steve Johnson-SJConnects/IL, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, David Westberg-Sag-Aftra Federal Credit Union/CA, and Lorrie Shilling/CA


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.


Advice to all branded content creators: If you can, cast James Corden. In a new digital series sponsored by Chase Sapphire, The Late Late Show host dives into the future of travel. In a new episode of the series, called Reserve What’s Next, Corden visits a Tennesee company that uses 3D printing technology to make vehicles. Check it out here.

See you on tomorrow,
David Teich

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