12/15/17: Disney to acquire 21st Century Fox assets, including Hulu stake

CynopsisDigital
Good morning. It’s Friday December 15, 2017 and this is your your first early morning Digital briefing. Take note: The Cynopsis Digital briefing will be published only twice next week, on December 19 and December 21. There will be no editions during the week of December 25. Our first new edition of the New Year will be on January 2nd.
 
 
TODAY’S CODEBREAKER
 
Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are graphical control elements that let users keep track of where exactly they are within websites, documents, and programs. When it comes to webpages, breadcrumbs generally take the form of navigation links at the top of a page, which help users understand where on the website they are.
 
 
JUST IN…
 
It’s official: Disney has finalized an agreement to buy most of 21st Century Fox. The all-stock deal will clock in at $52.4 billion. A slew of new properties are included in the acquisition, including 21st Century Fox’s film titles and studio, and media brands such as National Geographic and FX Networks. The deal grants Disney a slew of new movie and TV properties just as it’s gearing up to launch its own streaming service in 2019. (Simply put, Netflix is about to have a formidable competitor on its hands.) Disney will also gain a 50% stake in Endemol Shine Group, a 39% stake in the European satellite broadcaster Sky, and control of the Star India satellite service.
 
One of the most fascinating (and messy) aspects of the Disney/Fox acquisition: Disney will gain Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu. And since Disney already has its own 30% stake, it will gain majority ownership of the service. But things aren’t all that simple: Hulu was initially conceived as a pure joint venture between Fox, Disney, and Comcast/NBCU (with Time Warner later gaining a 10% stake). And under the terms of the initial JV agreement, it will be difficult for Disney to make any major structural changes to the company without NBCU’s approval. For the moment, it’s not 100 percent clear what changes Disney might want to make to the service. (Disney CEO Bob Iger has only said that he intends to use Hulu as a platform for more “adult-oriented product” from the soon-to-be-acquired Fox assets.) Some analysts have speculated that Disney may try to buy out all outstanding shares in Hulu. But others, like BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield, have speculated that Disney may grow exasperated with the complexity of operating the service, and sell off its stake to Comcast. It’s all hypothetical for the time being, and it’ll likely be at least a year before the deal closes.  
 
The FCC voted to repeal its 2015 net neutrality rules, which had mandated that telcos treat all of their web traffic equally. As expected, the repeal passed on a party line vote, with the agency’s three Republican members voting in favor. FCC head Ajit Pai, who joined the agency in 2012 before President Donald Trump elevated him to Chairman earlier this year, had long advocated the policy change. The vote also marks a major victory for the telecom industry, which had fiercely opposed the Obama-era regulations. Net neutrality advocates have argued that telcos will now be empowered to slow or block certain web traffic, or to create paid “fast lanes” for consumers and publishers. The agency’s Republican commissioner’s say that companies will still have to disclose such decisions to the public, and that another powerful agency – the FTC – will be able to step in if telcos engage in anticompetitive practices.
 
 
ADVERTISING
 
Facebook confirmed that will begin testing pre-roll video ads for videos that appear in Watch, its recently-launched section for longer-form video content. The ads will start rolling out next year. AdAge reported on the upcoming tests earlier this month, but Facebook didn’t comment at the time. In its announcement, the company stressed that the new pre-roll ads won’t appear in users’ News Feeds. The use of pre-roll ads is a somewhat surprising development for a company that has long favored mid-roll ads (i.e., ads that appear in the middle of a video). As recently as July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg voiced a personal opposition to using pre-roll ads. How quickly things can change.
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
 [ 2017 salary survey report ]
 
There’s good news and bad news…
 
Good news: the gender gap is closing a bit
Bad news: women consistently make less than men
($27K less, in fact, vs. $32K in 2016)
 
 

APPS + PLATFORMS
 
Amazon and Google may finally be reaching a detente. Two years after banning Google’s Chromecast streaming adapter from its e-commerce marketplace, Amazon has once again begun listing the device. The device isn’t actually available for purchase just yet – it’s simply listed as “currently unavailable.” Still, the fact that the device is listed signals that it will likely be available soon. (CNet was the first to notice the listing.) In addition to the Chromecast, the 4K video-capable Chromecast Ultra adapter is also now listed on Amazon. The changes come in the wake of a particularly acrimonious dispute between Amazon and Google. Notably, Google blocked the Amazon Echo Show smart speaker from accessing YouTube. When asked about the decision, a Google spokesperson bluntly admitted that Amazon’s decision not to sell Google products was a big factor. Speaking of which, don’t be surprised if the Echo Show regains its YouTube access in the not-too-distant future.
 
Amazon has also begun to list the Apple TV streaming device, which it banned from its e-commerce marketplace at about the same time as it banned the Chromecast. But reversing course on the Apple device comes as much less of a surprise: The decision comes in the wake of a previously-announced deal between Amazon and Apple. Under that agreement, which was first announced in June, Apple also agreed to bring the Amazon Prime Video service to Apple TV.
 
 
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
 
Apple just released an updated version of its Final Cut Pro X video editing suite, and VR pros will be happy. Officially called Final Cut Pro X 10.4, the new software update lets users work on 360 degree videos, including both 2D and 3D content. Editors can then export such videos to sites that support the formats, such Vimeo or YouTube. Users can even preview their videos using an HTC Vive VR headset. (It should be noted that working with a VR headset will require advanced hardware – either a new iMac Pro or, for owners of older Macbooks, external processing units that can only be purchased from third-party sellers.) In addition to 360-degree video, the updated editing software adds support for HDR  (high-dynamic range) content, along with the ability to edit ultra-high definition 8K videos.
 
Google and the NFL announced a second season of NFL Immersed, a VR docu-series that follows NFL players both on and off the field. The first three episodes of the new series are now available through YouTube VR, the NFL’s YouTube channel, or via Google’s Daydream headset. The show’s first season debuted in November 2016.
 
 
SHORT FORM VIDEO
 
PeopleTV, Time Inc.’s ad-supported lifestyle streaming service, is getting set to launch a new series. Called The Perfect Fit, the six-episode show is billed as a “body-positive” series. It follows three curvy brides-to-be as they search for wedding gowns. The series, which was produced by Authentic Entertainment, debuts Tuesday, January 9.
 
 
INFLUENCERS
 
Andrea Russett, a popular YouTube personality and comedian with more than 2.8 million subscribers, has inked a wide-ranging pact with the digital media company Fullscreen. Under the deal, Fullscreen will create, develop, and pitch projects for Russett. Russett, who’s only 22 years old, had previously hosted a talk show on Fullscreen’s soon-to-be defunct SVOD service.
 
 
TRIVIA
 
Our Last Trivia Question: In the film version of Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, protagonist Nola Darling is played by Tracy Camilla Johns. Who plays Nola in the Netflix adaptation? Answer: DeWanda Wise. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Susan Nessanbaum Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, and David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union CA.
 
What’s the name of Spike Lee’s production company? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
 
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
The Deadline is Next Week!
 
Whether you are looking to submit a campaign, a series, a partnership or you are excited to shine a light on a certain social good shining star, we’re ready to celebrate your good work! With the giving-season upon us, the needs of others should be brought to light and the media industry is a perfect vessel for that attention. The deadline is Wednesday, December 20th.
 

SHORT FORM SPOTLIGHT
 
Baobab Studios, an animation startup backed by Fox and Comcast, just released its second VR film. Called Asteroids!, the short follows two aliens – named Mac & Cheez – as they do daily chores on their spaceship. (Mac & Cheez also headlined Invasion, Baobab’s first VR film.) YouTube star Ingrid Nilsen and actress Elizabeth Banks both do voice work in the film. You can download Asteroids! on a number of VR headsets. You can also check out Baobab’s 360-degree sneak peek at the film – here
 
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JOB OF THE DAY


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JOB OPENING: SALES ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/WIVB/WNLO TV/Buffalo: Exp’d professional w/min 2-3yrs exp media sales or outside sales exp. Proven track rec developing new business & growing existing business. Able to work successfully in multi-platform envir. Strong knwlg of MS products; Wide Orbit a +. Full info/apply HERE (12/22)

JOB OPENING: AD SALES ACCT EXEC/UPTV/aspire NY: Implement approved ad sales strategies. Sell linear and digital features of two dynamic properties to agencies & clients. Relationships w media dec. mkers +. 5-7 yrs exp. in national media Res HERE (12/21)

JOB OPENING: EXECUTIVE RECRUITER/JAMES & CO LLC/NYC: Responsible for search execution to include but not limited to developing target list, candidate identification and assessment as well as candidate interviews. Understanding of landscape for talent in our search verticals a must. Full job info/apply HERE (12/20)

JOB OPENING: COORD PUBLICITY & AWARDS/A+E/NY: Assist A+E Studio, Awards, & Corp Outreach with the day-to-day operations of the dept. Manage award submissions, coordinate w/press, interface with talent. Exp working in office environment publicity or mktg pref’d. Excellent comm & writing skills a must. Apply HERE (12/20)

 
JOB OPENING: LIVE EVENTS OPERATION MGR/NBC Sports/Philadelphia: Work closely w/all depts for multi-platform operational needs. Assist in operational tech workflows. 5+ yrs in production/ops of live TV sporting events. Highly orgnzd, self-sufficient & exc comm skills. Full info/apply HERE (12/20)
 
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JOB OPENING: ACCOUNTING & TRAFFIC COORDINATOR/FOX/Chicago: Create/load daily logs thru placement of commercial spots, graphics, episode formats & ratings. BA deg; accounting, finance, or related bus. field or equiv work exp. Exc written/verbal comm skills a must. Wide orbit & oracle exp pref’d. Full info/apply HERE (12/17)

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JOB OPENING: SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR/National Geographic/DC: Lead marketing strategy for tentpole programming across all platforms. Drive tune-in & increased ratings for major marketing priorities. 10+ yrs of entertainment category exp. Excellent verbal and written communication skills Full info/apply HERE (12/16)

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