12/18/15: NFL seeks live-streamer for Thursday Night Football; AwesomenessTV inks content deal with Vubiquity; Netflix to re-encode its videos


Good morning. It’s Friday December 18, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


NFL football is looking for a new home for Thursday Night Football  or possibly two new homes. Along with the major networks, the NFL sent out RFPs to online platforms such as Google, Yahoo, Apple, and Amazon. The goal would be to simulcast games on both linear TV and a streaming outlet. Both partners would have to ink a two-year commitment and the bidding floor for the whole package would be $300 million. Not a surprising figure, given that Yahoo recently paid $15 million to broadcast a single game. But, as VideoInk points out, that broadcast was exclusive, and the lack of exclusivity in this instance might scare away streaming providers.


MCN and multi-platform production company AwesomenessTV has inked an SVOD distribution arrangement with video services provider Vubiquity. The deal will bring numerous AwesomenessTV series, including Fifth Harmony Takeover and Makeup Mythbusters, to the Middle East, Africa, Southeastern Europe, and most of Latin America. (Brazil, very uncharacteristically, is missing the party.) The content will be available through Vubiquity-powered SVOD platforms.

Remember when TV Land was just for Honeymooners and Andy Griffith re-runs? Times have changed, Opie. The net has teamed up with digital comedy network Funny or Die, ordering a pilot for Throwing Shade, a TV adaptation of FOD’s politics and pop culture-oriented podcast of the same name. Podcast hosts Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi are credited as creators; they will also Executive Produce and star in the series.  

OTT platform Sling’s Sling Latino just snapped up more than 130 movie titles from CineSony Television, Sony Pictures Television’s Spanish-language arm. Most are Hollywood films in Spanish, including Zombieland, Rudy, and Seven Years in Tibet. Sling Latino initially launched in June. 


Here’s a nice little perk of having Facebook bona fides: the social network is now letting all users with Verified Pages make use of live-streaming video. It’s the next step in Facebook’s rollout of its live-streaming video service, which it eventually aims to make available to all its users. The feature was already accessible to a handful of celebs and Verified Pages, as well as a small group of U.S. iPhone users.

In order to increase video quality and decrease bandwidth usage, Netflix will be re-encoding all its files to reflect the technical needs of its individual pieces of content. For instance, Gladiator will probably be blessed with a higher bitrate than The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. But since the latter actually doesn’t need as much data to look good, you won’t notice any difference. Netflix plan to have the job completed by Q1 2016. The news was first reported by Variety.  


To answer your inevitable question, no, the house wasn’t crowded enough already. Fuller House, Netflix’s 13-episode spinoff of ABC’s classic family sitcom, Full House, has received an official premiere date: The series will debut on the streaming service February 26. Candace Cameron Bure will serve as the lead, reprising the role of D.J.


Time to spring for some more expensive turmeric. Food and travel-oriented digital video company Tastemade has raised $40 million in Series D Funding. Investors included Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures, and Comcast Ventures, along with several others. Tastemade Co-Founder Larry Fitzgibbon told Variety that the funds will likely be used to build the company’s technical infrastructure and bring original content to more markets. Tastemade has raised about $80 million to date.


DreamWorks Animation has enlisted web development platform Wix in a multiplatform promotional effort for Kung Fu Panda 3, which premieres January 29. The campaign, which debuts with a 30-second spot during the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl 50, will feature characters from the film, and highlight the website-creating capabilities of Wix’s software platform. A multi-week cross-platform campaign geared toward online and social media outlets will follow.


The call for entry is now open for the second annual
Top Women in Digital Awards

Honoring those who excel in digital content, marketing, advertising, social media, and online. These are women who may already be leaders in their fields, or they may be the pros who execute another’s vision. They may be just a few years out of college. Or they may be inventors, tech wizards, or senior-level execs who have helped clear a path in what is still a relatively young industry.

Start your entry TODAY.


Ellen DeGeneres and Justin Bieber: Digital giant slayers. Video analytics company Tubular Labs took a look at which companies and individuals garnered the most video engagement in November, and for the first time in a good long while, BuzzFeed didn’t top the list. Tubular determined that clips from The Ellen Show, released through the EllenTube platform, generated 1.1 billion views across Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms, placing DeGeneres’s content atop the list. Justin Bieber clocked in at #2 with 853 million views, while BuzzFeed’s Tasty videos came in third with 789 million views. It’s worth noting that, were BuzzFeed’s properties to be combined, they’d easily rule the top spot: BuzzFeed Video came in just behind BuzzFeed Tasty with 745 million views, while BuzzFeedFood came in at 6th with 558 million. Check out the full list here.

ListenFirst Media took a look at Tuesday’s GOP presidential debate on CNN using its Digital Engagement Rating for Politics tool, which measures voter behavior acrossFacebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube.DER™ – Politics evaluates which 2016 Presidential hopefuls are garnering the most engagements among voters across the digital and social sphere by attracting new fans, generating organic conversation and more.Some of ListenFirst’s top findings:
Donald Trump had the highest cumulative rating from all debates (3.3 million), sharing29%of the total engagements accumulated from all candidates.
– Additionally, Trump scored the highest DER™ of all candidates on the day of each debate with the exception of the CNN debate on 9/16, where Ben Carson came out on top, and the Fox Business debate on 11/10, where Ted Cruz came out on top.
– Ben Carson had the highest cumulative searches day of debate, followed by Carly Fiorina, then Donald Trump.

ListenFirst CEO and co-Founder Jason Klein says that the company has noticed a correlation between DER™ and candidates’ positions in the polls.  The reason, he said, is that ListenFirst is not merely analyzing the volume of conversation surrounding individual candidates. “The majority of the contributions to a Digital Engagement Rating are actually coming from clicks,” he told Cynopsis Digital. “When Donald Trump posts something to his Facebook page, and a million people click “like,” or share with their friends and communities…that’s a bit closer to something that might be a proxy for who they’re going to vote for.”

For a cumulative look at the GOP candidates’ DER™ ratings, compiled from the days of this year’s Republican debates, see the chart below.

ListenFirst Digital Engagement Rating (DER)™ – Politics: Day of 2015 GOP Debates



A+E Networks has made two notable promotions: Daniel Suratt, previously the EVP of Digital Media & Business Development, will now serve as President of Corporate Development, Strategy and Investments. Meanwhile, Sean Cohan, EVP of International, will add oversight of A+E’s digital media to his list of duties, assuming the position of President, International and Digital Media. The moves signal an alignment of A+E’s digital media, investment, and international divisions.








Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuts today  a fact that roughly 900% of marketers have tried to take advantage of.  And it must be said, Tiny Horse did a very decent job of it. The digital agency teamed up with gaming influencers from the Maker Studios network to promote EA Sports’ newest Star Wars: Battlefront video game for Walmart. The footage was streamed on Walmart’s internal distribution network across 3,000 stores. The campaign ends December 24. Check out one of the spots here

See you Monday,
David Teich

Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @ robertacaploe
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