Friday, February 6th, 2009

Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Friday, February 6, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. 

Despite devoting more time and resources to the problem studios are losing the piracy war as broadband connections proliferate and video sharing sites multiply, reports the NYTimes. The logistics of stemming piracy continue to frustrate the industry as many of the most popular streaming sites operate oversees and are able to shift locations at the drop of a hat. A geo targeted map that tracks where people are connecting from at any given time put together by P2P site The Pirate Bay reveals just how global the problem is; China was responsible for more than 25% of the connections as of yesterday, followed by Taiwan (8.6%,) the U.S. (7.5%) and Spain (7.7%).


Tribune will merge the online resources of The Los Angeles Times and TV/movie listing service Zap2it to form a new online entertainment news bureau that will create original multimedia content for the company’s owned and operated newspaper and local station sites. The bureau will be located at the staff-decimated LA Times, led by Richard Rushfield and Joseph Kapsch. One of the team’s first editorial projects will be a behind-the-scenes look at American Idol.
Following up on the success of Katie Couric’s podcasts, unveiled Washington Unplugged, a 15-minute weekly webcast hosted by Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent and Moderator of Face The Nation. It will premiere new episodes every Friday at 2 pm ET. launched a new short-form web series My Alibi from Take180, following five high school seniors as they set out to prove their innocence after a scandalous prank is pulled on school premises. The 18-episode show, which originally premiered last Fall on Take180’s beta site, also integrates audience-submitted content including life lessons that are written into episode scripts and webcam videos uploaded by fans.


A new online video site called is hoping to attract young users looking for advice on financial matters. The site’s 20-something video bloggers interview experts on issues young investors should be thinking more about but are unlikely to find sexy, including saving, investment, student loans management, tax preparation, insurance and retirement. All video content on the site is streamed in HD and can be shared via widgets with other websites and social networking pages.
Sports fans who are suffering football withdrawal symptoms may want to check out Daily Ball Breakers on, a sardonic daily video blog that finds new and wicked ways to satirize the news coming out of the sporting world. Head writer Dino Markus, who has worked for Jim Rome for the past 3 years, is quick to put all the gigantic egos in their place and remind us what athletes really play for these days – money and lots of it. (Where’s the Executive Order limiting athlete’s pay?)


The Interactive Advertising Bureau released for public comments its Video Player-Ad Interface Definitions Guidelines (VPAID,) the next step in building a common language for buying, selling, creating and delivering digital video advertising. The definitions set out to better define standard methods for video ads to communicate with video players and enable ad compatibility across all VPAID-compliant players. An accepted set of interface guidelines, along with measurement and ad format standards, promises to cut production costs and improve ROI for advertisers, according to the IAB. The comment period for VPAID closes on March 5, 2009, after which the feedback will be reviewed and the guidelines will be finalized and released.


Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant rejected a request to reinstate ousted Screen Actors Guild Executive Director Doug Allen at SAG President Alan Rosenberg’s request. The decision is expected to finally end infighting at SAG and pave the way for negotiations to continue with the studios.
News Corp. was the latest media conglomerate to miss its earnings projections swinging to a net loss of $6.4 billion, thanks in part to a $8.4 billion writedown on the purchase of Dow Jones and other assets. News Corp. doesn’t break out revenues for MySpace or Fox Interactive Media, but the “other” category it is grouped in had an adjusted operating loss of $38 million. CEO and Chairman Rupert Murdoch was proud to point out that the Wall Street Journal has been the only major paper to increase circulation this year and that traffic to WSJ Digital has increased 76% since last year.
President Obama is tapping the millions of loyal supporters he attracted through the web to help promote his embattled stimulus package bill. A posting on instructs supporters how to set up parties this weekend to discuss the issues involved, utilize online tools to gather invitees and use online sign-in sheets to track who attends. 
Google is teaming with IBM on a new online Health Records software service to enable personal medical devices used for patient monitoring, screening and routine evaluation to automatically stream data results into a patient’s Google Health Account or other personal health records.


The internet played an increasing role in Super Bowl Sunday festivities, with two-thirds of those who watched the Super Bowl indicating that they went online at some point during game day, according to a ComScore survey. The survey found that:

  • Approximately 41% of respondents said they used the internet during the actual game, while 33% logged online during halftime
  • 12% of respondents said they used the internet to view this year’s Super Bowl ads online; 8 % said they viewed previous years’ ads
  • 15% of respondents said they visited an advertiser’s site after viewing their Super Bowl ad; the top destinations were (29%), (23%) and (22%)
  • 9% of respondents said they voted for the Super Bowl MVP via text messaging or online

In a sign that the global cellphone market may be maturing, the number of total mobile units shipped declined to 289 million units in Q4 2008, according to IDC, 12.6% lower than the 330.8 million units shipped during Q4 of 2007. For the full year 2008, vendors shipped a total of 1.18 billion units worldwide – 3.5% greater than the 1.14 billion units shipped during 2007.
Mobile TV and video usage doubled in North America year-on-year for Q4 2008 according to a quarterly report from solutions provider QuickPlay Media, which works with a number of carriers in the U.S. and Canada including AT&T, Sprint and Rogers Wireless. Downloads also experienced momentum over this timeframe, with the average number of downloads per user increasing by approximately 50 percent. Interestingly the total # of streams per user decline from 19.4 to 17.4, suggesting users are watching more mobile TV service, which generate fewer streams but for a longer period.


Samsung Mobile unveiled the industry’s first 8-megapixel camera phone, expected to retail for $300 by the end of this month. The Samsung Memoir, available exclusively for T-Mobile, features a touch-screen interface with a virtual QWERTY keyboard, a Xenon flash, 16x digital zoom and five shooting modes, bridging the gap between a full fledged digital camera and a 3G smartphone. Samsung developed a proprietary user interface with a new photo widget enabling easy photo sharing with popular online photo sites including Flickr, Photobucket and Snapfish.
MTV’s Nickelodeon is launching its first-ever series of iPhone and iTouch applications featuring content from SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and iCarly.  Nick will also launch extensions of its online gaming sites – and – on the iPhone, including streaming mobile video applications and games. SpongeBob SquarePants Atlantis Treasures, published by THQ, came out yesterday. A Dora the Explorer app planned for March will challenge kids to match shapes, count numbers and practice the alphabet in touch-and-shake oriented game play. The SpongeBob Tickler, which launched on Jan. 20, has cracked the top 10 best-selling iTunes applications receiving more than 3,000 downloads per day.


AMC‘s SVP/Scripted Series and Miniseries, Christina Wayne, has resigned.  She had been with the network since November 2005 when she came on as a VP.  Wayne was a major player in championing Mad Men thru the development process, as well as overseeing the development of other critically acclaimed series including Broken Trail and Breaking Bad. In a statement, AMC said: “We’re proud of what Christina Wayne has accomplished at AMC during her tenure here and thank her for all of her contributions in helping to make AMC home to the best dramas on television.”

Manish Bhatia, most recently President of Global Services and U.S. Sales for Nielsen Online, has been upped to President of Advanced Digital Services at Nielsen Co., a newly created position per MediaPost. Manish oversee measurement and utilization of data from television digital set-top devices as well as integrating set top findings with data from Nielsen’s traditional TV and online measurement services.
Seattle-based search company InfoSpace named William Lansing, former CEO of Value Vision Media, as its new CEO, replacing Jim Voelker, who is retiring after running the company for 6 years. Will launched internet video service Shop NBC.TV while at Value Vision.
Drew Schutte
was named SVP & Chief Revenue Officer of Conde Nast Digital, the publisher’s new digital arm announced last month. He will manage the newly consolidated digital sales team and work closely with the publishers on integrated sales throughout all of the company’s titles. Longtime publishing director of Wired, Drew was previously Publisher of The New Yorker – a job Lisa Hughes will fill at Conde Nast.
Digital media holding company ARTISTdirect appointed Dimitri Villard as CEO pursuant to a three-year employment agreement. The Company also made some significant changes to its capital structure, including the elimination of approximately $13 million of senior debt and approximately $27.6 million of subordinated debt. Dimitri, who had been serving as interim CEO since March of 2008, was also named Chairman of the Board. 


Netflix, which announced yesterday that 1 million Xbox users have downloaded and activated its Watch Instantly streaming service and watched 1.5 billion minutes of video since November, has been busy building plug-and-play integrations to allow users to port digital downloads to their televisions. What about Hulu? The site’s widget gallery makes it easy to export shows to other web environments but exporting Hulu content to the big screen is more of a challenge. Software solution PlayOn is one way to do it, a simple plug in that allows you to watch Hulu, Netflix, CBS, YouTube and other content via a PS3, Xbox 360, HP MediaSmart device and soon a Wii. It is currently priced at $29.99 but the company says the price will go up to $39.99 after Feb. 8. Media Server company ReQuest, updated their whole house Intelligent Media Client last week adding the ability to stream content from Hulu. ReQuest’s IMC acts as a flexible hub with an intuitive interface bringing DVD movies, music, photos, online streaming content and informational widgets to your big set. But it costs about $2500 suggested retail. That buys a lot of a la carte purchases through your Apple TV.
Later — Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

Cynopsis Digital Ad Sales:
Chuck Bolkcom – 646-468-6180 / [email protected]
Mark Bohn- 203-583-1224 / mark@cynopsis. com
Classifieds – Trish Pihonak- 203-926-9878 / [email protected]

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Cyn opsis CLASSIFIEDSFor More classifieds, visit the classifieds page here    .

JOB OPENING: DIR, FINANCE/Embassy Row TV/NY: All aspects accting & financial reptg. CPA pref, BA & 10+ yrs exp. Entertainment exp. req, TV pref. Apply: (2/13)

JOB OPENING: DIR. AD SALES RES /A&E TV-NY: Dvlp strategies & day-to-day for Ad Sls. BA/BS & 8 yrs media rsrch & mgmt exp. Knowl Nielsen/prime rsrch. Resume: (2/13)

JOB OPENING: CUST SVC REP/LA, CA/Baseline Inc: Filtering & monitoring client requests in multiple databases. 2+ yrs exp. Exp using or creating internal tracking databases. Deep understanding of ind. Send res to: [email protected] (2/12)

JOB OPENING: UNIT PUBLICIST/DKC/NYC: to work on location during prod of nationally synd TV show to ensure proper execution of all publicity efforts. 5+yrs exp w/ TV a must & health/wellness a plus. Resume: [email protected] (2/11)

JOB OPENING: SR. DIR, CLIENT DEVELOPMENT/NY/Ent-Media research co: Develop new/expand existing biz for research prod/custom services. Min 3 yrs market research sales exp. (2/11)

JOB OPENING: ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE (Universal Sports/NYC): 5-7 yrs exp @ sports network/website co., 3 yrs. Sports or digital sales exp req’d. Knwlg effective/creative pckgng strat a must. Res: [email protected] (2/17)

INTERNSHIPS – These positions are for credit only – nobody gets paid here. These ads are always posted for free , and students work for school credit only. For more information on the specs for posting an Internship ad, email Trish at [email protected] .

SPRING INTERNSHIP/CREDITS ONLY: Exposure to business side of television. Work on program decisions, marketing & sales opportunities for client TV stations. COX REPs-NY-Strong comm..& math skills required, Contact [email protected] #(212)372-0443 (2/10)

SPRING INTERNSHIP/CREDITS ONLY: Keith Sherman & Associates seeks an intern willing to help with day-to-day activities doing PR for the theater and other events and outlets. Please send your resume and cover letter to [email protected] (2/10)

SPRING/SUMMER INTERNSHIP/CREDITS ONLY: EMI Music Publishing’s Film/TV division is looking for interns. The ability to work 3-5 days per week and an interest in audio digitization is preferred. Send your resume and availability to [email protected] (2/7)

SITUATION WANTED ADS, POSTED BY THOSE LOOKING TO BE HIRED …  There is no charge for placing your Situation Wanted ad … for more information contact Trish Pihonak at [email protected]

SITUATION WANTED: DEVELOPMENT/PRODUCTION EXEC. with studio and network background with great success in kids, family and teen arena seeks staff post or consultancy.   (2/13)

SITUATION WANTED: NASHVILLE BASED FIELD PRODUCER-Network, Cable,EPK, New Media. Ent.,Doc, News, Music, Reality, Docu-Soap, Social Issue/Ent. Video Journalist. Willing to travel and work as a local in NY, Dallas, Atlanta. [email protected] (2/12)

SITUATION WANTED: VIRTUAL CASTING Network, Major Cable, New Media credits.Booking – Casting – Research – Writing. Doc, News, Ent, Music – Celebs – Reality -Real People – Real Stories – [email protected] (2/12)

SITUATION WANTED: TV PROMO WRITER-PRODUCER L.A.- Multiple Emmy and Promax Award winner. 19+ years freelance for studios and networks. Large market station management experience. Freelance or full-time. Contact [email protected] (2/11)

SITUATION WANTED: TV PROGRAM EXECUTIVE/15 + yrs exp, Creative, great work ethic, knwldgbl, sense of humor, can relocate. See Looking for next great opp in cable or brdcst TV. Contact [email protected] (2/11)

SITUATION WANTED: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/Animator/Editor, LA- Meg Barbour – seeks work in top design studio. 5+ years experience as producer, motion graphic designer, editor, project manager, web 2.0 consultant. [email protected] (2/10)

SITUATION WANTED: BUS AFFAIRS/EXEC PROD/DEVELOPMENT (NYC). Many years expnc in docs/reality ent. Sold progs to all cable nets. Develop/pitch/prod/negotiate. Orig commissions, co-pros, acquisitions. FT/PT/Freelance. [email protected] (2/10)

SITUATION WANTED: PRODUCER/WRITER/DIRECTOR (NY) Ultra-creative, award winning, all formats, all genres, all major networks and major cable. Fast, frugal and fun! [email protected] (2/10)

SITUATION WANTED: SYNDICATION SALES PROFESSIONAL. After six years working for a major radio program syndication company, I’m ready to make the leap to television program syndication sales.I’m a seasoned pro with over 20-yrs sales experience. E-mail: [email protected] (2/10)

SITUATION WANTED: Experienced VP, DEVELOPMENT and PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE looking for new opportunity. Contact [email protected] (2/10)

SITUATION WANTED: MEDIA COORDINATOR with film degree and TV experience currently working for major movie studio seeks coordinating/analytical position with major media company. [email protected] (2/7)

SITUATION WANTED: Experienced TV ASSOCIATE PRODUCER and Superstar ADMIN ASSISTANT looking for next challenge. LA. Hard worker/fast learner/proactive, always willing to go the extra mile. Contact [email protected] (2/7)

E-mail [email protected] or call Trish Pihonak at 203.926.9878 for rates and specs for Job Openings.

Are you looking for a job? Post your Situation Wanted Ad here — Email [email protected] for specs.

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