Friday, May 13th, 2011

Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Friday, May 13, 2011, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.  If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act ( PROTECT IP Act) on Thursday, a bill setting out to put a stop to websites that profit from trafficking in stolen content. Under the act, foreign websites would no longer be allowed to exploit U.S. ISPs, payment processors, search engines and ad placement services, among others, “to sustain their illicit online businesses,” according to statement released by a broad coalition of supporting creative organizations including the IFTA, the MPAA and NATO. A similar bill, s. 978, introduced by U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee members Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) was also applauded by industry groups and guilds. This legislation would make the illegal streaming of copyrighted works a felony, thereby standardizing its criminal classification with that of illegal P2P downloading, already a felony.


The lifestyles of the rich and famous are the focus of MSNBC Digital Network‘s new Powerwall. Developed with Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s media partnership, the photo-driven celebrity blog asks users’ reactions to salacious stories, who can respond by “liking”, tweeting or clicking on “LOL”, “WIN,” “OMG” or “FAIL.”
Discovery‘s MythBusters, long one of the most socially active cable shows, passed the 4 million “like” mark on Facebook yesterday, prompting a thank you video from Jamie and Adam. The show also has 555k followers on Twitter.


Streaming video service BitTorrent released a new version of its client software offering a simplified, more visual interface to allow users to search, share and download files from across the web. Project Chrysalis, available in beta format for Windows, puts a social spin on the practice of file sharing, encouraging users to share movies or slide shows with members of their online circle with easy Facebook and Twitter integrations. Users can also set up personal channels or recommend torrents of content to their friends – legitimate and otherwise.
Social video syndicator Alphabird has acquired web-based matchmaking service the PlaceVine Corp. for an undisclosed amount. The PlaceVine Brand Integration Platform automates sourcing and management of brand integration opportunities for ad agencies, marketers and producers.


Apple made the decision to pull iAd advertisements served in the kid-focused iPhone app Dex, described by developer ClickableBliss as a Pokemon browser. (The app sources data from popular online pokedexes including Bulbapedia, Serebii, Marriland and Smogon.) “Currently, our advertisers prefer that their advertising not appear in applications that are targeted for users that are young children, since their products are not targeted at that audience,” Apple’s iAd Network support explained to ClickableBliss as posted in a blog post.
announced a new Smart Ads for Video product that targets video ads and delivers messages based on geography, time of day, age, gender and behavioral data. Powered by in-banner video ad solution provider Mixpo, the product enables sponsors to leverage Yahoo user data so advertisers can tailor campaigns for different audience segments.


The Justice Dept.’s 10-year old antitrust judgment against Microsoft officially expired yesterday – a case that almost forced the company to break into pieces. (For many here in Seattle it is still remembered as the witch-hunt that forced the removal of Bill Gates as CEO and visionary of the company.) The DOJ released a statement that took credit for what it sees as several competitive developments that have arisen from the ruling, from the development of multiple web browsers and IM platforms to the advance of completely new products including cloud computing services and whiz bang mobile devices. “The Microsoft final judgment was unique in creating a technical committee empowered to assist the department, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and a group of states involved in the case,” claimed the Dept.
Facebook was taken to task on Capitol Hill this week, questioned again by Congressmen Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) about a security vulnerability discovered by web security firm Symantec Corp. The company promised the issue had been fixed immediately and that it resulted in no personal user information being shared.
Shares of Clearwire took a beating on news that Intel plans to sell up to 10 million shares of the company’s Class A stock.


For an issue creating such a brouhaha, location-based services are relatively niche. A new comScore MobiLens study found that 16.7 million U.S. mobile subscribers used location-based “check-in” services on their phones in March 2011, representing just 7.1% of the entire mobile population. 12.7 million check-in users did so on a smartphone, representing 17.6% of the smartphone population. But the study found that check-in service users showed a high propensity for mobile media usage, including accessing retail sites and shopping guides, and displayed other characteristics of early adopters, including a stronger likelihood of owning a tablet device and accessing tech news, when compared to the average smartphone user. 18-34 Year Olds Account for Nearly 60% of Check-In Service Users.
Smartphone Check-In Service Users by Access of Select Mobile Categories
3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2011

                                % of Smartphone Users  % of Check-In Service Users  Index
Total Audience: (13+)        100.0%                       100.0%                           100
Used application                  85.0%                         97.5%                           115
Used browser                      82.3%                         96.3%                           117
Accessed news                    47.2%                         61.9%                           131
Accessed restaurant info.     27.6%                         45.9%                           166
Accessed tech news             27.1%                         40.3%                           149
Recall seeing web/app ads   27.5%                          38.7%                           141
Accessed online retail          17.9%                          32.6%                           182
Media tablet user                19.6%                          28.2%                           144
Accessed shopping guides    14.3%                          25.0%                          176
Accessed travel service        11.8%                          22.0%                          186
Source: ComScore MobiLens. Index = % of Check-In Service Users /% of Smartphone Users x 100; Index of 100 indicates average representation
The Guinness World Records people have put together a special Gamer’s Edition to document records on new platforms such as the revolutionary iPhone. Here are some App Store milestones:

  • Fastest-Selling Portable Gaming System – iPhone 4: first-day sales of the iPhone 4, released on June 24, 2010, were pegged at 1.5 million units, compared to 200k PSPs and 500,000k Nintendo DS consoles upon launch 
  • Most Popular App Marketplace – Apple App Store, with over 6.5 billion downloads since its launch in July 2008
  • Largest Downloadable Video Game Store – Apple App Store: As of Sept. 2010, there were 37,362 games available for download via the Apple App Store. By comparison, the Xbox Live Indie Arcade had 1,300
  • Top Paid-For App Store Game in Most Countries – Angry Birds
  • Fastest-Selling iPhone/iPod Strategy Game – Plants vs. Zombies (PopCap, 2010)
  • Most Popular iPhone Game Series – Tap Tap Revenge (Tapulous, 2008)



Your kids now have yet another reason to grab your iPad out of your hands. PBS has launched its PBS KIDS Video app designed specifically for the tablet, featuring over 1,000 streaming episodes of PBS Kids and PBS Kids GO! series including Sid the Science Kid, Sesame Street, The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That and Wild Kratts. The free app also features tons of interactive educational content as well as info for parents, including local PBS TV station listings, series information and social network sharing.


London-based talkbackTHAMES digital has appointed Martin Ogden as Commercial Development Manager. Martin will report to Head of talkbackTHAMES digital, Robert Marsh and will be responsible for developing new commercial opportunities across online, mobile and other digital platforms for FremantleMedia’s catalogue of IP.
Joy Marcus, former GM of Dailymotion US and SVP of Global Marketing at Time Warner, has joined VC firm DFJ Gotham Ventures today announced that as a Venture Partner.
BroadSoft CFO Jim Tholen was named to the Board of Baltimore-based mobile ad company Millennial Media. He will also chair Millennial Media’s Audit Committee.


Writer/Director Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked, Fraggle Rock) has come up with an idea to use Twitter to tell a story in a series of illustrated narrative tweets. The story will recount the exploits of Roger Cosmonkey – the chimp which NASA launched into orbit back in 1968. (Roger actually got lost, NASA covered it up, and now’s he’s back with a number intergalactic enemies on his tail.) The story will be laid out in ten narrative tweets with accompanying illustrations on Edwards’ Twitter feed, @RealCoryEdwards. (Look for the hashtag #cosmonkey.) The challenge is to present the concept, character, story arch and thematic elements in a 140 characters or less; we though screenwriting was hard. “But the brevity of the format challenges you to be very creative and very selective of word choice, ideal moments to highlight, etc.,” says Cory. The chimp arrives with his Cosmonkey Crew on Monday, May 16.
Later – Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

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