Monday, April 22nd, 2013


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Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Monday, April 22, 2013, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

On Friday, Amazon Studios premiered its original programming slate, which features eight comedy and six children’s show pilots. All 14 shows are available to watch for free. As a reminder, audiences will have a voice in determining which of the 14 shows get picked up for a “full season” by rating and reviewing the pilots on the site. The shows that do get a full season will join the Prime Instant Video catalog, which currently features more than 38,000 movies and TV shows.

While it’s definitely a different business model when compared to how the other big SVOD provider, Netflix, approaches original programming, Amazon Studios’ slate is not without some heavy hitters: Alpha House, a political comedy about four senators living in the same house, stars John Goodman and features cameos from Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert; Zombieland is based on the cult comedy film of the same name; and The Online News Empire stars Jeffrey Tambor as an egomaniacal news anchor for the “Onion News Network.”


Add BBC to the list of TV companies who will be embedding ad-supported content inside tweets on Twitter. Per a tweet from the @BBCAMERICA account, Twitter and BBC America have inked a deal to offer “first in-tweet branded video synced to entertainment TV series.” No further details are available at the moment, but it’s easy to believe that this deal will be similar to what Twitter has done in the past with ESPN and Turner, as well as what it’s recently discussed with NBCUniversal and Viacom.

WIGS will premiere the second season of Lauren, a scripted drama starring Jennifer Beals and Troian Bellisario, on May 3. The scripted drama, which is directed by WIGS co-creator Jon Avnet and co-written by Avnet and Jay Rodan, follows a soldier who reports and must deal with the fallout of her own rape in the US military. Alongside Beals and Bellisario, the drama features Bradley Whitford, Mykelti Williamson, and YouTube star iJustine, as well as Sarah Jones, who reprises her role as Kendra, a military veteran from the WIGS series of the same name. The first four episodes of the second season will be made available at 9am ET on May 3. Four additional episodes will be made available on Friday, May 10, and the final four on May 17.

Reckless Tortuga, a sketch comedy group managed by Machinima, has launched a new series called The Clan (stylized, “The cLAN”) on the Machinima Prime YouTube channel. The show follows Aaron, known as “The Online Gamer” and his group of friends as they try to take home a major trophy at a gaming tournament. Unfortunately, “girlfriends, family, work, all kinds of things get in their way as they strive to keep gaming their number one priority in life.”


Zonoff, the creator of the Zonoff Connected Home Platform, has raised $3.8 million in a Series A round led by Valhalla Partners and Grotch Ventures. The start-up works with retailers, service providers, and device manufacturers to integrate its Connected Home Platform into their existing products and services, thereby forgoing the need for the start-up to develop its own hardware, which can get very expensive. Zonoff refers to its technology as the “brains of the connected home,” because it links different connected devices with each other under a single system that can be controlled via one app. The new capital will be invested in growing the start-up’s technical team and infrastructure to support existing and new clients. Note: Zonoff’s leadership includes the founding team of AnySource Media, which created the technology that now serves as a foundation for the DivX video software.


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The US Courts have sided with YouTube again in its defense against a billion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit from Viacom. Viacom sued Google/YouTube in 2007 for allegedly violating video copyrights by permitting users to upload infringing Viacom-owned content on the site. Last year, the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects online companies like YouTube from copyright violations committed by users, so long as the company did not have knowledge of the actions, and if they did, quickly removed it. Viacom claimed that YouTube had knowledge of its users’ illegal activity and allowed it. US District Court Judge Louis Stanton has now ruled that Viacom does not have sufficient evidence “that would allow a clip-by-clip assessment of actual knowledge.” In a blog post, Kent Walker, SVP & General Counsel at Google said: “The court today reaffirmed an established judicial consensus that the DMCA protects web platforms like YouTube that work with rights-holders and take appropriate steps to remove user-generated content that rights-holders notify them is infringing.” Viacom plans to appeal again (naturally).

If you’re wondering about what the latest is with Intel Media’s upcoming web-based pay-TV offering: the company has made an “acqui-hire” of sorts, bringing in five former employees of the now defunct ad exchange AdBrite, to work on “data and analytics projects,” according to AllThingsD. Per the report, these can include “everything from ad systems to content recommendations” for the upcoming TV service and set-top box.


Who’s more likely to subscribe to a streaming video service? According to Nielsen‘s Advertising and Audiences report, wealthy households (income of $100,000+) are 85% more likely to pay for a streaming service such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Instant, or Vudu than the general population.Among SVOD households, $100k+ households accounted for 37%, $50-100k households accounted for 43%, and households with incomes less than $50 accounted for 20%. Here’s some other SVOD household data:

  • 63% do not have kids.
  • Roughly 49% live in the eastern US time zone, while about 26% live in the central time zone and another 26% in the pacific.
  • 29% own tablets.
  • 42% are considered “professional” households; 14% “clerical”; 17% “blue collar”; and 28% “non-working” (which probably means college kids).

The top five websites during March 2013 in terms of unique visitors, according to Kantar Media Compete, are: (172.73 million); (164.81 million); (164.41 million), (163.34 million), and (156.3 million). That’s the same order as the February 2013 rankings. Though it should be noted that Bing witnessed a monthly growth of 12.38%, which is by a wide margin the highest percentage among the top five (the next closest,, grew 0.42%). 


We continue our series of Q&As with the 2013 Digital Content NewFront (DCNF) presenters. Today we have John McCarus, SVP/Brand Content at Digitas, the agency that jumpstarted the whole DCNF extravaganza. Even though the weeklong market is now under the IAB’s stewardship, Digitas still occupies one of the most interesting roles in the DCNF calendar. As an agency, it’s not selling any content of its own to a group of buyers. Instead, Digitas wants to teach buyers how to buy and brands how to invest as it looks to propel the “native” digital video industry forward.

What grade would you give last year’s Digital Content NewFronts and why?

I would honestly give them an A-. If you go back and do the math, we announced the NewFronts on February 26, and then in seven weeks planned and put together 22 events. I don’t know if that’s been done before. The caliber of events from VEVO to YouTube to NBCUniversal was pretty impressive.

The minus is due to the inherent difficulty in getting new programs and video offerings packaged and “operationalized” in such a short amount of time. We had the shows, but making them easily buyable requires a good amount of time and planning, and that’s where we struggled.

Fortunately, there was a lot of forgiveness from all sides given the excitement over this type of native digital video-centric market finally congregating. This year, however, buyers can expect to see those programs and offerings packaged and priced better. And as for the buying community, which I think might have been caught a little off guard last year, they will be more prepared to fully participate this year. Plus, with a year of learning, there will be a greater focus on results, which will lead to a more robust marketplace.

What do you think the market has learned in the past year?

You can’t ignore the rise of programmatic buying and its implication for the digital video ecosystem? I concur with people like Erika Nardini (VP/Head of Marketing Solutions at AOL Advertising), who coined the term “The Bar Bell Effect.” You have programmatic buying growing at one end of the ecosystem, and original content and experiences at the other end, each with their own distinct pricing models. You can’t ignore that environment, but at the same time, we all know the opportunity around digital video has to do with direct interaction and engagement with the audience. We are seeing a massive increase in engagement on the social web and the viewers it has delivered. We know marketers are committed to mining that area, and we will see the true value of that engagement take shape. This will justify the pricing schemes around the bigger sponsorship packages.

Along with that, you will see some of the tools required to fully measure and realize the value of that social activity. Those tools are important to what makes the NewFronts the NewFronts, and not just an upfront.

Do you feel there’s legitimate value in holding these upfront-style presentations for original online video programming, when, as it’s often said, there really isn’t any scarcity driving agencies to buy now?

I understand that sentiment. That’s the only frame of reference people have had for 30 years. The truth is, in a digital environment, scarcity is not the only driver of marketplace momentum. And some would argue that there is still some scarcity with respect to original web video at quality and scale.

However, just by forming this annual marketplace, all of the new content, tools, and pricing begin to rally around this period. It creates a compelling moment for the buying community — they know that this is when they’ll be able to preview and invest in new offerings from some of the top video providers on the web. So I don’t think you necessarily need scarcity to ignite a market.

What sort of things do brands and agencies look for in a content company?

That’s such an individual answer. I think it’s important to have some real predictability around the audience you expect with these big content investments. It’s why now that we’re a year removed from YouTube’s original channels commitment, you will see them more focused on the endemic content creators that have been successful on the site. I see that focus on anticipated viewership happening across the board among the big content companies.

The other thing that is kind of interesting is that TV buyers are now participating in the NewFront marketplace. They would like digital video to behave the way broadcast video does. Then there’s the digital media community. They evaluate video through a different lens, which includes factors such as engagement and the performance of the content on the network’s owned channels versus the reach their distribution partners provide. They are trying to leverage that investment in multiple ways. You essentially have two different buying agendas. The challenge is for creators and producers to serve both of those agendas to drive the maximum amount of revenue.

It goes both ways, too — how can brands and agencies improve the way they approach buying original web video?

I think the first thing is that they need to have a clearer agenda of what they’re buying for. That sounds easy, but it can get incredibly complex.

The second thing is that we have to figure how to value views in different classes. A view is not just a view is not just a view. A view that originated from the social graph has a greater value than if it original from a paid referral. We need to figure out how to support those investments if we believe those “higher class views” are worth pursuing.

The third thing is to challenge ourselves to experiment, track, and take risks. If you’re a buyer who always waits for the case study before making any decisions, you will watch your entire career go by.

What can we expect at this year’s Digitas NewFront?

We’re going to pivot to context and help our clients learn how to buy, to become publishers, to feed their own channels, and to find the right tools and partners to make the best investments now. We want them to be the most informed buyers.


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: Leveraging Social Media and TV Ads: Best Brand Strategies
April 30 ~ 1:30-3:00pm ET ~ $295/site
This 90-min webinar will deliver the latest must-have strategies to help you marry the reach & efficiency of TV spots with the flexibility & precision of social media & how they measure their relative ROI.
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Tonight is the premiere of The National Geographic Channel’s Brain Games, a new show that will test the human brain to understand “how we process information, feel emotion, and perceive the world around us.” Hosted by Jason Silva and Apollo Robbins, the show will feature a variety of interactive experiments designed to demonstrate how easily the brain can be fooled.

To serve as a digital companion to the show, Nat Geo has launched a dedicated page, which features:

  • Additional content tied to each new episode, including 30+ video interviews with brain experts, Robbins, and Silva, as well as 30+ interactive mini-games and brain puzzles
  • Weekly “Brain Challenges”
  • Weekly Brain Badges, which can be earned by how well you do on the Brain Challenges, and which go toward building a “Brain Profile”

Listen: aside from the fact that everything about the show sounds cool, it’s Monday morning. You need to shake off that sluggishness. So click on a game and put that noggin to work before you have to actually put it to work.

Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Editor for Cynopsis Digital

Roberta Caploe: Editorial Director
Denise O’Connor: Group Publisher, Cynopsis Media
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group

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JOB OPENING: MGR, DIG MKTG, USA Network/NYC: Dev & execute Digital/360 Ad Sales Mktg.Research Knwlge: ComScore, Neilsen, Omniture. Dig media plan/buy acumen. Adv PPT skls. 5+ yrs mktg TV/agncy exp (9791BR) (4/27)

JOB OPENING: SALES DIR WO NETWORK/NY: Exp selling to large cable nets, solid understanding of plan’g/buying/stewardship & systems that support this. Sftware sales exp is a +. Must be in tri-state area. Apply here (4/27)

JOB OPENING: POST PROD SUPV/ PROMO PRODUCER/NY: Min 12 yrs TV Network exp. Support network programming/ Manage team Sports background a plus. Send res and cov ltr Attn: Rose to [email protected] (4/27)

JOB OPENING: RESEARCH ANALYST SR (TV/MEDIA RSCH)/OUTDOOR CHANNEL/TEMECULA,CA: Compile, anlyz ratings data; metrix/anlytx; make recomndtns; expert Excel; deg & 3-5 yrs resch exp TV/cbl/brdcst. Apply: (4/27)

JOB OPENING: MGR-PARTICIPATION & RESIDUALS/IFC Films/NY: PT position, manage participation reports for all P&Ls, residual processing, primary guild contact, 4-7 yrs exp accounting. Click here (4/27)

JOB OPENING: SR PROD/HISTORY Digital/A+E/NY: write/edit/prod plus out-sourcing feature and news articles for cross-platform distr.; 4+yrs writing exp/editing & prod for dig. Outlet. – BA/BA degree in History and/or English or related. Apply: here (4/26)

JOB OPENING: CREATIVE ART DIR/A+E/NY: Lead dig. design team to strategize, concept & oversee brand mngmnt, creative dir & redesigns. Mng all of phases of creative work. 8+yrs exp & portfolio showcasing web, mobile, social, app solutions. Apply: here (4/26)

JOB OPENING: DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS/NESN/Watertown, MA: Lead/mng the network’s brdcst operations including studio, master control, prod & remote operations, and media assets. To apply: (4/26)

JOB OPENING: DIR, MEDIA RELATIONS/CABLEVISION/BETHPAGE/NY: Background in conv./modern media rel, interest in tech, knowledge of cable industry. 5-7 yrs exp, strong writing skills. Apply here (4/26)

JOB OPENING: WRITER/PRODUCER/iN DEMAND/NYC: Write, rough edit & produce through post prod process promos & marketing campaigns. Bachelors & 2-3 yrs industry exp. Apply: [email protected] (4/26)

JOB OPENING: MGR Devel/PROD/Discovery/MD: Dynmc idea genratr, exp in biz of devel/deal mking process. Confid/effctve cmnctr, take pitches/rprsnt dept., dvl ntwk cont. Suprts EPs. 5 yrs agncy/ntwrk exp, strng indstry cntcts: Apply here (4/26)

JOB OPENING: MGR-DIGITAL MEDIA & TECH/Sundance/NY: 5-7+ yrs. exp web tech & PM. PM site dvt., knwlg WordPress, HTML, PHP & CSS. Res here (4/26)

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JOB OPENING: DIR MEDIA RELATIONS/FX/LA: Resp: planning & implementation of PR campaigns, launch of new shows, cultivate Media support & awareness.5+yrs Media/PR exp (Network/Studio) (4/26)

JOB OPENING: KIDS DEV & CURRENT EXEC/AMAZON STUDIOS/LA: Develop 11 & 22 min programs for online and traditional dist. Past dev/current experience required. Strong network of writers/artists pref. [email protected] (4/24)

JOB OPENING: DIR AD SALES OPS/TENNIS CHANNEL/LA: Lead/Mnge a staff resp for execution of ad sales ord, traffic, on-air promo sched’g/log creation. Live, sprts prog environ. BA & 7+yrs exp TV ad sales ops w/3+ yrs mgmt/sprvsry exp. [email protected] (4/24)

JOB OPENING: COUNSEL/IFC&SUN/NYC: Negotiate material deal terms, draft/finalize agreements relating to daily ops of IFC, Sundance for pilot/series agreements for script & non-script prgrmng, film, dig. Dist. etc. Submit res (4/24)

JOB OPENING:  MANAGER, PR/SUNDANCE/NYC: Develop, implement PR strategies, publicity campaigns, etc for Sundance. Handle programming, digital, mktng initiatives & events. 3+ yrs PR exp. Submit res (4/24)

JOB OPENING: SUPERVISING PROD/Discovery/MD: Passionate inventive thinker/envelope pusher w/ new ideas to keep vetrn shows fresh, strng story/editorial chops. Thrives w/in a close creative team, gifted prblm solver, 6 yrs exp. Apply (4/24)

JOB OPENING: VP, SCHEDULING/FXX/LA: Develop programming & schedule strategies for new network. 7-10yrs exp. required. (4/23)

JOB OPENING: SALES PLANNER/NYC/Midtown: Captivate Network – own presales & RFP process, plan campaigns, add cre8ive ideas. Need BS+2yrs advrtsng support+CRM exp – JOIN A GREAT TEAM!!! Apply now: [email protected] (4/23)

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].

INTERNSHIP AD CREDITS ONLY: PR/iN DEMAND/NYC: Supporting PR activities, research national media, tracking press coverage, follow bloggers, write press releases. Course credit only. Apply: [email protected] (4/23)

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: PRODUCER/FIELD PRODUCER/STORY PROD: in LA-10+ yrs. exp. prod for A&E, VH1, BBC, Sundance. Also, exp. prod EPK & Corp. Strong mng of crews, great interviewer w/celeb and non celeb talent. Contact email: [email protected] (4/23)

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