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As announced last week, the Digital Content NewFronts (DCNF) has expanded from the original six, founding partners to what is at the moment a selection of 15 content providers and creators. One newer participant is the Disney Interactive Media Group, which is presenting at the event on Thursday, April 26, beginning at 8:30am ET at SoHo House New York. I spoke with Dave Dickman, SVP/Digital Media Sales & Marketing at Disney Interactive, as well as a Board of Director at the Interactive Advertising Bureau, regarding why the DCNF fits into Disney Interactive’s digital content strategy, and to preview what the company has planned for the event.
Disney Interactive is not one of the founding partners of the Digital Content NewFronts. What convinced you that this is an event you should be a part of?
I’ve been to the Digitas NewFront the past several years and I’ve always been a fan of how they structure and present the program. It includes heavy client participation and is a fantastic way to get a pulse of what is going on in the original digital content development marketplace. This year, they are taking a slightly nuanced approach by adding the Digital Content NewFronts (DCNF).
The mission of DCNF is to shape a new and practical marketplace for connecting the wealth of native digital content with brand marketers and their media and marketing agencies.
Original content is a huge legacy at Disney and drives our company in many ways. Our differentiator is that we are storytellers and produce family entertainment “with heart.” At Disney Interactive, we have fantastic digital IP, Playdom social games, Disney Mobile and a vast array of online platforms like Disney.com and our moms-targeted sites to leverage all things video. There is an interesting intersection for marketer’s brands to meet our content across multiple platforms. We deliver premium content at scale.
Last November, Disney Interactive struck a deal with YouTube to provide online video programming geared for Disney audiences. The deal called for both partners to produce “co-branded video destinations” on both Disney.com and YouTube.com. Why was it important to partner with YouTube?
We want to be everywhere our audience is. The strategy is to find Disney enthusiasts and find a way to entertain and engage that family. And obviously, as YouTube is the most popular destination for video programming, they have a strong lead there. The new Disney network on YouTube launched earlier this month with the YouTube on Disney.com experience launching later this year. We own the inventory in both experiences which gives us tremendous flexibility in how we can serve marketer’s needs against this audience.
Is the recently launched Power Up a part of this partnership?
Certainly. Power Up is a new original web series that demonstrates our commitment to creating content that can live where our audience is. The series stars YouTube and musical star, Christina Grimmie, who gives families an inside look at the exciting world of video gaming. Power Up includes a wide range of game-related topics, but also features comedic game-based skits as well as original songs and music performed by Christina. Kinect for Xbox 360 is the presenting sponsor and you can find the web series on Disney.com and the Disney network on YouTube.
Earlier this year, Disney Interactive and Yahoo! launched Daily Shot with Ali Wentworth, a daily web series that has the host sharing opinions on news and current events for busy parents. How has it been doing?
That is a fantastic partnership for us. The show is live five days a week and it goes up at 9am PT. Ali provides a really authentic voice on pop culture and parenting. She has incredible comedic chops and presents the content in such a fun and engaging way. As a matter of fact, she is co-hosting the Digitas NewFront, and the morning of, we are having a Disney Interactive breakfast event at the SoHo house, where we will produce a live taping of the show. She will be interviewing some surprise guests and we will do something fun with it.
The show itself is distributed on Babble.com, which is a recent acquisition for us, and where Ali also has on ongoing blog called Ali in Wonderland, as well as Yahoo! Shine. Our ad sales team is brokering sponsorship opportunities across both of those networks; it has been a great way for us to scale that content. We are already known for developing high quality, amazing content and pushing it across as many platforms as possible, and this show is another example of us accomplishing that goal.
We are also creating a new series for Courtney Watkins that will be called “Thinking Up.” It will be a multiplatform program focusing on creative ideas and really extends our previous success with her show called “The Possibility Shop.” More to come on this during our presentation. We’ll buy you a nice croissant and killer coffee.
The broader video story is important to us. It’s critical for us to distribute and make this premium content available across all these devices and platforms. It presents a clear and exciting opportunity to showcase our high-quality video to the market.
In March, Disney Channel rolled out a redesigned website that prominently featured a new homepage newsfeed. What was the thought process/reasoning behind going for this change?
The new DisneyChannel.com offers kids and tweens more intuitive and creative ways to find, share and engage with their favorite Disney Channel shows on a daily basis. The site is centered on a dynamic homepage newsfeed that is updated daily with videos, games, polls, photos and shout-outs. Content is tagged with dates, presenting it in a topical and time sensitive way, and through that more accessible for those who want to explore the site. It also incorporates a variety of age-appropriate social tools that make finding, consuming and sharing media easier and more fun. We are constantly evolving how we present our franchises and share our content, with video and games playing a large part in that.
At the moment, where does mobile, including smartphones and tablets, fit into Disney’s digital content and marketing strategy?
For us, we look at the audiences we are attracting and how we can super serve them. For the mom and female audience, smartphones are becoming a first device. With that in mind, we are looking for opportunities to serve content on those devices as well as the PC experience. For the mom, the smartphone is indispensible and never leaves her side. On the tablet front, co-viewing is going through the roof. Kids and moms are co-experiencing content (videos, gaming, reading) on these devices.
For our other audiences, we have Tapulous games (the maker of the Tap Tap Revenge gaming property), and a whole host of other apps that we are pushing out including our most recent Marvel Avengers app. Disney Mobile is designed to serve a broad array of audiences at scale. It’s just a matter of reaching them where they are.
In Disney Interactive’s opinion: Define the relationship between digital advertising and digital video content?
The thing that immediately comes to mind is: premium content. There is a large swimming pool of available content. Most marketers we speak with want access to the premium content that we can provide at scale. And we aim to provide it in any way that we can. We are becoming more platform agnostic. To put a marketing message around premium video, wherever that is, becomes a powerful megaphone. Disney can get incredibly creative with how we link a marketing message to our characters and other assets. It’s a big impetus both for marketers and us to participate in the NewFronts: that premium content.
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Hulu’s upgrade to Facebook Timeline brings with it the entire history of television, from the consistently evolving technology to the content. The company says its Timeline begins at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900, when the word “television” was first uttered. Other hits on the page include the arrival of color broadcasting in the U.S. in 1953, the introduction of cable television in 1975, the market dominance of LCD and plasma screens by 2005 and, of course, the multiplatform availability of Hulu Plus in 2011. Memorable on-screen moments are also highlighted within the Timeline, including Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, the introduction of “The Rachel” haircut in the first season of Friends, the crowning of Kelly Clarkson as the winner of the first American Idol and O.J.’s white bronco freeway chase, which was watched by 95 million viewers.
About two dozen Facebook engineers, under the leadership of former Google engineer Lars Rasmussen, are currently working on a new and improved search engine for the social network, reports Bloomberg BusinessWeek. According to its sources, Facebook’s goal is to facilitate users’ ability to search and navigate through the incredible amounts of content that is created and shared on the site, including status updates, articles, videos and other information across the web that people “like.”
According to Time Warner Cable EVP and Chief Strategy Officer Peter Stern, speaking at Multichannel News’ “Breaking Through: Innovating Cable TV” event last week, television will soon evolve into a “Pandora-like model, where customers can consume television in a passive way, so they don’t have to plan ahead like they do with the DVR model.” He means that viewers will be able to turn on their television and the programming they’re interested in “will just play sequentially.” It would be a shift to a programming-focused model, as Stern said, “You don’t have to subscribe to as big a package, once we put the tools in place to target the TV to you based on your interests.”
MTV, MoMA PS1 and Creative Time have launched Art Breaks, a new series of ten original video art pieces by a selection of emerging artists from around the world. The videos, which were commissioned and curated by Creative Time and MoMA PS1, will debut on MTV, MTV.com, MTV’s Facebook page and a dedicated Tumblr page beginning today, and will continue throughout 2012, in an effort to bring experimental artwork to MTV’s global audience of more than 600 million.
Swiss-based iConcerts has finalized a deal with U.K.-based 3DD Entertainment to produce a live performance “augmented reality” TV offering surrounding 3DD’s popular TV series London Live. The offering will be powered by iConcerts’ ViPass platform. Under the deal, 3DD will produce Backstage @ London Live, a new monthly TV program that supports London Live. In parallel, iConcerts will power a rich media digital entertainment experience, consisting of an entertainment site and social network that will allow viewers to access backstage webcams and artist interviews, and will also offer fans the ability to chat and exchange content with other viewers through the iConcerts ViPass mobile app.
The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have announced the winners of the 2012 International Digital Emmy Awards. SHUJAAZ FM garnered the first Digital Emmy for Kenya by winning in the Children & Young People category. Endgame Interactive: Facebook Episode (Canada) won the Digital Emmy in the Fiction category. And Live from The Clinic (U.K.) won for best Non-Fiction.
The March Madness digital viewing experience provided by Turner Sports and CBSSports.com generated $60 million in ad sales, reports Advertising Age. In fact, ad sales for the web streaming of March Madness has increased each year since, and has nearly doubled the $32 million that was brought in 2009, according to the report. The $60 million figure does not include the revenue from the $3.99 fee that the companies charged for March Madness Live, the multiplatform offering that enabled those who purchased it to watch every game of the tournament online, on smartphones and/or tablets.
Call for Digital Content/Insights: Cynopsis Media will be producing an E-Special Report: Digital Content NewFronts for delivery on Monday, April 16, three days before the first-ever Digital Content NewFronts (DCNF) kick off in New York City. The E-Special Report will take an in-depth look at the key players and new programming being served up at the DCNF. We’ll examine the issues and challenges facing buyers and sellers, as well as highlight the important digital hits going into the event and those that are still yet to come. If you are an exhibitor at the DCNF, or have authored relevant data and insights that inform trends relating to digital video content, and want to be featured in this free and highly-viewed special edition, please contact Sahil Patel at: [email protected] no later than Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Netflix has purchased the DVD.com domain name. Now, when that domain is typed into the browser, the user is automatically redirected to Netflix’s website, although to a new (dvd.netflix.com) URL. While this may appear that Netflix may be planning to split off its streaming and DVD businesses yet again, the company has confirmed to several outlets that it is not the case. The acquisition was first reported by Domain Name Wire.
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Flurry recently compared the ability for app developers to generate revenue across the major app stores (Apple, Amazon and Google Play). The mobile ad and analytics firm examined “a basket of top-ranked apps that have a similar presence across iOS, Amazon and Android.” These apps’ primary business models are in-app purchases, which is the revenue type Flurry compared in the study. It found that Amazon Appstore revenue is 89%, and Google Play revenue is 23%, of iTunes App Store revenue (of note, this analysis shows revenue generated per active user). Flurry says that this essentially means that for the same number of users per platform, every $1.00 generated in the iTunes App Store, will also fetch $0.89 in the Amazon Appstore and $0.23 in Google Play. Based on revenue potential, Flurry expects to see an increasing number of developers support Amazon.
The Council for Research Excellence (CRE) has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a study to understand if and how mobile media devices, including tablets, mobile phones and laptops, impact overall television viewing behavior. The CRE says it also seeks to improve measurement of mobile media devices. The deadline for submissions is May 1, 2012; the CRE will select a research partner on July 1, 2012. Here is a PDF copy of the RFP form.
U.S. retail ecommerce sales, including digital downloads and event tickets, but excluding travel, will rise 15.4% to $224.2 billion this year, according to a new eMarketer estimate. “In the past, cross-channel shopping amounted to using a retailer’s different channels one at a time for separate transactions,” said Jeffrey Grau, Principal Analyst at eMarketer. “But today, consumers are moving between a retailer’s channels (websites, stores, mobile devices, social media) in a fluid way.“
Funtactix, a worldwide developer and publisher of social games based on popular entertainment brands, has launched The Hunger Games Adventures, a new Facebook game that allows fans to enter the world of Panem, the setting of the novel and the film. The game had been released in private beta mode for several weeks, but is now open to the public. The staggered rollout began with owners of popular Hunger Games fan sites, followed by their readers and contributors. After that, over 100,000 fans wee invited to sign up for the game, coinciding with the launch of the film in theaters on March 23.
In honor of April Fool’s Day, here is a quick round-up of some of the incredible number of revolutionary videos/”products” Google announced in this past week:
- Google Maps 8-bit for NES, for those who want to access Maps on their old-school Nintendo system.
- Google’s Really Advanced Search, which provides you even greater search options such as “rhyming slang for” and “subtext or innuendo for,” as well as the ability to filter search results by “content that is true” and “embarrassing grammatical faux pas,” among others.
- Chrome Multitask Mode, for when you need to browse the web with multiple cursors at the same time.
- Google Racing, a new partnership with NASCAR through which Google is testing out a new type of racecar that does not need any drivers.
- Gmail Tap, which replaces the 26-key QWERTY keyboard with two keys; all you have to do is learn a binary language that utilizes dots and dashes.
Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital
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