Monday, April 30th, 2012






Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Monday, April 30, 2012, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis editions online, click here.

DECA closed out the series of Digital Content NewFront events last week, with a presentation this past Friday afternoon at Soho House New York. The company behind popular online mom-focused website,, DECA’s announcements included:

  • Re-launch of Scheduled for Mother’s Day, the re-launch of the website is centered on creating and providing an online video (short-form, unscripted) destination for women. Partners of the re-launch include NBCUniversal’s iVillage, Discovery, Viacom, Time Inc., and Disney, as well as three major network/content partnerships that the company will announce in the coming weeks.
  • In July, DECA will extend its M-Network on to YouTube, and says it will result in a roll-up of hundreds of top women’s channels and websites.
  • The company highlighted its existing brand content partnerships with the likes of Kimberly-Clark, QVC, Unilever, and Brown-Forman, among others.

~ Q&A ~

Google/YouTube’s Digital Content NewFront, dubbed “Google Presents, YouTube Brandcast,” will be the last presentation, and arguably the main event, of this two-week industry showcase. With that in mind, here is a Q&A I conducted with Alex Carloss, Global Head of Original Programming at YouTube, regarding the online video leader’s programming and digital video content strategy.

The DCNF: Why now?

It’s a cool time to be in the online video business. Everywhere you look, there are great channels for niche audiences. That a group of web companies has decided this year to become part of the important ‘upfronts’ conversation speaks to the maturity of the platforms, and the business models around them. The YouTube community is a creative, interactive place, and that’s what I think makes YouTube a remarkable place for content creators to find audiences, and marketers to build brands.

The original programming initiative: What can it provide content creators, advertisers, and ultimately, viewers/consumers?

YouTube offers creative freedom without the constraints, green-lighting and the notes familiar in traditional media. If you have an idea, you can roll it out at a fraction of the cost of a television pilot. And all this happens on a global platform where content creators reach hundreds of millions of people all over the world with a click of a button. For advertisers the significance is similar: the opportunity to reach YouTube’s audience of over 800 million users watching 3 billion hours of video every month. And because of the deep analytics that only online campaigns can deliver, advertisers know they’re serving the right ad to the right audience. For the viewer, more channels means more great content to find and fall in love with.

YouTube always seems to be an integral part of this ongoing conversation regarding the shift from a traditional one-way, broadcast television model to a more interactive, multiplatform model. How can YouTube offer a more interactive viewing experience?

From comments and sharing to embeds and response videos, YouTube is built on a foundation of interactivity. Since the early days, we’ve allowed for YouTube’s videos to be embedded off YouTube and across tens of millions of sites. This continues today across different social networks. Five hundred years worth of YouTube videos is watched on Facebook every day. Every minute 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter. Still, there’s a lot we can do. As we move to integrate YouTube more deeply into the Google+ experience, we can look for even more interactivity and sharing by individuals around the world.

And YouTube’s available on 350 million different devices – apart from PCs – around the world. We’re working hard to make sure all those experiences make the most of the device they’re on.

YouTube for a long time has been about individual videos. Now there is a shift toward linking videos together into “channels.” Why?

Organizing around channels is going to make it easier for people to find and watch what they love. Once you find channels you love, you can add them to the new guide on the homepage of YouTube, and start to put together a personalized lineup of channels. It helps organize the amazing diversity of content on YouTube. Take me for example – my interests include rugby, adventure travel, brit-comedy, trying out new curry recipes… Things that are hard to just switch on the TV and instantly find, but once I’ve organized my YouTube content around those categories, I can get a ready stream of it.

Adwords for Video: What makes it an attractive platform that advertisers should buy inventory on it?

AdWords for Video is a recent project which brings True View, our fastest growing ad format, to a whole lot more advertisers. In terms of why True View is attractive – it doesn’t get much more attractive than only paying when you know someone has watched your ad. Our True View ads are pre-rolls that people can skip after five seconds, and so advertisers pay only if someone chooses to watch, and thousands of advertisers are now using it. Google AdWords for video to make it much more easy now for the longer tail of advertisers to get on board with video advertising on YouTube. We think that’s going to lead to even more creativity in advertising on YouTube – some of the coolest YouTube ads over the past years have been made by smaller advertisers, like Orabrush, Blendtec, GoPro, and Dollar Shave Club. And now we can match the products made by these small to medium businesses, with the passionate audiences that they’ll be most suited to. It’s win-win.

What about different content lengths? Is there room for long-form (22+ minutes) content within the original programming initiative?

It’s horses for courses. Long-form can work great for one content category but not another, just as live is a vital component of certain types of web experiences, but less so for others. We hear from our content creators that they’re relishing being able to use whatever format and length makes sense for the particular kind of content.

You recently inked a content distribution partnership with Disney, bringing an assortment of content, including full-length episodes, to the site. Is this kind of partnership something YouTube is actively looking for?

To be clear, Disney content on YouTube is a mix of ad-supported and transactional. The TV content is ad-supported and we have hundreds of Walt Disney Studio movies available for rent on YouTube and Google Play. Disney is an amazing partner, and we’d love to have more partners like them, and we’re also eager to have partnerships with smaller, independent studios, or even aspiring filmmakers. That’s the beauty of being an open platform: our goal is just to get more content that people love onto YouTube.


SocialGuide, a social TV data and solutions company, has launched a Spanish-language social TV tracking service via its new SocialGuide Intelligence (SGI) platform. The company has signed up Univision to be the platform’s first partner. SGI is designed to analyze the social activity for networks, shows, and individual episodes to identify any social trends and opportunities that may be available for clients to engage with audiences who are socially active while watching linear TV. Univision has agreed to use the platform to track and monitor the social conversations surrounding all of its programming. Overall, SGI measures social data around every program that is aired on over 220 broadcast and cable channels.

The 2012 Tribeca (Online) Film Festival has announced the winners of its two competition categories, which were decided by online visitors to The Best Feature Film prize went to On The Mat, for which the film’s writer/director Fredric Golding received a $10K, presented by Festival sponsor American Express. Best Short Film went to CatCam, for which writer/director Seth Keal received $5K.


Mobile video sharing service Viddy is rumored to be in the midst of raising a $30 million Series B round of funding at a valuation of $370 million, according to a report from TechCrunch. Viddy’s mobile app currently sits near the top (#2 as of this writing) on the free apps list in the Apple App Store. The service reportedly has nearly 10 million users.


Yahoo! will not back down from Facebook not backing down. In a statement, Yahoo! announced it has “filed additional claims against Facebook in U.S. District Court in San Jose related to two additional patents on which Facebook infringes. [The filing] underscores the breadth of Facebook’s violation of Yahoo!’s intellectual proprety.”

ACCESS’ NetFront Living Connect 3.0, a DLNA Technology Component solution, has been awarded the Best Enabling Product/Solution for the Connected Home by the 2012 Connected Home Industry Awards. NetFront Living Connect offers support for DLNA’s Premium Video profile, enabling the secure sharing of premium commercial video across the in-home digital network. With DLNA Premium Video, service providers can offer consumers the ability to stream television programming and movies to DLNA Certified products, such as connected TVs, tablets, smartphones, Blu-ray players, and gaming consoles. NetFront Living Connect 3.0 also allows service providers to deliver cloud-based content to the home network through pre-developed plug-ins.


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Data from mobile app technology and advertising company Flurry indicates that daily time spent on mobile apps in Q1 2012 reached 77 minutes, up from the 68 minute average it had found for Q1 2011. This rise in mobile app usage directly benefited mobile social networking, with social networking app usage accounting for 24 of those daily 77 minutes (a 60% increase from the 15 minutes it accounted for in Q1 2011). Gaming apps saw a slight decrease, falling by 4% from 25 minutes to 24 minutes in the same timeframe. News app usage experienced a slight increase, rising from 11 minutes to 12, while the other two app categories studied by Flurry, Entertainment and Other, held steady at 10 minutes and seven minutes, respectively. To gather this data, Flurry tracked approximately 110 billion applications sessions during the Q1 2012. This itself is a large increase over the previous year, as Flurry tracked nearly 30 billion global sessions to collect data for Q1 2011.

New data from Bernstein Research finds that the use of Netflix’s streaming service may be eroding TV viewership of kids’ networks and programming, while actually boosting TV viewership for cable dramas like those from AMC. Pulling direct data from a sample of TiVo users who are also regular Netflix streamers and non-streamers, the research firm found that, among those who stream Netflix regularly, Nickeloden’s ratings fell 6% year-over-year, while witnessing a 2% growth among non-streamers. Additionally, ratings dropped 11% for Nick Toons and Teen Nick when it came to streaming households, while they grew 5% for Nick Toons and 26% for Teen Nick. On the other hand, Bernstein data found that ratings for AMC fare such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad grew 86% in Q1 2011 among streaming households, but only 71% for those households that don’t stream content on Netflix.

A new study from mobile advertising and publishing firm Tapjoy finds that 68% of app users expressed interest in earning virtual currency if it could be exchanged for real-world purchases. To Tapjoy, the results of the study, based on a voluntary survey that included 2,000 smartphone and tablet users over the age of 18, make a strong case for the use of rewards-based advertising on mobile platforms. Other findings include:

  • 64% of users reported having seen an advertisement within a mobile app. 45% of these users answered clicking on one of the ads.
  • Most sought-after rewards for general app users are cash and gift cards, but adults 25-34 are more likely to be interested in earning alternative benefits such as premium content and game credits.
  • 58% of users tried an app after having downloaded it to earn a reward.


Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products has appointed Nabil Kazi to the role of VP/Global Promotions, and has promoted Morgan Chess to the position of VP/Digital Strategy and Commerce. Kazi will be tasked with defining and setting the global licensed promotions strategy for Fox’s TV properties. In her new role, Chess will handle digital and e-commerce strategy for Fox Consumer Products’ entire portfolio. Both will report directly to the division’s President, Jeffrey Godstick.


Did you know that Barbie had a last name, and that Cap’n Crunch had a first and middle? Or are you more interested in learning each state’s official beverage, and/or testing your mettle at figuring out if a particular quote was uttered by Eric Cartman or Ted Nugent (a personal favorite)? Offering a vast collection of trivia, facts, and interesting features about things that you may have never known (or just forgotten), Mental Floss is not a bad way to kill some time, while still being productive enough to say you learned something new.

Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital

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