Monday, April 8th, 2013


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Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Monday, April 8, 2013, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

Peter Chernin, the former COO of News Corp., had a busy weekend. Reuters reports that Chernin, through his holding company The Chernin Group, has made a $500 million bid to buy Hulu. According to AllThingsD, this $500 million offer includes buying the site as well as “a limited set of rights” to programming from Hulu’s three current owners, Disney/ABC Television, Comcast/NBCUniversal, and News Corp. Interestingly, Chernin was instrumental in the creation and growth of Hulu while he was at News Corp. Even more interestingly, Providence Equity Partners, one of Hulu’s first investors, sold its 10% stake in the video company in October 2012 for $200 million. Six months earlier, in April 2012, Providence Equity placed a $200 million investment into The Chernin Group.

— In other words: If the bidding war for Hulu in 2011 taught us anything, it’s that all of this should be taken with at least a little grain of salt. It could very well end up that no one buys Hulu, again, leaving its current owners to decide the future of the company.


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And the claws come out: the Hallmark Channel is launching the Kitten Bowl, beginning with next year’s Super Bowl Sunday on February 2, 2014. Airing from noon to 9pm ET/PT on that day, the Kitten Bowl will feature a bunch of cute, adoptable kittens sauntering around acting like they’re better than everyone else. Partnering with the American Humane Association, which, alongside Hallmark Channel’s in-house production team, will search across rescues and shelters in the US for adoptable kittens. Hallmark Channel’s programming plans for the inaugural Kitten Bowl includes a live stream online. The third-biggest game of the day (you all know with whom my allegiance lies) will also feature talent from the channel’s original movies suiting up as judges, referees, and sideline trainers.

Machinima Prime has launched its first original sci-fi series, Omega. Directed by Jared Pelletier, the series takes place in a post-apocalyptic future five years after humanity’s first contact with aliens. It follows a group of civilian and military survivors as they try to navigate a hostile world in which their enemies can be alien and/or human.

Veria Living has launched a new web series called Health Soup. Hosted by Dave Price, Chelsea White, Ereka Vetrini, and Bahar Takhtehchian, the weekly series will provide tips on living healthier lives, as well as unconventional ways to get fit. For example, episode three will feature White going to a “yoga trampoline” fitness class. A new episode will be featured every week on Veria Living’s video section, alongside range of other health and wellness videos.

Shout Factory has partnered with the James Brown Estate to launch an official web destination and YouTube channel featuring performances from the Godfather of Soul and related content. The site and YouTube channel went live on Friday to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Brown’s famous Boston concert following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Both destinations will offer rare concert footage as well as interviews and clips. “These digital destinations will continue to evolve as we program content specific to key events as well as discover and add new video assets,” said Jeffrey Thompson, VP/Digital Strategy and Business Development at Shout. plans to launch an online video channel, featuring celebrity-based original programming, this fall. This new destination, dubbed The Stars Network, will be feature an array of video content, including film and TV previews, celebrity interviews, and live celebrity chats. Also in the fall, The Stars Network will debut three new web series: The Stars Life, showing a “day in the life” of a celebrity; Stars Underground, following a contest winner as he/she goes on a shopping spree with their favorite celebrity; and Stars on the Road Live, a live music documentary series. Each show will consist of six episodes, all of which will be available for free during their respective “premiere slots,” followed by on-demand availability for $0.99 (The Stars Life and Stars Underground) or $1.99 (Stars on the Road) per episode.

YTV has acquired two web series, Totally Amp’d and Unlikely Heroes, from Smokebomb Entertainment, the digital division of international distributor Shaftesbury that is currently also producing a web series named Backpackers for CW Digital and CTV. Targeting tweens, Totally Amp’d (10, six-minute episodes) is a musical comedy series starring Degrassi’s Christine Prosperi, and Unlikely Heroes (eight, five-minute episodes) follows a group of teens as they solve cryptic puzzles and evade deadly traps while searching for hidden treasure. Totally Amp’d is directed by Benjamin Weinstein (Life with Derek) and written by Karen McClellan (Being Erica); Unlikely Heroes is presented by Smokebomb in association with Corus Entertainment, and is directed by Kelly Harms (Ruby Skye). Totally Amp’d has already started rolling out on, with Unlikely Heroes to follow in June. Shaftesbury says it’ll offer both shows to buyers at MIPCube and MIPTV.


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LIN Media has acquired a majority stake in digital ad agency HYFN. In addition to online and mobile ad services, HYFN offers a social media management system that allows brands to control all of their social media campaigns via a single dashboard. The agency is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer. Per the deal, HYFN will join LIN Media’s Digital Media portfolio. Morgan Harris, Founder and CEO of HYFN, will keep his title and continue to oversee the agency. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Digital Rapids has unveiled new “Netflix presets” for its video encoding, transcoding, and workflow solutions, with the goal of making it easier for content providers to prepare their content for streaming on Netflix. The company collaborated with Netflix to develop these new presets, which are available for Digital Rapids’ Transcode Manager 2.0 media transformation software as well as its StreamZHD multi-format ingest, encoding, and archive systems.

Pac-12 Digital is partnering with NeuLion to create “a unified digital platform” that will give Pac-12 fans the ability to access content from all Pac-12 universities via multiple connected devices, including smartphones, tablets, and PCs. The launch is scheduled for July, for which 10 of the 12 Pac-12 schools are already on board to offer sports content featuring their teams and student-athletes. Per the multi-year deal, NeuLion will make its College Platform available to each member school, giving them the ability to build multiplatform digital destinations offering an array of content, including videos, photos, articles, schedules, and stats.


Today, Cynopsis Digital is announcing a partnership with Unruly Media to provide a monthly ranking of the top 10 brands across the social video web. What does this mean? Well, first, we’re ranking the top brands by the very thing that matters most when it comes to social media: shares. In other words, which brands were responsible for videos that were compelling enough to influence a user to recommend them to their social circles? Second, instead of simply providing you with the top viral videos of the month, we wanted to highlight the brands behind those videos. This meant not ranking brands in terms of one successful video, but measuring them across their entire digital video output.

Powered by Unruly’s Viral Video Chart, here are the Top 10 Social Video Brands of March, as measured by shares across the social web (Facebook shares and “likes”; tweets and re-tweets; and the number of times a video has been embedded on a blog):

BRAND                                           SHARES
1. Pepsi                                  2,451,915
2. Miami Heat                          1,552,254
3. Neft Vodka                          1,000,143
4. Three                                   957,018
5. The Simpsons                        669,689
6. Google                                 379,583
7. Carlsberg                              362,567
8. Samsung                              350,226
9. Chanel                                 298,321
10. Dove                                 242,612

Here are some interesting nuggets from Unruly, to provide context:

  • Two of the top 10 brands (Miami Heat and The Simpsons) show up on the rankings by doing their own versions of the “Harlem Shake.”
  • YouTube and McDonald’s came in at #11 and #12, respectively.
  • If you added YouTube’s shares to Google’s, Google would still be #6, but with a total of 550,086 shares (these videos are made by Google or YouTube about each respective brand; for example, Google’s April Fools’ Day prank videos).

Going forward, we will also provide you with data related to how brands in the top 10 did the previous month.


A+E Networks Digital Media reports a record-setting month with 36.2 million unique visitors in March 2013 across its network of websites, which include,, and This bests the previous record of 30.5 million, which was set in February of this year. accounted for 12.6 million uniques, largely benefitting from the network’s original series Vikings and The Bible, while registered 6.2 million thanks to interest in Duck Dynasty and Bates Motel. A+E’s TV Everywhere apps for iOS devices generated more than 2.5 million unique visitors and 16 million sessions in March.

Disney/ABC Television Group’s ABC Player app, which offers next-day access to new daytime and primetime ABC programming, has surpassed several milestones, including 10 million downloads, 200 million total episode views, and 1.31 billion ad impressions across iOS and Windows 8 devices. The app also recently launched on the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD devices from Amazon.


Beginning today, Fandango will begin selling tickets to Iron Man 3, which arrives in theaters on May 3. The movie ticketing service is moving in a new direction as it aims to help studios market their movies in advance of, during, and after the opening weekend. In addition to releasing multiple web series in the past six months, Fandango is launching its “Summer of Action” Programming Hub. The destination will feature 14 of the season’s biggest movies, offering trailers, original videos, in-depth features, and interviews. Iron Man 3 has already signed on to sponsor the hub in the lead-up to its premiere. I spoke with Paul Yanover, President of Fandango about the Hub as well as Fandango’s future plans.

If I were to ask you to describe what Fandango is now, what would you say?

We focus on the total movie-going experience — from movie discovery, decision-making and ticketing to in-theater engagement and social sharing. Recently we launched new original content, including two new digital video series “The Frontrunners” and “Weekend Ticket” and expanded video on our mobile apps. And because Fandango is part of the larger Comcast/NBCUniversal family, we can amplify the impact for studios’ movies, exhibitors and marketing partners with integration across an unparalleled digital and linear portfolio.

How has technology forced film studios to adjust their marketing strategies?

Mobile devices and apps have been a game-changer over the past few years, making it easier than ever for moviegoers to access content, locate theaters & showtimes, and buy tickets. Our app has been downloaded more than 32 million times and was instrumental in the 171% mobile ticket sales growth and the 57% growth in overall ticket sales that we experienced in 2012. As consumers have instant access to more information from more sources, marketers need to drive awareness and activation wherever consumers are – and Fandango delivers that. We can reach consumers through fan alerts (emails/texts providing things like exclusive film trailers and pre-sale offers), interviewing a film’s stars on our digital series, populating audience-specific hubs with tailored content, and, most importantly, pointing them to buy tickets on our site and apps.

What’s Fandango doing to help studios connect with potential customers?

Fandango’s blend of original content, movie discovery and ticketing means we have the ability to connect the right movies to the people who will love them. Not only do we have 41 million unique visitors per month on Fandango’s mobile and online platforms, but we can also leverage the power of hundreds of millions of social media fans across NBCUniversal’s portfolio reach. This presents tremendous integrated marketing opportunities for studios, naturally, but this impressive aggregation of consumers also opens up possibilities to collaborate with any kind of business, from restaurants to financial services to consumer package goods.

Tell us more about the Summer of Action programming hub.

We know that Fandango moviegoers are huge fans of blockbusters, so we’ve created a destination where they can get all their action-movie needs in one place. Beyond trailers, the hub will include original digital videos, celebrity interviews, games, trivia, special pre-sale opportunities, and ticketing. We’ve even created collectible action movie Fandango gift cards, the first of which premiere today: four Iron Man 3 character cards that launch in conjunction with pre-sales for the movie. We’ll be rolling out other audience-specific destinations over the next several months and will explore integrations across the NBCUniversal portfolio. For example, our family-focused online hub might also have an interesting tie-in to USA Network with some of their new show acquisitions like “Modern Family.”


WPP Digital’s Media Innovation Group has named Mariellen Heffernan as its new VP/Client Services and Operations. She will oversee client services strategies and operations for the Media Innovation Group in North America. The Media Innovation Group is the digital strategy and marketing division of WPP’s 24/7 Media.

Nick Rhodes is the new President and Chief Operating Officer of Levels Beyond, the company behind the Reach Engine video library management and workflow software. Rhodes joined Levels Beyond after consulting for the company for more than a year on marketing strategy and business plan as it attempted to secure funding (which it did in December 2012).


You should know everything . . .

About your campaign, that is – the moment it’s happening. Tremor Video is an open book. See where and how your video ads appear, what’s working, and what others can’t/won’t show you.

Open communication is the key to our relationships.

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With the Tribeca Film Festival on the horizon this month, here’s something for your (and my) inner film nerd: The Future of Film Talk series, featuring videos of chats with filmmakers and film critics about film, technology, and the future of media. For example, right now you can check out a couple of videos featuring Will Leitch (Deadspin) and Dana Stevens (Slate) as they discuss what role Twitter should play for filmmakers as well as critics. There’s also a fantastic conversation with cinematographer Reed Morano and post-production veteran Pete Conlin about the celluloid vs. digital battle in the film industry. Also, near the end of the month (April 22-25), you can check out a series of panels moderated by The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky and featuring the likes of A.O. Scott and David Denby. These discussions will cover the “evolution of the [film] industry from creation to distribution” and themes such as “digital filmmaking, non-linear storytelling, film funding,” and more.

Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital

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

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP Sales & Marketing | 203-218-6480
Classifieds Sales: Trish Pihonak | Director of Operations & Content | 888-702-3858

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Cynopsis CLASSIFIEDSFor More classifieds, visit the classifieds page here.

JOB OPENING: SR WEB DEVELOPER/ION/WPB, FL: Web developer & strategic tech. Build/expand website Content Mgmt Systems. Manage internal & external teams. Exp 5+ yrs; coding PHP, Windows IIS, MSSQL. Apply EOE (4/16)

JOB OPENING: MGR MEDIA RESEARCH/NASCAR/CLT: Sports viewership, TV ad/exposure analysis and comms. Industry decision support/reporting. Team environment. BS w/2-4yrs Nielsen software Exp. EOE (4/13)

JOB OPENING: ASSOC DIRECTOR, RESEARCH/REELZ/NYC: Strategic thinker. 7+ years media/mkt research. Proficient with all research tools, dvlp prgm ratings. Digital a plus. Apply: [email protected] (4/13)

JOB OPENING: FREELANCE, MGR, Digital MKTG, USA Network/NYC: Devlp & execute Digital/360 Ad Sales Mktg.Research Knwlge: ComScore, Neilsen, Omniture. Dig media plan/buy acumen. Adv PPT skls. 5+ yrs mktg TV/agency exp: Apply: [email protected] (4/13)

JOB OPENING:  MANAGER NEW MEDIA RESEARCH/NBCUNIVERSAL/OXYGEN/NYC: Digital and mobile research, Nielsen comScore MRI preferred, SiteCatalyst and Discover req. Min 3 Yrs exp. Apply: (8454) (4/12)

JOB OPENING: MUSIC & MEDIA CLEARANCES SPECIALIST/MLBNtwrk/NJ: Strong knwldg of music, footage, image licensing. Highly organized, self-starter w/exclnt comm skills. Min 3 yrs exp in TV/Film/Media Company. Resume: [email protected] (4/12)

JOB OPENING: MGR-DIGITAL MEDIA & TECH/Sundance/NY: 5-7+ yrs. exp web tech & PM. PM site dvt., knwlg WordPress, HTML, PHP & CSS. Res to:,ICYN (4/12)

JOB OPENING: DESIGNER/HGTV & DIY/Knoxville: Develops and executes on-air design concepts for network initiatives. Min 1-2 years in a production, animation, post-production or a broadcast environment. Apply (4/11)

JOB OPENING: DIR, STRATEGIC VIDEO PROD PERF/Bethpage, NY: Drive prod imprvmnts for Optimum TV, get feedback, work w/cross-func teams. 7+ yrs bus/mgmt./eng exp, process re-eng., analytical, STB exp a +. Resume to: [email protected] (4/11)

JOB OPENING: DEVELOPMENT EXEC/NYC: For reality/non-fict TV. Extnsve rsrch for characters, subcultures, formats. Strong cast, basic shoot/edit & treatment writing. Res/Cov Ltr: [email protected] 3+ yrs exp req’d  (4/10)

JOB OPENING: DIR OF ORIGINAL PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT/INSP Network/Indian Land SC: Dvlp/maintain prgrmng plans & strategies & possess a solid understanding of the ente dvlpmnt & prod. Process. Min 5yrs of TV dvlpmnt.  Apply here. (4/10)

JOB OPENING: SALES COORDINATOR/NY: All aspects of account maintenance, liaison with ad agencies. Must be detailed/ able to multi-task. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Apply-[email protected] (4/9)

JOB OPENING: TV PRODUCERS & ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS/LA/Nationally syndicated show: Must have court and/or talk show experience. Resumes to: [email protected] (4/9)

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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].

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].

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