Monday, June 15th, 2009

Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Monday, June 15, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. 

Digital transition weekend came in went without a major hiccup as government officials and tech installers worked overtime to meet demand for last-minute digital tuner installations. A total of 917 full-power stations turned off their analog broadcasts for good on Friday but the FCC said it received only 317,450 calls for help and info about the renewed digital coupon program. “Yesterday was a truly historic day,” remarked acting FCC chairman Michael Copps in and address on Saturday. “For TV broadcasting, it was a final farewell to the Dinosaur Age and the dawn of the Digital Age.” Facebook‘s vanity URL launch also seemed to go smoothly as no major outtages were reported.


It’s easy to upload videos online but its hard to build a loyal audience for them. YouTube is making it a little easier to drum up interest added a new sharing feature allowing users to share recently uploaded videos to Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader. Connecting these accounts allows producers to update their followers and friends as soon as they post fresh content.
The Seattle International Film Festival awarded Barbara Schroeder’s cautionary internet tale talhotblond with the Grand Jury Prize in its documentary competition on Sunday. The true crime yarn, which made its world premiere at SIFF over the weekend, documents the disturbing murder of a young man in upstate New York that is the direct result of an ongoing charade involving assumed online identities. The tragedy unfolds after a 47-year-old ex-Marine meets who he thinks is a “tall hot blonde” 18-year-old girl in an online forum of gaming site She soon wraps Tom around her finger and before long drives him to commit the murder by preying upon his compulsion to preserve a fantastical online identity. Ms. Schroeder, a former investigative reporter for KTTV in LA, relied on transcripts of thousands of emails and IMs sent back and forth between the two subjects to gain insight into their perspective psyches. (She filed a number of freedom of information petitions to try and get her hands on the material, she says. But in the end, an insider at the court house slipped her the relevant documents on the sly.) “The IMs read like a romance novel that ends like an action adventure,” said Schroeder, who made the film to call attention to the lack of laws in place to protect victims of internet fraud.


Lonelygirl15 creator EQAL is halting its original production division to focus on co-branded efforts with larger entertainment companies like Harper Globe, an online companion to CBS’ Harper Island, notes NewTeeVee, following up on a report in Mediaweek. The company’s most recent series, The Resistance, drew roughly 1.5 million views over 12 episodes, or only a few hundred thousand views per episode. One of EQAL’s next projects is, a “digi-novel” in the works from CSI creator Anthony Zuiker.
Personal and business references portal has partnered with Prometheus Entertainment‘s Kevin Burns (Kendra, The Girls Next Door) to develop a docu-series based on the complaint-themed web destination. invites users to vent about relationships, work issues, landlord/tenant issues and business dealings. Michael Berk (Baywatch) and Michele Berk (Bandits) will also executive produce. 


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~ TECHNOLOGY DEALS, MERGERS AND SKIRMISHES ~ agreed to pay $51 million to Toys R Us to settle a long-standing legal dispute between the former online retailing partners, according to an SEC filing on Friday. The companies first formed a partnership in 2000 that gave the toy retailer exclusive rights to supply with certain toy products, but Toys R Us complained that Amazon allowed other retailers to sell the same items on the site.
Potential buyers are beginning to emerge for the Boston Globe after the NYTimes put the paper on the block last week, reports The Globe. Three have ties to Beantown including Stephen Pagliuca, a private equity executive and Celtics co-owner; Jack Connors, cofounder of Partners HealthCare; and Stephen Taylor, a former Globe executive and member of the family that sold the Globe to The Times in 1993.
Netflix says it is working on delivering Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange (SAMI) files with its online video streams to enable playback of movies with subtitles or closed captioning. Encoding a separate stream for each title is not an option according to Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt as it would take up far too much space.


The 35-49 year old demo was the fastest-growing for online video viewing in April, according to Nielsen Online as more older users migrated to sites such as and to watch their favorite shows. 35-49 year old viewers spent an average of 416 minutes on the site during the month, 10% more than other demo. The demographic represented 30% of Hulu’s total audience in April.
Growth in Time Spent Viewing per Viewer over the Past 6-Months
                           Nov-08 Time/viewer (minutes) Apr-09 Time/viewer (minutes)  % Change
Total                                       178                                 206                                 16%
Male                                        209                                 249                                 19%
Female                                    151                                 170                                  12%
2-11                                        113                                 116                                    3%  
12-17                                      178                                 190                                   17% 
18-24                                      303                                 349                                   15%  
25-34                                      253                                 296                                   17%
35-49                                      187                                 243                                   29%
50-64                                      122                                 139                                   14%
65+                                          67                                   81                                    21%
Source: Nielsen Online VideoCensus, May 2009, Center for Media Research
Top 5 Sites for 35-49 year olds Ranked by Time Spent Viewing (April 09 and Nov. 08)
                                        Nov-08                            Apr-09
Site                   Time Spent Viewing (000)     Site       Time Spent Viewing (000)
YouTube                           2,740,328         YouTube             2,983,430
Hulu                                    372,407         Hulu                     933,252
Megavideo                           225,325         ABC.COM              313,483
CNN Digital Network               153,705               215,302
Nickelodeon Kids & Family        143,086        CNN Digital             187,471
Source: Nielsen Online VideoCensus, May 2009, Center for Media Research


announced that more than 11 million users downloaded the new release of its free Safari 4 web browser last week, including more than 6 millions downloads for the Windows-compatible version.
Self-help is migrating to the IPhone. Signal Patterns has released the free Live Happy app based on the book The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky. The app alloys you to set, evaluate and track goals and monitor mood and happiness variables.


Yahoo named former Altera executive Tim Morse as the company’s new CFO, overseeing finance, investor relations and mergers and acquisitions groups. He will begin at Yahoo on June 17 and take over the CFO position on July 1.
Chris Wade, who has served as Chairman of London-based social media hub ShoZu since 2008, will assume the additional role of ShoZu’s CEO, succeeding Mark Bole. Chris also serves as Chairman of Mobile Acuity, another startup in the mobility applications space.
Fanscape has hired Christina Mejia and Bithika Mehra as Director and Coordinator, respectively, of Research and Analytics. Both are based out of Fanscape’s Los Angeles office.


TV industry types and enthusiasts alike have a new comprehensive online resource to turn to for up-to-date info on TV shows and made-for-television movies. Launched by Maj Canton, author of TV Movie industry bible “Maj Canton’s Complete Reference Guide to Movies & Miniseries Made for TV and Cable,” and TV researcher Mike Vicic, founder of the TrivialTV blog, TVTango aggregates data from multiple sources and presents it in an intuitive, user-friendly way. Its specialized TV-themed search engine cross-references databases from ten websites that house industry-relevant info including and its subsidiary,, and Wikipedia. The Advanced Search feature helps you look for properties by genre, keyword, network or even source material. An embeddable widget tracks series premieres and fun facts. A Google map app marks the homes and hangouts of your favorite TV characters. Digital Media aficionados will find TV Tango handy when hunting for downloads – the site highlights and provides search functionality for all the new TV show DVDs and downloads released each week on iTunes and The download index will provide one of the site’s revenue streams along with ads, according to Mr. Vicic, as both portals pay a fee for referring paying customers. (Amazon freely discloses its 20/cents per referral reward but Apple keeps the amount close to the vest, he says.) This is a tool that could catch on, particularly if TVTango follows users to popular platforms like the iPhone. The new iPhone 3G S will feature direct downloads of TV shows and movies and users will no doubt seek independent aggregators and curators to help them discover new shows.
Correction: Road to the Alter is premiering this morning on with a K.
Later — Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

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JOB OPENING: SVP, MARKETING/Sundance Channel/NYC: 10+yrs cable network exp. developing brand mktng. for consumers, affiliates, sponsors, prog. etc. Strng strat. neg. & mgmt skills. Apply [email protected] (6/19)

JOB OPENING: COORDINATOR, INTEGRATED MARKETING/Nickelodeon/NYC: 2+yrs mrktg/sales exp. in mrkting/ad agency in Ent/Media, Fast paced/Strng multitasking skills, Stng Project/Time Mgmt skills EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply (6/19)

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JOB OPENING: MANAGER PROGRAM SCHEDULING/EPIX Studio 3/NYC: 3-4 years exp; prefer previous movie channel exp.; program planning/sched, strategy, competitive tracking; Email [email protected] use manager in subject line. (6/17)

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JOB OPENING: SUPERVISOR/Univision NAT’L TV Sales /NY: Prior Brdcst exp req’d, Exe Asst exp pref’d. Detail-oriented, strong comm & orgnztnal skills, fluency in MS Office. 4 yr BA degree pref’d. Email: [email protected] EOE (6/16)

JOB OPENING: SHOW RUNNER/DOCU-SOAP: Est NY prod co seeks highly exp’d docu-soap whiz to produce, work w/talent, craft storylines, oversee staff, create a hit show. Previous docu-soap series an absolute must. Res: [email protected] (6/16)


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SITUATION WANTED: WEB WRITER/PRODUCER with 10 years experience looking for Web entertainment or journalism work in LA. Previous gigs include: ABC, CBS 2, Comedy Central. Contact: [email protected] (6/17)

SITUATION WANTED: Emmy-nominated TV/Film Editor/NY: 10 yrs+ exp. Clients: HBO NBC MTV MGM FOX SONY. Seeks F/T or Freelance opps on scripted/non-scripted projects. Avid & FCP savvy. Demo Reel @ . Contact: [email protected] (6/17)

SITUATION WANTED: TRAFFIC MANAGER with 12 years exp seeks position in Radio/TV/Online or Traffic Software. NY Metro Area only. Experienced, Focused & detailed. [email protected] (6/17)

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