Monday, June 4th, 2012

Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Monday, June 4, 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.

There’s an elemental passion to how sports fans consume content, whether it’s on television or online. They’re an interesting audience to look at through the lens of digital, which requires a lot of focus on how to get the consumer to engage with content and advertising. The NHL recently released a mobile app called Molson Canadian NHL PrePlay, which allows users who are watching a Stanley Cup Playoff game to make predictions on what will happen in that game (from “who will win the faceoff” all the way to “which team will win the game”). It is a second-screen app that seems to want to tap into this engaged audience in a way that enhances the viewing experience. With that in mind, I spoke with Chris Golier, the NHL’s VP/Digital Mobile Strategy, about the app and how it aims to reach the fan.

I think sports fans are one of the best audiences to target and engage with through digital media as they’re already in a way participating in lean-forward experiences. They’re not idly sitting around watching a game. Was that a primary reason for developing this app; to tap into what’s already going on?

We wanted to do something interesting that would grow viewership as well as sustain it. One of our original questions was: Do we focus on avid fans or do we focus on casuals? Where do we want this product to hit? The great thing about this app is that it crosses over well. It’s intended to be social. It allows people to have fun while they’re watching a game.

Mobile and TV are becoming intertwined. Broadcast is no longer a one-to-many proposition. It is a much more personalized experience. The devices allow you to communicate with friends and likeminded fans of whatever you’re watching on TV. We have seen studies, from Nielsen and others, showing that no one sits and watches TV without multitasking anymore. You have a tablet or phone at your hand all the time. With this app, we wanted to enter the conversations that were happening on the couch, as well as through those mobile devices that are being used. The goal was to do it in a fun and engaging way.

We have already built a live-streaming app across tablets, phones, connected TVs, and, of course, broadband. It has been an initiative for us over the last few years to bring the game closer to the fans.

Is the app being used? What kind of engagement and/or usage metrics have you seen since it was launched?

We have seen engagement stats for those who play on average; we are starting to see north of 30 minutes per game. That is a big win for us without a doubt. If a game is 2.5 hours long, and we have captured a viewer’s attention for that long and it isn’t going to take their attention away from the game, but actually add to the viewing experience, we consider that a success.

At the end of the season we will do a deep dive into how people are using it: How are the social elements working? Is it easy to invite friends? What types of questions are the players answering?

We are seeing growth in the user base. We are going to launch a version of the app for the iPhone shortly, and for other operating systems next season. That will help increase adoption and ensure that the bulk of our fans can get on and play.

Is the NHL fan receptive to such digital experiences?

This season we implemented an authentication strategy on our streaming app. If you register with us, we allow you to use that username and password information across multiple platforms. We have seen greater than two-thirds of the app’s users log in to another screen. It leads us to conclude that we do have a fan base that will consume content on multiple screens; that they do make multiple device purchases.

Molson is a lead sponsor for the PrePlay app. What are you doing for the brand beyond that?

One of the great things with Molson and the NHL is that our strategies align. Beer is inherently social, and the PrePlay app is as well. So how can we drive our collective fan bases, and make sure that people are having fun while watching the game? Molson wants people to go to bars and watch. One of the interesting aspects of this app is that users can search for “hockey houses” (only in Canada); users can find bars that will be playing the game and ostensibly have Molson beers. Next season we are going to let users “friend” and “follow” the bar; hopefully allowing them to see and connect with other people who are playing the predictive game.

One of the things I found interesting about the app was its sync ad technology, which you are currently piloting. What about it should excite brands and advertisers?

We partnered with SecondScreen Networks. In Canada, Molson has bought a lot of TV ads throughout the playoffs. As we thought about Molson PrePlay as a second-screen app, we thought the sync ad technology would be a great thing to pilot throughout the playoffs. As the TV ad airs, SecondScreen is able to identify it instantly and serve a companion ad to the iPad. And it automatically gets pushed to the app; it isn’t user-initiated in that he or she has to tag an image on the TV. With this ability to reach the user on an additional screen, an advertiser using this technology can provide more information on whatever their message may be.

What should brands and advertisers keep in mind when considering an ad buy on any of these platforms from the NHL?

We have a digitally savvy fan base. People are now consuming games and interacting with the NHL on multiple platforms. So for brands that want reach this audience, it’s important to coordinate campaigns that can be synced to reach them where they are across all these different screens. Not every brand buys TV; but those that do, they should keep this mind. I think it will absolutely be a part of an ad buy with agencies and brands going forward.


VEVO is launching a new original series today. Sound + City, which will be hosted by Desi Sanchez of E! News Now, MTV, and iO TV, will take a look at the people, places, and things that are currently influencing and/or are a part of the music scene in a particular city. The first season of the show will focus on Nashville, Miami, Brooklyn, San Francisco, Portland, and Atlanta. Similar to what Netflix has been doing with its original series, VEVO will premiere and make all six episodes available on-demand today at noon ET. The series will be available across the VEVO distribution platform, which includes, mobile & tablet apps, connected TVs, and syndication partner sites such as AOL, BET, CBS Interactive Music Group ( and, Facebook,, Univision, Viacom Media Networks, Yahoo Music, and YouTube.

To promote the upcoming ninth season of Bridezillas (June 10, 10pm ET), WE tv is running a special promotion on iTunes where fans can download a curated playlist the top nine Bridezillas episodes, as chosen by WE tv, for $5. The playlist comes with a sneak peek into the ninth season of the show. The promotion will run throughout the week until June 11. In addition, WE tv is also making all previous episodes of the series available on iTunes for $0.99 each, and offering full seasons at half-price.


Twitter expects to pull in $1 billion in sales in 2014, according to what sources tell Bloomberg. Twitter based its estimate on expected advertising demand. For comparisons’ sake, Bloomberg cites a recent eMarketer forecast that projected Twitter to hit $540 million in ad sales in 2014.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has come out against Microsoft’s decision to have a “Do Not Track” option set to “on” by default in the latest version of Internet Explorer that comes packaged with the Windows 8 release preview. “This is a step backwards in consumer choice, and we fear it will harm many of the businesses, particularly publishers, that fuel so much of the rich content on the internet,” wrote IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg in a statement. “We believe the only workable policy is to educate consumers and allow them to control how data is collected for certain purposes, including interest-based advertising,” he said. A default setting that automatically blocks content violates a consumer’s right to choose, and doesn’t “factor in the need for digital businesses to innovate and thrive economically,” argues Rothenberg. Earlier this year, the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), of which IAB is a founding member, agreed to begin work on adding browser-based header signals to the set of tools with which consumers can select their preferences in regard to online privacy and data collection.

Intent Media has updated its Sponsored Search Network (SSN), which is designed to help hotels reach prospective travelers when they are searching for and/or booking a hotel. SSN allows hoteliers to display their hotel as the top search result across Orbitz,, eBookers, and’s hotel booking paths. The new version of the Network now also automatically filters searches according to the hotel’s availability, which means the hotels only show up on the results on dates when they need bookings. Other updates include an image optimization service; hotels upload multiple images, the system then rotates them, tests the results, and maintains the best-performing image going forward. Intent Media’s Sponsored Search is a cost per click auction based platform; it doesn’t charge unless the ad has been clicked. The platform provides ad creation, editing, and management features, as well as tools for reporting and budget management.


An update to the Google/Oracle trial: The judge presiding over the matter has ruled that Oracle can’t copyright the 37 Java application programming interfaces (APIs) that Google used to develop the Android mobile operating system. The ruling only covers those 37 specific APIs, and not the larger question of whether APIs can be copyrighted at all. In response, Oracle released a statement that it would appeal the ruling. Google, of course, stood by the judge’s decision and said, “It’s a good day for collaboration and innovation.”




Is Online-Only TV Ready for Prime Time?

Cynopsis Digital‘s very own Sahil Patel
chats with Bob Garfield, NPR’s On The Media audio podcast!

Listen + Learn:



The latest data from comScore‘s MobiLens service, covering trends in the US mobile phone industry during the three-month average period ending in April 2012, finds that Google’s Android is continuing to expand its share of the domestic smartphone market, accounting for 50.8% of US smartphone subscribers, which is a 2.2% increase from the previous three-month average. Apple’s iOS remained in second place, increasing its share of the market from 29.5% to 31.4%. RIM (11.6%; -3.6%), Microsoft (4.0%; -0.4%), and Symbian (1.3%; -0.2%) rounded out the top five. Overall, comScore found that more than 107 million people in the US owned smartphones during the three months ending in April, which is up 6% versus January. In terms of mobile content usage:

  • 50.2% of US smartphone subscribers used downloaded apps in the three months ending in April 2012 (+1.6% over the previous three-month period).
  • 49% used a browser (+0.5%).
  • 36% accessed a social networking site or blog (+0.3%).

In January 2012, 44% of internet users across the world never clicked on Facebook ads or Sponsored Stories/ads on the social network, according to a study from Greenlight, a search engine marketing company, per a report from eMarketer. In the survey, an additional 31% of respondents answered that they rarely clicked on advertisements. However, it’s not all bad news for brands on Facebook as only 17% of respondents indicated that they never “liked” brands and/or companies on the social network. In fact, 26% of global internet users said they often “like” companies on Facebook, and 9% indicated that they do so regularly. eMarketer took a look at a separate study from Wildfire (April 2012) to see what types of branded content users were interacting with on Facebook. Wildfire’s study found:


  • 39% of Facebook users shared “pick your favorites” type of content, in which users can select items from a list and note them as their favorites.
  • 32% shared quizzes; 29% shared trivia contests; and 26% shared sweepstakes.
  • 82% of users who clicked on a post about quiz shared by a friend also went on to take that quiz.
  • eMarketer notes that the above types of engagement brands are conducting on the social network does not require them to pay Facebook; a big issue for Facebook as it tries to convince marketers of the viability of its advertising model.



CMT plans to use the Color app and Verizon Wireless to do a series of live mobile broadcasts from the CMT Music Awards, which take place this week on June 6, beginning at 8pm ET. CMT’s Evan Farmer will use the Color mobile app and a Verizon 4G LTE smartphone to stream content from the red carpet and backstage. Color, which is available for free on both iOS and Android devices, allows users to capture and share live videos (up to 30 seconds) with friends on Facebook. To access this second-screen offering from CMT, users have to be a fan of the CMT Music Awards and and/or Verizon Insider on Facebook, and, of course, download the free app. When the “Live Color Broadcasts” are set to air during the show, users will receive a notification on their phones.
Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital

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JOB OPENING: MANAGER/Ad Sales MKTG/HGTV/NY: Create custom sponsorship proposals, budget management, manage sweepstakes and sponsorship fulfillment.Full details, & select req 3073 (6/9)

JOB OPENING: KEY PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT/NYC: Daily, synd talk show seeking experienced Key Accountant. Must know Global Vista. Non-union position. Must work as a NYC local. Starts 6/18. Resume to: [email protected] (6/9)

JOB OPENING: IN-HOUSE COUNSEL/VP, LEGAL & BUS AFFAIRS/LA: Attorney for TV prod co to manage agreements, releases, employment, negotiations. JD + 5 yrs TV/film legal experience req’d. Apply: [email protected] (6/9)

JOB OPENING: DIGITAL AD SLS RSCH STRATEGIST/DISCOVERY/OWN: Sprt Sr Dir w/digital ad sls rsch, cross platform & social anlys; BA Comm, Econ, Media pref; 4yr exp in data/media relatd field pref; #5737 (6/9)

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JOB OPENING: MGR CONSUMER MKTG/SYFY, NBCUNIVERSAL/NYC: Manage Syfy’s Off-Air, Brand, and Consumer Marketing efforts. Must have 3 yrs marketing exp in TV or entertainment. Media planning exp req. Apply: (5747BR) (6/9)

JOB OPENING: MEDIA ASSIST/Beacon Media Grp/Mahwah NJ: Leading kid media buyg/plng agcy looking for media plng assist, inputer, & day-to-day maint of kid buys. EXCEL WIZ A MUST. Great bnfits. Send resumes to: [email protected] (6/9)

JOB OPENING: DIG. VIDEO LICENSING EXEC/AMAZON.COM/SEATTLE OR LA: Video Content Acquisition Amazon Instant Video. Highly exp’d, you will negotiate content deals & mng relationships with studios and cable nets, [email protected] (6/9)

JOB OPENING: KEY PRODUCTION ACCOUNTANT/NYC: Daily, synd talk show seeking experienced Key Accountant. Must know Global Vista. Non-union position. Must work as a NYC local. Starts 6/18. Resume to: [email protected] (6/9)

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JOB OPENING: DIGITAL AE/Sony Pictures TV/NY: Strong dig. sales bckgrnd a must. Interest in entertainment, gaming, emerg. tech. Able to sell mult properties, incl: Crackle, PS Network, FEARnet & DrOz. Apply: (6/7)

JOB OPENING: MGR-INTEGRATED AD SLS MKTG/DISCOVERY/NY: Resp for dvpmnt/execution of Advrtsr sponsorships, opps/integrations on Velocity; 5+ yrs relevant exp; auto/sports sponsorship a +. (6/7)

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