Monday, May 20th, 2013



Digital Video Opportunities – High-Impact Ad Units

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Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Monday, May 20, 2013, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. Also, Join me for Cynopsis Digital’s next informative webinar on online video measurement tomorrow, May 21. We have a dynamic lineup of speakers will provide you with the latest data and insights on exactly how people are measuring digital video, and what’s in store for the future as the industry continues to evolve.

Yahoo has agreed to purchase social-blogging service Tumblr for $1.1 billion in cash. Easily Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s biggest acquisition to date, the Yahoo Board of Directors unanimously approved the purchase, AllThingsD confirmed via an update yesterday morning. Under the current arrangement, Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp would join Yahoo, but keep his title and maintain a certain level of autonomy.
— In other words: With this move, Yahoo’s efforts to establish social and mobile cred – something which has been a major focus for Mayer ever since she took the reins at the company in July 2012 – is finally blossoming. Tumblr reached 117 million unique visitors in April, and about a quarter of its US-based web traffic comes by way of mobile devices (comScore).


Awesomeness TV, the teen-centric YouTube programmer recently acquired by DreamWorks Animation, is launching a new channel designed specifically for dudes. AwesomenessX is debuting with a slate of new original series spanning sports, gaming, comedy, pranks, and lifestyle content for male teens and tweens. “The explosive growth enjoyed by AwesomenessTV [Ed. Note: the network’s flagship YouTube channel] has given us the ability to segment our audience so we can better target the programming and build communities around specific interest areas,” said AwesomenessTV Founder and CEO Brian Robbins. The launch slate includes:

  • David Wise: A documentary series following accomplished pro skier David Wise on and off the slopes.
  • Skate City China: A documentary series about a group of the first Chinese skaters.
  • ATV Gamer Mash-up: A video mash-up of the best gaming content from the ATV Network, Awesomeness TV’s community-based multichannel YouTube network.
  • Hot Models: Weekly videos from swimsuit photo-shoots.
  • The Frank Dog: A weekly commentary show where a dog breaks down viral videos.
  • Baby Gaga: A talking baby analyzes his favorite baby videos on the web.
  • Fingerlings: Finger puppets reenact trending pop culture moments or stories. Filmed by Jonathon Judge (Fred, Supah Ninjas).

Social benefit org Comedy Gives Back has partnered with the JASH YouTube channel to produce an “International Comedy Show” tonight as part of YouTube Comedy Week. The show will feature performances from Rob Delaney, Rove McManus, Greg Berhandt, Matt Kirshen, Retta, Daniel Kino, Jeremy Hotz, and Ahmed Bharoocha. Tonight’s show will also serve as a promotional tool for Comedy Gives Back’s 24-hour comedy telethon on November 6, which will benefit Peter Chernin’s charity, Malaria No More. The telethon will feature performances from comedians in Sydney, London, NY, and LA, and will coincide with the opening night of New York Comedy Festival.

The CW’s in-house digital production studio, CWD, has been renamed as CW Seed. The studio produces original video content exclusively for the web.


On June 6, USA Network will begin to roll out what it refers to as a “screen unification strategy” that synchronizes the viewing/user experience across TV, online, and mobile devices. Per the announcement, USA says “each digital touch-point will offer TV Everywhere, gamification, and real-time social TV to amplify the viewers’ experience.” It appears that users will be able to watch content as well as interact with content, brands, and other users regardless of which screen they’re watching USA programming on. On TV, this includes linking “on-air snipes” and graphics to mobile devices and computers, allowing users and brands to come together around live shows and social extensions. With this redesign, brands will also be able to reach and engage with users via more integrated experiences, including transmedia storytelling and streamed episodes, delivered across screens.
In Other Words: this kind of strategy is the name of the game. It was everywhere in the Upfronts and is now the kind of multi-platform approach that all providers must have to be a part of the media conversation  and snag ad dollars.

Machinima recently launched an app for Xbox Live. It was the first time Microsoft had introduced an app in all 41 Xbox Live markets at once. Now, two weeks after the launch, Microsoft says the Machinima app is “already one of the fastest adopted Xbox Live entertainment apps of the last 12 months.” The Machinima Xbox Live app offers the company’s full library of video content, including original programming, gameplay clips, and game trailers.


Don’t Forget to Register for Tomorrow’s Webinar!
Tomorrow: May 21 | 1:30-3pm ET

Online Video: How the Heck Do I Measure This Stuff?
Our exclusive Webinar will provide you with their latest thinking, strategies and tactics to help you optimize your video investments.
Speakers include: Joann Wolferman, Product Leadership Ad Effectiveness at Nielsen, Matt Timothy, President at VINDICO and Joseph White, Director, Research & Account Planning at Blip


VideoHub, Tremor Video’s proprietary video ad technology, is the first ad-tech system to be certified by the Media Rating Council (MRC) specifically for digital video ad viewability. Its Average Viewability Percentage (AVP) metric calculates the average percentage of the video that is viewable on the browser screen, “measured at specifically defined time intervals during the video play event.” The technology accounts for browser size and position; video player size and position; and filters for fraudulent and non-human activity. AVP is available for all ads that appear in video players containing IAB VPAID tags. The MRC also accredited four other VideoHub metrics: Engagement Rate, Clicks, Served Digital Video Impressions, and Unique Cookies Reach. The five metrics are accessible through Tremor Video’s enterprise offering, VideoHub for Advertisers.

Sun Drop, the citrus-flavored soda brand from Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, recently partnered with Alloy Digital and Smosh for an original video to complement its latest ad campaign targeting consumers 15-24. The video, which is titled “Good vs. Surprisingly Good” to align with Sun Drop’s “Surprisingly Good” campaign, also features a can of Sun Drop at one point. The partnership covers the original video as well as additional media and promotion across the Alloy Digital Network to amplify the brand message. The campaign also includes a contest that will give Smosh fans the chance to win Sun Drop merch by re-tweeting the video. The video was posted to the Smosh channel on May 17, and as of this writing (two days later), it has nearly 2 million views. Which, if you know anything about Smosh or how YouTube works, shouldn’t be all that surprising.


Unicorn Media and Cypress are providing the video and app technology that powers Popcornflix’s ad-supported movie streaming app on Xbox Live. Cypress is a digital agency that builds apps for mobile devices and gaming consoles, and created the Popcornflix Xbox app in conjunction with Screen Media Ventures, the company behind the movie streaming service. Cypress and Screen Media are partnering with Unicorn Media to use the company’s Unicorn Once technology, which optimizes the video file to deliver it to the 360. The Popcornflix app uses the Microsoft Advertising platform to run video ads alongside movie content.


In a survey by news site MailOnline of more than 600 online ad and marketing execs, 66% of brands and 65% of agencies said that branded content marketing has become “very important” or “most important” to their marketing mix. When asked if they had used branded content marketing for advertising purposes in the previous year, 70% of brand-based respondents and 77% of agency-based respondents replied “yes.” As MailOnline notes in its report, branded content marketing can span everything from native ads to content hubs and branded entertainment. Other top findings include:

  • When asked what was the most effective way to measure content-marketing programs, there were two different answers: 32% of brand respondents selected “sales lift,” while 30% of agency respondents chose “brand lift.”
  • When asked where they acquire their branded content, 71% of agencies said they partner with the publishers they’re buying the media from (which led all other tactics).

At the Google I/O developer conference, Hearst unveiled a new Elle app for Google Glass The Elle Glassware (the term Google users for Google Glass apps) was co-developed by teams at Hearst, Elle, and Google, and is designed for “fashion-forward” professionals who are on the go. The Elle Glassware curates content from Elle sections online, including ElleDispatch (fashion/culture news blog offering written, photo, and video content); Street Chic (fashion inspirations); Lookbooks (magazine-like photos); and Horoscopes. The app is available for users in the “Google Glass Explorers” group, an early-adopter program for developers and consumers who get to test out Google Glasses.

Esquire magazine is launching a weekly tablet edition on the iPad. Esquire Weekly will feature original long-form pieces, recurring columns, and video content covering culture, politics, food, and advice, among other men’s lifestyle topics. The weekly will be available for free to subscribers of the monthly Esquire edition, and for $0.99 per issue to non-subscribers. A new issue will roll out every Thursday, except during the week each month when the print magazine hits newsstands.

Warner Bros.’ official app for Man of Steel, its upcoming Superman blockbuster directed by Zack Snyder and produced by Christopher Nolan, is available exclusively on Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices. The app offers trailers, cast bios, and information related to Man of Steel filming locations and the buzz surrounding the movie. Other features include a photo competition for a chance to attend the NYC premiere of the film as well as challenges that allow users to unlock wallpapers, ringtones, and digital comic books from DC.


Kickstarter has long been hailed as a game-changer for its ability to help filmmakers bypass the studio system to not only finance their movies, but keep their original vision intact (you probably read a little about this after Rob Thomas secured enough funds on Kickstarter to fund a Veronica Mars movie). For this reason, Kickstarter is a great resource for indie films, and by extension, online video, which I would argue is sometimes the “most indie” of independent entertainment.
      Which brings us to a longtime web video comedy brand and pioneer, My Damn Channel. Today, MDC is launching a new Kickstarter project for Love Me Cat, a puppet talk show in the format of late-night shows such as Conan and Jimmy Kimmel Live. This will be a weekly show “hosted by a hideous, hairless cat who desperately wants to be loved, and his wisecracking owl sidekick.” It will feature celebrity guests and discussions about sex, love, and what it’s like to be human (and/or a cat). MDC partnered with TV writer/producer Eric Kaplan (The Big Bang Theory) and his studio Mirari Films to develop the show. Kaplan will also voice the cat.
      Over the next 32 days, MDC is hoping to raise at least $20,000, which would go toward building a permanent studio set for the show and shooting more episodes. The producers say their goal is to create a show that’s as funny as late-night TV, but with the audience-interaction element that is only possible via digital screens. One illustration of this attitude? Some of the prizes available for those who help fund the project, including the ability to pitch ideas for future episodes as well as the grand prize of having a puppet made in your likeness and then appearing in the show as that puppet.
      As a fan of late-night comedy and a veteran crowd-funder, this project is totally getting the “Sahil of Approval” (I’ve been waiting to use that line in a Spotlight).

Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Editor for Cynopsis Digital

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

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