Thursday, December 18th, 2008


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Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Thursday, December 18, 2008, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

The National Venture Capital Association is predicting a “difficult” year in 2009 as the global financial crisis continues to spread like a virus through the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some 92% of venture capitalists surveyed predicted a slowing of venture investment in 2009 vs. 2008, which is expected to reach the $29 to $30 billion range by year-end. Sixty-one percent believe the decline will be greater than 10%, dropping overall investment below $27 billion in 2009. However, there will still be plenty of ventures receiving money, albeit smaller contributions. More than half (53%) of VC executives predict that they will invest in the same number portfolio companies in the coming year, if not more.


After improving video search functionality, Hulu launched a number of a new features this month to enhance user experience, including:

  • A new personal recommendation section suggest videos based on previous viewings
  • Selected videos from shows such as The Office, Heroes and 30 Rock are now embeddable in HD. Any embedded Hulu video is also now viewable in full-screen mode
  • The Closed Caption Filter allows you to browse all videos with C.C.
  • The buffer progress bar, activated when you pause a video, tells you how much of the video you’re watching launched a video-centric Christmas mini-site taking a look at the origins of Christmas and Santa Claus and information on the history of the holiday both in the U.S. and around the world. The backstory of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is even here – (The “ninth reindeer” is the creation of Robert L. May, a copywriter at the Montgomery Ward dept. store.)
is gearing up for its most comprehensive multiplatform coverage of the College Football Bowl season yet providing coverage of 29 games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Radio, and ESPN Mobile TV. will offer a live simulcast of every ESPN and ESPN2 game telecast as well as both ABC bowls on short turnaround. ESPN Mobile TV will simulcast 23 of the games on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 – 21 of them live. 
AOL’s Bebo plans to join forces with RDF Digital to produce a 26×6′ weekly magazine show tentatively titled, “B-Box”, designed to highlight the best new content on the social media network. Each episode will feature re-occurring strands, including ’60 Second Celebrity’, where celebs reveal a hidden talent or complete a challenge chosen by the presenters. Anti knife crime campaign ‘It Doesn’t Have To Happen’ and Cadbury have signed on as sponsors.


Online video service Joost sent emails out to is users yesterday notifying them that the client version of the Joost service will no longer work as of Friday, Dec. 19. Joost introduced a web-based version of the service based on Adobe’s Flash technology in October and has been fast at work migrating its video to other platforms including the iPhone and Facebook Connect.
MMO game asset secondary market exchange PlayerAuctions expanded its platform to support more than 100 massively multiplayer online games including Habbo, IMVU, Knight Online and Tibia.
Casting Call: is currently casting the third season of its web series, Make a Hot Girl Laugh.  The production team is looking for women with projects to promote to be featured in the series. (Projects will be promoted in the intro to the episode with a link.) To submit a candidate for consideration, send a headshot and bio to Josh Spector at [email protected]. Each episode will be shot over 2-3 hours on set in Hollywood in mid-January. 


Downturn or no, U.S. online video advertising is poised to continue its growth spurt for the next several years according to the latest eMarketer projections. Online video ad spending will increase a healthy 44.8% in 2009 but will not break the $1 billion mark until 2010. (By comparison, search spending is expected to reach nearly $13 billion in 2009.) U.S. online social network spending will also continue to expand, although much more modestly. While video has major brands and premium content behind it, social ad formats are still considered more “experimental,” suggesting that advertisers are still kicking the tires in this arena.
U.S. Online Video Advertising Spending, 2007-2013
Year     Total Spending (millions)
2007        $324
2008        $587
2009        $850
2010        $1,250
2011        $1,850
2012        $3,000
2013        $4,600
Note: includes in-stream, in-banner and in-text adds
Source: eMarketer
U.S. Online Social Network Advertising Spending, 2008-2013
Year     Total Spending (millions)   % change
2008          $1,175                          33.8%
2009          $1,295                          10.2%
2010          $1,335                            6.3%
2011          $1,420                            6.7%
2013          $1,640                            8.3% 
Source: eMarketer


Consistent with anecdotal evidence that told us why The Office became such a popular online show, Nielsen Online confirmed that during October a lion’s share (65%) of online video users stream content between office hours, 9am-5pm M-F. The second most popular “daypart” was during the weekend when 51% of users viewed video. Despite the heavy daytime penetration numbers, the overall universe of viewers seems to have leveled off, based on Nielsen Online’s latest VideoCensus report, though the average user appears to be consuming longer videos online.
Unique Viewer* Composition Percent by Daypart (U.S., Home and Work)
Daypart                   Unique Viewer Comp %
Mon-Fri, 6am-9am                   27
Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm                   65
Mon-Fri, 12pm-2pm                 34
Mon-Fri, 5pm-8pm                   49
Mon-Fri, 8pm-11pm                 43
Mon-Fri, 11pm-6am                 25
Weekend, 6am-8pm                51
Weekend, 8pm-11pm              23
Weekend, 11pm-6am              14
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, October 2008
*A unique viewer is anyone who viewed at least one video stream during the month.
Overall Online Video Usage (U.S.)
                                 Sep-08      Oct-08  Percent Change
Unique Viewers (000)   124,023     120,711          -3
Total Streams (000)  8,829,389  8,894,164            1
Streams per Viewer          71.2          73.7            4
Time per Viewer (min)     156.4        171.7          10
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus
Note: Includes progressive downloads and excludes video advertising.
announced that at least half of the viewing for network series premiers in October 2008 was on a Timeshifted basis, according to its Stop||Watch ratings service. Of the seven new broadcast series that debuted, six drew at least 50% of their audience on a Timeshifted basis.
New Series Premiers – October 2008
                                                 Program  Ratings              Time-
                                                 Ratings   Time-      %        shifted
          Program            Broadcast   Total      Shifted   Time- Commercial
Rank   Episode  Network   Time       Viewing   Viewing shifted Avoidance
1. Life On Mars    ABC   Oct.  9       10.6       5.5         52%       65%
2. My Own Worst NBC   Oct. 13       7.9        4.3         54%       67%
3. Eleventh Hour CBS    Oct. 9        7.3         3.7        51%       58%
4. Kath & Kim     NBC    Oct. 9        5.7         2.9        51%       67%
5. Crusoe           NBC   Oct. 17      4.9          2.1        42%       62%
6. The Ex List     CBS    Oct. 3       4.8          2.4        50%       65%
7. Stylista      The CW  Oct. 22      1.4          0.7        50%       22%
Source: Tivo Stop||Watch


That didn’t take long: George Bush’s shoe fiasco over the weekend as been made into a browser-based game Sock and Awe. Go ahead – live the American dream. Its developers are selling the game to the highest bidder on eBay.
E! Online debuts its Celebrity Addictionary today, an interactive tool allowing users to coin new words and phrases to show off their celebrity knowledge. Ex: “swag hag” is a star who will do anything in exchange for an Oscars gift bag. Users can take Celebrity Addictionary with them via widgets, twitter feeds and wireless devices. SpectrumDNA created the app for E! Online, as well as similar ones for and Comedy Central.


Current Chairman and President, Products Reid Hoffman will become CEO of LinkedIn once again, per allthingsD. Hoffman replaces current CEO Dan Nye, who has resigned and will leave the company in mid-January. Former Yahoo executive Jeff Weiner will take over as interim President, overseeing day-to-day operations at LinkedIn. The company also announced it has opened a new Data Center in Chicago to handle data transfer for its 32 million users.
McCann Worldgroup digital agency MRM Worldwide has hired David Shearer as SVP, Executive Creative Director for its San Francisco office, effective January 19, 2009. The former Ogilvy executive will be responsible for driving the overall creative product for MRM’s San Francisco and Seattle offices and will serve as MRM’s Executive Creative Director for the global Microsoft account. He will report to Wing Pepper, EVP, Managing Director of MRM San Francisco and Seattle for MRM Worldwide, and Rob Bagot, Chief Creative Officer, McCann Worldgroup San Francisco.
Liz Dolan has been named Chief Marketing Officer for Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications joint venture OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, effective January 5, 2009. She will report to Robin Schwartz, President of OWN.
Richard Gay has been upped EVP/Strategy and Operations for MTV and VH1. He will have a dual report into Stephen Friedman, General Manager of MTV and Tom Calderone, President of VH1 and will continue to be based in New York.
Adam Powers, Director of Standards and Emerging Technology for Macrovision, has been named Chair of the DLNA Ecosystem Committee, a global alliance of companies out to construct an interoperable network of personal computers, consumer electronics and mobile devices in and beyond the home.
Newsmax Media has hired journalist Tim Collie as Managing Editor of For the past two decades, Tim served as a Foreign Correspondent for the Tampa Bay Tribune and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, covering the first Persian Gulf War alongside the U.S. Army in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.


Major music label EMI is cutting out the middleman with, a simply conceived online music store offering some of the best-features of online music services including customizable playlists, album art, recommendations and – soon – the option to purchase tracks. For now users can only listen to 30-second clips of songs from the EMI catalog from bands such as Coldplay, Frank Sinatra or R.E.M – along with videos, bios and official discographies. But this is a very early incarnation of the site. Soon it will offer some the features that make services like and Pandora so addictive. EMI’s initial whack at the user interface is actually fairly well done – it’s very intuitive and easy to use. Will the majors eventually put the cool web 2.0 music services out of business by beating them at their own game? Will iTunes be diminished? Time will tell. However it’s unlikely that users will be comfortable remaining loyal to a single company for their browsing or discovery of new bands, no matter how broad their catalog.
Later — Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

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