Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Thursday, November 12, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.

When push comes to shove, web shows and short-form content aren’t sacred cows. Al Gore’s short video clip-powered Current Media announced that it is weaning itself off of short-form programming, in favor of more traditional 30-60 minute formats. The company will also lay off some 80 employees and cancel a number of its shows including “Current Tonight,” “Current Takeover” and “Current Exposed.” As part of the reorg, Current Media plans to consolidate TV production and programming development together under one roof in LA, with new facilities at LA Center Studios. Meanwhile, as part of the last wave of cuts at AOL before it is spun off from Time Warner, social networking site Bebo will curtail production of original shows such as KateModern and Meet the Freshers and cut almost half of Bebo’s staff in the UK, reports C21. AOL confirmed the measures, noting they were part of the company’s 100 announced layoffs this week.

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~ MULTIPLATFORM CONTENT NEWS ~ has rolled out a new Online DVR personalization interface that allows users to create playlists of their favorite shows and share them with friends on Facebook. The “DVR” also provides push notifications that alerts users when they have new episodes of their favorite shows to watch. Other recent advances include an iGoogle social gadget and a customizable iPhone app.
Comcast’s multiplatform channel FEARnet announced that it has begun production on its newest original web series, “Post Mortem with Mick Garris,” slated to premiere next month. Mick will hold Q&A’s with a range of horror icons including John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven and Robert Englund.
is powering a new minisite on to offer a window into the world of stimulus funding.  Consumers can go to to search American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) spending data in real-time based on geography, state, county and city.  Consumers can also search based on the status of projects as allocated, advertised or awarded.


Online video platform Kyte announced that it is extending its mobile video delivery to the Android and Nokia platforms, making it the first provider to natively deliver video across all four major smart phone platforms – iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Nokia. Scheduled to launch during Q1 of 2010, Kyte’s Android and Nokia application frameworks will deliver online Kyte channels as fully native Android and Nokia apps, enabling companies to converge their online and mobile audiences into a single community without having to upload content using 4 different interfaces. The platform’s interactive features include real-time chat, comments and ratings, the ability to share content, and real-time viewer count are presented in a dynamic interface.
Web-based entertainment portal KoldCast TV has begun to distribute the first season of the creepy Darkness Descending, a new thriller created by actor/marital artists Frank Krueger and inspired by true stories and urban legends of New York’s underground homeless. (I thought it was dark here in Seattle in the winter.) The show is an outgrowth of Masters film candidate Chelsea Henderson’s documentary Redemption, which took her into the tunnels of the Big Apple in search of Angel, a homeless man accused of a series of murders.
DiggTV is the social news site Digg’s new video portal, aggregating the company’s 5 regularly-produced shows including Diggnation, The Digg Reel, Digg Dialogue, Digg Townhall and Diggcetera.
Britain’s Royal Television Society tipped its hat to several innovators on Tuesday night, recognizing outstanding achievement in the development of new technologies in distribution, production, and manipulation. RTS 2009 Innovation Award Winners included Sky News’ iPhone app; KEO Digital, Mint Digital and Channel 4’s Landshare UGC project; and BBC’s iPlayer, which received the Judges Award for outstanding vision.
Internet webcam network EarthCam announced the addition of new HD live streaming locations to its growing list of cameras planted in famous places throughout the world. The launch includes EarthCam’s first HD views with audio, focused on the historic Old St Louis Courthouse framed by the Gateway Arch; a skyline view of the Chuo Ward of Tokyo, and a sweeping view of Rio de Janeiro Harbor. EarthCam’s systems feature streaming video and high definition historic print-quality archiving.


Google began testing a new “skippable” pre-roll ad format on select YouTube advertisements yesterday, in an effort to address high abandonment rates. (This measure when viewers click off the site rather than watch a pre-roll ad.) Abandonment rates, which tested as high as 70% when in-stream ads were first launched on the site in 2007 according to the company, are affected by several factors including length of the ad and the relevance of the creative.
The IAB unveiled, Email Monetization Strategies, a list of recommendations and best practices to help marketers drive more revenue using email.
Cinema advertising firm Screenvision has renewed its long-term agreement with Hogan Communications, a marketing company that serves the college market. Under the agreement, Screenvision will continue to represent national and regional cinema ad sales for Hogan’s 397 college campus-based screens while Hogan will continue to produce and distribute its cinema preshow, “Preview Theater,” in which the Screenvision-sold ads will appear.


Sony‘s decision to offer broadband-connected Bravia TV and Blu-ray player owners an exclusive chance to download “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” on Dec. 8 – less than 3 months after its release in theaters – is rankling exhibitors, reports THR. At least four major chains are threatening to pull “Meatballs” from their theaters – Regal Entertainment, AMC, Cinemark and Marcus Theatres. The movie, which is winding down its theatrical run, took in $1.3 million at the box office last weekend on 1,126 screens, but it could play in as few as 300 theaters next weekend.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media has partnered with Smilebox to offer photo-sharing technology at and The two teams are working together to create customized templates for the holidays and special occasions. An advertising component offer sponsors the opportunity to build branded photo sharing templates that users can then personalize with music and words. The Smilebox photo sharing app claims more than 8 million downloads to date.
Motorola is shopping its set-box-top unit, retaining J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group to advise on the sale, reports The WSJ.


NDS‘ online TV aggregator LocateTV has launched a new add-supported app for the iPhone providing access to much of functionality directly from the iPhone or iPod Touch. Features include the “now and next” TV schedule, customizable TV listings, access links to online viewing and DVD availability/price comparisons. The app is also fully integrated with iTunes, allowing direct downloads of TV shows and movies to the user’s device.
launched a new mobile TV app in Britain for the iPhone and iPod Touch, delivering live streaming TV via WiFi from several Sky channels including all Sky Sports channels, Sky Sports News, Sky News, ESPN and At The Races. The free app, which requires a £6/month Sky Mobile TV subscription fee, is a boon for sports fans, delivering all live televised Barclays Premier League, Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League and Coca Cola Football League games.
In an effort to address parents’ concerns for their kids surfing habits, Google has introduced a SafeSearch feature that allows users to filter out explicit web sites and images from searches. Settings include “moderate filtering,” which removes offensive images from Google Image Search results, and “strict filtering,” which also applies to normal text-based searches. The company is also asking for users to request removal of inappropriate sites that fall through the cracks of the filter.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment is extending iPhone interactivity to many of its upcoming high-profile Blu-ray Disc releases through 2009. Universal’s “Pocket Blu” app will enable users to navigate their BD Live player menus and other functions directly from their iPhones as well as provide access to exclusive extras from the iPhone-enhanced titles, including Bruno (Nov. 17), Public Enemies (Dec. 8) and Inglourious Basterds (Dec. 15).


Once reported to be on the chopping block, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker will be asked to head the company if Comcast concludes its purchase of 51% stake in the company, reports Reuters.
EPIX, the premium multiplatform joint venture formed by Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, hired Laverne McKinnon as EVP/Original Programming and Development, reporting to Mark Greenberg, President. EPIX has already greenlit its first original series Tough Trade, slated to premiere in 2010.
Discovery Communications has upped Todd Zander to VP/Digital Media Distribution, responsible for developing and executing strategies to drive further distribution for Discovery’s digital media offerings across online and mobile platforms. He will also work with Discovery Education division to extend distribution for the company’s educational services. Todd continues to report to Rebecca Glashow, SVP/Digital Media Distribution.
Rob Weisbord has been promoted to Director of Digital Interactive Marketing for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, reporting to Steve Marks, COO of Sinclair’s television group.


Microsoft continues to step up its attack on Google, launching a newly retooled Bing video search engine that replaces the company’s outdated MSN video portal. The new Bing Video site provides a straightforward interface that points users to videos that are gaining steam or are new to the web. Partnerships with Hulu, ABC and YouTube give Bing access to over 900 TV shows in all. The new Bing also now includes results from its recent licensing deal with next generation search system Wolfram Alpha. The Wolfram system, named after its founder Stephen Wolfram, blends computational input with curated output to pull up relevant data instead of just keywords, including stock prices on company searches and caloric content on food searches. (There’s even a Wolfram Alpha iphone app for research on the go.) So Bing users can type in specific food items to get nutrition label facts. Or they can utilize a new tool that tracks body mass index; type in “bmi” then enter your height and weight. Add this to Bing’s new social search features, including integrating Twitter and Facebook previews when you search for a person’s name, and you’ve got an increasingly smart alternative to the ubiquitous Google search. Bing continues to make incremental gains on its rival, but it has a long way to go yet. Experian’s Hitwise released a report yesterday placing Bing’s market share at 9.57% of U.S. searches in October, up from 8.96% last month, while Google and Yahoo saw slight declines.
Later — Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

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JOB OPENING: EXEC PROD/NYC: Proven track rec to lead prod arm of NYC post shop. Resp for successful completion of projs across all mediums. Bring proven leadership skills to all phases of prod thru post. Res: [email protected] (11/19)

JOB OPENINGS:  (2) DIR, SALES & ACCT MGR/The Hotel Networks/Chicago: 3+ yrs Ad Sales Exp, OOH/Dig-Place Based+, Creative, Aggressive, Proven Sales Pro, Exp w/ Sales Promo, Excel Comm Skills, Self-Motivated. [email protected] (11/18)

JOB OPENINGS:   MGR, STANDRD PRACTICES/RADIO DISNEY/BURBANK: Revw commercial copy/audio for policy compliance. Revw lyrics, video, sweepstakes, online content. Knwldg kids issues, COPPA, CARU, FCC, radio. 212770 (11/18)

JOB OPENING:  VP BIZ AFFAIRS METRO TV/ATLANTA: 7+ yrs Exp’d Media Exec. Work on Budgets, Acctng, Potential Partnerships/Acquisitions, Extensive Margin Analysis & Back Office Ops. Apply/Details: (11/14)

JOB OPENING:  SVP, INTEGRATED MKTG/MTV/NYC: 15+ yrs in Integrated/Ad Sales Mktg or Advrtsng; Proven success in dvlpng & implementing innovative, revenue generating, campaigns; BA req’d, MBA pref’d. EOE/M/F/D/AAP (11/14)

JOB OPENING:   DIR PRICING/PLANNING/GSN/NY: 10 yrs ad sales exp. Respon. for ad sales rate cards, stewardship, Knowledge of Dealmaker/VCI systems needed. Res + CL to [email protected]  (11/14)

JOB OPENING: SALES/MKTG COORD/CYNOPSIS MEDIA/ Summit, NJ offices of Cynopsis: Support sales team, manage inventory, create mktg materials, manage partnerships.2-3 yrs exp. Resume: [email protected] (11/13)

JOB OPENING: RESEARCH ASSISTANT FOR E! / LA – Assist Research Dept. & EVP. 2 yrs admin experience and an interest in Research/TV required. Please submit resume: [email protected] (11/13)

JOB OPENING: SALES ASST CABLEVISION/NORWALK CT: 1-3 yrs exp in mrkt, adv or bus related field. Assist sales team & mgmnt. Strong Excel and Powerpoint skills. See full posting and apply to Req 9615BR (11/13)

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] .

SPRING INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY:  Trylon SMR (, a NYC PR agency, is seeking a Spring intern that has familiarity with the media industry and tech sector, and strong internet skills. [email protected] (11/17)

WINTER/SPRING INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: WEB INTERN/Ramsey, NJ: Comp Sci/IT. Detail oriented, knows FTP, cpanel & CMS.HTML + CSS by hand. Can adjust CSS to match JPG. Pluses: XML, javascript, PHP, slicing PSDs into webpages. [email protected] (11/13)

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]

SITUATION WANTED:  EIC/Line Prod/Dir.Ops. 10+yrs Versed in: live, synd, news, reality, lg. event sports & Ent. Budgeting Lg & sm. Exc. org. skills, Movie Magic, & union contracts.  At ease in fast paced control room envir. [email protected] (11/19)

SITUATION WANTED:  MEDIA SALES/MARKETING MANAGER/LA: 15+ years experience in educational, documentary, advertising media sales.True Closer!!!!!  [email protected] (11/18)

SITUATION WANTED:  EIC/Line Prod/Dir.Ops. 10+yrs Versed in: live, synd, news, reality, lg. event sports & Ent. Budgeting Lg & sm. Exc. org. skills, Movie Magic, & union contracts.  At ease in fast paced control room envir.[email protected]  (11/18)

SITUATION WANTED:CAMERA OPERATOR/LA Based: MTV, TRUTV, ABC, Watch my reel at: Contact email: [email protected]  (11/17)

SITUATION WANTED: PRODUCER/WRITER/DIRECTOR (NY) Ultra-creative, award winning, all formats, all genres, all major networks and major cable. Fast, frugal and fun! [email protected] (11/17)

SITUATION WANTED: DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION & ART DIRECTION (NYC) 20 years experience working concept through completion. Portfolio: Email: [email protected] (11/14)

SITUATION WANTED: RESEARCH DIR/STRATEGIST – See what 20+ yrs media, Nielsen, Hisp, research, sales, presentation experience can do for you.Email: [email protected] (11/14)

SITUATION WANTED: MEDIA PUBLISHING, EXEC MNGMNT & SALES– 18 yrs in creative online/print client solutions for the most prestigious titles in the legal & fashion ind (ALM and Conde Nast). [email protected]  (11/14)

E-mail [email protected] or call Trish Pihonak at 203.926.9878 for rates and specs for Job Openings.

Are you looking for a job? Post your Situation Wanted Ad here — Email [email protected] for specs.

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