Good morning, it’s Tuesday, July 7, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
The Michael Jackson Memorial Service Tues. morning could prove to be the live web streaming event of the (insert your measure of time here) with several outlets planning coverage beginning around 10 am PT including E!, CBS News, ABC News, Fox News/Hulu and MySpace. CNN is hooking up a Facebook Connect feed as it did during President Obama’s inauguration, allowing users to input commentary during the service. Media outlets are also making sure you’ll be able to access their feeds from multiple sites and platforms. For instance, CBSNews’ live stream can be seen on CBSNews.com, CBS.com, TV.com, TheInsider.com and across the CBS Audience Network, which includes all CBS O&Os and affiliates. CBS Mobile will also offer live coverage on Verizon’s VCast TV, ATT TV (via Media Flo) and on Sprint TV via Mobi TV. It will be interesting to see how the backend operations handle the traffic this time around.
The AP has begun digitizing a “treasure trove” of some 3,500 hours of historical international news footage it has acquired from outlets such as World Television News (formerly the UPI Television News – a TV news service that operated from the early 60’s through the mid ’80’s.) The AP Archive division cleans, restores, digitizes and indexes the content for licensing to producers and news organizations across the globe.
Online video distribution outlet myvideorights.com signed an exclusive agreement with Tiger Aspect Productions to monetize Rowan Atkinson’s soon-to-be 20-years-old Mr. Bean character across internet, mobile and IPTV platforms.
Just when the money seemed to be drying up, entrepreneurs have a new source to turn to. Tech gurus Marc Andreeson, co-founder of Netscape, and Ben Horowitz, a developer of the influential Mosaic web browser, formed a new $300 million venture capital fund focused on Silicon Valley-based IT start-ups. Andreessen says the VC firm will favor companies founded by strong technologists, “who know exactly what they want to build and how they are going to build it.”
New media analytics firm Viralheat exited beta yesterday, offering affordable key word-based search and tracking services across video, social media and blogging sites. Rather than purchase its data from third parties, Viralheat has built its own cloud-based network in order to control costs and mine data in near real-time, according to CEO Raj Kadam. For as little as $10 for 10 terms/month, clients can track uptick of brands on viral video sites and Twitter, with the option to add more exotic analysis products.
Babelgum is adding Frogwater Media’s video fanzine Your Geek News to its web and mobile line-up.
For the second time this year Publicis’ ZenithOptimedia group has downgraded its global and North American ad spending forecast, this time predicting an 8.5% drop globally to $456.5 billion. North American spending is expected to fall by 10.4% to $162.7 billion. On a brighter note, the agency expects global internet ad spending to expand by a greater-than-expected 10% in 2009 – the only sector that will experience growth this year. ZenithOptimedia attributed the growth in part to the launch of Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Zoom Media and Marketing is teaming with VH1 to host The Great Debate, a multiplatform, multiscreen marketing initiative enabling audience participation via TV broadcast; VH1; Facebook; Viacom’s massive 44 ½ foot HD screen in Times Square; and Zoom’s network of digital out-of-home media locations. The Great Debate, which kicked off last night, argues the merits of pop cultural icons such as Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Rocky vs. Rambo and Boxers vs. Briefs. Viewers can chime in via real-time text messaging at over 300 Zoom Media & Marketing nightlife locations in the US, along with the Viacom Times Square screen, and via Twitter and Facebook.
The newly reinvigorated U.S. Department of Justice is now looking into the antitrust implications of exclusivity contracts between handset makers and carriers, per the WSJ – such as the one that forces iPhone fans to sign that big check every month to AT&T.
CDN Akamai Technologies announced variable bit streaming support for live and high quality video content for the iPhone and IPod Touch. This means that content providers such as Discovery, MTV, Turner Sports and USA Today will be able to distribute quality video to the device utilizing a single unified solution.
Toronto-based video streaming services company Streamlogics has been acquired by Thomson Reuters for an undisclosed amount.
NTT DoCoMo acquired a 35% stake in San Diego-based mobile video and software firm PacketVideo for $45.5 million.
Paris-based Streamezzo, a provider of application software platforms for mobile, and Atos Worldline, the European arm of Atos Origin in electronic payments and transactions, announced a partnership to launch an interactive Live TV application for the iPhone 3G. Streamezzo says the solution has already been implemented by a leading European mobile telecom provider, and is currently being distributed through Apple’s App Store.
The mantra from networks has long been that online entertainment will never replace the experience of watching TV in the living room, but is this accurate? Short form video is now being viewed by 43% of internet users at least once a week and it’s perceived as being equally or more entertaining than television by 37% of the online public, according to new research from Frank N. Magid Associates, sponsored by video entertainment portal Metacafe. Seven in ten of males 18-24, the power users of the genre to be sure, view online video weekly. Consumer-created and uploaded clips are still the most popular particularly among young males, accounting for 42% of videos viewed among males 12-17. Yet people of all ages and both genders are watching short professional videos online – ranging from males 25-34, where 64% of this group is watching such content, to females 55-64, 39% of whom view it. Other interesting findings include:
- Over half of TV viewers go online while watching TV; 13% report dong so “all the time”
- 70% of weekly online video viewers play video games regularly, compared to 47% of non-online video viewers
- 41% own a personal digital media player for music and video vs. 23% of non viewers
- 28% rent DVDs weekly (vs. 17%)
- 11% own a smartphone, compared to 7% of non-online video viewers
The Palm Pre has struggled to attract the breadth and depth of applications boasted by the iPhone but the larger content providers are slowly but surely joining in. MLB launched a Mobile Premium app for the platform, providing Gameday Audio, video highlights and the pitch-by-pitch Gameday graphic feature. It’s priced at $15 for the rest of the season or $3 on a month-by-month basis.
Reports are circulating that Apple will begin baking in video cameras and editing software into the iPod Touch and iPod Nano. MacRumors has some photos of new cases for the devices that include cut outs for the camera.
Former Joost CEO Mike Volpi has landed on his feet joining VC firm Index Ventures as a Partner. Mike is based in the London office and will lead early stage investments in the internet, telecom/networking and media sectors.
Clarification: Dailymotion claims that outgoing CEO Ian Brotherston was hired as an interim replacement while the company searched for a permanent CEO (who turned out to be Cedric Tournay.) Ian could not be named initially as such as the CEO search was “highly confidential.”
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As the online video tide has risen, so have the fortunes of a time-tested television brand that set out a couple of years back to remake itself into an internet entertainment portal. Lionsgate’s TV Guide.com is declaring a success since its video-fueled relaunch in 2007, quadrupling its unique user base to 19 million, increasing average visits/user to 5 per month and posting category-best engagement metrics of 13 minutes per visit, according to comScore. TV Guide.com treaded carefully at first, careful not to dilute what it has always been known for – TV listings and TV-themed editorial content. But as its Online Video Guide began to catch on as a place to search for full TV episodes, downloads, DVDs etc., the site expanded its horizons to include higher quality made-for-the-web fare, indexing videos from producers such as NextNewNetworks and blip.tv. This, along with savvy social marketing and an aggressive widget distribution strategy, has paid big dividends according to Paul Greenberg, EVP and GM of TVGuide.com. The site is now attracting a younger more affluent demo, translating to higher CPMs and longer term sponsorship commitments. “Part of our secret sauce is the relevancy of our search results; unlike when you go to YouTube, you won’t pull up a bunch of junk,” says Greenberg. “We assume you’re searching for (professional-quality) entertainment.” The guide has also proven to be a useful editorial tool, particularly when capitalizing on breaking celebrity news. Within minutes of the reported death of Michael Jackson, TVGuide.com posted selections of music videos and interviews with and about the late star.
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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