Good morning, it’s Tuesday, June 16, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
In the industry’s latest effort to stave off piracy, British cable operator Virgin Media is teaming with Universal Music to launch an online subscription music service that will offer unlimited DRM-free downloads beginning later this year. The service will launch with a series of new policies designed to thwart file sharers, including a plan to temporarily disconnect “persistent” file sharers. And unlike other subscriptions services such as the one tied to Microsoft’s Zune device, the service will enable customers to store songs on any MP3 compatible device including Apple’s iPod. Virgin says it is currently in talks with other music labels to further fill out its catalogue.
Five became the first UK-based broadcaster to begin syndicating full-length ad supported episodes of its shows to third party sites via a new initiative with Brightcove. Partner websites and Five’s own properties including Five.tv and FiveFWD will distribute a Flash-based branded syndicated web player, embeddable on blogs and profile pages throughout the UK.
NBCSports.com will incorporate the football blog ProFootballTalk.com onto its site beginning July 1 as part of a new partnership that includes handling of PFT’s hosting, sales and promotion.
Web shows that fit into cross-platform programming strategies like MTV’s Atom.com shorts that are repurposed on the late-night Atom TV show on Comedy Central may be the last refuge for a genre whose heyday is passed, according to a wide-ranging feature on the subject in the LATimes. Lining up sponsorship before going into production is another new survival technique, a strategy practiced by independent studio/distributors such as ForYourImagination.
YouTube added a Web Originals category to its new Shows vault of TV shows. There’s a limited mixture of well-funded projects (Prom Queen, Gemini Division) and cult favorites (Fred, WineLibraryTV).
Video ad network YuMe raised $2.9 million of a planned $4.5 million investment round according to regulatory filing posted by Venturebeat. The company, backed by Khosla Ventures, Accel Partners, BV Capital and DAG Ventures, has raised nearly $19 million to date.
The New York Comic Con convention will feature a live one-hour web series this year shot from the show floor beginning June 29. The show will serve as a “Virtual Spotlight” (that’s the name of the show) for pop cultural icons such as comic artist Alex Ross.
The IAB released an initial set of standards for measurement of in-game advertising. The guidelines, currently up for public comment, set out to establish common methodologies and definitions for ads that appear in both PC and console-based games.
Overlay.TV, developer of user-generated clickable video, launched a new e-commerce product
allowing seamless integration of interactive video into product pages, brand experience pages, face-to-face video chat and user-generated video ratings and testimonials. The easy-to-use interface enables merchants to pair UGC with professionally created video and moderate it with a built-in dashboard, giving brands a modicum of control they’ve called for when dealing with user-generated video.
Village Voice Media announced it will launch its own niche ad network comprised of local blogs and content sites that mesh with the publisher’s 15 alternative weekly papers. Launch partners include LikeMe.net, Curbed.com, Racked.com and Checkoutmyink.com.
Speaking of user generated content, Gas Station TV launched a new campaign dubbed “Prius Neighborhood” with Toyota to encourage viewers to submit local event details for potential airing on screens displayed at gas stations across the country. Local events will featured with Prius spots based on the zip code of the pump user.
Digital music consumers have demonstrated interest in several “free” selling points since the launch of Napster ten years ago and the trends don’t bode well for other media, notes a new report from the The Pew Internet & American Life Project. “Media analysts now broadly use the term, ‘Napsterization’ to refer to a massive shift in a given industry where networked consumers armed with technology and high-speed connectivity disrupt traditional institutions, hierarchies and distribution systems,” writes researcher Mary Madden. “And in many cases, those consumers have come to expect that a digitized version of a product such as news, movies or television showsshould be available online for free.” Consumers have demonstrated that they want their music to be:
- free or virtually free
- portable to any device
- accessible wirelessly
- offered in a library that includes every song ever recorded
- able to be remixed and mashed up at will
Unique video viewers increased by 13.5% year-over-year in May as total minutes spent viewing climbed an amazing 49% from a year ago to 188 minutes/month, according to Nielsen Online. After dropping to a reported 7.4 million unique viewers (defined as anyone who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip) in April, #2 video portal Hulu is back up to over 10 million uniques.
Overall Online Video Usage (U.S.)
May-09 Year-Over-Year Month-Over-Month
% Change % Change
Unique Viewers (000) 133,797 12.8 14.7
Total Streams (000) 10,043,049 34.8 6.2
Streams per Viewer 75.1 19.6 -7.3
Time per Viewer (min) 188.7 48.9 -8.3
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus. Includes progressive downloads and excludes video advertising.
Top Online Web Brands ranked by Video Streams for May 2009 (U.S.)
Video Brand Total Streams Unique Viewers
YouTube 6,048,666 95,357
Hulu 382,322 10,106
Yahoo! 208,202 25,224
Fox Interactive Media 190,135 16,029
ABC.COM 175,102 6,309
Nickelodeon Kids and Family Network 153,414 5,699
MSN/Windows Live 148,358 12,454
Turner Sports and Ent. Digital Network 141,350 6,848
MTV Networks Music 126,929 6,733
CBS Entertainment Network 98,228 6,647
Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus. Includes progressive downloads and excludes video advertising.
VOD orders increased by 21% from last year as cable operators processed 3.8 million (non-adult) VOD orders in 2008, according to a new Rentrak report based on its OnDemand Essentials measurement service. On average, consumers who use VOD ordered 17.81 VOD assets per month last year. Free-on-demand accounted for 74% of all non-adult orders, SVOD accounted for 23% and transactional VOD accounted for 3%. In a given month, around 13% of all VOD-enabled set-top boxes purchased PPV on demand content.
Total cinema advertising industry revenues of Cinema Advertising Council members – which account for more than 82% of U.S. movie screens – grew by 5.8% to $571,421,000 in 2008, as compared to a total of $539,946,000 in 2007, according to a new CAC report. On-screen revenues accounted for over 90% of total cinema advertising revenues. Approximately 76% of total revenue is from national or regional advertisers (versus 23.47% from local sales).
Hillcrest Labs has dreamed up some new applications for its Freespace-powered Loop digital pointer, which allows you to move a cursor across the screen from any position. Hillcrest is packaging it as a remote with which to navigate desktop-to-TV content portals including the Apple TV, PlayStation 3, ZillionTV or the Kodak Theater HD Player. The Loop pointer retails for $99.
Well established photo sharing site Shutterfly launched a private video sharing service powered by Motionbox. Users can upload and post up to 10 free video clips to their personalized websites, and have the option to upgrade to a premium video account, which gives them unlimited video sharing and storage for an annual subscription fee of $29.99.
Eric Hippeu, Managing partner at HuffPo investor Softbank Capital, is replacing Betsy Morgan as CEO of The Huffington Post. Eric served as Chairman and CEO of the Ziff-Davis group in the 1990’s and has helped to guide the online news site since SoftBank invested in the start-up in 2006.
Paramount Digital Entertainment has appointed Keith Quinn as its SVP/Creative Development and Production. Quinn will report to Thomas Lesinski, President of PDE, and will oversee the development and production of original digital content. Keith joins the group from Agility Studios, which he co-founded in 2008.
World Wrestling Entertainment has named Mike Pavone as EVP of WWE Studios. Mike will lead WWE Studios’ theatrical releases, direct-to-DVD movies, series and reality programming and report directly to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
Robert Hooven has joined online market research firm Crowd Science as VP/Sales. He was previously with comScore’s M:Metrics as SVP/Sales.
Titan Worldwide has hired Frank Sandusky, a former key executive of Transportation Displays Inc, to become VP and GM of its Southern California region. He will be based out of Titan’s Los Angeles office.
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The Boxee‘s Developers Challenge, a competition designed to spur developers to create new apps for the open source media center interface, is beginning to bear some juicy fruit. The BBC Live app brings BBC programming to US internet users for the first time. (BBC’s award-winning iPlayer doesn’t stream shows in the U.S.) Decho, creators of the Mozy online backup service, created an app that allows users to access music and photos they’ve stored on their servers. The producers of the gaming-themed web show pwndcast is working to add comments, pictures and a twitter feed to the pwndcast app. Hot for Words and The Guild are also new to the platform. A new Google Videos app allows you to search for YouTube content by quality, duration, view count, etc. Bitter allows you to follow the feeds of specific Twitterers. WellcomeMat is a hyper-local video sharing service that focused on local real estate, tours and hot spots. Many of the apps are already up and working – check your Boxee App Box for the latest and greatest.
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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JOB OPENING: LICENSING COORDINATOR/MTV Networks/NYC: 2+yrs oversee Nickelodeon accessories product dev/ensure development is within contractual rights. EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply www.mtvncareers.com (6/22)
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JOB OPENING: MGR, MEDIA RELS/Radio Disney/LA: Press liaison for radio netwk; kids/tweens progrmng; pitch/ secure coverage in print/broadcast outlets; top writing skills; 5+yrs publicity exper . Apply www.disneycareers.com Req #198584 (6/17)
JOB OPENING: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/ Nickelodeon Creative Adv/NYC: 7+yrs exp. Prod&Shooting in OnAirPromo/Adv, Strng Creat/Concept, Prod Sense/Aesth, Strng Org/Mgmt Skills, A+ EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply www.mtvncareers.com (6/17)
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SITUATION WANTED: COUNSEL/STDS & PRACTICES/DEV (NY/LA: IP atty w/ 15 yrs in Events, B’way, TV (CBS, MTV, Nick, Golf) looking to fuse legal knowledge w/ love of entertainment. Open to all opportunities. Email [email protected] (6/20)
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SITUATION WANTED: Recent Harvard grad and FREELANCE WRITER will do pretty much anything involving words and writing them. Currently writing for a Gawker blog. Hard worker, strong writer, great bargain. (NYC) [email protected] (6/17)
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SITUATION WANTED: Emmy-nominated TV/Film Editor/NY: 10 yrs+ exp. Clients: HBO NBC MTV MGM FOX SONY. Seeks F/T or Freelance opps on scripted/non-scripted projects. Avid & FCP savvy. Demo Reel @ www.presner.com . Contact: [email protected] (6/17)
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SITUATION WANTED: EXPERIENCED GRAPHIC DESIGNER (LA): Reality-TV, Film, Commercial, Documentaries & Corporate. Creative & Flexible. Seeking Freelance or Staff Position, Remote or In-House. Reel & Contact Info: www.ChaztizedMedia.com (6/17)
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