Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Cynopsis: DIGITAL
06/28/11

Good morning, it’s Tuesday, June 28, 2011, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.  If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here

Citing free speech mandates, the Supreme Court struck down a controversial California law that set out to ban the sale of violent or inappropriate video games to minors. The 2005 law, similar to ones adopted in other states but never actually enacted, was justified by a number of studies that suggested exposure to violent video games can have lasting harmful effects on children. Video game publishers, distributors and sellers represented by trade group the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) hailed the 7-2 ruling as a “historic and complete win” for the First Amendment and “the creative freedom of artists and storytellers everywhere.”
 

~ MULTIPLATFORM CONTENT NEWS ~

 
Following a similar agreement with News Corp., Hulu has struck a deal with Disney to renew rights to its ABC and cable network TV shows. The new arrangement would transfer with new ownership, per paidcontent, and would also allow more ads to be sold against the shows, according to Bloomberg – up from an approximate load of 2.5 minutes per half hour.
 
Meredith Corp. is shoring up interests in the food category, acquiring Eating Well magazine for an undisclosed sum and launching a new food site from scratch called Recipe.com. The site indexes 20k+ healthy recipes and provides food, shopping and meal preparation tips as well as articles, blogs and nutrition advice. A content licensing program will syndicate nutrition articles, how-to cook information, recipes and meal plans to over 75 clients including major consumer portals, healthcare, food and supermarket retail partners.
 
Online Kids sports-themed virtual world FunGoPlay has signed a deal with Sports Illustrated Kids to feature videos, editorial content and contests from the CNN Digital Network-managed site.
 

~ INNOVATORS & START-UPS ~

 
Is there no limit the value of Facebook? Investment fund GSV Capital Corp has become the latest Facebook investor, acquiring 225k shares at an ave. price of $29.28/each. That pegs the current value of the social networking giant at $70 billion.
 
IFC is celebrating particularly bizarre local TV commercials with a new LoCOs awards contest hosted by YouTube stars “Rhett & Link,” who are starting in their own 10-part docu-comedy on the network and whose commercial-themed channel has nearly 100 million views on the web video portal. Viewers are encouraged to upload and vote for their favorite commercials in a number of categories; each time you vote you’re registered to win a $250 prize.
 
Near field communication (NFC) software provider Vivotech has closed on a $24 million round of Series C funding from several new investors, including Singapore’s EDBI, SingTel Innov8, and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.
 

~ DIGITAL ADVERTISING ~

 
WPP Group (Maxus, MEC, MediaCom, Mindshare) unveiled a new proprietary data management platform dubbed Xaxis, offering advertisers across 11 countries a one-stop database of digital audience profiles to be used for targeting ad campaigns. Made up of various ad exchanges WPP has acquired over the years including targ.ad, B3 and GoldNetwork, Xaxis will provide comprehensive audience targeting data and solutions culled from ad exchanges, ad networks, optimization tools and data suppliers. One such product will allow advertisers to extend the reach of TV buys through digital media without overlap. The unit will be overseen by CEO Brian Lesser, who previously served as global GM of WPP’s Media Innovation Group (MIG).
 
Online advertising solutions provider ChoiceStream unveiled its new “Crunch” ad targeting platform that integrates intent data to predict how audiences will react to brand messages. The platform, which taps into data providers such as AlmondNet Data Division and eXelate, observes unique attributes of consumers who respond to a campaign to create a custom segment among often overlooked audiences best-suited for the brand message. Crunch also provides audience analytics and integrates with AppNexus to offer real-time bidding and ad serving.
 

~ TECHNOLOGY DEALS, MERGERS AND SKIRMISHES ~

 
Boingo Wireless has partnered with mile-high WiFi service Gogo to allow Boingo customers to log on in any airplane serviced by the Gogo network using their existing Boingo account. Boingo users will have to pay an additional fee for in-flight access, between $5 and $13 per flight depending on the length of the flight. Smartphone users will pay $4.95 or $7.95.
 

~ TRENDS, RESEARCH, ETC.  ~

 
E-reader ownership is growing faster than tablet adoption, doubling in the U.S. during the past 6 months jumping from 6% to 12% of the adult population, according to a new Pew Research phone survey. By comparison, just 8% of U.S. adults own tablets such as the iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom. Both pale in comparison, of course, to the adoption of cell phones (83%), Desktop PCs (57%), laptops (56%) and DVRs (52%). Hispanic adults, adults younger than age 65, college graduates and those living in households with incomes of at least $75k are most likely to own e-book readers.
 
Hardcore Gamers, once considered to be the leading gaming segment within the video game industry, is facing rising competition from Digital Gamers for amount of time spent gaming and the number of games acquired, according to a new report from The NPD Group. Core gamers continue to lead in terms of time spent gaming (16 hrs./week), but Digital Gamers acquire more games online than their counterparts – an average of 5.9/per week for any system or device. Core Gamers represent the highest number of gamers (23%), followed by Family + Kid Gamers  (22%), Avid PC Gamers and Light PC Gamers (15% each) with Mobile Gamers and Digital Gamers trailing.
 
Automotive continues to be the top category in local media with 28% of the local mobile ad spend during Q1 followed by Real Estate, Entertainment, Banking and Health Care, according to local mobile media company Verve Wireless‘ latest Local Mobile Index report. Local mobile ad spending increased an amazing 82% y/y during the quarter on the 60 million-user Verve network. Other trends included:

  • Over one third of all local media was viewed in the evening between the hours of 7pm-10pm
  • Local mobile media consumption peaks on Wednesday then drops significantly over the weekend
  • Local display ads on Android platforms performed 52% better than on Apple’s iPhone, despite the iPhone comprising 48% of total network impressions (compared to 23% for Andriod)

 

~ GADGETS & APPS ~

 
A new service dubbed MoviePass is offering audiences unlimited movie viewing in participating theaters for a fee of $50/month. (3D or IMAX movies are $3 extra.) Moviepass subscribers will be able to search for a film, check show times and purchase digital movie tickets they can show to the ticket-taker via a smartphone app, per Wired. The service is set to launch a beta test in the San Francisco Bay area in time for the July 4th weekend.
 

~ EXECUTIVE MOVES ~

 
Contextual ad company Vibrant has tapped Derrick Horner as SVP and General Counsel. He will be responsible for Vibrant’s global legal activities and will act as the primary interface to the company’s outside counsel.
 
Veteran ad executive Bob English has been hired by marketing agency Definition 6 as Creative Director of its motion design department in New York. Bob will be responsible for branding, design and creative direction for clients in the post production and motion design departments, reporting directly to Managing Partner, Rob Ortiz.
 


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~ WEBSITE OF THE DAY ~

 
PBS, WGBH in Boston and 31 other member stations have launched a new online resource for teachers, students and families made up of content contributed from multiple publicly-funded organizations, including the National Archives, the Library of Congress, NPR, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Education. PBS Learning Media (you have to create a free account in order to view more than 3 resources) culls together video segments and web and mobile apps from more than 350 local PBS stations like this interview with Poet Laureate Kay Ryan to cut down on the time it takes for educators to hunt down useful digital material for their lesson plans. The content is aligned to Common Core State Standards to insure a modicum of uniformity. A number of social media tools are also baked in, allowing teachers to recommend items and comment on how they’re using them via email, Facebook and Twitter. Later this fall, the platform will also be available as a custom solution offered in partnership with state education departments or local school districts.
 
Later – Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis Digital
06.28.11

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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].

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E-mail [email protected] or call Trish Pihonak at 203.381.9096 for rates and specs for Job Openings.

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