Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 10, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. 

YouTube is silencing its source for music videos from the UK after negotiations with the nation’s Performing Right Society (PRS for music) fell apart. (The Google-owned video portal’s previous license, which granted rights to access 10 million pieces of music in return for a flat fee, had expired.) Prohibitively high licensing fees and lack of transparency proved to be stumbling blocks, according to Patrick Walker, Director of Video Partnerships, Europe, Middle East and Africa. The snafu outlines a growing problem for the site as content owners grow eager to see better returns from their content and YouTube’s ad schemes fail to deliver sizeable returns.


The production partners that bring us March Madness – CBS Sports, CBS College Sports Network and the NCAA – have lined up over 20 distribution partners this year to pipe HD game highlights out to cable homes on demand in a variety of packages. TVN Entertainment will be distributing the NCAA March Madness Highlights, bundled with classic buzzer beaters from years past, within hours of each game’s original airing using its TVNow fast turnaround service.
In its ongoing effort to unlock value from the $850 million acquisition of Bebo, AOL People Networks announced the launch of its Bebo U.S. Latino site. Built on its new Lifestream platform that enables users link to their accounts at YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook or MySpace, the site also features videos, photo galleries, polls, quizzes, and surveys from partners Hearst Magazines Digital Media and AOL Latino, AOL’s bilingual portal for U.S. Hispanics.
Dish Network is giving history buffs a more hands on approach. History Channel has launched History Interactive powered by Ensequence to take advantage of the platform’s iTV capabilities. The service, accessible via remote by subscribers with an OpenTV-enabled receiver, features factoids, interactive quizzes and extra information based on History’s current programming. The network’s Battles BC series, which premiered yesterday, will showcase the tool with bios of the on-camera experts, stills from the production and an interactive game.
Sundance is promoting its multiplatform The Green eco-friendly programming block with an online EcoTrip Sweepstakes and “Faces of Green” – a series of on air, online and print vignettes that feature network personalities. The network will premiere 6 new on air series beginning on Earth Day April 21 and five online series on sundancechannel.com, including the return of the green-themed short film series from Isabella Rossellini on April 1.
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Two online teen brands have joined at the hip. Fast growing Sweden-based virtual doll site Stardoll (27 million users/month) and its new sister site Paperdoll Heaven has merged with teen-targeted social network Piczo (which claims 30 million registered users -including long inactive ones – mostly in the UK and the U.S.) The three sites will form the Stardoll network as a single platform for advertisers.


Online ad management platform Adap.tv released an update yesterday to simplify operations and improve monetization capabilities for its video publishing clients. Additions to Adap.tv’s OneSource 2.0 platform include: the ability for publishers to display standard IAB format ads (video or HTML banner ads) in and around their video content using existing ad tags and serving infrastructure; the ability to run campaigns from supported ad networks by simply uploading the ad tag or publisher key and the ability to create distinct ad settings for syndication partners by defining ad types, sources and frequencies for each partner.
Broadband video service ESPN 360.com is introducing a new proprietary technology developed with the Disney Interactive Media group to dynamically insert interactive video ads into live sporting events. The solution offers detailed reporting metrics and customizable pod deployment that compresses ads when the viewer joins the live stream late. ESPN 360.com, which streams some 3,000 live sporting events a year, will offer dynamic ad insertions during at least 124 college basketball conference games leading up to March Madness and plans to expand available inventory to include most big events later this year.
The Boston Globe and The St. Petersburg Times joined the Yahoo Newspaper Consortium expanding the advertising/distribution partnership to include 38 media companies and 793 total newspapers.
Screenvision signed a deal to add Marcus Theaters, the #7 exhibitor in the U.S. to its cinema advertising network, which now reaches more than 15,300 screens across the country.


The #3 largest newspaper chain in the U.S. McClatchy Newspapers announced it will cut 1,600 jobs or 15% of its total full-time workforce. The group will also cut wages for the rest of its employees including upper management as part of previously announced restructuring plans. McClatchy, whose digital assets include shares of CareerBuilder and Classified Ventures (cars.com, apartments.com, etc.,) expects to save around $30 million from the moves.
Interactive television developer Zodiac Interactive announced a partnership with ActiveVideo Networks to deliver a tru2way-based version of the ActiveVideo client for accessing Web-based video on TV. Under terms of the agreement, Zodiac’s PowerUp framework software for tru2way and PowerTV will include an ActiveVideo client, which is designed to simplify MSOs’ ability to deploy ActiveVideo services on tru2way or PowerTV set-top boxes. The companies also plan to work together to develop other applications for the Zodiac ActiveVideo client that will facilitate true interoperability and transparency across all TV services such as linear, VOD, EBIF, advanced advertising, etc.


Social Networks and blogs are visited by over two-thirds (67%) of the global online population making them the fourth most popular online category ahead of email according to Nielsen‘s new “Global Faces and Networked Places” report. The social network and blogging audience is also becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to “Member Community” web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group (+11.3 million). Meanwhile mobile continues to play an increasingly important role with 23% of users in the UK reporting using mobile devices to check their networks, compared to 19% in the US (10.6 million people). Facebook – now the world’s most popular social network – is visited monthly by three in every 10 people online across the nine markets in which Nielsen tracks social networking use. Orkut in Brazil has the largest domestic online reach (70%) of any social network in these markets.
The increasing reach of “Member Community” Web sites across 2008
Country         2007 Reach % 2008 Reach % Year-over-Year % Change
Global                    61                  67                         5.4
Brazil**                 78                   80                        1.4
Spain                     65                  75                         9.9
Italy                       63                  73                        9.9
Japan                     67                  70                        2.7
UK                         59                  69                      10.3
USA                       64                  67                        2.6
France                   64                  67                         2.9
Australia                55                  59                         4.9
Germany**            39                   51                       12.5
Switzerland**       41                  51                         9.6
 Source: Nielsen Online, NetView, Home and Work Data, December 2007 – December 2008 (**Home only)
Changing share of time accounted for by “Member Community” Web sites across 2008
Country             Relative Change in % Share   Share of Time Dec 07   Share of Time Dec 08
Global                           38%                                    6.7%                    9.3%
Switzerland**              207%                                    3.0%                    9.3%
Germany**                 140%                                    3.1%                     7.5%
UK                             118%                                     8.0%                  17.4%
Italy                           113%                                     7.2%                  15.4%
Spain                           87%                                     6.7%                  12.5%
France                          59%                                    4.0%                    6.3%
Australia                       58%                                    6.9%                   10.9%
USA                             11%                                     5.8%                    6.4%
Brazil**                         -6%                                   24.4%                  23.1%
Source: Nielsen Online, NetView, Home and Work Data, December 2007 – December 2008 (**Home only)


WiMax venture Clearwire named telecom industry veteran William (Bill) T. Morrow as CEO. He replaces co-founder and current CEO Benjamin G. Wolff, who will continue as Co-Chairman – a position he will share with current Chairman Craig O. McCaw.
Westwood, MA-based online gaming studio Turbine, Inc. hired Ken Surdan as VP of Operations. Ken will oversee worldwide operations for Turbine’s game franchises including The Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online and Asheron’s Call.
Sarah Cain
has been upped to VP/Communications for CBS Interactive, including BNET, CNET, GameSpot, TV.com, CBS.com, and CBSSports.com. She will report to both Neil Ashe, President of CBS Interactive and Dana McClintock, SVP of Communications for CBS Corporation.


Remember the payola scandals that rocked the music world in the late ’50s and ’60s? Online music site Jango, which claims over 6 million users, is trying to resurrect the concept with a new model offering the chance for indie artists to buy plays in a variety of packages to try and incubate fans for their music. They can pay $30 for 1,000 plays or $100 for 5,000 plays in the hopes of generating buzz, “likes,” traffic to their website and eventually album sales. Like Pandora, Jango builds customized stations based on compatible tracks and how users rate songs. The hope is that Jango’s recommendation engine will do the hard work matching your music to fans that like similar-sounding stuff. As sleazy as it sounds, the Jango Airplay program is not a bad idea if distributed in moderation. Music fans are constantly looking to discover new bands and webcasters could use the cash – those new royalty rates for webcasts are damned expensive.
Correction: In yesterday’s item about Starz’ Party Down launch, DirecTV‘s 101 network was referred to as an interactive channel. It’s actually a linear network featuring a mishmash of exclusive programming including live coverage from the SXSW Music Festival next week.
Also, Air America is currently under the direction of CEO Bennett Zier and Chairman Charlie Kireker, with Mark Green serving as President.

Later — Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

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JOB OPENING: DEV EXEC/VA: Join team to create and pitch new TV programs, esp character-based. Must have exp in developing factual programs and knowledge of US cable net slates and players. Apply: [email protected] (3/17)

JOB OPENING: VP MARKETING/The Sportsman Channel/Milwaukee WI: Resp for building consumer awareness while overseeing affiliate marketing, media planning & promotions. 7+ yrs exp in TV or digital media. Apply: [email protected] (3/14)

JOB OPENING: ReelzChannel/NYC/ SR TRAFFIC COORDINATOR: Daily log maintenance, prep & delivery 3+ yrs exp. TRAFFIC COORDINATOR: Ensures scheduling commercial materials are executed & trafficked. Both Apply: [email protected] (3/14)

JOB OPENING: PUBLICIST/SR PUBLICIST/MTV/NYC: 3+yrs exp. in TV PR including pitching/story placemnt, events, knwlg online press; Progrming focused; Strng writ/oral comm. skills, EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply www.mtvncareers.com (3/13)

JOB OPENING: ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE/FISHKILL NY: Seeks AE for local ad sales.1-3 yrs ad sales exp. pref cable tv, radio, e-media adv. Valid NY DL. See full posting and apply to www.cablevision.jobs req 8247BR (3/13)

JOB OPENING: MGR INT’L FINANCE/A&E Television Networks/NY: Acctg & fin reporting, budgeting, forecast, analysis. BS/Acctg; CPA + 3 yrs Pub Acctg. Media 7 entertainment exp in multinational. Apply: www.aetn.com/careers.html (3/11)

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SUMMER INTERNSHIP/CREDITS ONLY: BLOGGER /Picture Earth/NY:Writer(s) sought for EarthFromAboveUSA.com‘s blog, launching April. Relevant degree or experience required. For school credit and/or bylines.Apply: [email protected] (3/13)

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SITUATION WANTED: Award winning COMEDY WRITER/PRODUCER in L.A. Credits: WB, UPN, TBS, MTV, Discovery etc. Check out pilot, You’re Joking, Right? at www.justjokesentertainment.com Contact email: [email protected] (3/17)

SITUATION WANTED: WRITER. I’ll gladly write/re-write what you don’t want to write! Summaries; reports; proposals, human resource materials; updates; copy; web content; synopses; and more. Contact Bernie. [email protected] (3/17)

SITUATION WANTED: BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT EXPERT/TELEVISION PRODUCER seeks consulting work, long or short term. Over 15 years experience working with brands, multi-media/faceted talent. Contact: [email protected] (3/17)

SITUATION WANTED: GROW YOUR BUS/MAKE IT THRIVE/NYC: MBA w/15yrs int’l exp: turnaround & startup mgmt, strategic partnerships, negotiating, fundraising. Proj/Consult/FT. Contact: [email protected] (3/17)

SITUATION WANTED: STORY DOCTOR: Are your scripts too weak to make it to the bay? Got a rough-cut on life support? 20+ years crafting nonfic series, specials, sizzles and web content. Contact: [email protected] (LA) (3/17)

SITUATION WANTED: WRITER: Children’s writer with exp at various prod co’s & Kids’ CBC. Portfolio in educational & comedic works for kids. Exp. in development, creative consulting, editing. Freelance. Contact [email protected] (3/14)

SITUATION WANTED: 5 PRIME TIME EMMYS/ DOC. PROD, DIR., WRITER in L.A. Credits: National Geo, PBS, Discovery, History CH, TLC and MSNBC. Contact email: [email protected] (3/13)

SITUATION WANTED: MEDIA/CABLE/INTERNET ATTORNEY: Broad in-house experience in content production& distribution, operations, affiliate & ad sales. Available for project/consultant/full-time. Contact [email protected] (3/13)

SITUATION WANTED: MARKETING/PROMOTIONS/Boston: Marketing/promotions professional seeks television, web marketing, social networking focused position. Experienced in international markets. Creative + will travel. [email protected] (3/13)

SITUATION WANTED: PRODUCTION MAKEUP ARTIST (NY) Over 20 years experience including keying top-rated network and cable tv shows, print, and film. Creative, competitive rates. Email: [email protected] (3/12)

SITUATION WANTED: DIR, STANDARDS & PRACTICES: Over 20 yrs exp of editing TV shows & theatricals for acceptable airing. Available on a FT basis and can also contract out to work project by project. E-mail: [email protected] (3/12)

SITUATION WANTED: WRITER (LA, NY): Comedy writer with experience at MTV, SNL, VH1, Fox, The Onion. F/T, P/T, freelance. Contact [email protected] (3/12)

SITUATION WANTED: MEDIA BUYER/LA Based: 14+ years exp, seeking full time permanent/freelance projects. Radio and tv experience. Experience includes entertainment, retail, auto, fast food, supermarket. Email: [email protected] (3/11)

SITUATION WANTED: TONY NOM. B’WAY PROD/THEATRE CONSULT/ACQUIS. & DEV./NYC: 30+ yrs exp. in theatre. Superb theatre/film/TV contacts seeks FT or Consulting Position w/Studio/Prod Co. looking for properties. Contact: [email protected] (3/11)

SITUATION WANTED: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Extensive creative directing experience in cross platform integrated marketing/advertising, television promotion, and digital production. Will travel. Fly Me!! [email protected] (3/11)

SITUATION WANTED: SALES MANAGER/BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (Chicago): 24 yrs experience w/broadcast & cable seeks digital, OOH, emerging opportunities. Great communicator, solid relationships. Innovative & creative! [email protected] (3/11)

SITUATION WANTED: BUSINESS CONTINUITY/CRISIS MANAGEMENT/NYC: 5yrs production exp, 2yrs BCP exp. Crisis management for ent. industry, masters degree educated. F/T, P/T, freelance. Contact: [email protected] (3/11)

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