Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

Cynopsis: DIGITAL


Good morning, it’s Tuesday, March 17, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. 

The gaming and movie worlds continue to cross-pollinate. Screenwriter David Hayter (Watchmen, X-Men) – who also provides the voice of Solid Snake in the Metal Gear games – is teaming with Benedict Carver, producer of the upcoming Tekken movie, to form Dark Hero Studios, a new entity out to develop film, TV, internet, comic and videogame projects in the action, sci-fi and horror genres. The idea is to finance through pre-sales and equity so that Dark Hero can retain negative ownership in order to build a library of films. Dark Hero’s first project will be “Demonology” written and directed by Mr. Hayter, per Variety, based on his experiences attending an international high school in Japan. (ASIJ?)


TheWB.com unveils it latest scripted original series today – Rockville CA, from Gossip Girl, Chuck and The O.C. show runner Josh Schwartz. The series, set in a fictional rock club in Echo Park, LA, features performances from an impressive line-up of up-and-coming acts personally selected by Alexandra Patsavas, the woman responsible for finding all the hip bands featured on Schwartz’s shows. Following the 4 initial episodes already posted, theWB.com will introduce 17 additional episodes each Tuesday, viewable on the site or via a downloadable widget available on RockvilleCA.com.
In addition to redoubling its effort to sponsor and cover the South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive Festivals online and on air, IFC‘s Snag Films site will stream five indie works that will premiere simultaneously at the festival and through IFC’s video-on-demand services. IFC will also premier the original documentary New Word Order by SXSW alum Andrew Neel this week, about theorists campaign to expose a “massive global conspiracy.” The festival has become a launch pad in recent years to help build young audience’s interest in independent movies. Festival attendees can also look forward to a rough cut screening of Sam Raimi’s return to horror Drag Me to Hell.
unveiled its latest web show, “Spotlight to Nightlight,” based on the popular celebrity mommy blog Goddess on gossip site omg! Following in the footsteps of daily TV recap show Primetime in No Time, the show comes with a sponsor already attached (insurance company State Farm) and features a single host – former Miss USA winner Ali Landry, who herself is a mother of two. Ali will also do a version o the show in Spanish for the Yahoo! En Espanol audience.
As part of its We Empowers Women public affairs initiative We.tv launched WEVolunteer.tv, a new website helping to direct women to worthy volunteer opportunities. It’s powered by VolunteerMatch and sponsored by Stila Cosmetics.
Call for Votes: Delta is sponsoring an interactive element of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival allowing users and Delta on Demand in flight viewers to choose from five short film finalists, selected by the Festival programmers and currently playing on Delta flights equipped with Delta on Demand. The film rated highest by viewers will receive the final spot in this year’s Festival shorts program.


Popular Twitter desktop client application TweetDeck has joined the Facebook Connect revolution, allowing users to easily distribute Deck-originated tweets to their Facebook friends or view status updates from them.
Nashville-based Moontoast, founded by members of the city’s music world including pedal-steer guitarist William Baxter and guitar maker Joe Glaser, announced the launch of moontoast.com, described as the first online marketplace for human knowledge. Users seeking a private consult with an expert on a variety of fields (there seems to be a concentration in the music field) can go to the site to schedule a one-one-one live video interview with said expert. Moontoast generates revenue based on a percentage from each transaction.
Online anime site Crunchyroll signed a deal with Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation to stream more than 30 complete Korean dramas series, the first of which will be available this week. Cruncyroll, which streams ad-free simulcasts of popular anime hits such as Naturo Shippuden in 720p and 480p the day they air in Japan, is currently offering a free two-week trial to its Anime Membership subscription.
Air America Media has signed a multi-year deal with talk show host Montel Williams to host “Montel Across America,” debuting April 6 from 9am-12pm ET on radio stations across the country and streaming live online at airamerica.com.


Ad revenue optimization firm PubMatic closed on series B financing from various investors, including Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Nexus India Capital, and Helion Ventures. The investment will fund the introduction of PubMatic’s new Premier offering, designed to detect the highest-paying ad network to fill publisher inventory, in real time. PubMatic says the system ensures that only quality placements are made that do not compete with the publisher’s direct sales force.
Ford feels that it’s necessary to repeat its message to drivers exactly where they’re feeling the most pain. The company has launched a new ad campaign for the hybrid Ford Fusion across Gas Station TV‘s network of outdoor screens that features a strategically placed 5- or 10-second spot that runs in addition to the advertiser’s initial 15- or 30-second spot. The second ad allows advertisers to increase message frequency, further drive action and raise metrics for overall campaigns, says the Destination Media division.
Ouch. LA-based TV commercial creation and scheduling service Spot Runner laid off an additional 60 employees, per TechCrunch, adding to 165 previous layoffs.
Glam Media’s Brash.com men’s vertical ad network unveiled a new sports channel anchored by SB Nation, comprised of nearly 200 team and sport-focused fan sites. For March Madness Brash will offer a Twitter integration filtering chatter about the tourney, similar to the module introduced by Glam for the Oscars.


Chip rivals Intel and AMD are locked in a legal battle over a cross-licensing patent agreement that dates back to 2001. Intel sent a notice to AMD that its creation of the joint chip factory Globalfoundries violated a previous agreement made between the two and threatened to pull AMD’s access to the license within the 60 days of the breach of contract.


The number of people using their mobile device to access news and information on the internet more than doubled from Jan. 2008 to Jan. 2009, according to ComScore. Among the 63.2 million users who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, 22.4 million (35%) did so daily – more than double the size of the audience last year. Another 22.3 million people accessed news and information via a downloaded application. Much of this growth is due to the recent proliferation of high-end smartphones as 70% of this subset used feature phones to access the info. Young males are the most avid users of mobile news and information, with half of 18 to 34-year-old males engaging in the activity.
CBS’s new video portal TV.com continues its rapid growth. The site posted a 184% increase in unique viewers, a 844% increase in streams and a 3101% increase in minutes spent per user according to Nielsen’s VideoCensus figures for February. CBS also claims that its TV.com iPhone app is currently the third most popular free app in the app store’s Entertainment category.


CBS Sports Mobile‘s released a free IPhone app just in time for March Madness, complementing its video-focused streaming app with a text and photos featuring live scores, breaking news, updates and headlines from all major professional and college sports. The app targets fantasy sports fans in particular offering the ability to set your lineup, accept/deny trades, view all roster trends and add/drop players.
Travel site Kayak has introduced an iPhone app its own geared toward helping travelers change their plans at the last minute. The interface allows you to search for available flights, hotel rooms or car rentals then directs you to Kayak.com or the providers website to facilitate the purchase. One cool feature is trend reporting, revealing how the price for your proposed trip has been tracking in recent weeks.


Former NBC chief digital officer George Kliavkoff has been named EVP and Deputy Group Head of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. George, who was instrumental in the formation of Hulu and served as venture’s first CEO, will report to Scott Sassa, President of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication and will be charged with leading the digital expansion of Hearst’s interests in cable television networks; television production and distribution; newspaper syndication and merchandise licensing.
UK-based multiplatform distributor Digital Rights Group has appointed Ben Hall to the newly created post of Chief Creative Officer, Entertainment. Ben previously served as Creative Director at BBC Worldwide and before that co-founded the format company, The Chatterbox Partnership.
London-based Fireworks International, the television distribution arm of ContentFilm plc, has upped Jonathan Ford to EVP, Digital Acquisitions and Distribution, reporting to Greg Phillips, President of the division. Jonathan will oversee digital licensing and partnership agreements.
MMO gaming company Turbine hired Jan Robert Horsfall as the company’s first Chief Marketing Officer. Jan will be responsible for leading Turbine’s worldwide branding efforts and oversee all consumer and partnership marketing initiatives.
CTAM named Joan Gillman, President, Media Sales, EVP, Time Warner Cable; and Steve Schiffman, GM and EVP, National Geographic Channel as Co-Chairs for the CTAM Summit 09 in Denver.



Hearst sounded the death knell for the print edition Seattle Post-Intelligencer yesterday (the P-I hits newsstands for the last time this morning, ending a 146-year run.) The company tried to appease this city’s readers by committing to maintaining the paper’s website, seattlepi.com – a top 30 newspaper destination with some 1.8 million uniques in Jan, according to Nielsen. In the official release announcing the news, Hearst Newspapers President Steven Swartz described the effort as a “new type of digital business with a robust, community news and information web site at its core.”  The P-I will form a local digital agency to sell ads across the Puget Sound and rely on Yahoo for display ads, Kaango for the general marketplace and Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.com for search marketing. It many ways wired Seattle is a perfect test market for a web-only paper. The newspaper industry will closely watch the experiment, as a news staff of 20, led by Michelle Nicolosi, will try to maintain a website that once relied on a staff of 165 to feed it compelling content. To help make up for the losses seattlepi.com will turn to a team of local unpaid bloggers as well as recruit some local celebrities to contribute columns, including former Seattle mayor Norm Rice and congressman Jim McDermott. And no doubt new Hearst Entertainment & Syndication EVP George Kliavkoff will have some ideas on how to enrich the site with content from other tentacles of the Hearst empire.
Later — Wayne
 Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital

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JOB OPENING: VP PRODUCTION/Discovery/MD: Focus on specials and series. Req editorial interest and proven exp from a domestic cable network. 10+ yrs exp in film or video documentary. Apply: www.discovery.com/careers #8845 (3/21)

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JOB OPENING: DIR AUD DEV/BBC/NY: Grow mkt BBC online news. Dev traf-driving initvs, cons mktg, prtnrshp mngmnt. Anlyz traf & usage pttrns, mng synd rltnshps, up 3rd party links to bbc.com news cont. www.bbcamerica.com/employment.jsp (3/21)

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JOB OPENING: SALES DIR/BBC/NYC: 5+ yrs exp mng sales team, solid sales track record, media licensing exp, direct selling. Est & imp strat, mng sales pipeline, lead team to grow biz. Apply: www.bbcamerica.com/employment.jsp (3/21)

JOB OPENING: DIGITAL NTWRK OPS MGR/BBC/NYC: ensure dig ad campaigns supported & trafficked. Set-up, insert orders & comm discrepancies. Analyze success of campaigns & relay to ad sales team. Apply: www.bbcamerica.com/employment.jsp (3/21)

JOB OPENING: SR ACCT EXEC/ACCT DIR Out-of Home media sales/NY: 5+ yrs nat’l sales exp w/clients & advrtsng agencies strat. plan’g groups. Proven track rec of new bus/acct dvlpmnt req’d. Exp w/Youth mkt a + Res to: [email protected] (3/21)

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JOB OPENING: EXEC ASSISTANT, CONTENT DEVELOPMENT/MTV/NYC: 2+yrs exp. Exec Assist, Strg org/detail skills, Superior Cust. Service, Strng comm/comp skills, Able to prioritize/Meet deadlines EOE/M/F/D/AAP. Apply www.mtvncareers.com (3/20)

JOB OPENING: RSRCH PROJECT MGR/CNN/ATL: Supporting Strat Mktg & On-Air Promo w/ ability to translate raw data into useable & actionable insights. Solid media math skills/5+ yrs. brdcst and/or cable TV Apply: [email protected] (3/20)

JOB OPENING: SR. COUNSEL, BUSINESS & LEGAL AFFAIRS/NY: Negotiate production, programming & talent agreements for AMC NETWORK. L.A. Contacts, JD & 8+ yrs ent law experience required / M&A exp a +.  [email protected] (3/19)

JOB OPENING: OFFICE MGR/MGM AD SALES/NY: Mng all aspects of A/R including prep of wkly & monthly accounting reports. Provide sales & admin support to dept. Back up Sales Plan & Traffic Mgrs. Apply www.MGM.jobs #6440 (3/19)

JOB OPENING: TRAFFIC MGR/MGM AD SALES/NY: Resp for proper plcemnt of commercials & copy assgnmnt. Mng prod & reconcil of logs. Liaise betw Ad Agncies, Sls, Mktg & Prog depts to gather fitting copy materials. Apply www.MGM.jobs #6441 (3/19)


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SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: MARKETING/Urtak.com: user-generated public opinion site. Resp: Prdct dev, mkt expansion, corp svcs, for innovative startup. Work remotely, w/ few meetings in NYC. ~35hrs/wk. Send cv & CL to [email protected] (3/19)

SUMMER INTERNSHIP CREDITS ONLY: PROGRAMMER/Urtak.com: user-generated public opinion site. Resp: prgrm’ing & user interface design for innovative startup. RubyOnRails exp. Work remotely, w/ few NYC meetings. ~35hr/wk. Send cv&CL to [email protected] (3/19)

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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] (3/21)

SITUATION WANTED: NON-FICTION PRODUCER/WRITER (STORY & FIELD).10+yrs exp. NBC, VH1, CMT, TLC, E!, Disney, CNN, etc.; reality, ent, news, talk, developmt; LA based, will travel. [email protected] (3/18)

SITUATION WANTED: PRODUCER/ ASSOC. PRODUCER (LA) Out-of-the-box thinker, creative, award- winning, all formats, all genres. Budgets, schedules, breakdowns, crewing, casting, post and more. Over 20 yrs. exp. [email protected] (3/18)

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