Tuesday, May 1st, 2012





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Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, May 1, 2012, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis editions online, click here.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau kicked off the last week of the inaugural Digital Content NewFronts with an event that featured presentations from three prominent online/digital content brands: Funny or Die, The Daily, and The Onion. Here are the big takeaways:


  • Some monthly stats: 14.6 million unique visitors; 24.1 million visits; 43.2 million page views; and 63.5 million view views.
  • Billy on the Street: Picked up for a second season by Fuse Networks; a “cash cab”/”man on the street” style game show with a twist: the final round is subjective, based on the opinions of the host, Billy Eichner.
  • Customized Branded Entertainment: The Funny or Die team touted its ability to provide brands with services that span the content creation chain, from development to distribution at scale. It defined its value proposition as a partner that offers “Hollywood production” quality content, personalized to a brand’s specific campaign and/or goals.
  • “First Look” Content Distribution: A partnership with National CineMedia will result in the national cinema advertising network carrying Funny or Die content. Through this, Funny or Die is offering an audience reach beyond at a wider scale as it would create customized branded content, which would then be able to be screened across NCM’s network.


  • An iPhone version of the popular iPad magazine is on the way (“really soon”).
  • Has a custom video channel on Samsung TVs.
  • Has pieced together a video production team of industry veterans hired from the likes of Viacom and ABC, and has “ramped up production” of video content.
  • The Daily’s Weekly News Network: A puppet-based news show that will expand to more devices, including, as noted earlier, the iPhone.
  • Launching the Rocket: A reality series where the host performs interesting stunts, such as going on 50 dates in 50 states, or participating in a paintball battle with active-duty Marines. The short-form series will feature a wide range of one-off episodes and content, creating multiple opportunities for brand participation.


  • The Onion highlighted the Onion News Network, as well as existing series that lampoon popular today’s news programming/culture, including Today Now! (morning news); Tech Trends (tech news); Onion Sports Dome (ESPN/SportsCenter); Star Fix (entertainment news); and WONN-5 (local news). The Onion team noted how it could take existing brand integration practices on actual news programs (e.g. ESPN’s use of sponsored segments) and do something similar with brand partners on its fake news content.
  • The Onion also unveiled new programming ideas, including The Night Spot (a send-up of late night talk shows with a host in the vein of Jay Leno); Pop Smear (satirizing entertainment/gossip bloggers and TMZ); The Gab (roughly based on The View); among others.
  • Outside of its fake news content, The Onion also focused on its other prominent digital property: The A.V. Club. The entertainment news and culture website will offer its own selection of original programming, including, but not limited to Pop Pilgrims (a “pop culture” travel show that visits famous film landmarks) and Stand Down (a cartoon series where a comedian is invited to recount a memorable stand-up gig, which is then animated into a short video).


Apple is in discussions with EPIX to stream films owned by the company on multiple devices, including its rumored upcoming TV product, reports Reuters. Apple initiated the talks earlier this year with EPIX, which is owned by Lionsgate, MGM, and Paramount Pictures. Apple already sells a STB; according to the report, these discussions center on this device, as well as upcoming devices that can stream content. Talks are still in their infant stages, but Reuters notes that they could be complicated by EPIX’s existing agreement that licenses its movies to Netflix.

Yahoo! has announced its Summer Olympic programming coverage, featuring a slew of original video content, contributions from former Olympians, social elements, and a dedicated hub for coverage. Among the highlights:

  • The Olympic Hub: Yahoo! will deliver breaking news, major headlines, and recaps every day. The hub will also feature a program profiling athletes from big names to small, as well as regularly updated photo galleries.
  • London Minute, a daily show that will feature quick snippets from London and will debut during the opening ceremonies; Elite Athlete Workouts from Yahoo! Sports, which will debut on May 7 and will give insight into the training, diet, and preparation Olympic athletes must undertake.
  • Reporting and Analysis: Yahoo! Sports’ editorial staff, along with former Olympians such as Summer Sanders and Dan O’Brien, will look to provide in-depth coverage and analysis. The editorial offering will include London Reporter, which will bring content from the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
  • London Pick’Em: A fantasy sports game that will allow users to make daily predictions, as well as the ability to cheer on athletes and teams via the hub.

Lionsgate’s recently launched BeFit YouTube channel, which features a mixture of fitness-related original content and programming from the company’s fitness content catalog, has amassed over 1.5 million views over the past month. Original programming on the channel includes BeFit in 90 and BeFit Club Hip Hop. Lionsgate is a YouTube partner in the video site’s original programming initiative.

British TV-focused streaming service Acorn TV is now available on Roku devices. Acorn TV possesses full seasons of 10 classic and contemporary British series, including Midsomer Murders, Queer as Folk, Touching Evil, and Murdoch Mysteries. The first episode of each of the 10 different series is available for free, while the entire library is accessible via a premium membership for $24.99/year. A free 30-day trial of Acorn TV is being offered to all Roku users as of immediately.

JenniferLopez.com is the latest output/member of the EQAL Media Network. Among the site’s features: a Tour Feed section, which will allow fans, once they register, to have access to ticket giveaways for each show day on Lopez’s upcoming tour. Tour Feed will also include interviews, messages, pictures, and other behind-the-scenes content on the yet-to-be-announced tour. Lopez will also provide some personalized content from the backstage area, giving an inside look into the making of a tour, along with a tour diary. Fans will be given the opportunity to produce some personalized content of their own by writing into the site as guest bloggers.


A new partnership between Viacom and WhoSay will make Viacom Advertising Sales the sales force that sells inventory for WhoSay.com, which is a media management platform for celebrities that allows them to offer content and manage interactions with fans through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other media outlets. WhoSay, which features a network of over 1,000 members, says it will also work with Viacom brands to create original content connected to Viacom brands’ on-air programming, online destinations, live events, and more. The deal also calls for the partners to collaborate on building customized sales and integrated marketing packages across Viacom’s brands and the WhoSay member network, allowing marketers to target categories including music, film, television, comedy, and sports.


Google may have known of a single engineer’s plan to collect personal information from wireless-network users via Google Street View cars for as much as two years before Street View managers told the FCC that they learned the practice was happening. This news comes from an FCC investigation on the matter, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The report affirms Google’s argument that such a data-collection program was because of just one engineer and not something the company had a major hand in. However, it also indicates that Google may have been capable of putting a stop to the practice long before it said it could. FCC released a redacted version of the report earlier this month, after which Google released a more transparent version, only blacking out the names of individuals involved in the matter. It explained that it did this to deny impeding the FCC investigation, for which the agency fined it $25K, to deny some statements made in the document, and to ultimately agree with the FCC’s decision that Google did not break the law.

Microsoft is investing $300 million in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary, dubbed “Newco” for now, which will bring together Barnes & Noble’s digital and college businesses under one roof. The investment will value the subsidiary at $1.7 billion, in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake. Newco will maintain an ongoing relationship with Barnes & Noble’s retail stores. The partnership will also result in a Nook app for Windows 8. As part of the deal, Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation surrounding Barnes  & Noble’s use of the Android software.


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Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, which Yankee Group dubs “The Four Horsemen of the Mobility Revolution,” generated more than $200 billion in 2011 revenues, over half of which came from mobile sources, according to the research and consulting firm. Furthermore, in mobile content, Yankee Group estimates that these four companies accounted for 76% of global mobile app download and advertising revenues in 2011. Among the Four Horsemen, Yankee Group says Amazon and Google are each making billions every year from mobile devices, Facebook is still trying to figure things out, and Apple is making more money than all three combined. The report notes that mobile content is slated to grow form a $10 billion base in 2011 to more than $43 billion in 2015. To this end, it advises that companies not among the Four Horsemen will need to find their own niches to take advantage of such expected growth.

U.S. Hispanics are forecasted to spend $17.6 billion on mobile devices in 2012 (+30% over 2011) and $501.1 million on mobile apps by the end of 2012, according to Zpryme, per an eMarketer report. Zpryme found that smartphone penetration was 51.5% among those it surveyed, which actually beats eMarketer’s 46.9% estimation of smartphone penetration for Hispanic mobile users (as of the end of 2011). Moreover, 19% of respondents owned tablets, which beat eMarketer’s estimate of 12.6% for the same time period. Overall, eMarketer attributes the high adoption rates for mobile devices among Hispanics to the demo being on average a younger audience, and therefore more likely to use mobile devices.


Nickelodeon has unveiled a new update to the premium and free versions of Monkey Quest: Thunderbow, an iOS-based mobile app that is an extension to the network’s successful massive multiplayer online game (MMOG), Monkey Quest, which has amassed 10 million registered users since its April 2011 launch. The upgraded premium version features 30 new levels (totaling 85), over 60 game center achievements, new bonus items and prizes that are playable in the MMOG, and more monsters to defeat. The free version rewards players with a new playable weapon and five new levels that are exclusive to the free app, as well as the ability to preview five levels form the premium version. Players who have the premium version of the app can import their Monkey Quest character to the app to unlock new weapons and gear.


AMC Networks has promoted Jennifer Caserta to the role of President and GM/IFC, effective immediately. In her new role, Caserta will continue to oversee all aspects of IFC, including original programming, acquisitions, scheduling, marketing, digital media, and new business opportunities, all in an effort to drive viewership and grow revenue. Caserta is based in New York City and will report to AMC Networks’ COO, Ed Carroll.

Dana Bowen has been named Executive Editor of Meredith Corporation‘s Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. She will oversee content and set the direction of the magazine, which is published 10 times a year and reaches 7.4 million readers, as well as its digital extension at rachaelraymag.com. She will be based in New York City.

Crown Media Family Networks (CMFN) has appointed Chad Harris to the newly created position of SVP/Business Development. In his new role, Harris will be charged with securing new, non-mainstream revenue streams for CMFN while planning, directing, and executing standard business development functions. He will lead all the important aspects of the vetting process from research to financial analysis and market testing. He will also be responsible for developing short- to long-term objectives and set policy for all areas of accountability related to new business activities. Harris will be based in Studio City, CA and will report to Andy Rooke, EVP and CFO.


What are you waiting for?
We’ve announced the Cynopsis Kids !magination Award finalists, now join us in saluting them at the Awards breakfast!

Date: June 7, 2012
Time: 8:00-10:30 a.m.
Location: Le Parker Meridien, NYC
Register: http://www.cynopsis.com/events/kids-awards/

Registration: Jenn Sredzinski; 203.906.4603
Sponsorships: Mike Farina; 203.218.6480


Citi has teamed up with LinkedIn to launch a branded community/group within the social network, dubbed Connect Professional Women’s Network. The group features customized content around developing and sharpening networking skills, along with tips on career advancement and exclusive access to a special edition of LinkedIn Today, which is sponsored by Citi and serves as a resource for current news and opinion on balancing work and life, finding mentors, launching start-ups, and more. The LinkedIn Today special edition will deliver relevant content from around the web and original editorial content, including polls, targeted events, and discussions. A monthly video series that celebrates the success stories of influential women will also be available. LinkedIn will curate the content for the members of the Women’s Network, with content also being brought over from Citi’s personal finance website, Women & Co.

Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital

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