A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM ABC FAMILY
The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Make It or Break It season premieres drove record traffic online!
4.6 million total video streams +77% vs. prior season
Secret Life is cable’s #1 scripted original premiere of the summer topping Burn Notice, Royal Pains & The Closer!
Make It or Break It is ABC Family’s #2 series premiere ever behind only Secret Life!
Source: The Nielsen Company. Click here for the full source data.
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, July 1, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Once a media darling that promised to utilize the magic of peer-to-peer architecture to recreate the television experience online, Joost announced that it is dumping its consumer video portal to focus on delivering white label video services to other industry players. Joost CEO Mike Volpi, who has been mentioned as a candidate for CEO job at British public broadcaster ITV, will step down as chief executive but remain Chairman of the company. Joost was applauded for introducing innovative features – such as advanced social networking and recommendation features – but ultimately lost out to the premium content of Hulu and the amateur fare of YouTube. The model’s failure has the online video industry wondering who will be the next to falter.
Yahoo is shutting down online video distribution/advertising specialist Maven Networks after acquiring the start-up for approximately $160 million last year, per TechCrunch.
Oxygen posted its first original web series, Mommywood, based on Tori Spelling’s tell all memoir “Stori Telling” and complementing the network’s reality series Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. Meanwhile, Oxygen got a boost from the debut of competition weight loss show Dance Your Ass Off on Monday, both online and on air. Oxygen.com drew 40,000 uniques on Monday while the promo reel of the show racked up nearly 500,000 views on YouTube.
Swedish software maker Global Gaming Factory announced it will buy the notorious Pirate Bay P2P sharing site for 60 million Swedish Kronor ($7.8 million) to pave the way for a new “compensation model.” “We would like to introduce models which entail that content providers and copyright owners get paid for content that is downloaded via the site,” said Hans Pandeya, CEO of GGF in a release. The suddenly altruistic Pirate Bay says the profits from the sale would go into a foundation to “help with projects about freedom of speech, freedom of information and the openness of the nets.”
Journalism Online, the start-up founded by Steven Brill, Gordon Crovitz and Leo Hindrey Jr., announced a partnership with ITZ Publishing to develop strategies for publishers to charge for their content. ITZ will help Journalism Online’s affiliated news publishers to design marketing and packaging strategies for online subscriptions, micropayments and combined online/print subscription packages.
The Online Publisher’s Association announced that 37 of its members were launching new OPA ad units across their sites powering campaigns across a variety of sectors including consumer packaged goods, automotive, and financial. The new units, designed to re-energize the sagging online display advertising sector, will be utilized by brands such as Bank of America on CNN.com and Time.com and Mercedes-Benz on a variety of sites including NYTimes.com and MSNBC.com. The OPA ad units include:
- The Fixed Panel: 336 wide x 700 tall, remains constant as the user scrolls to the top and bottom of the page
- The XXL Box: 468 wide x 648 tall, opens for seven seconds to 936 wide x 648 tall with 1/24x frequency
- The Pushdown: 970 wide x 418 tall, opens to display the advertisement and then after seven seconds rolls up to 970 wide x 66 tall, with 1/24x frequency
Meredith Corp. is targeting what it calls “Gamma” women with a new multiplatform sales, marketing and research product designed to provide multimedia, measurable access to Meredith’s social media assets and businesses, including social networks DivineCaroline.com and MixingBowl.com. Gamma women, estimated to number over 55 million, utilize blogs and social networks to exchange info., advice and recommendations.
Beating Hulu to the punch, CBS Interactive’s TV.com portal completed integration with the Facebook Connect ID service launched about a year ago, allowing visitors to use their Facebook log in info to participate in TV.com’s community features, including leaving comments, adding reviews, etc.
Meanwhile Hulu continues with its strategy to remain an online only service, this time blocking access to the PlayStation 3 platform. Until last weekend PS3 users could access Hulu through the gaming platform’s web browsing feature.
Following a similar agreement with BSkyB, Microsoft struck a deal with Vivendi’s French Pay TV provider Canal Plus to bring some 3,000 movies and 3,000 other titles to the Xbox platform in France including premium drama and soccer matches.
The Gannett Company is preparing for another large round of layoffs and pay cuts after shedding more than 10,000 jobs in the past two years, according to Gannett Blog, edited by a former USA Today staffer. An unnamed source says the company will eliminate 4,500 U.S. newspaper jobs and cut salaries in its broadcast television division.
Clarification : Rather than rule on the issue, the Supreme Court actually left the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling intact. The decision, in line with a request by the Obama administration, still clears the way for the MSO and other cable operators to launch network DVR services.
Young males in the U.S. remain nonplussed regarding their financial well being despite the enduring recession, according to new research being released today on MadeMan.com from Break Media. About 75% of men surveyed said they feel the same or more optimistic about their future career prospects and continue living life as usual, meaning they will continue to spend on computers, mobile phones, electronics, etc. About 88% of the men surveyed said they were spending more time online since the downturn, watching TV shows, downloading movies and “looking to score some extra cash.” Some cutbacks have been made – 27% said they have reduced their cable subscriptions.
Spending More or Same Leisure Time Than Before Recession
Activity 18-34 35+
Playing sports or working out 72% 65%
Playing video games 67% 51%
Having parties or get-togethers 65% 53%
Going to movies in a theater 50% 41%
Attending live performance 45% 36%
Going to bars or clubs 45% 31%
Spending More or Same Time Online Than Before Recession
Activity 18-34 35+
Looking at adult content/girls 68% 60%
Watching movies 65% 47%
WatchingTV shows 65% 47%
Sharing/downloading videos 61% 48%
Updating Facebook, blog, etc. 61% 42%
Playing video/multiplayer games 54% 45%
Source: Break Media
In an effort to combat the rise of “sexting” and other digitally lascivious trends, AT&T, iKeepSafe, and the American School Counselor Association launched “Project Pro”, a suite of interactive resources to help educate teens and parents about the potential consequences of sullying their online reputations. The resources, stressing the importance of privacy and online reputation, will be distributed to over 2,000 school counselors at the conference and will reach over 25,000 school counselors nationwide.
Social travel notification service TripIt, which notifies friends in your network where you’re going on business and pleasure, launched a Pro service, priced at the introductory price of $49/year after a free 30 day trial. TripIt Pro. The service monitors all your TripIt itineraries, alerts you of problems and provides mobile alerts, alternate flight options, frequent traveler point tracking and automated trip sharing.
British content provider ITN On launched its second ad supported iTunes app, ITN Showbiz, providing celebrity, music and entertainment-themed video news.
Apple confirmed that Steve Jobs has indeed returned to work following a 6 month medical leave, during which he underwent a liver transplant. The surgery was performed at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee and Steve’s prognosis for recovery is “excellent,” according to a statement released on the hospital’s web site.
Penny Baldwin was appointed to newly created position of SVP/Global Integrated Marketing and Brand Management at Yahoo, reporting to Chief Marketing Officer, Elisa Steele.
NBCU’s iVillage Networks named Rahim Amlani as VP/Commercial Initiatives, responsible for driving revenue growth and user engagement for the core iVillage business, including four new vertical sites slated to launch this year.
Adam Zeller was upped to Director, Digital Media from Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Starz Media. In his expanded role, Adam remains responsible for overseeing the marketing of long form content for digital and on-demand transactional (EST & VOD/PPV) distribution.
New York-based Winstar Interactive Media hired Martha Zamirski for the newly created position of Social Media Manager.
In the biggest cable makeover since Court TV became TruTV, NBCU’s Sci Fi is remaking itself into Syfy on July 7 and the network’s digital team is fast at work developing a new digital identity for the channel. SyFy.com (just a placeholder until July 7) will forgo the purple motif of SciFi.com for a brighter, cheerier look. “Now we have the Blackberry version – highly usable but it no longer has the cool factor,” says Craig Engler, SVP and GM of Sci Fi Digital. “The new site will be more like the iPhone – more intuitive and more pleasing to the eye.” A series of video promos up now give a flavor of the new look. The network and website relaunch are part of an ongoing effort to broaden the brand that includes the launch of a slew of new casual games for the site. Syfy hopes to spread the word about the relaunch at the influential ComicCon convention in San Diego, introducing a free iPhone app built to help attendees share their experiences at the show. Mr. Engler has also been playing the role of digital ambassador as of late, reaching out to fans on Facebook and Twitter to reassure them that Science Fiction will still find a home at Syfy. The 4 letter moniker makes for the perfect hash tag on Twitter, he says.
Correction: Yesterday’s item about EmmyTVLegends.com failed to specify that the site was launched by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. Also, Mochila was incorrectly spelled with two “ll’s” in its first mention. In yet another typo, CNBC.com’ new blog is from David Faber. Sheesh. We regret the errors.
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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