Good morning, it’s Wednesday, July 8, 2009, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
Pandora has been saved for now. After online music firms complained that the music industry’s streaming royalty policies would put them out of business, record labels and online music services renegotiated a 10-year agreement covering royalty rates for streaming music. Under the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009, publishers will pay a per-song royalty starting at a retroactive .08 cents/play in 2006 or up to 25% of their U.S. revenue, whichever is greater, according to the SoundExchange group, whose members include Warner Music, Universal Music and Sony Music Entertainment. Royalty rates will vary depending on the size and business model of the webcaster; smaller services that cap music streaming and earn less than $1.25 million in revenue will pay 12-14% of their nut for the right stream music.
NBCU’s newly rebranded Syfy Channel launched a pro-social campaign dubbed Visions for Tomorrow, out to utilize the power of science fiction to inspire individuals, organizations, corporations and policymakers to meet the growing challenges of the future. The network began by offering a year of free “Wyfy” at several New York City landmarks yesterday to promote the campaign.
As Congress debates the merit of the BCS College Football Championship Series, CBSSports.com launches a College Football Fantasy Football site modeled on its pro fantasy football interface. It’s the first collegiate-themed fantasy football game on a major site.
Hulu has begun offering full episodes from its new equity partner ABC, beginning with 5 season 5 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. Episodes of Desperate Housewives, I Survived a Japanese Game Show, Scrubs, Superstars and Ugly Betty are on the way.
Live video steaming service Stickam will provide live streaming of NAPTE‘s 5th annual LATVFest this week, covering 12 different events including the awards reception for the NextTV Competition – a talent search for the next great web producer.
Telemundo Communications Group has partnered with driverTV and MSN Latino to launch Drivertvlatino.com, the first video-based Spanish-language virtual automobile showroom destination. The site includes hundreds of high definition video previews of new vehicles.
Web entertainment portal KoldcastTV is launching a new teen web drama Love Pop Trash by posting the first 5 episodes at once, an increasingly common strategy. Director/producer Saul Levitz tries to portray teens as they really live, exploring paint huffing, sexuality, shoplifting and violent video game fantasy.
Another big screen presence is joining the web. Nichelle Nichols, who reprised the role of the young Lieutenant Uhura (Spock’s love interest) in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, has joined the cast of Hayden Black’s musical comedy Sci-Fi series The Cabonauts, premiering exclusively on Dailymotion later this year.
Anyone who’s worked in Tinseltown knows that even veterans have a script. Nehst Studios has launched a new website, G.I.Pictures, to help veterans, active duty military and dependent families pitch their scripts and entertainment ideas directly to industry insiders. The site will also post opportunities to produce, direct, act, and crew professional movies, television and web series.
Amazon has filed for a number of patents recently published by the U.S. Patent Office pointing to an ad supported strategy that could help monetize and lower the cost of the Kindle eBook reader, reports Mediapost. Amazon looks to insert ads at the beginning and end of each book, between chapters and along the margins. Many would be delivered in a contextual manner, advertising restaurants when food is the topic or travel when an exotic locale is the setting.
The Michael Jackson Memorial proved to be another litmus test for live video streaming as outlets struggled to keep up with traffic demands and make their social integrations relevant. The live traffic meters of internet infrastructure firm Akamai, which handles an estimated 20% of the world’s web traffic, counted about 109 million customers/minute during the event – a high for the year. Internet monitoring specialist Keynote Systems, which reported significant slowdown on major news sites after news of Jackson’s death spread, also saw slowdowns across its Keynote News index.
Time Warner Cable extended a deal with Samsung to develop, purchase and deploy Tru2Way-enabled set-top boxes across its systems. The MSO said it has deployed more than 2 million Tru2Way set tops to date, about 400,000 of which are Samsung boxes.
IAC’s Match.com signed an agreement to buy the targeting dating site of People Media for $80 million in cash. People Media operates 27 sites focused on specific demographic groups, including BlackPeopleMeet.com, SingleParentMeet.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com, BBPeopleMeet.com and LDSPlanet.com, with a combined 255 thousand paying subscribers.
Clearwire announced it will launch its Clear true WiMax wireless internet service in Las Vegas on July 21, which should be handy for convention goers. The company is also joining with investor Comcast to bundle its mobile broadband offering with Comcast’s cable modem service in Portland, Clear’s first market launch.
Measurement issues continue to plague the online advertising space as marketers hesitate to commit more campaign dollars until standards are set and accountability problems are solved, according to a new eMarketer study on Brand Measurement. Comments from leading ad executives include:
- “I’m hearing from our publisher members that there is a kind of panel fatigue among people who are asked to take online surveys that are quantifying brand impact. Another issue is an assumption that the internet is not good for branding — there is a continued lack of awareness on the part of marketers and agencies.” – Joe Laszlo, Director of Research at the IAB
- “The challenge is to begin to build technological capabilities that allow them to see the complete digital footprint that a consumer leaves when they engage with the brand and then be able to address that consumer in a relevant way — behaviorally, contextually or both.” – Michael Mendenhall, CMO of Hewlett-Packard
- “I think it’s not having those foundational reach, frequency and GRP metrics. You will never see P&G and Unilever spend more than single digits millions unless we give them reach, frequency and GRPs.” – Young-Bean Song, Senior Director of Microsoft’s Atlas Institute
Sony unveiled its first netbook – the snazzy looking Viao W series. The mini laptops come in three colors (“berry pink,” “sugar white” and “cocoa brown,” sport a 10″ 1,366 x 768 pixel LED backlit screen and will retail for over $600 with a decent amount of memory–about double the price of what cheaper netbooks go for. The netbooks will go on sale in Japan in August and later this fall in the U.S.
Developer pTracker launched a new $10 news discovery app for the iPhone called PoliticoTracker that alloys you sort and track real-time news about elected officials. Sort of a politically themed Google News Alerts tool for the iPhone, the app uses metadata to cross-reference multiple government databases allowing you to sort news by business events, industries, states, world news, government agency, or publication. The Twitter edition can be set to keep track of individual politico’s tweets.
The Weather Channel Interactive launches its next generation mobile website at weather.com today featuring animated radar weather maps, enhanced current conditions pages and enhanced personalization features. The site also offers new content on its pet and green living sections.
Greg Sifkin was named VP/Business Development for Sample Digital, a holding service for the TV and film industry. He will be based in the company’s Los Angeles office.
Gary Vaynerchuk, host of Wine Library TV and partner of VaynerMedia.com, has joined the Buddy Media Board of Advisers.
SpectrumDNA announces the appointment of Jeff Nolan, entrepreneur, venture capitalist and social media strategist, to its Board of Directors.
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TV producer Melissa Friedman and stand-up comedian Helene Gresser have built a collaborative blog last month called HeyRude.com to document and vent about all the things in daily New York life that get their blood up. Made up of video postings, photos, letters and such, it strikes a wonderful balance between sardonic and whinging and should be required reading for many in the city. The latest video post illustrates how NOT to crowd onto the subway before folks get off. (Don’t you hate that?)
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
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SITUATION WANTED: WEB PRODUCER/WRITER/LA: with 10+ years experience. I can make your site shine! Former gigs include ABC.com, CBS 2, Comedy Central, AOL and more. Contact [email protected]. (7/11)
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SITUATION WANTED: PRODUCER: 4+ yrs exp. Entert & Music TV shows for MTV & others. Writer & Field Prod. Strong Mng, people, ethic skills. Direct talent, artist on field. Bi-lingual Spanish. FCP, Photshop, Mini DV Cam. [email protected] (7/8)
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