Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, June 6, 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.

Facebook is allowing advertisers to buy mobile-only Sponsored Stories ads through the company’s ads API and Power Editor. This allows advertisers to bypass having to go through Facebook’s sales teams. Overall, marketers are being given more control over where their Sponsored Stories ads are placed, whether it is on the News Feed on desktops, News Feed on mobile, both, or in combination with the right-hand side display ad units on computers.


At its E3 event on Monday night, Sony announced that streaming video apps for Hulu Plus and Crackle are soon coming to the PlayStation Vita. They would join the YouTube app, which is scheduled to arrive as a free app for the PS Vita at the end of June.

Ovation, a multiplatform network focusing on art and artists, has partnered with Milyoni to stream each episode of Ovation’s upcoming dance competition series, A Chance to Dance, on Facebook, following the series’ linear premiere in August. The series will also be available to Ovation subscribers for free via VOD and its TV Everywhere platform. On Facebook, consumers will be able to pay for and stream single episodes or rent the entire series as a package. Each episode will be available on all platforms one hour after it premieres on Ovation’s linear channel. Ovation is using Milyoni’s Social Cinema platform to tell consumers how they can access all of the network’s programming from their cable, satellite, or telco provider. Ovation says it wants to use the social network as a way to drive new subscribers to its cable package, or at least alert those who already have Ovation but do not know where to find it on their dial.

Digital Media Management has launched the Women’s Influencers Network (WIN), a collection of nine websites from celebrities such as Felicity Huffman, Dianna Agron, and Vanessa Hudgens. WIN has designs on being a platform that taps into each celebrity’s influence to develop content, drive conversations, and build communities around different verticals (e.g., Huffman’s website for moms). Parallel to that goal is to create opportunities for brands where they can link up with a member property to target and reach female audiences that are active in those verticals. Digital Media Management says that WIN currently has an online reach of over 4 million unique visitors per month and more than 20 million social media followers in total.

Virgil Films & Entertainment, an independent DVD distributor (Super Size Me, Restrepo, Forks Over Knives), has launched a new digital distribution arm, Virgil Digital. Going forward, new and upcoming acquisitions will be released by Virgil Digital day-and-date with DVDs. The new division will be based in the company’s NYC offices and will be led by Executive Director/Digital Services, Tim Maggiani, who will report to President and CEO Joe Amodei.


Google has launched DoubleClick Digital Marketing, which aims to provide advertisers with one unified ad campaign management platform that spans different types of units, including display, search, video, and mobile. Components of the platform include the DoubleClick Digital Marketing Manager, which is an upgrade of the DoubleClick ad server; DoubleClick Bid Manager, a new demand-side platform; DoubleClick Search, a cross-engine search management platform; DoubleClick Studio, a rich media creative solution; and, of course, Google Analytics. Google, which unveiled DoubleClick Digital Marketing at its DoubleClick Insights conference yesterday, says it will be rolling it out to partners over the coming months.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has announced that it has secured 2 billion committed ad impressions in the promotional effort surrounding the Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) Your AdChoices consumer education campaign. The goal of the Your AdChoices campaign is to build more trust among internet users by explaining how online advertising works, as in demonstrating the benefits of online marketing communications, providing solutions for privacy-related concerns, and directing consumers toward additional resources. IAB says the donations of inventory came from numerous members, including a commitment of 700 million impressions from Rubicon and 310 million impressions from 27/7 Real Media. Other IAB members to participate include BlogHer, Business Insider, Buzz Media, Cox Media, Discovery Digital Media, Electronic Arts, Everyday Health, Google, Slate, Yahoo, and more. IAB is still actively seeking donations for the campaign.

Solve Media has launched Brand Tags, a new tool within its ad platform that aims to provide marketers with real-time, crowd-sourced brand sentiment data. Here’s how it works: Using Solve Media’s type-in ad units, the tool replaces CAPTCHA ads with a single brand logo. Consumers are then prompted to enter the words they most closely associate with the given brand in order to move through the security feature. The descriptions are then aggregated through Brand Tags so that marketers can view and analyze the data. Solve Media says consumers will only be shown the logo if they are not a security risk. The tool is meant to simplify the brand sentiment research process for marketers who want to have access to such info, but may not necessarily have the time or capital to do so, says Solve Media. It cites a survey it recently conducted of roughly 200 CMOs, which found that 82% of CMOs believe brand sentiment research is important to their business; 70% find it to be expensive; and 69% find it takes too long to collect.


TiVo is striking back at Cisco Systems. The DVR technology company has filed a countersuit against Cisco for infringing upon four of its patents, according to Reuters. These are the same four patents that Cisco is trying to void in the suit it recently filed against TiVo. In that original suit, Cisco argues that TiVo uses its patents for essentially cash grabs by refusing to broadly license them out, as doing so would make it difficult for TiVo to file and then settle lawsuits. TiVo is currently in patent-related litigation with a number of companies that have purchased DVRs from Cisco, notes Reuters.

Netflix is rolling out its own content delivery network (CDN), dubbed Open Connect, in an effort to eventually move away from needing commercial CDNs to deliver video to consumers. The company says that it will continue to work with its existing commercial CDN partners for the next few years, but eventually Open Connect will serve most of its data. It cites the rise in video consumption on Netflix (“nearly a billion hours per month”) as the reason for establishing its own CDN. Netflix says that about 5% of its data is already being served by Open Connect. As part of Open Connect, Netflix says it is sharing its hardware design and the open source software components of the server. For more information on Open Connect, go here.

Oracle has agreed to purchase Collective Intellect, a cloud-based social intelligence solutions provider that allows clients to monitor, analyze, and respond to consumers’ conversations on social media platforms. Oracle says it will integrate Collective Intellect with its SaaS products and social platform to allow marketers to create more targeted campaigns, help customer service teams respond quickly on social media, and generate targeted leads and opportunities for sales teams, among other things. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Last month, Oracle bought social marketing platform Vitrue for a reported $300 million.



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Jumptap‘s MobileSTAT report for May 2012, which covers data gathered from the company’s mobile ad network of over 107 million monthly visitors, finds that while tablets tend to have higher click-through rates (CTRs) than smartphones, screen size isn’t necessarily a predictor of CTRs. For example, on its network, the iPad (eight-inches in length) had a CTR of 0.9%, while the seven-inch Amazon Kindle had a 1.02% CTR. Furthermore, the Samsung Galaxy Tab (0.53%), Note (0.58%), and Galaxy S (0.53%) all had comparable CTRs even though their screen sizes range from 10.1 inches to 3.5 inches. Other highlights from the report include:

  • Consumer interest in fast food ads on their mobile devices peak on the weekends. Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) ads on Jumptap see CTRs that are 9.9% higher than average on Saturdays and 5.9% higher than average on Sundays. The same ads generate the lowest CTRs on Tuesday (5.7% below average).
  • Millennials are most likely to use an iPad, while Baby Boomers are the heaviest users of the Kindle Fire. Also, ownership of tablets and purchasing on tablets is heaviest among older Millennials (25-34 year-olds).
  • On the day of the Kentucky Derby, mobile traffic around Louisville, KY grew at a steady clip as the day progressed, then surged in the evening shortly after the race, increasing 98% between 6:30pm ET and 10:30pm ET; the race took place at 6:24pm ET. Based on this spike, Jumptap says that there may be an opportunity to reach users once a live event has ended.

The inclusion of video in mobile rich media ads can boost engagement rates by 35%, according to Medialets, per a report from ClickZ. In addition, tablet rich media ads are more than two times as likely as smartphone rich media ads to include video. Based on data from Q1 2012, these numbers cover tablet and handset ads that ran on the mobile apps and mobile websites of Medialets’ 200+ publisher partners. Among the other findings, Medialets reports that 40% of mobile rich media campaigns in Q1 2012 ran across multiple environments (handsets, tablets, mobile web and mobile apps, Android, and iOS), up from 20% in Q1 2011, which suggests that brands and agencies are embracing a broader definition of mobile, says Medialets.

EQAL is reporting some initial success for its fashion and beauty YouTube original channel, u look haute. In the two months since it launched, the channel has surpassed 3 million views and has captured nearly 50,000 subscribers. Its anchor program, Beauty Vlogger Boot Camp, has an average running time of 12+ minutes. The channel features a mix of short-form original, episodic programming, airing throughout the week, and behind-the-scenes content on-demand.



Disney is unveiling two new mobile games at E3, one based on its Phineas & Ferb TV show and the other tied to Brave, the upcoming feature film from Pixar, according to AllThingsD. The former, Where’s My Perry?, is similar to the company’s Where’s My Water? mobile property, while Temple Run: Brave is an archery game. The games will be released this month for both iOS and Android devices.

Last month, Microsoft unveiled a new Xbox 360 bundle (4GB version of the console and Kinect) that allowed customers to pay $99 upfront, followed by a two-year subscription plan to the Xbox LIVE Gold service, priced at $15/month. This package, which has initially been available in only 17 of the company’s own stores, will be coming to all US Best Buy stores and some GameStop stores later this month.

Sprint’s Virgin Mobile will become the second carrier in the US to offer the iPhone on a pay-as-you-go basis, reports The Wall Street Journal. Sprint will make it available as early as July 1. The first was Cricket Communications.

Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have launched Airtime, a new browser-based video chat service that taps into Facebook to connect a user with his or her friends, as well as finding new users to interact with based on location or shared interests. The service allows users to remain anonymous until they decide to reveal themselves, and a “next” option to connect with more people. Airtime also wants to enable users to have “shared live experiences.” At launch, users will be able to watch YouTube videos together, with more content sharing options to come soon. No download is required to access Airtime, just a Facebook account and a webcam.


Revision3 has hired Steve Moriya to be its new Regional Sales Manager/West Coast. He will be based in LA. Most recently, he headed up West Coast Sales at Dailymotion.

Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) has appointed Alex Aleman to the position of SVP/Consolidated Operations, effective immediately. He will be responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the company’s budgets, with an emphasis on maximizing efficiencies and streamlining operations across multiple divisions, including radio, television, interactive, and entertainment. Aleman will report to Albert Rodriguez, COO of SBS.



JetBlue Airways is streaming a new interactive game show tied to a larger promotional campaign surrounding JetBlue Getaways, the airline’s vacation package travel service, according to The New York Times. The show, called JetBlue Getaways Presents Get Away With It, will be available on JetBlue’s website and will have the look and feel of an old school TV game show, but will be played live and online. It is scheduled to air five times a day from June 18 to June 22, with each episode being about 15 minutes long. The advertising campaign to promote the show includes print, online, and outdoor ads, as well as placement on in-flight programs on JetBlue airlines, ads in its airport terminals, and embedded ads in TV program guides. The Times says the campaign even includes partnerships with online, social, and mobile media services, such as a deal with social TV rewards service Viggle to allow users to check-in to the show to earn points. Contestants will be asked travel and JetBlue Getaways-related questions to win vacation packages and other prizes. Information on how to sign-up to participate is available on the site.

Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Editor for Cynopsis Digital

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JOB OPENING: RESEARCH ASSISTANT/Sportsman Channel/NY: Wkly reprts, analyses, research. 1 yr exp or internship w natl rated cable network. Full info/apply: (6/13)

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SITUATION WANTED: SUPERFINE WRITER: Digital, video, print, integrated, segregated. Broadcast, innovation, beauty, foodie, wellness. Super-speedy, reasonable rates. I hear brand voices. [email protected] (6/12)

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