Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012






Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, May 2, 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.

At its Digital Content NewFront presentation yesterday evening, NBCUniversal rolled out a slew of digital offerings spanning its portfolio of digital and television properties.

  • NBCU announced a unified “digital programming event” for Cyber Monday this coming November.
  • NBC Politics will launch its iPad app tomorrow, May 3.

New Platforms:

  • Universal Games Network (UGN): A new casual and social gaming platform that is integrated across NBCU properties. It will aggregate all of NBCU’s games; will allow players to amass points and redeem them for real and virtual goods across all NBCU gaming properties; and will be integrated with Facebook Connect.
  • Oxygen Connect: Timed to launch alongside the season 2 premiere of The Glee Project, it’s a social TV platform from Oxygen Media that will give viewers the chance to earn points/badges by completing weekly missions. The big prize will be a chance to meet one of the contenders on the show. The Oxygen Connect: The Glee Project mobile app will feature additional content such as polls, videos, ads, live social chats, and more.

New Partnerships:

  • Fandango Cine: A collaboration between Telemundo and Fandango that will offer movie-related editorial and video programming in Spanish from Fandango, Telemundo, and mun2, all directed toward the Hispanic audience. It will also provide Fandango’s movie info and ticketing services.
  • StyleCandy: A partnership between Style Media and Daily Candy offering short-form original content on Style Network,, and Down the road, DailyCandy Deals will power e-commerce offerings to Style’s TV audience. StyleCandy will launch this fall.

New Social Initiatives:

  • Bravo Media’s 80 Plates Tweet Challenge: Teaming up with Infiniti, Bravo will give fans of the network’s new reality culinary competition series Around the World in 80 Plates a chance to win plane tickets to a destination featured on the show. By tweeting #80plateschallenge every week, fans can get closer and closer to pinpointing the location of the plane tickets (to that week’s featured destination) on an interactive map on and on Bravo mobile. The tickets can be in one of 10 secret U.S. cities each week.

New Video Series:

  • Inside Story, from DailyCandy: Will follow famous and influential fashion and jewelry designers, celebrity stylists, and beauty specialists. The series will launch on May 9, and will be distributed via email,, and across DailyCandy’s social properties. Toyota Prius c has signed on to sponsor the first three episodes.
  • My Best Idea, from iVillage: The series will merge professionally curated content with tips delivered via video by members of the iVillage community. The series is part of a larger video strategy for iVillage, as the site aims to triple its video offerings under a new channel to be called Video Village.
  • Video Village, a new channel from iVillage: It will feature My Best Idea (launched yesterday), which is a new video series that merges professionally curated content with tips delivered via video from the iVillage community. Additional video commitments include a new beauty-focused web series, and videos featuring editors’ commentary on current issues. Other new franchises that will join My Best Idea and other existing series are: The Conversation Thread (a talk show featuring Chief Correspondent Kelly Wallace), iVoices on iVillage (real members report on local and topical issues), Woman of the Week, and iVillage 5 (a weekly snapshot of current events).

Hearst Magazines Digital Media has launched its second original programming channel on YouTube, the Car and Driver Channel. Car and Drive has had a presence on the video site since 2006, largely driven by videos of test drives. The channel has racked up over 70K subscribers and over 39 million video views during its pre-launch phase. With the official channel launch, Hearst has created six shows. Two of them are reality shows, Battle of the Beaters (two teams of experts battle in competitions ranging from rally racing to demolition derbies) and Driver Rehab (turning horrible drivers into decent drivers). The other four: The Full Hoon (comedians highlight the week’s biggest car news and viral videos); Popular Mechanics Saturday Mechanic (step-by-step car repair and troubleshooting tips with viewers being able to write in to ask questions); Car and Driver Tested (first-hand look at comparisons, new cars, auto shows, and more); and Road & Track Presents (an inside look at sports cars, racecars, exotics, and concept cars, and more). Hearst’s in-house digital video team and Lion TV (Cash Cab) produced the shows.

IGN Entertainment has launched an app for Xbox LIVE. The new app will offer users access to relevant game previews, reviews, guides, gameplay videos, live streams of eSports events, and content from the IGN Pro League, as well as access to industry events such as the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The app will also provide access to game help walkthroughs, and will include IGN’s catalog of shows, including The Daily Fix, Strategize, and more. Available for Xbox LIVE Gold members in the U.S., the app will be compatible with Kinect’s voice- and gesture-based controls.

Discovery Channel and SeaWorld’s Penguin Cam has generated 135 million page views since launching in March. As a result, the partners will extend the availability of the feed that gives 24/7 access to over 300 penguins. The Penguin Cam will now run through the end of May.

In other NBC-related news: NBC Owned Television Stations have announced that they will increase focus on local investigative reporting by creating dedicated sections on its station websites. The new sections will allow stations in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Bay Area, Washington, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Connecticut go more in-depth with their coverage with digital tools such as videos, embedded documents, infographics, maps, and an assortment of social media elements. Investigative sections will be available on additional NBC owned stations in the coming weeks.

TV Guide Magazine is reporting that Netflix and CBS are in talks to possibly revive Jericho, a cult favorite that has been off the air for over four years. This wouldn’t be an unusual move for Netflix (see: return of Arrested Development next year).

Tribeca Film has acquired the North American rights to For Ellen, a drama starring Paul Dana (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine) and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) that premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. A fall release is planned in select markets. The film will also be released via on-demand platforms, where Tribeca Film says it will be available in 40+ million homes through digital services such as iTunes, Amazon Watch Instantly, VUDU, Xbox, and the Samsung Media Hub.


Signpost, a company that specializes in local online advertising for small businesses, has closed a $3.75 million round in Series A financing, led by Spark Capital. The start-up had recently announced a partnership with Google Offers and product updates to provide merchants with an all-in-one marketing platform. Additionally, Signpost has brought on Christopher DePatria, former Head of Sales at AOL’s Patch, to be its new VP/Revenue, where he will lead Signpost’s sales force and be responsible for the start-ups sales operation and revenue strategy.


Internet Broadcasting (IB) has unveiled a new slate of mobile marketing products focused on text-based solutions for digital marketing campaigns. Powered by SMS and mobile technology provider TextingForward, the products are: Text-for-Info, a two-way SMS communication platform that lets marketers reply to inbound texts with company info, specials, and promotions; Text-to-Win, through which IB clients can offer advertisers the ability to create random-drawing text-to-win mobile games (and register those users); Mobile Coupon, which consumers can redeem straight from their phones; and Capture Email, which lets viewers opt-in to receive marketing information, newsletters, and other ongoing communications from the advertiser.

Buddy Media has unveiled BuyBuddy, a new social ad management software that aims to provide clients with a single solution that can help them manage paid, owned, and earned media across social sites, applications, analytics, commerce, and advertising. Buddy Media says the software enables clients to create, monitor, optimize, and measure highly targeted Facebook advertising campaigns.


The Discover tab on Twitter is getting an update so that it can surface content that Twitter says is even more personalized and meaningful to the user. To do this, Twitter has incorporated additional personalization “signals,” including tweets that are popular among the people that a user follows. The new design shows who tweeted about particular stories/content, after which the user can view, reply to, retweet, and favorite said tweet. The update will be rolled out over the coming weeks.

Pinterest has rolled out an attribution tool for content that is pinned on to the social network from Flickr, Behance, Vimeo, and YouTube. Pinterest worked with Flickr to develop the tool. Content that has been made shareable on any of the aforementioned sites will now include a “Pin It” button (alongside those commonly seen for Facebook, Twitter, email, Tumblr, etc.). The attribution will appear below the pin’s description and provides a permanent link to the work, its author, and where the content is hosted, and won’t be able to be edited out. Pinterest has recently come under fire (from Flickr, among others) related to copyright issues for content that is shared on the network.


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The mobile video ad market is on track to surpass the online video ad market in 2012, according to what BrightRoll CEO Tod Sacerdoti tells MediaPost. “By the end of this year we are pretty confident that more than half of all digital video ad sales will be mobile,” he said. BrightRoll is basing this on numbers it’s seeing on its own ad network, as over 40% of video ad requests in March were for mobile, compared to less than 5% last year. This growth will help extend mobile video advertising past just prominent publishers, said Sacerdoti to MediaPost.


The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and have launched Oprah’s Thank You Game on Facebook. The game is designed to encourage people to display gratitude and thank one another. A daily challenge will post on OWN’s Twitter account as well as the game (e.g., “Thank” someone who gave you an opportunity, someone who is having a hard day, etc.). Other features include blog posts and content that aims to educate people on the importance of saying thank you. When clicking the “I Said Thank You” button, users will be able to access a virtual heat map to see how many people have expressed gratitude through the app around the world.


NBC is not done: Women at NBCU, the company’s female-targeted ad sales, marketing, and research arm, has established a digital extension to its advisory board. Designed to serve as a “think tank” on female trends and marketing to women across the web, mobile, social, and other emerging media platforms. Dubbed [email protected], the group will be Co-Chaired by Lauren Zalaznick, Chariman of NBCU’s Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media division, and Nick Lehman, President/Digital for the same division. Members of the group include: Amy Banse (Comcast Ventures), Leah Busque (TaskRabbit), Beth Ferreira (Plum District), Jennifer Hyman (Rent the Runway), Nancy Lublin (Do Something), Nasreen Madhany ([email protected]), Marissa Mayer (Google), Heidi S. Messer (Collective[i]), Alison Pincus (One Kings Lane), Amy Powell (Paramount Pictures), Amanda Richman (MediaVest USA), Jessica Schell (Universal Pictures), Vivian Schiller (NBC News), Chloe Sladden (Twitter), Colleen Soriano (Universal McCann), Rachel Sterne (City of New York), Alexa von Tobel (, and Joanne Zaiac (Digitas). These members will participate in digital “salons,” ongoing digital speaker series, and other events where relevant issues and trends will be discussed.

Ifeelgoods, a provider of digital rewards in an effort to drive increased sales and engagement, has appointed former Google and PayPal exec Tyler Hoffman to the role of SVP/Sales. Since launching in September 2010, Ifeelgoods has used Facebook Credits to provide digital incentives. Through its platform, when a user purchases something on a client brand’s e-commerce site, he or she might be awarded 10 Facebook Credits for making a purchase (dependent on what that brand’s minimum purchase price is). The company has signed up more than 70 brands in 15 countries, including WalmartLabs, Coca-Cola, Universal Pictures, and Gap.


Funny or Die and Every Body Walk! have reunited some cast members from Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing to shoot a funny PSA about the importance of walking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The video stars Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Joshua Malina, Dule Hill, Melissa Fitzgerald, and William Duffy. “We were known for walking and talking,” said Martin Sheen while on the shoot. Every Body Walks! and Funny or Die say it was for this reason they chose The West Wing cast to advance this message. The video mimics the pace and style of the show, and debuted during a party on the opening night of the Digital Hollywood conference. To promote the video and the cause, viewers are encouraged to tweet #WestWingReunion after watching the clip.

Later – Sahil
Sahil Patel, Associate Reporter for Cynopsis Digital

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JOB OPENING: DIR, PRGRMNG RSRCH/MTV/NYC: 7-10 yrs TV ratings rsrch/analysis; Expertise in rsrch methodology, competitive TV landscape & ind trends; multiplatform exp. a +; B.A req. EOE/M/F/D/AAP apply: (5/9)   

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