Good morning. It’s Monday April 11, 2016, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
4K “Ultra HD”: 4K Video has a resolution of 3840 pixels × 2160 lines (or 8.3 megapixels, with an aspect ratio of 16:9). No idea what that means? That’s okay, Cynopsis Digital can translate for you: As its “Ultra HD” moniker would suggest, 4K video is, well, ultra-high definition. In fact, it’s the highest definition video format commonly used by consumers. An increasing number of devices and services, including Netflix, are starting to make use of 4K video. Will it truly catch fire with in the digital video market? Time will tell.
Facebook has updated its policy to let its verified Pages post branded content. That includes video (traditional, 360-degree, and live), as well as text and photos. Along with the new features come stringent policies to facilitate transparency and curtail “overly promotional” content. Under the new rules for sponsored posts, publishers and influencers will include a “with” tag explicitly mentioning their brand partner. Facebook will also be banning features such as pre-roll ads and persistent watermarks. Facebook has long been making it clear that it thinks video is the future of social media, even going so far as to prioritize video in its News Feed algorithm. Facebook won’t be taking a cut of the earned revenue generated by sponsored content, but the company’s motivation is clear: If Facebook incentivizes brands and influencers to post their content on Facebook instead of another platform, it means more eyeballs – and therefore more ad dollars.
After months of speculation, Yahoo is likely to sell off its core web business soon – but it’ll be just a little bit longer. The company announced that it’s giving its prospective bidders an additional week to submit their offers, pushing the deadline from April 11 to April 18. While some speculate that Verizon is the most likely buyer, other possible bidders may include Google, Time Inc., and the private equity funds Bain and TPG.
CYNOPSIS DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: It was a year in the making. Last March, DirecTV and the content-crowdsourcing company Tongal announced The Next Great American Documentary project. Tongal would spearhead the search for a new documentary concept, choosing amongst submissions from its community of writers and directors – a community that Tongal says is 100,000 strong. The doc would then be produced for $50,000, and aired on DirecTV’s Audience Network channel. Well, the winning project finally aired on Audience Network Saturday, April 9. “What I think is really interesting is that this is development outside the system,” said James DeJulio, Tongal’s Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, in a phone call with Cynopsis Digital. “It gives DirecTV access to ideas that no one else in Hollywood has seen yet.” The process, DeJulio said, is more economical than winning a bidding war over a project. “If [DirecTV] went through the traditional process, they’d be getting pitched by agents who send in filmmakers who are probably pitching the same story to about six or seven other buyers in town. And then if that story’s good, everyone will be interested in it, and it will probably be purchased for too much money. What we did was open the process up to give DirecTV a direct line to new ideas that only they, likely, had seen, because the subject matter was kind of developed on the spot on Tongal.” And DeJulio points out that it’s a major opportunity for filmmakers who may otherwise never have been discovered. “Our mission in selecting factual content for Audience Network is to identify compelling, undiscovered stories told from distinct perspectives,” Chris Long, SVP of Original Content and Production for DirecTV parent AT&T, added in an email to Cynopsis Digital. “As quality filmmaking technology becomes increasingly accessible and affordable, filmmakers of all levels and from all walks of life have the means and opportunity to tell their stories. Tongal’s innovative business model provides the perfect avenue for us to find quality, independent intellectual property which we may not have otherwise discovered.” The new doc, titled The Rush Brothers, centers on the basketball-playing brothers Brandon, Kareem, and JaRon Rush. The latter two brothers – especially JaRon – suffered extreme negative consequences when the NCAA’s draconian rules against taking money from boosters led to their suspensions. You can see a sizzle reel of the film here.
DEALS & PARTNERSHIPS
What’s Up Moms, the YouTube channel and digital media company geared toward millennial moms, has forged a new partnership with Meredith Corporation. Under the deal, What’s Up Mom co-founders Elle Walker and Meg Resnikoff will write a bi-monthly advice column for Meredith’s Parents magazine, covering such topics as meal-planning and decor. In addition, What’s Up Moms will create a new digital video series to live on Parents.com. The Parents Digital Network, a collection of parenting-related brands, reaches over 30 million print readers and over 11 million unique monthly visitors on its digital properties, according to Meredith. “Our partnership with Meredith’s Parents Network was a natural fit,” Walker and Resnikoff told Cynopsis Digital in an email. “As our audience and brand continues to grow, it’s important for us to deliver compelling content across multiple verticals. This opportunity will expand both of our respective audiences and give us the ability to engage with even more parents.”
The French mass media company Vivendi has partnered with Mediaset, the Italian broadcaster founded by Silvio Berlusconi. Under the deal, the two companies will swap 3.5% stakes. Something notable: It so happens that Vivendi’s market worth is about six times that of Mediaset’s equity value. As a result, Mediaset will be giving Vivendi an 89% stake in its pay-TV business. Mediaset says that the two companies will now build an OTT platform that merges its separately operated Infinity Italy and Infinity Spain services with Watchever, Vivendi’s German OTT service.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
What Programmers & Marketers Need to Know About Snapchat
Cynopsis and our panel of industry experts from Innovid, Huge, MTV/Viacom and National Geographic Partners will be on-hand to advise you on the latest tools you need to engage young viewers and drive tune-in. In 90 minutes, learn to take advantage of the special marketing opportunities provided by Discover and Stories, and determine how and when to use them.
Register now: http://www.cynopsis.com/?p=57172.
Just how much potential does live video have? On Friday, two BuzzFeed employees wrapped rubber bands around a watermelon until it exploded. The whole thing was live-streamed on Facebook, and lasted about 45 minutes. It garnered 800,000 concurrent viewers – the most ever for a Facebook Live video. Let’s repeat that: 40-plus minutes of rubber band placement, followed by a half-second watermelon explosion, got 800,000 viewers. That tells you all you need to know about why publishers and broadcasters are starting to take live video very seriously.
The real-time interactive live-streaming platform Firetalk has announced Guest, a new feature that allows any Firetalk broadcaster to instantly invite audience members to join them on-air during a live episode. As part of the launch of Guest, Firetalk has also announced a new partnership with TMZ, TheWrap, musician Maggie Lindemann, and numerous other social media influencers. Firetalk’s new partners will all be using Guest to interact with audience members.
Hopper, meet Ultra HD. The Dish Network DVR set-top boxes will now be home to 4K Netflix programming such as Daredevil and House of Cards. The shows are available through the Hopper 3 Netflix app. Other set-top devices already equipped to host Netflix 4K content include the Roku 4, TiVo’s Bolt, Amazon’s latest Fire TV, and the Nvidia Shield. Netflix’s 4K content is also available via smart TVs from numerous manufacturers. Netflix, which introduced 4K content in 2014, is been steadily increasing its slate of Ultra HD programming. The service’s 4K content is one of the prime goodies it uses to lure subs to its $12 a month premium plan; lower-tiered subscribers don’t have access.
OTT + SVOD
Millions of Netflix subs were grandfathered into Netflix’s $7.99-per-month plan back when the service kicked up its price in 2014 ($8.99) and then again last October ($9.99). Well, grandpa can’t protect you forever. Netflix is hiking up its subscription price to $9.99 per month, for all users, next month. UBS analysts estimate that about 3-4% of “un-grandfathered” subs will cancel their subscriptions.
DIGITAL CONTENT CREATORS
announced the 51 UK and US channels that will comprise its 2016 NextUp class. The NextUp contest provides resources – both monetary and production-related – for up-and-coming digital creators. NextUp has been running since 2011; it’s safe to say that YouTube’s leadership thinks it’s been a successful tool for incubating talent and building the platform’s roster of popular creators. You can see the members of the 2016 class here.
Netflix, now active in almost 200 countries, is in the midst of an aggressive global expansion. Across the pond, it seems to be going particularly well. According to a new study from Enders Analysis, the service gained 1.8 million subs last year, more than the 1.3 million subs gained by all other streaming services combined. That makes 5.2 million UK subs total. Interestingly, Netflix’s gains don’t seem to be impacting linear TV viewing yet: The Hollywood Reporter, which got a close look at the study, says that SVOD subscribers overlap with existing pay-TV subs. In other words, Netflix UK customers don’t seem to be cord-cutting in conjunction with buying Netflix subscriptions.
Twitter’s Board is losing a couple of major players. Peter Chernin, Founder and Chairman of both The Chernin Group and Chernin Entertainment, is exiting along with tech investor Peter Currie. But where Twitter’s board loseth, it also gaineth: Martha Lane Fox, the Founder and Chair of the karaoke company Lucky Voice, will join Twitter’s Board as a director, as will PepsiCo Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston. Johnston, meanwhile, will replace Currie as Chair of Twitter’s audit committee following the company’s 2016 stockholders meeting.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
2016 CYNOPSIS KIDS !MAGINATION AWARDS
Are you part of a team that works on a groundbreaking kids series, an addictive game or app, an infectious children’s entertainment campaign? Enter your mobile app, series, marketing campaign or leading executive in this year’s competition.
Deadline to enter: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 – Enter Now!
View past winners and honorable mentions: 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015.
Late last month, Cynopsis Digital spotlighted The Verge’s video review of the Oculus Rift headset. It’s only fair that we give equal time to its competitor, the HTC Vive. The Vive, which enables a user to move around while wearing the headset, is, well, awesome. Check out The Verge’s video review here.
The digital media company Fullscreen is owned by a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group. That joint venture, which was formed in order to acquire and invest in digital video services, boasts a highly adorable name. What is it? You can find the answer here.
Watcheroo Premieres and Tune-in Alerts for April 11-17:
- People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30a ET and 11:30a ET: Guests include actress Regina Hall (Barbershop: The Next Cut), actress Rose McIver (The CW’s iZombie), and musician Aaron Carter
– Hulu: The Mindy Project returns for the second half of its fourth season tomorrow, April 12
- Amazon Prime: Ring of Fire Parts 1 and 2, a one-hour sneak preview of the upcoming animated kids series Thunderbirds Are Go, debuts April 15. (Thunderbirds Are Go premieres April 22).
– Netflix: Season Two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt debuts April 15
Watcheroo is Cynopsis Digital’s tune-in guide, categorized alphabetically by platform or network. Programming includes digital premieres, ongoing shows, live-streamed events and linear TV digital integrated series.
See you tomorrow,
Roberta Caploe: Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group
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