Good morning. It’s Thursday September 24, 2015, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.
TODAY’S TOP NEWS
The future is hereand as is often the case, it’s available on Facebook. The company announced that its News Feed will now support immersive, virtual reality-style 360-degree videos on the web and on Android, with iOS to follow in a matter of months. With 360-degree video, viewers will be able to swipe around their phones to view different angles. Phones will also be able to sense viewers’ motions, using them to alter their perspectives of the video. Amongst the first publishers to start posting in the new format will be Star Wars, GoPro, NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and VICE. Spoiler: Our Digital Spotlight will give you a closer look.
Earlier this month, Instagram introduced 30-second video ads. Now for some quick math: What’s 30 times 400 million? It’s an important question for advertisers, given that the Facebook-owned image- and video-sharing site just reached 400 million active monthly users. That’s some rapid growth; the company reached 300 million monthly users only nine months ago.
If Amazon has its way, Transparent won’t be the only series winning them Emmys. Among the six pilots debuting this fall are comedies from the likes of Louis C.K. and Sacha Baron Cohen, and dramas from Dana Calvo and Steve Conrad. As is their precedent, Amazon will only greenlight well-received pilots for full series. Check out the full list of pilots here.
As of this week, Snapchat’s Snap Channel no longer exists. The exclusive channel, which was accessible on Snapchat Discover, featured Snapchat’s original series and exclusive content, including Literally Can’t Even. Snapchat confirmed to International Business Times that Snap Channel has been taken down. “The team is working hard on something new and fresh,” said a company spokesperson.
Speaking of Discover, some publishers have been grumbling that Snapchat is making it harder for viewers to discover their ads: According to Digiday, the company recently turned off ad sharing. Discover, a Snapchat portal that distributes content from 15 major brands – including CNN and ESPN – has long allowed users to share content content with friends. But now, that capability has been limited to content that isn’t sponsored. According to Digiday, Snapchat is in ongoing negotiations with its media partners, and ad-sharing capabilities will likely resume when those talks resolve.
Pablo Escobar is dead and gone, but his marketing value is alive and well. The Wall Street Journal has released Cocainenomics, an impressive piece of native advertising for Narcos, the Netflix original series about the ruthless Colombian drug lord. The multimedia ad, available here, combines written histories, video interviews with DEA agents, graphics, photos, and an interactive map designed to tell the story of the cocaine business. The Journal says a Spanish language version of the ad will be released next week. El Chapo will probably take a look.
Ad tech platform Simulmedia has a history using programmatic techniques to drive linear campaigns. Using VAMOS, Simulmedia’s data-driven ad targeting and optimization platform, the company is utilizing data and science to target the right audiences. Now, in an effort to prove that their platform works as well as they say it does, Simulmedia has partnered with cross-platform measurement firm Tivo Research. TiVo will independently confirm Simulmedia’s performance for advertisers. Matt Arkin, who just weeks ago took over as Simulmedia’s Senior Vice President of Sales, explained the TiVo partnership to Cynopsis Digital. “What we’re doing is real,” he said. “You can see it from the numbers…What we’re doing is validating those numbers.”
Yes, Google is planning to appease YouTube advertisers on the question of viewability. But unfortunately for advertisers, not all YouTube viewers are, well, viewers. According to a new study from UC3M, Imdea, NEC Labs Europe, and Polito, Google’s been charging brands for YouTube ads even when the platform’s fraud detection systems identify the viewer as a robot. “While YouTube is shown to strive to protect its users and clients, for example by reacting quickly when suspicious behavior is identified, we speculate that its setup seems to place an unnecessary burden of risk on clients,” the study concludes.
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DATA AND ANALYSIS
Microsoft Cortana has a mission: become the world’s savviest football bettor. But with two weeks of NFL games in the books, results are mixed. The virtual assistant software crushed it in week one, going 13-3. But Cortana endured a humbling week two, going 6-10. Time will tell which week was the anomaly. In the meantime, take a look at Cortana’s week three picks. But a note of warning to gamblers thinking of cribbing the predics: Cortana is intelligentnot psychic.
1. Washington Redskins at New York Giants Giants win, 65.9% chance.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers at St. Louis Rams Rams win, 53.3% chance.
3. San Diego Chargers at Minnesota Vikings Vikings win, 52% chance.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Houston Texans Texans win, 70.2% chance.
5. Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets Jets win, 61.4% chance.
6. New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers Panthers win, 76.7% chance.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Patriots win, 80% chance.
8. Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Ravens win, 55% chance.
9. Oakland Raiders at Cleveland Browns Browns win, 53.3% chance.
10. Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans Colts win, 53.3% chance.
11. Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys Falcons win, 55% chance.
12. San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals Cardinals win, 68.8% chance.
13. Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks Seahawks win, 75.4% chance.
14. Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Dolphins win, 59.8% chance.
15. Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions Broncos win, 65.9% chance.
16. Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers Packers win, 76.6% chance.
Vrideo wants a stranglehold on mobile virtual reality. The VR startup unveiled several mobile video-watching apps for platforms including Samsung Gear VR, as well as Android and iOS phones. As Re/code notes, Vrideo is gunning to become a sort of YouTube for virtual reality. “Our goal is to be one of the major distribution platforms for VR,” says Vrideo CEO Alex Rosenfeld. Vrideo is designed without a designated camera system or viewing device in mind; publishers can create content for any VR viewing platforms. The company says it already has more than 300 video creators on its platform.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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ITV is ditching its digital model and starting fresh. The British broadcaster confirmed that it’s phasing out its VOD service, ITV Player. It will also stop using its website as a digital destination for its programming. Instead, it will roll out the ITV Hub, a streaming service spanning desktop, connected TV, and mobile. The service, featuring livestreaming of the network’s TV channels, is expected to launch this fall.
Culture marketing company Corso Agency has partnered with the entertainment marketing firm UG Strategies to launch UphoricTV – The Global Festival Television Network. A digital video platform dedicated to the global music festival circuit, UphoricTV will debut this fall on Verizon’s Go90 mobile streaming service.
NEW PROGRAMMING + DEALS
In a multi-year partnership, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has joined with multichannel network Fullscreen to form the CBC|Fullscreen Creator Network. The influencer network features the more than 2,000 Canadian content creators currently working with Fullscreen, including vloggers Chris and Crawford Collins. The partnership will allow Fullscreen to team up with Canadian brands. Scion Canda, TD Kids Book Club, and Wolf Blass are already onboard.
Variety’s reporters might consider moonlighting as private eyes. The publication found compelling evidence that Roku is planning to introduce updated streaming devices by year’s end. Namely: Filings for the Roku 2 and Roku 3 passed the FCC yesterday, which strongly suggests that the company is gearing up to introduce new versions of both. No one can say for sure what the updates might include, though some have suggested that “Ultra HD” 4K streaming is a possibility. Roku declined to comment on the story.
BRANDS AND DIGITAL INFLUENCERS
Did they even have coffee a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away? Apparently, because Coffee-Mate, a company specializing in non-dairy creamers, is capitalizing on the December release of The Force Awakens by releasing a new line of Star Wars-themed bottles. (In the humble opinion of Cynopsis Digital, the Chewbacca one is the coolest.) In addition, Coffee-Mate, in partnership with the Reach Agency, has launched a branded YouTube campaign to promote the bottles. YouTube celebs Matthew Santoro, iJustine and Toby Turner star; the videos can be seen on their respective YouTube channels.
No one wants to play video games in silence. Negotiators for SAG-AFTRA (the Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) are trying to elicit a strike authorization from the union’s video game voice actors. Back end bonuses are a major motivation: Unlike in other areas of the entertainment industry, video game actors rarely get a cut of a game’s overall gross. “We’re asking for a reasonable performance bonus for every 2 million copies, or downloads sold, or 2 million unique subscribers to online-only games, with a cap at 8 million units/subscribers,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. Union members must vote on whether or not to strike by October 5.
Every week, Tumblr’s Fandometrics blog tracks which topics Tumblr users reference the most by weighing the overall number of original posts, searches, reblogs and likes on subjects including TV Shows, Movies, Musical Acts, Celebrities, Video Games, and Web Celebs. Below are the top 10 results for TV shows and Web Celebs for the week ending September 21. (You can find the results for the other categories here.)
1. danisnotonfire (YouTube) (no change from last week)
2. AmazingPhil (YouTube) (no change from last week)
3. Markiplier (YouTube) (+1 from last week)
4. Carmilla (Vervegirl TV) (-1 from last week)
5. Homestuck (MS Paint Adventures) (+4 from last week)
6. Cyndago (YouTube) (new addition)
7. Jacksepticeye (YouTube) (no change from last week)
8. Troye Sivan (YouTube) (-3 from last week)
9. GameGrumps (YouTube) (+2 from last week)
10. Hannah Hart (YouTube) (+2 from last week)
1. Steven Universe (Cartoon Network) (no change from last week)
2. Gravity Falls (Disney XD) (no change from last week)
3. Doctor Who (BBC America) (+7 from last week)
4. Supernatural (CW) (-1 from last week)
5. Rick and Morty (Adult Swim) (+3 from last week)
6. Big Brother 17 (CBS) (-1 from last week)
7. The 67th Primetime Emmy Awards (Fox) (new addition)
8. Zoey 101 (new addition) (Nickelodeon [original series], Creator Dan Schneider’s YouTube Page [reunion clip])
9. Hannibal (NBC) (-3 from last week)
10. Teen Wolf (MTV) (-3 from last week)
Rare Country has a new exec. The recently-launched country music website named Laurissa Phillips to the post of Chief Creative Officer and General Manager. Phillips’s previous experience includes publicity, marketing, and production work for a wide range of clients, including ABC News and Coca Cola.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
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Up top, we discussed Facebook’s foray into 360-degree video. But really, a verbal description doesn’t quite cut it. So check out a visual demonstration, courtesy of USA Today’s YouTube page. Watch it here.
See you tomorrow,
Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group
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The post 09/24/15: Facebook to debut 360-degree video; Instagram surpassed 400 million active monthly users; Amazon will debut six TV pilots this fall appeared first on Cynopsis Media.