Good morning, it’s Friday, August 13, 2010, and this is your first early morning digital briefing. If you would like to read this or any other Cynopsis edition online, click here.
MySpace, which has lost much of its audience to Facebook in recent years, is undergoing a homepage makeover as part of a complete redesign scheduled for the fall. To kick things off, the News Corp.-owned site introduced a new music video player that selects tracks based on the users’ stated mood. The Romeo app, available online or as an iPad app, allows you to browse by genre, link to iTunes, build playlists, share favorites (signified by the “love” icon) or discover new artists by choosing between 13 “moods” including “chill” and “naughty”. Romeo is launching as a free app that will serve up 15-second ads every 15 minutes.
CBS Interactive‘s TV.com portal is getting into the location-based game with TV.com Relay, allowing viewers to check in and earn badges for watching their favorite shows from a PC or a range of devices including the iPhone, iPad, Android and Palm Pre. You can also build lists of favorites and recommend shows via Facebook Connect. For now Relay is in beta but CBS plans to give it a big promotional push as it gears up for its new fall Prime Time season.
WEtv is integrating with the social TV viewing service Miso for its reality show Bridezillas, airing Sunday nights at 9 pm ET/PT. Miso users who check in to the Bridezillas page online on via iPhone or iPad can earn a progressive succession of badges.
As part of a recently launched U.S. website, BBC.com has teamed up with its sister publisher Lonely Planet to program a new travel section, edited by former NYTimes.com Travel & Styles editor David G. Allan.
TVLand‘s new original sitcom Hot In Cleveland, wrapping its first season next Wed., is hot online. The show helped propel TVLand.com to its best month ever, according to the network. The site doubled its prior month’s audience to 923k uniques with “Hot” related video content helping to rack up nearly 8 million video views in June.
Comcast signed a deal with European film distributor Eurocinema to launch its on demand service, aggregating up to 15 features and shorts per month from Western and Eastern Europe. So far Comcast’s Philly and Washington D.C. systems have added the films to their Movies category.
Video portal provider Dyyno rolled out a B-to-B turnkey streaming video service to affordable set-top maker Roku, enabling the streaming of live, VOD or linear TV channels to the living room. Its Live TV Portal on Roku allows third party content owners and distributors to create and manage high-quality video from standard def to 1080p, charging a set-up and monthly fee based on streaming usage.
Zmags is a new digital publishing platform that aggregates content from multiple digital publications. The company creates digital versions of print material - magazines, newspaper, flyers, circulars, etc. – adds social and interactive elements and helps publishers distribute them.
Zagat Survey launched a group-buying program powered by online coupon site DealOn dubbed Zagat Exclusives. Available on Zagat.com, DealOn.com and the DealOn network, the program will push offers and news to foodies and restaurateurs from Zagat-Rated restaurants.
One of the sticking points for Tivo, which has adopted the much-ballyhooed CableCARD solution to enable digital cable viewing, has been the lack of access to video on demand programming. Good news: Cox Communications struck a deal with Tivo to integrate its entire VOD library on the new Tivo Premiere set-top. PPV VOD, free VOD and SVOD movies and shows will finally be available to Tivo subscribers who rent a CableCARD from the MSO.
Full service media agency JWT New York has acquired San Diego-based digital agency Digitaria in a move toward making digital a core competency. Digitaria CEO Dan Khabie will retain his title with the company functioning as a unit of JWT North America.
Cablevision‘s Optimum Wi-Fi Network has expanded to the Garden State, allowing paying cable modem customers to connect for free in a range of Jersey locations stretching down to the Jersey Shore.
Nearly 93 million people worldwide use Twitter nowadays, according to ComScore and the fastest growing regions are Latin America and Asia (excluding usage of third party apps like TweetDeck.) Smartphones are driving usage in several markets, with 8.3% of the Twitter’s audience now connecting through smartphones in the U.S.
Visitation to Twitter.com by Global Regions – June 2010 vs. June 2009
Unique Visitors (000)
Jun-09 Jun-10 % Change
Worldwide 44,520 92,874 109
Latin America 3,792 15,377 305
Asia Pacific 7,324 25,121 243
Middle East – Africa 2,058 4,987 142
Europe 10,956 22,519 106
North America 20,390 24,870 22
Source: comScore Media Metrix, Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs. Total Audience, Age 15+ – Home & Work Locations
Twitter Penetration Among Mobile Smartphone Users – 3 Month Avg. Ending June 2010
Twitter Audience % Reach of
(000) Smartphone Users
United States 4,246 8.3
Europe 1,681 2.8
United Kingdom 793 5.8
Germany 322 3.1
France 173 2.1
Spain 165 1.5
Italy 227 1.4
Source: comScore MobiLens, Total Audience Age 13+, Includes only mobile browser access to Twitter and does not include other Twitter-based mobile applications
HP, Amazon and ProFlowers.com were among the Top Search Engine Optimization Performers for 2010 according to a new retail study by Conductor, which measured SEO effectiveness based on a trio of core competencies including resources devoted, analytics and keyword visibility. The top merchandiser category proved to be Health & Beauty, followed by Hardware and Food & Drug.
~ GADGETS & APPS ~
The underwhelming Apple TV interactive set-top is undergoing a major remake that will involve a name change to iTV, a major price cut (the new model will start at $99) and the addition of a new widget-style app platform, according to Engadget. It remains unclear whether or not iPhone and iPad apps will be interoperable on the device.
Showtime/Smithsonian joint venture Smithsonian Channel launched its first app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, featuring select full length episodes and hundreds of video clips. The app also includes “artifacts” – little known nuggets about history, science and music.
Toronto-based digital media distribution company Yangaroo has hired Karen Dealy, former SVP/Affiliate Marketing at DG FastChannel, to head the company’s new ad division as President of U.S. Advertising Operations. She reports to CEO Scott Wambolt.
Jeffrey Hayzlett, former VP and CMO of Eastman Kodak, has joined iVdopia advisory board.
Location-based mobile services like Foursquare and Loopt have caught on rapidly among a certain tech savvy set, but the phenomenon has not exactly penetrated the mainstream. Enter a new service from developer Proximate Global dubbed Face2Face, available as a mobile app for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. Face2Face integrates with existing social networks Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter (so you don’t have to start from scratch to build your network) and allows you to let your Friends know when you’re in the area. The radius ranges depending upon the density of the area – around 500 yards in a city setting, but further in an airport or in the suburbs. The secret sauce of the app is the “Friends of Friends” feature, which puts you in touch with users who are friends of someone you know – an icebreaker that can prove to be a valuable social lubricant, according to CEO Hameed Khan. Privacy settings are of the start-up’s utmost concerns, so the software allows you to decide individually who is able to see that you’re near. Because the concept of location-based networking is so new, Face2Face is hoping to grow its audience slowly by word of mouth, then add advertising components when a critical mass is reached. The nature of the social graph it is building could help it explode quickly; the service has signed up 10k active users in its first month, but there are already over 3.5 million names in its graph.
Later — Wayne
Wayne Karrfalt for Cynopsis: Digital
Member of Interactive Advertising Bureau (iab)
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