Wednesday 2.18.15: News to Know

/ Feb 18, 2015

Digital video industry news today

Maker Studios, AwesomenessTV, and BroadbandTV Sued for Music Copyright Infringement

Another day, another music rights owner suing a YouTube multi-channel network. In this case, Freeplay Music, a New York-based music licensing company with rights to “tens of thousands” of songs, is suing Maker Studios, AwesomenessTV (and its Big Frame unit), and BroadbandTV for YouTube copyright infringement, according to Variety. The suit alleges that, collectively, the four MCNs did not obtain a license for over a hundred songs that are being illegally used by their talent in YouTube videos.




Opinions & Analysis

Is Time Running Out for Blip?

Blip, an online video site that offers independent web-series creators and producers a chance to distribute their stuff, could be closing its doors soon.



Facebook Is Talking to Publishers About Hosting Their Content (Video)

Facebook is making a pitch to media publishers: Let us host your content for you, and we’ll make it look beautiful (and give you more eyeballs) in the process.



Diller’s Dating Websites May Be Next Breakup Candidates

Where EBay Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. have gone, can Barry Diller be far behind? IAC/InterActiveCorp, the billionaire’s holding company of websites and dating apps such as Tinder — where singles swipe their smartphone screens to match up with other users — may be among the next technology firms to pursue a breakup.

Bloomberg Business


Deals & Signings

Amazon Orders 5 New Series Including ‘Man in the High Castle’

Amazon has greenlit five new original series, after letting its Prime members view and vote on pilots for those shows, the streaming service announced Wednesday.




Lionsgate Launches ‘Insurgent’ Virtual Reality Experience with Samsung

Lionsgate is partnering with Samsung Electronics America to create “Insurgent – Shatter Reality” as a four-minute virtual reality experience to promote the studio’s upcoming film “The Divergent Series: Insurgent.”



Streaming Video News

New VH1 Series Tells the Origin Story of Iconic, Viral YouTube Videos

For some YouTubers, a single video was all it took to catapult them to stardom. A new digital series from VH1 and “What’s Trending” aims to capture the stories of creators and what made them “Huge on the Tube.”



Hulu’s New Feature Learns Users’ Viewing Habits

What exactly does this mean? Hulu’s Watchlist keeps track of where viewers leave off in a series. So, for example, when a viewer go back to watching “Scandal” after a prior binge, Hulu will note where he or she stopped watching and have the next episode ready next time the viewer selects “Scandal.”




Seed & Spark Will Distribute Indie Films on iTunes

Indie film crowdfunding platform Seed & Spark will start distributing films through iTunes. Since this is a new strategy for Seed & Spark, the platform has picked just a few films to kick off the distribution program with (though it has yet to specify which). Eventually, the plan is to get all films that successfully get funding on Seed & Spark to distribute on iTunes.



HBO releases two deleted scenes from ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4

In case Season 4 of Game of Thrones wasn’t filled with enough death and despair for you (what kind of monster are you?!), HBO has released two deleted scenes featuring sorrow-filled characters.



TV Review: ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

Why NBC chose to cut loose “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” — a series with fine auspices but an uncertain commercial outlook — and hand it to Netflix, which gave the program a two-season commitment, makes considerable business sense.



NBC is streaming live to iOS and Android, but not ‘Everywhere’

ABC was the first big network first out of the gate with a 24/7 live streaming app, but CBSand now NBC are close behind with their own versions. NBC rolled out “TV Everywhere”streaming on its website in December, and tonight it’s pushed upgrades on Android andiOS that bring the network channel directly to mobile screens — but only if you have a participating cable or satellite provider’s login.



YouTube News

Not All Fans Are Created Equal: 7 Ways to Engage Your Brand’s Top Fans on YouTube

On YouTube, only some fans can count as your “top fans.” Thanks to YouTube and Google+, these especially devoted followers are not hard to pin down. If your brand has over 5,000 subscribers (and let’s hope it does, now that you’ve had the chance to read up on YouTube tips from the Playbook for Brands), the video platform offers a “Top Fans” tool.



Troye Sivan and Connor Franta to Headline Australian Tour in April

YouTubers Troye Sivan and Connor Franta will headline Amplify 2015, an Australian tour focusing on YouTube and other social media stars. Besides Sivan and Franta, all the online creators appearing at the festival are based in either Australia or New Zealand. They include Jamie Curry (the New Zealand native of Jamie’s World), Kimmi Smiles, Tyde Levi, Jai Waetford, Kurt Coleman, and Smallzy (the MC) among others.



YouTube makes a move against brand-sponsored videos

YouTube is putting down the clamps on video creators who work directly with brands, nudging them instead to rely on Google’s sales team for deals.



Industry Highlights

And the Nominees for the 2015 International Digital Emmys Are…

This year, the MIP Digital Fronts will kick off by honoring winners of the International Digital Emmy Awards. The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences just announced the 12 nominees across three digital categories–children and young people, fiction, and non-fiction.



Danny Zappin’s Zealot Networks Continues Buying Spree

Danny Zappin’s Zealot Networks has acquired two LA-based marketing agencies as the startup expands its portfolio to include branded entertainment services.




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