Eleven months after being scooped up by DreamWorks Animation, the YouTube multi-channel network has made an acquisition of its own. Teen/tween-targeted AwesomenessTV said today it paid $15 million for Big Frame, which boasts 300-plus YouTube channels and nearly 40 …
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom preview CinemaCon, the big annual gathering of theater operators in Las Vegas that puts the popcorn in popcorn movies. They also examine the NAB’s claims to the FCC of a faltering local TV business; update the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger with news from the states; whistle through the highlights of the relatively quiescent Disney annual meeting; examine the implications of the recent settlement of the long-running Viacom-YouTube copyright lawsuit; and ponder what’s next for Yahoo, given the imminent stock IPO by Alibaba, which it partly owns.
YouTube network Machinima has unveiled sci-fi short Enormous, a live-action pilot to which Machinima will give a series commitment if its 10.9M YouTube fans demand it. (Watch it below.) Ceren Lee stars as a resistance fighter in a postapocalyptic future in which massive insect-like monsters have invaded Earth. Enormous is the second of three original shorts Machinima is debuting this month, each with the potential for a series greenlight, marking an essential next step as Machinima looks to evolve from YouTube video aggregator to content producer.
Machinima’s recent $18M investment from Warner Bros and yesterday’s addition of ex-Fox Networks CEO Tony Vinciquerra to its board are signs of its transition from programming other creators’ work to owning its IP. Here’s how this one came together as the company began seeking original content.
No details yet on the terms of the agreement ending the $1B action that Viacom launched in 2007. The entertainment giant and Google’s YouTube say the resolution is a sign of the “growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together.” Viacom had alleged that YouTube profited by turning a blind eye toward instances where users improperly posted its content, including clips from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. But Google said that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provisions absolved it of responsibility for infringements by its users. Google largely prevailed in decisions at the U.S. District Court in New York, and in appeals. But Viacom continued its appeal, charging that YouTube induced users to post copyright infringing content.
Here’s today’s release:
UPDATE, 3:29 PM: Google got some swift justice today, but it wasn’t the type it wanted. The 9th Circuit Appeals has decided it does not want to conduct an all-judges rehearing of the tech giant’s appeal in the Innocence Of Muslims copyright case. “A vote of the non-recused active judges was conducted as to whether to rehear the panel order en banc,” read an order (read it here) from the court today after Judge Sidney Thomas talked to his colleagues. “A majority of the non-recused active judges did not vote in favor of rehearing en banc.” This sua sponte action of Thomas’ own initiative comes two days after the tech giant requested a full rehearing by the appeals court. On February 19, a 9th Circuit panel sided with actress Cindy Lee Garcia and decided 2-1 that YouTube had to take down the controversial anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. With today’s order, this is Google’s third loss in a row in its appeal. “Therefore, the panel shall resume control of the case,” added today’s 2-page order. “Any further proceedings as to the panel opinion, including any petitions for rehearing and rehearing en banc, will be considered separately.”
PREVIOUS, MARCH 13 PM: It has struck out two times in a row so far, but Google isn’t giving up its legal battle to get the Innocence Of Muslims video back on YouTube. In an expected en banc rehearing request this week against the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision of February 19 in favor of actress Cindy Lee Garcia ordering the controversial 14-minute trailer taken offline, the tech giant says the Copyright Office is on its side.
If you’re the sort who makes his living swimming in the social-media sea like I do, one form of sport these days is the online battles between big shows to grab fan mindshare and loyalty from each other — particularly as the networks slowly begin to understand that this stuff can make a difference. And nowhere are those battles more starkly direct and entertaining than in late-night, where each talk show has a big team of social-media specialists culling potentially viral bits from the day’s program and sprinkling them across the web. The battle has become particularly stout between Jimmy Fallon‘s online team at The Tonight Show and the Jimmy Kimmel Live crew.
Both shows have had big lead-ins recently (the Winter Olympics in Fallon’s first days; ABC’s Oscars on March 2, when Kimmel went live on the East Coast right after the awards show ended). But the crucial bit is not the audience you’re bequeathed, but the one you build. According to data from RelishMIX, which tracks fan engagement for TV shows and movies across, particularly, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, no one’s building better right now than Fallon. Overall, from March 3-March 10, Fallon’s YouTube videos were watched nearly four times as often as Kimmel’s, 27.5 million to 7.6 million. That’s a margin. Right now, Kimmel still leads Fallon in total YouTube subscribers, about 3 million to less than 2.7 million. Then again, Kimmel’s been at it for a while; Fallon took over the Tonight Show social media outlets barely a month ago.
This was expected, and needed, as evidenced by last week’s announcement that the online video service that targets gamers (read: teenaged boys and young men) axed about 30% of its workforce. But it’s interesting to see how much today’s release plays up the potential partnerships between Machinima and Warner Bros. Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise says that there are “myriad opportunities” to connect their audiences. And Warner Bros Television Group President of Business and Strategy Craig Hunegs says he’s “excited” about the ability “to reach new audiences, create new original content, and discover new talent.” Don’t be surprised if they look for projects outside of Google’s YouTube, which collects about 45% of the ad revenues it sells for Machinima. No word here about the terms of the financing arrangement, although the companies say that current investors MK Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Google Capital have also upped their stake. Machinima is said to have raised $67M, including $35M from Google. Here’s today’s official announcement:
Today’s announcement and other financial moves reportedly in the works for the gaming-oriented online service underscore how hard it is for channels to make money at YouTube. Machinima – which describes itself as “the number one global video entertainment network for young males” — says today that the layoffs, hitting 30% of the workforce, are part of its “restructuring in and around its sales organization” as it leans on its “longstanding partnership with YouTube to drive media sales.” But it also comes as it lines up $18M in funding from a group led by Warner Bros, website Re/code reports, citing “people familiar with the transaction.” Last week The Wall Street Journal reported that Warner Bros was mulling the possibility of investing as much as $15M in the online video operation. The numbers are a far cry from the amounts approaching $70M that Machinima was said to be hoping to secure last year. One of the problems for YouTube services like Machinima is that Google takes about 45% of the ad revenue it sells, as well as much of the inventory.
UPDATE, 12:39 PM: Google isn’t taking a court order to take down the 14-minute trailer for Innocence Of Muslims lying down. YouTube‘s parent company filed an emergency motion at the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals late yesterday urging it to stay its order pending a full en banc hearing. Google’s 29-page motion raised First Amendment concerns and alleged that there’d be copyright “chaos” for everyone — especially Hollywood — if minor players in a production can assert a right to control its fate. Service providers including YouTube lack the ability to determine who has a valid copyright claim, the search giant says. “And absent a stay, Google, YouTube, and the public face irreparable harm because the panel’s order will gag their speech and limit access to newsworthy documents—categorically irreparable injuries.” In a case than lasted more than a year and a half, the court sided with actress Cindy Lee Garcia who wanted the trailer for the anti-Islam film taken down. We’ll see what the Ninth Circuit says.
PREVIOUS, WEDNESDAY AM: Actress Cindy Lee Garcia has won a significant victory in her copyright case against Google over her request to have Google-owned YouTube take down the trailer for the controversial anti-Islam film Innocence Of Muslims. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision today (read it here) rejected Google’s assertion that the removal of the film amounted to a prior restraint of speech that violated the U.S. Constitution. The court is ordering YouTube to remove the video, and the video-sharing site could be hit with major penalties.
UPDATE: 8:45 PM: Jimmy Kimmel revealed on his ABC late-night program tonight that the video of a wolf posted to YouTube by U.S. luger Kate Hansen with the message “I’m pretty sure this is a wolf wandering my hall in Sochi” was in fact a wolf in Los Angeles walking down a replica of the hall outside Hansen’s Sochi hotel room. Hansen agreed to let Kimmel’s people take over her Twitter account to post the video, he said. Like the last time Kimmel punked the media with his fake twerk-fail video, he ran clips of various news outlets he’d fooled — many of them ruminating as to whether the animal actually was a wolf, a husky, a malamute, or a mutt. Kimmel showed the rest of the video, in which he is seen skiing down the hallway, calling out the name “Garfield” and asking, “Have you seen my wolf?” Kimmel then interviewed Hansen via Skype, who said “there was a little more backlash” at the hotel than she’d anticipated, including security staff who, she said, were “freaking out” after word of the video got around. “It kind of went a little crazy here,” she said. The animal is a “timber wolf mix,” its handler said, believed to be 80%-90% wolf, though she was not certain, and is named Rugby.
Nine digital media companies have joined forces to create the Global Online Video Association, the first-ever org designed to represent and promote the growing digital content industry. Multi-channel networks Big Frame, BroadbandTV, Collective Digital Studios, DECA, Discovery Digital Networks/Revision3, Fullscreen, Maker …
Think big advertisers are so focused on TV’s Golden Age programming (and audiences) that they aren’t interested in the YouTube-based creators drawing hordes of younger viewers to watch their back-bedroom shows? Think again.
Earlier this week, research firm eMarketer estimated Google would take in about $5.6 billion in gross YouTube advertising revenues, up 51 percent from 2012, and would keep nearly $2 billion after paying YouTube partners and expenses. Those estimates are notably higher than other Wall Street firms’ (and Google doesn’t break out its YouTube revenues and expenses separately), but suggest regardless that lots of money is sloshing into the online video king.
And based on this week’s Los Angeles events sponsored by Ford and Nintendo, Madison Avenue and its big clients are definitely tuning into YouTube’s rising echelon of performers for marketing boosts in lots of different ways besides just buying an ad.
The second season will begin on October 17. It’s noteworthy after the initial 11 episodes last year became stand-out performers for YouTube, where it’s often hard to separate hits from shows that are merely supported by hype. The series …