The Chernin Group And AT&T Buy Fullscreen

By Sahil Patel

Otter Media, a venture backed by The Chernin Group and AT&T, has confirmed its acquisition of a majority stake in Fullscreen, one of the largest multi-channel networks in the YouTube ecosystem.

As part of the deal, Fullscreen founder and CEO George Strompolos will continue in his role and “maintain a material ownership stake in the company,” said Otter Media in the announcement. Fullscreen’s full management team will also stay on.

News of Otter Media’s pending deal with Fullscreen, which is said to value the company between $200 million and $300 million, was first reported in July.

“Our relationship with George started over three years ago when he launched Fullscreen in our offices. Since then, George and the Fullscreen team have achieved something remarkable — they have built one of the largest online content distribution networks, as well as created a leadership position in youth-oriented video programming,” said Peter Chernin, chairman and CEO of The Chernin Group, in a statement.

Founded in 2011, Fullscreen’s YouTube network is comprised of more than 50,000 creators, collectively reaching 450 million subscribers and generating 4 billion views per month. Top talent include The Fien Brothers, Grace Helbig, and O2L, Lohanthony, and Connor Franta.

Otter Media was formed by The Chernin Group and AT&T in April with a focus on investing in, acquiring, and launching over-the-top video services. Fullscreen, which is primarily known for its talent services and multi-channel network, has been working on a millennial-focused off-YouTube platform for quite some time now.

The deal is expected to close within the next month. WPP, which along with The Chernin Group is a Series A investor in Fullscreen, will remain a strategic shareholder in the company.

“Peter Chernin’s The Chernin Group (our first investor) brings unparalleled entertainment experience to Fullscreen, which is critical as our world continues to merge with the broader entertainment industry,” said Strompolos in a blog post about the deal. “AT&T is a worldwide leader in mobile, which is a key area of interest for us, and their TV footprint is poised to expand significantly. WPP will continue to serve as our valued partner in the world of advertising and marketing.”


Getting YouTube Creators On Board With Your Brand

By Lewis Ball

I’m often asked how brands can better promote themselves on YouTube in a way that works for the audience. More and more often, the best approach to reaching your target demographic is by collaborating with one of the countless YouTube creators generating huge viewership on their channels. Crafting a relationship that is effective and mutually beneficial boils down to three main criteria.

1. Respect the medium.

YouTube is unique in how audiences consume information. It’s interactive, immediate, and unfiltered. As such, there is a distinctiveness in the personalities it’s producing. They themselves, and their content, are relatable in a way that their audiences value. Being entrepreneurial in nature, creators understand their unique positioning and the importance in protecting their subscription bases. Brands need to respect this in crafting their approach and pitch.

2. Find a natural fit.

Find someone who is already producing content that fits with your brand strategy. The market for big names on YouTube is massive, with influential creators owning every niche. Finding a match that works with your brand shouldn’t be difficult. Start with the basics, survey their content quality and subscription and viewership counts. Then, after you’ve found viable candidates, look deeper. Find out if they’ve collaborated with brands previously, or if they’ve defined their channel vision. Research the kind of engagement they’re generating with user comments and ratios of likes to dislikes. This will better inform your understanding of the audience and level of authority the creator holds with them.

3. Map out long-term strategies.

Find a balance that is complementary for both parties by focusing on the importance of creating trust, transparency, and constant communication. And get feedback whenever you can. These creators are the ones uncovering the growth formula online, and their insight can be invaluable to your brand’s digital strategy moving forward.

How to build relationships to hit your target markets:

The first thing to consider is that YouTube creators have an authenticity audiences often value. Videos are most often self-made, with DIY production tools. This translates to content that viewers find relatable, giving creators an approachability that mainstream stars don’t have.

Use this to your advantage. Audiences are savvy, and will often spot when a creator incorporates product placements into their video. So instead of subverting this, it’s best to simply acknowledge the sponsorship from the outset and move on. By giving a shout-out to the brand, audiences won’t feel duped and the trust between creators and viewers is protected. People get that YouTube is a business for a lot of these big names, and for the most part won’t walk away from a creator for simply acknowledging they’re trying to make a living. Keeping it transparent and authentic is the best policy to avoid backlash.

In line with this, it’s important to speak the YouTube language when you’re looking to integrate your product. The audience here is different, skewing much lower, and their consumption behavior has been changed by the digital space. Tailor your strategy to fit within the YouTube format by allowing the creators freedom in their promotion. Don’t push corporate language that isn’t right for the content. Let them find a way to organically tie your product into what they’re doing without distracting from the content.

Overall, brands should always consider that working with creators and reaching their target audience is a process and something as an industry we continue to look at ways to improve and adapt. It’s not a one-size-fits all formula and a successful collaboration requires a lot of give and take between the two parties before finding a balance that sticks. Take stock of the unique nature of the platform and the ways creators are reaching audiences and allow them to help you by promoting your brand their way.

Lewis Ball is the executive vice president of professional services at BroadbandTV Corp., a digital media company and multi-channel network operator based out of Vancouver, Canada.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.


Take Buzzfeed’s Cue: ‘If It’s Not Mobile, It Won’t Be Shared’

“Mobile is truly the biggest opportunity in advertising right now. Sorry, but nothing else even comes close,” said Bionic Adversiting System’s Chris O’Hara in a recent column on AdExchanger.

O’Hara and similar voices are echoing what fast-growing media companies like VICE and Buzzfeed have known for some time now. Mobile is not just the fastest-growing, most exciting place to be in advertising right now, but it’s where the hugest opportunities are.

“We see most social traffic now from mobile, so if your site doesn’t work well on mobile, it guarantees that nothing you do will be shared,” said Buzzfeed Founder Jonah Peretti in an interview with Wired.

While mobile consumption of media now trumps all other platforms, last year less than half of Fortune 100 companies even had a mobile-optimized website. It’s time for us marketers to come together with our clients to really embrace this opportunity as an industry. Mobile isn’t just another distribution platform, it is redefinining media and therefore advertising.

In a memo to his staff, Jonah Peretti explained it this way: “We will stay away from anything that requires adopting a legacy business model . . . We are building the defining news and entertainment company for the social, mobile age.”

Ben Huh, founder of viral network Cheezburger had this to say about Buzzfeed’s model:

“If the medium is the message, then the format becomes the message. BuzzFeed is helping to prove the model –media is going through a revolution with billion-dollar opportunities as consumers change their consumption habits.”

These mobile-first media companies are on to something very important that every entertainment marketer should think about as they start putting their plans together for 2015 and beyond. It’s about more than having a mobile website, although that is a good start. It’s about a new way of thinking.

Brands need to look at what kind of content is actually being shared and try to participate in existing conversations. If the brand doesn’t have a credible or relevant reason to do so, it will just end up being ridiculed by users.

With people becoming more cynical towards advertising, advertisers need to provide utility and give them tangible reasons and benefits to engage with their brands. There are still a lot of conflicting opinions about what mobile means and that’s alright because we are debating an actively changing space, but we need to figure this out together.

GamesBeat 2014 Revelations

The GamesBeat 2015 conference in San Francisco last week was an all-star event, with plenty of interesting speakers providing information, insights and opinions about the current state of the game industry and where it’s headed. While Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat said the theme of the conference was Total World Domination, most speakers seemed to set their sights a little lower — though perhaps not by much.

David Helgason, CEO of Unity, was asked how long Supercell could sustain Clash of Clans as the #1 app in the App Store. “As a friend of all these people I wish them luck,” Helgason said, half-joking, “As an industry person I hope they drop out like a fly. It’s better if things mix up a bit.” Helgason went on to explain that’s he’s hoping for more variation in the top ten list, not that he wanted to see his friends at Supercell fall on hard times.

Michael Pachter was interviewed by Geoff Keighley, in a last-minute substitution for Peter Molyneux who was unable to make it out from England for the show. When asked about the Mojang acquisition by Microsoft, Pachter said “If you have a company for sale, it’s a good time to be you.” Pachter’s not surprised by the deal, given that Minecraft has been downloaded over 100 million times. “It generates a tremendous amount of interest and eyeballs, according to MS press release the most successful PC game of all time,” Pachter noted. Ultimately, he feels, competitive pressure was the deciding factor. “I think they are very concerned about being behind Sony,” Pachter said.

Michael Pachter, Wedbush Securities managing director

Pachter feels that while Microsoft has stated its intent to keep Minecraft going on all platforms, eventually we’ll see special content for Minecraft that only appears on Microsoft platforms. Will Microsoft’s Minecraft offer a subscription service ” I don’t think Microsoft is in this to exploit the Minecraft player and extract more value, so no,” Pachter said. “I think Microsoft is really all about promoting its Xbox division, and smartphones and tablets.”

Pachter was very surprised by Destiny’s poor ratings. “I was shocked at the Metacritic average of 75, if you look at Bungie’s history they have only gotten below a 92 once. It seemed to me this game couldn’t possibly get below high eighties, and yet a 78 is about the best they can hope for. That’s not good enough to support a recurring franchise, they’re going to have to step it up next time. I’m sure they are going to get it right.”

The talk turned to the holidays, and Pachter had some advice. “If you are a gamer and you haven’t bought a next-gen console yet, this is going to be the best holiday ever,” Pachter said. “I will not tell you what Microsoft said to me last week, other than to say there is a holiday promotion coming. I will tell you last week Sony asked me what ‘Do you know what Microsoft’s promotion is ‘ Of course I wouldn’t tell them, but they will figure that out. The best thing that can happen for gamers is these guys competing for your dollars and trying to sell you stuff at ever decreasing prices. Last week you could get a free piece of software with the Madden bundle, that was $120 worth of free software with a $399 console. You will see something like that this fall from both of them.”

EA Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, in a conversation with Dean Takahashi, had some interesting thoughts on the state of the industry. “One of the things I found kind of distressing is a lot of folks, when they look at mobile, PC, console, they want to regard it as “mobile versus console.” A couple of folks on this stage have outlined the thesis that in a handful of years we’re going to see tablets with CPUs and GPUs every bit as powerful as the current generation of consoles. You’ll be able to put the video from your tablet out to a big screen TV and use your tablet or smartphone as a controller, and then ipso facto it’s the end of console as we know it. I think about that and say, no, that’s just another console. It proves the point. What a console means to me is it’s about playing a great rich game on the biggest and best screen in my household, where I can sit down on the couch and focus on that.”

John Riccitiello

Veteran game investor Rick Thompson of Signia Venture Partners, who has seen his game investments reap more than $6 billion in exits (most recently, FunPlus sold for close to $1 billion in China), gave advice to would-be game entrepreneurs. “My answer to that has changed over the years,” Thompson said, explaining that he used to try to encourage people to get into the gaming business. “Now when people ask me if they should start up a new games company or something else, my answer is always “something else.” The world has changed. The opportunistic days of free users and easy money is long past us. I’m glad to see this maturation take place. The people we are looking for are the ones who are born to build games, who really enjoy games, who really understand their users and are building games that they want to play.”

Venture capitalist and veteran game investor Tim Chang of Mayfield Venture Partners addressed the issue of finding the funding to create games. “I think it’s better than ever because it’s been democratized,” Chang said. “You’ve got Kickstarter, you’ve got IndieGoGo…. there’s so many ways to bring your product to market now and get funding in a variety of ways. As production costs come down, you can launch more quickly. That part is better than ever. Don’t assume that VC is your only path or even the best path for what you’re trying to do. I think Mojang or even Supercell did well because they didn’t take venture capital.”

Amazon’s VP of Games Mike Frazzini talked about the company’s goals for itself and the gaming industry. “Amazon’s vision is to be the Earth’s most customer centric company,” Frazzini said. “We consider content creators a very important set of customers for Amazon. We think very deeply around those customer experiences and what we can create.” When asked about how they design products or new initiatives, Frazzini had a simple answer. “The very first thing we do is we write a press release, which is the thinking part of it… what is the problem we’re solving, or the solution that we’re going extend to customers in very, very specific terms,” Frazzini explained. “When you get that press release to a point where you feel you’ve got something exciting on your hands, then you move forward.”


Images courtesy VentureBeat

A Slew Of Parodies Delight YouTube’s iPhone Fever

There are a few adages about the Internet that continue to ring true. If you’re wondering whether or not something exists, it probably does, at least online, and secondly, if __________ exists then there is also probably a parody. The same of course is true of the iPhone. If you haven’t already seen Zappo’s clever mobile-ready pants video, you need to.

Below are some of the highlights of all the Apple parodies out there on YouTube that continue to give some perspective on iPhone fever in the wake of the media blitz.


Source: TechCrunch

‘Gone Girl’ Movie Creates Creepy Pinterest Account For Character

Gone Girl‘s Twitter account tweeted out an interesting tie-in involving the movie’s character that goes missing. Mirroring real life in an eerie way, the character has left behind a digital footprint on Pinterest.

Astronauts Wanted Taps YouTube, Vine Stars for New Advice Series

By Jessica Klein

“The Feels,” a unique new show from Astronauts Wanted, the studio behind Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart’s “#HeyUSA,” brings together multiple YouTubers in answering the questions their various fans have about sex, relationships, and dating.

The unscripted series features female YouTube stars Andrea RussettHannah WittonSimone ShepardLaci GreenSmoothieFreak, and others as they respond to one fan query per episode on topics that many people are often too embarrassed to discuss publicly.

Each episode is broken up into multiple sections. In addition to answering a fan’s question, each episode also features a segment covering a different dating and love app, a recurring 60-second feature with “sexpert” Laci Green, and comedic Vine sketch related to that episode’s topic. Astronauts Wanted has tapped Vine stars Hannah Stocking and Hannah Pilkes to create the six-second shorts.

Clearly social is a major element of the unscripted series, which will be accompanied by a Tumblr blog (available here once the show debuts) for additional conversations around an episode’s topic. This is unsurprising, as the two digital series Astronauts Wanted is known for — the aforementioned “#HeyUSA” and The Chernin Group’s “@SummerBreak” — heavily incorporated social media into its programming.

Spanning 12 episodes, the initial season of “The Feels” will debut on Astronauts Wanted’s YouTube channel and website on September 24, after which the studio will roll out a new episode every Wednesday. The series is executive produced by Nick Shore and produced by Shamikah C. Martinez.

For now, you can watch the trailer below:

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Consumer Product Research Shifts From Tablet To Smartphone

A new report from mobile advertising platform NinthDecimal shows some interesting insights into how the mobile audience shops and engages with ads. In the space of just a year, consumers have changed how they research products, shifting from tablet to smartphone as their “window shopping” device of choice.

The Q2 report presents a number of findings that show consumers are carefully planning out shopping trips by making sure they research retail items beforehand at home and at work and just how effective mobile ads are when it comes to influencing product purchase.


Source: MarketingLand

The Fate of ‘Destiny’

It’s been a roller-coaster couple of weeks for Activision with Destiny, as the hotly-anticipated title shipped in record-setting numbers… then earned lackluster reviews from most reviewers. This has already had some heavy financial implications for Activision, and it may even affect the fortunes of Sony and Microsoft this fall. The fate of Destiny is still unclear, but the ripple effects may be even more important in the long run.

Let’s examine what happened with Destiny‘s launch. After the title was revealed, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said in an earnings call that Activision is spending $500 million on Destiny. (He was referring to the total budget over time for development and marketing combined, and probably for the several ‘sequels’ that Activision has contracted for as well.) After months of laudatory coverage in the games media, Destiny was well received at E3, Gamescom, and PAX. Activision pulled out all the stops to promote the title, and even arranged for a special Destiny bundle edition of the PS4 in ‘glacier white’ along with some exclusive DLC to showcase the launch of the game. At the game’s launch on September 9, Activision proudly announced that Destiny had sold-in $500 million worth of Destiny to retailers. This was hailed as the largest sell-in of any new IP in history for the game industry.

Expectations met reality that week as the reviews began to be posted. By the weekend, all the major game sites had reviewed Destiny, with varying degrees of disappointment. The Metacritic score currently sits at 77, with a user rating of 6.6. Customers were also complaining about a distressing (and baffling) lack of customer service, and generally many were feeling disappointed because the content was not as rich as was expected. The end-game raids hadn’t yet appeared, and many finished the game and felt like there was little left to do.

These numbers were below expectations by analysts like Michael Pachter, who was expecting scores in the 80s or 90s. By Monday, Activision’s stock was taking a beating, and the share price finished down about 8.5 percent by Tuesday, losing over $1 billion in value from the company’s market capitalization. Ironically, that’s more than twice the retail value of the Destiny sell-in, and more than twice what Activision has been planning to spend on the franchise.

Activision announced on Monday that Destiny has sold through some $325 million worth of product to consumers, meaning that there’s still a considerable amount of inventory in the channel. Overall, Destiny sell-in exceeded Pachter’s expectations while sales where in-line with what he expected, meaning that the final quarter of the year may see a little lower sales than was predicted.

What does all this mean for Activision Probably not much in the long term, even though the game may not have performed at the high end of the hopes Activision entertained. The problems identified in the reviews and the customers mostly centered around lack of content, which will be readily solved as Bungie labors to build more content for the franchise. Tweaks in AI, and perhaps some better scripting on the story content, can also be readily made. The core game engine and combat controls are widely acclaimed, and that’s one of the most difficult parts to get right. Destiny has a firm foundation, by all reports, even if some of the rooms aren’t finished and the paint job needs some touchups. Long-term, the game will probably become the billion dollar franchise that Activision wants, but it’s going to require a lot of work.

The greater impact of Destiny‘s merely achieving low Earth orbit instead of escape velocity in its initial few months may be on the console battle between Sony and Microsoft. Short-term it puts Sony’s holiday success in doubt, and gives Microsoft an opening to reclaim the #1 selling console slot in the USA.

Destiny looked to many people like a Sony exclusive, due to the special PS4 Destiny edition, exclusive PS4 content, and a lot of marketing spending by both Sony and Activision. Activision’s strategy appeared all along to be to “give” Destiny to Sony and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to Microsoft. At least, that’s how it looked at E3, Gamescom and beyond, given which games Sony and Microsoft were featuring. There’s a special Xbox One edition coming out soon based around Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Sony was quite probably hoping that Destiny would drive PS4 sales more than Xbox One sales.

Now it’s a good possibility that Destiny will prove to be successful, yet not capable of driving hardware sales for Sony this holiday season the way it may have if the game were more enthusiastically received. The more standard success of Destiny won’t be pushing more PS4s, as word spreads among players that Destiny isn’t yet the universe-shattering hit they were looking for.

This leaves Microsoft looking better than ever for the holiday season, as Sony’s biggest potential system-sellers (top exclusive titles) have all moved into 2015. Microsoft has Sunset Overdrive coming soon, but the real driver for holiday sales of the Xbox One is going to be Halo: The Master Chief Collection. That title should do well, but according to Michael Pachter Microsoft isn’t leaving anything to chance. At GamesBeat, Pachter proclaimed that Microsoft has a killer promotion planned for the fall, and advised people to hold off on buying an Xbox One right now until that’s announced.

We’re likely to see at least some sort of free game offer from Microsoft, since that doesn’t add much to their costs, similar to the free game offered during the Destiny introduction week. Sony probably won’t be napping, either, and will no doubt respond with a promotion of their own if Microsoft looks to gain too much ground.

Ultimately, it really doesn’t make a difference to either Sony or Microsoft’s earnings if one company or the other is tops in sales. Both companies are doing very well with new console sales. The issue of which company is #1 in a given month is really one of those measurement contests that execs often indulge in, and you can bet the rulers are being readied at both companies to see who has the bigger sales this holiday season.

Destiny‘s eventual fate will most likely be a strong success, as it joins other key Activision franchises in the billion-dollar club. In the short term, though, Destiny may help Microsoft gain some ground in the console wars — an interesting side effect no one predicted six months ago.

GX3 Convention Celebrates LGBT Gaming Community

There are various types of gamers out there, from hardcore Destiny players to casual Tetris fans. There’s also a large group of gamers that are either gay or lesbian, and the yearly Gaymer convention recognizes these folks, looking to celebrate the LGBT lifestyle within the gaming community.

It’s not always easy though, as GaymerX creator Matt Conn reflected. “It was really tough growing up as both geek and gay,” he said. “I remember growing up, being super geeky, and I had to leave schools because I was so bullied and it was just really bad. And that was when I was like 9 or 10. So when I came to terms with my sexuality, I was so afraid: My life was already kinda not great, if I have to deal with being gay on top of that, I feel like I’m condemning myself to a life of shittiness.”

Through communities like and Reddit’s r/gaymers, Conn noticed an outpouring for a convention of its own, thus his creating of GaymerX. The convention, since renamed GX: Everyone Games – is about inclusiveness in general, and not specifically about revolving LGBT issues. In other words, everyone is invited to come and play, even though it focuses primarily on a unique kind of community.

There’s a need for certain communities to feel safer,” said Mattie Brice, a game developer, media critic and former GaymerX panelist. “To feel explicitly welcome. And I think a lot of people don’t realize what is needed for people to feel welcome.

“There’s a lot of things baked into gamer culture that make it unwelcome for certain kinds of people, and because that’s what ‘gamer’ is, our mainstream conferences don’t address those types of qualities, traditions, and attitudes,” Brice said. “GaymerX does.”

For the next show in the convention series, GX3, Conn took to Kickstarter in an effort to raise funds for it. The community donated in droves, driving past the initial $80,000 goal and clearing nearly $90,000 in its final hours yesterday. This isn’t the first time that the convention has turned to Kickstarter for support, but this is easily its strongest yet.

As far as why the show exists, Conn kept it simple in terms of explanation. “The reason why GX exists is that a lot of people don’t feel safe,” Conn said. “Whether it be at other conventions, or online, or within the gaming community in general.” He compared recent incidents surrounding Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, as well as certain security policies regarding the highly popular PAX events.

“Even if you completely disagree with everything someone says, they’re still human,” Conn said, “and these people treat them as if they’re not human. They set up these organized campaigns to discredit them or harass them—it’s just cruel, and I don’t get it. This isn’t slavery. We’re not talking about embezzling millions of dollars. We’re not killing people. This is videogames. We all have that commonality. I don’t understand why people can’t just treat people with respect.”

To learn more about GaymerX, check out the video above, or check out the KickStarter page.

Source: Wired