HBO Launches Campaign On Whisper To Turn Secrets Into Branded Content

What Happened
HBO has launched a hybrid content campaign to generate buzz for its upcoming new series Little Big Lies. Partnering with anonymous secret-sharing social network Whisper, which has since pivoted into a “digital media publisher that helps brands develop content,” HBO will images from “Big Little Lies” will pair with people creating Whisper posts about lies they told.  Whisper employs machine-learning technology to analyze the site’s data and identify the most popular posts. The popular and most interesting ones will then be curated into stories and videos to be posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Whisper’s homepage.

What Brands Need To Do
This campaign smartly combines organic user-generated content with branded content (in this case, images from the show) and repackage them into share-worthy content with the help of algorithms powered by machine learning. With subpar mobile ad experience drives many users to use ad-blockers, it is becoming more and more difficult for brands to reach their desired audience via traditional digital ads. In fact, a new study shows that over 40% of millennials now browse the internet on a device that has an ad blocker enabled. Therefore, brands should take a cue from this HBO campaign and be open to exploring new forms of advertising such as sponsored or branded content.


Source: AdAge

More Media Companies Invest In VR And AR Tech

What Happened
As virtual reality and augmented reality technology quickly advance, a number of established media companies are jumping on the bandwagon and trying their hands at creating immersive content and integrating it into their media and ad products.

On Tuesday, HBO and Discovery Communications announced that they have taken equity stakes in OTOY, an L.A.-based startup that specializes in 3D graphics. The two companies plan to work with OTOY to develop and distribute original holographic content across their media properties, including TV, mobile, and even virtual reality devices. In fact, OTOY has already started working with Jon Stewart to create short-form content for HBO Now, the standalone OTT subscription service HBO launched last year.

Similarly, AOL announced earlier today it is acquiring virtual reality and 360-degree video startup RYOT for an undisclosed amount. RYOT will form a new VR content unit under AOL’s The Huffington Post and will also work with other AOL-owned publications such as TechCrunch, Engadget, and Autoblog to create branded content for AOL’s ad clients.

What Brands Need To Do
With more and more media owners starting to invest in VR and AR and honing their skills in producing immersive content, they offer brands more opportunities to create new types of branded content to engage their audiences with. Although virtual reality may still be a few years away from mass adoption (as we predicted in the 2020 section in our Outlook 2016), brands looking to stay ahead of the innovation curve would be smart to start developing their own branded VR content today.


Source: WSJ and Variety

Videos And Articles, Facebook Want Them All

Read original story on: The Verge & WSJ

In a continuous effort to expand its platform and build its own version of the Internet, Facebook has been actively pursuing media owners to host content directly on its network. Earlier this week, HBO becomes the latest content provider that opts to put their videos on the social network, as the premium cable channel announces two of their newest comedy series Baller and The Brink will be streaming their pilot episodes exclusively on Facebook for a limited time.

After a few weeks of dormant inactivity, publishers that signed on for the Instant Articles initiative are now gearing up to start scaling up content distribution on Facebook. The New York Times is reportedly preparing to publish about 30 articles per day and NBC News plans to post between 30 and 40 articles daily in the coming days.

Showtime To Launch Standalone OTT Service In July

Read original story on: AdAge

The TV industry continues moving towards over-the-top streaming: on Wednesday, Showtime announced their plan to launch a long-awaited standalone subscription service. Simply named SHOWTIME, the service will officially launch in July exclusively on Apple devices for the initial three months—just like HBO did with HBO Now. Showtime, however, will undercut HBO’s streaming service with a monthly fee of $10.99, two-thirds of its archrival’s price.

In a statement issued today by CBS and Showtime, the new OTT service was described as another instance of the network “finding new ways to monetize [their] programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology”. As the cord-cutting movement continues to gain momentum, demonstrated by the recent news that Comcast now has more Internet users than TV subscribers, all media owners need to follow where the audience is heading and make content available across platforms.

On Trend: TV Streaming Market Continues To Expand And Fragment

Three significant new developments emerged in the OTT market this past week as the TV landscape continues to evolve.

  1. Sling TV is coming to Android TV after Dish Network struck a deal with Google. As part of the agreement, Sling TV will offer new customers 50% off Nexus Player devices when they pre-pay for three months’ subscription.
  2. Netflix confirmed a new user interface on the web is rolling out next month. The new UI is said to be closer to what Netflix has been offering on mobile devices, which eliminates the slow scrolling carousels for content discovery in favor of larger, expandable thumbnails.
  3. Meanwhile, Comcast finally added support for HBO GO And Showtime Anytime for its Xfinity customers, after purposefully blocking the two premium channel’s streaming apps for years. However, the unlocked services will only work on Amazon’s Fire TV devices for now.

Taken together, these three news items not only prove the fragmenting effect OTT services have on the traditional sector of the TV business, but also points to the complexity within its own ecosystem. As TV content continues to move away from cable companies’ control towards web-based streaming services, brands would be wise to follow where the eyeballs are going.



Twitch To Stream HBO’s Silicon Valley Before It Airs

Read the original story: The Verge

Continuing the eff0rts to broaden its content, Twitch has announced that the season opener of HBO’s critically acclaimed series, Silicon Valley, will stream on its site next Wednesday, ahead of the show’s Sunday premiere. Matching the massive crowd of video game lovers on Twitch (around 100 million monthly active users) to a sharp comedy satirizing the modern tech culture is certainly a smart move, with which HBO is most likely hoping to get some streamers and cord-cutters interested in its standalone streaming service, HBO Now.

Sling TV To Get HBO Thru Dish-Turner Deal

Read original article on: TechCrunch

In an interesting turn of events, it looks like Apple TV’s claimed exclusivity on the standalone HBO streaming service is over before it started. As part of a Dish and Turner distribution deal, Sling TV, the new over-the-top TV service Dish launched at CES this year, announced today that it will offer HBO’s on-demand content starting on April 12, just in time for the season premiere of HBO’s hit series “Games of Thrones. The new HBO add-on will cost Sling users $15 per month – the same price that Apple TV got for carrying HBO NOW. Steadily gaining traction since its launch, this might just be the big push that Sling TV needs to compete.

Apple TV Gains Exclusive HBO Now Support

We reported last week on the new information on the standalone HBO streaming service, and now Apple has confirmed its involvement in launching this much-anticipated OTT service. Kicking off today’s event, Apple surprised the industry by announcing exclusive support for HBO Now.

Responding to the offerings from its competitors, especially Google’s Chromecast and Amazon Prime, Apple is also lowering the price of Apple TV from $99 down to $69 to give it a competitive edge. We expect to see Apple TV taking on an increasingly important role as Apple continues to push into the OTT market.

Header image taken from

Update: Apple will have the online exclusive for three months, according to HBO. HBO Now may still come to existing pay-TV partners before that.



HBO And NBC Dive Deeper Into OTT Market

New information on HBO’s much-anticipated standalone service surfaced last week. The new subscription service, reportedly titled “HBO Now”, will cost $15 per month and be available on Apple TV through an early partnership between the two companies.

Meanwhile, NBC is confirmed to be developing a comedy-focused OTT service to court cord-cutters. Staple shows like Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show will be included and the subscription fee is reported to be around $3 per month.

What’s Going On With HBO Go Standalone?

Read original story on: The Verge

Back in October, HBO announced plans to soon launch a “standalone, over-the-top” HBO Go subscription, and now some surprising new details are emerging. HBO is reportedly aiming for an April 2015 launch, just in time for the new season of Game of Thrones. This makes perfect sense, considering the HBO flagship series is the most pirated show in the world.

Moreover, HBO has opted not to build the standalone OTT service in-house, but instead will use external technology from MLB Advanced Media, which already provides white-label streaming technology for clients like WWE Network. As long as they can build a platform capable of handling the huge streaming volume brought in by the quality content, the audience couldn’t care less who is delivering the content.