Whip Media Launches Resource Center

Entertainment software platform and data provider Whip Media has launched the Center of Excellence, a professional services resource center to address new and emerging customer needs to drive efficiencies, automation and integration throughout the entertainment ecosystem.

The Center will be available to Whip Media clients globally and will work collaboratively with customers, strategic partners and advisors to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the market for the company’s clients. The Center “will focus on integrating our customer’s needs and point of view into how we build products and solutions so that we are providing optimal value to them and the industry,” according to the company.

Melissa Kaspers has been appointed to the position of SVP of strategy and operations to lead the Center and oversee its programs around thought leadership, research and development, partnerships, education and best practices.  

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Kaspers is an experienced product executive and audience analytics expert with more than a decade of experience building technology platforms for enterprise and consumer companies, according to the company. In her new role, she will lead the the Center’s efforts to develop more intelligent tools and technology for customers. 

“Whip Media is uniquely positioned at the intersection of the media and entertainment industry, and our strategic client and partner relationships enable great visibility into the challenges faced by our customers and the industry as a whole,” Kaspers said in a statement. “Our Center of Excellence reinforces our commitment to a customer-focused culture that leverages our expertise and innovative ideas along with best practices to provide the most value to our clients.” 

Specifically, the Center’s programs include: 

  • a Customer Advisory Council and User Group, which is a forum composed of Whip Media customers that provides feedback and strategic guidance on market needs and demands with the goal to improve the product development process;
  • Whip Media Labs, a learning center for clients to help drive additional customer value and share best practices;
  • thought leadership from Whip Media executives who through research and events will share their expertise in the areas of audience and content insights, M&E operational processes and content monetization; and
  • the Licensing Lounge, an on-site experience powered by the Whip Media Exchange, the company’s content rights marketplace, that brings licensing experts and data analysts to offer predictive insights and recommendations based on a client’s content strategy.


For more information on the Whip Media Center of Excellence, visit https://www.whipmedia.com/coe.

Nielsen to Begin Tracking Twitter Users for Video Marketers

Nielsen and Twitter April 8 announced the integration of Nielsen’s audience measurement onto Twitter’s video ad platform. The pact includes new access to Nielsen Media Impact and Nielsen Ad Intel and expanded access to Nielsen Total Ad Ratings. Together, these tools will enable Twitter to help video advertisers plan, maximize ad inventory and understand cross-media faster.

Social media giant Twitter features audio and video tweets limited to 140 seconds. In 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day on the platform, and the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day.

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Nielsen Media Impact is a cross-media planning software incorporating TV ratings and digital content ratings, among other data metrics. It helps advertisers find insights into their target audiences, their lifestyle and media preferences so they can create connections with those audiences.

As media consumption evolves alongside consumer demand and digital-first strategies drive greater desire for comparable metrics, the need for a single, cross-media currency is increasing.

“Nielsen’s cross-media suite will make it easier to augment our client’s video strategy and planning with premium video inventory and optimize audience reach and frequency alongside other top video platforms,” Doug Brodman, director of North America agency and platform solutions, said in a statement. “Ultimately, this expanded partnership brings increased transparency, clarity and value to Twitter’s video solutions for our agency partners and advertisers.”

Twitter will also use Nielsen’s legacy TV Ratings data for added insights of ad campaigns across platforms, including Twitter Amplify, a video ad platform that gives marketers pre-roll and sponsorship opportunities for premium video content.

“To compete in a fragmented ecosystem, publishers require tools that help them plan their cross-media media strategies efficiently as well as provide deeper analysis and more robust insights of an advertiser’s campaign across screens,” said Jay Nielsen, SVP of planning products for Nielsen. “Twitter’s use of [Nielsen software] levels the playing field and ensures they have the same metrics and tools as agencies and advertisers, facilitating alignment on a common goal and plan.”

Whip Media Hires Former Fox Exec Sherry Brennan

Entertainment data and software company Whip Media has appointed Sherry Brennan EVP and GM of its licensing technology division.

In this newly created role, Brennan will lead the company’s development and go-to-market strategy of new offerings to improve how media companies license digital content globally. She reports to Rob Gardos, president of Whip Media.

Brennan has more than 30 years of experience in pay-TV, including nearly 15 years with Fox Networks where she focused on the distribution of Fox’s content in new and emerging platforms including Hulu, content protection, strategic research and optimizing Fox’s content strategy for the digital age.

“Whip Media is transforming TV and movie licensing by leveraging its first-party consumer sentiment data and sophisticated AI technology to optimize content monetization,” Gardos said in a statement. “Sherry’s vast experience in global content distribution and licensing will be invaluable as we deliver new products to the market to support that vision. I’m thrilled to welcome her to the team.”

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“After spending nearly 15 years at Fox negotiating hundreds of content licensing deals, I believe Whip Media is uniquely positioned to transform and future-proof global content licensing as business models continue to evolve,” Brennan said in a statement.

Prior to joining Fox, Brennan spent seven years at Cablevision focused on then-emerging VOD and digital TV, including content licensing, marketing and UI/UX. She began her career at Falcon Cable TV and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She is co-founder of a social platform for women over 40 (The Woolfer), as well as a Board Member for the Food Resource Action Committee (FRAC), a DC-based lobbying organization. She is based in Los Angeles.

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Whip Media through its content value management and data platform manages billions of financial transactions from more than 1,000 operators and OTT platforms around the world. Clients include Disney, Warner Bros., Hulu, NBCU, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate, BBC, HBO, AT&T, T-Mobile, Liberty Global, Discovery and Pluto TV.

LG Takes Stake in TV Data and Measurement Firm

LG Electronics, through U.S. subsidiary Zenith Electronics, has taken a controlling stake of more than 50% in TV data and measurement firm Alphonso Inc.

The move is designed “to bring together the two TV industry leaders’ technologies and innovations in LG’s smart TV lineup,” the companies announced. 

“LG has made understanding customer tastes and consumer trends one of its highest priorities as part of its digital transformation strategy to deliver better customized services,” according to a press release.

LG plans to utilize Alphonso software and services — including Alphonso’s data analytics, media planning and activation, and Video AI capabilities — with its home entertainment products.

Alphonso’s combined offerings will enrich consumer services including content recommendations and LG’s own streaming service, LG Channels, to create a robust owned and operated first-screen, cross-device advertising platform with integrated analytics for the smart TV marketplace generally and for LG smart TVs specifically, according to the companies. 

Alphonso will continue to operate as an independent business under its current brand and leadership based in Silicon Valley.

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“Our investment in Alphonso is a key component of our digital transformation strategy focusing on AI, big data and cloud to fundamentally change how consumers interact with their devices,” said Park Hyoung-sei, president of the LG Home Entertainment Company, in a statement. “With Alphonso’s TV data analysis capabilities, LG will be able to better fulfill consumers’ needs by providing them even more customized services and content. We are proud to welcome Alphonso to the LG family.” 

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“LG and Alphonso have a shared vision for advancing the smart TV ecosystem through innovative software and services oriented toward modern new consumer experiences on one end, and highly flexible, lucrative advertising, planning, and measurement offerings for brands, agencies, and broadcasters on the other,” Ashish Chordia, founder and CEO of Alphonso, said in a statement.

“Becoming part of LG Electronics gives Alphonso the backing of one of the world’s leaders in home entertainment products, with access to a massive global inventory of connected TV screens,” he added. “We can now maximize our mutual impact on the TV marketplace as we bring our products together and deliver immense value for the ecosystem.”

Snapchat Exec Cheryl Idell Snapped Up for Post at WarnerMedia

WarnerMedia Entertainment has named former Snapchat exec Cheryl Idell EVP and chief research officer of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer.

She will report to Bob Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer.

Idell will be responsible for overseeing the functional areas of research across WarnerMedia Entertainment, centralizing expertise in viewership, content, and strategic market research; insights; and analytics. Her purview will also include product research and all aspects of research for the upcoming WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer offering HBO Max.

“As the evolution of video consumption continues to move at a rapid pace, staying at the forefront of technology, consumer trends and future capabilities is imperative for our success,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “Cheryl’s background in technology and entertainment makes her the perfect candidate to lead our research teams and build an industry-leading research practice that will take us into the future.”

“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to work for Bob and alongside the exceptional executives and creators at WarnerMedia,” Idell said in a statement. “It is such a thrilling time to be working in this business and WarnerMedia Entertainment has emerged as one of the biggest, boldest players through creativity and innovation. The company’s best-in-class brands, networks and programs make this a truly irresistible opportunity. I can’t wait to lead this incredible research team and help shape the future of audience insights and engagement through a combination of linear, streaming and direct-to-consumer data, research and analytics.”

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Idell most recently served as head of U.S. vertical measurement at Snap Inc. where she led Snapchat’s measurement strategy and the resulting execution across all U.S. advertiser clients. Idell’s team was responsible for providing solutions and strategic guidance to advertisers on measurement and optimization of the online and offline impact of Snapchat advertising.

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Before her stint at Snapchat, Idell led Mindshare’s West Coast offices, working with clients across a diverse array of sectors including studio/entertainment, consumer packaged goods, spirits, retail and travel/hospitality. She was also the EVP of client solutions for Nielsen, holding leadership roles focused on driving Nielsen’s revenue growth through development of media analytics and research products, solutions, strategies and practices. Prior to joining Nielsen, Idell held executive level positions at 20th Century Fox, IAG Research and Initiative Media.


Movies Anywhere and Data

Overlooked in the quibbles with digital rights collection service Movies Anywhere (Why no TV shows? Where are Paramount and Lionsgate?) is a potential killer app that those in the transactional business may have overlooked — data.

At last month’s Entertainment Merchants Association OTT_X@ Pipeline 2019 conference in Los Angeles, Movies Anywhere GM Karin Gilford noted, “We’re using data in a ton of ways.

“We’re using a lot of the same in­dustry data that you guys consume to make product decisions and now complementing that with robust usage data that we have in the app,” she said.

Usage data, that is the key. Nev­er before has the industry had cross-studio, cross-retailer usage data like this. It’s gold.

Subscription video-on-demand data from Netflix and Amazon Prime are closely guarded by those services, which may be part of the reason why the impending Disney+, Apple TV+ and others are charging a nominal sub fee to gather customers and data.

Movies Anywhere is a “Netflix for transactional,” an unprecedent­ed view into the buying habits and libraries of movie collectors. And Gilford noted that the service is add­ing theatrical information, including Rotten Tomatoes ratings, to gauge which films consumers most desire.

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“Studios having visibility into that data is going to make for a more powerful home entertainment busi­ness and a more powerful EST busi­ness,” Gilford said.

Yes, data is power. Just ask Face­book and Google.

IHS Markit, Informa Swap Business Units, including OTT and Media

London-based research firms IHS Markit and Informa May 22 announced a swap of select business units — including the former’s technology, media and telecom business for the latter’s agribusiness intelligence group.

Informa, whose focus has been on international exhibitions, events, information services and scholarly research group, will up its sights on over-the-top video (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc.), media and related technology.

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The company is giving IHS Markit $30 million in cash to complete the deal, which is expected to close in July, pending regulatory approval.

“This agreement is very positive for both IHS Markit and Informa, increasing the focus of each company on core markets where [each] has particular strengths and a long-term commitment to invest and grow,” Lance Uggla, CEO of IHS Markit and Stephen Carter, group chief executive, Informa PLC, said in a joint statement.

“Our ambitions for Informa Tech will be further enhanced by the addition of the IHS Markit TMT portfolio, extending our customer and international reach, creating a strong platform for future growth,” added Carter.

IHS Markit will retain RootMetrics, its benchmarking business and a portion of its market intelligence business.

IHS acquired Markit in 2016 for $5.5 billion, creating a data analytics powerhouse. In 2018, it acquired financial services firm Ipreo for $1.86 billion.


Sony Alums Join Data Analytics Company’s New International Division

Data analytics company Algomus/Algo.ai has created an international division based in London.

The company has named Aodan Coburn, formerly EVP International at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, as president, Algo.ai International. Miguel Geli, previously division CIO for Sony Pictures and European MD of Sony Retail Services Europe, has been appointed COO, Algo.ai International.

Algo.ai comprises a team of software engineers, mathematicians, business analysts, machine learning experts and data scientists with extensive industry knowledge of manufacturing, distribution and retail supply chains to support the use of data to drive savings.

“This significant development reflects our desire to service our current customers on a broader territory basis and supports our ambition to expand both our geographical and industry reach,” CEO Amjad Hussain said in a statement.

“International expansion has been a strategic goal for some time, and with these two key appointments we are now well-positioned to repeat the tremendous growth opportunities we have seen domestically,” said John Daly, president of Algo.ai, in a statement.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to play a part in the Algomus story as this innovative company continues on its journey of global growth,” Coburn said in a statement.

“Algo.ai is a company with significant global potential which I am thrilled now to be part of,” Geli added in a statement.

Algomus is headquartered in Detroit, with additional offices in Los Angeles and now London.

Algo.ai created Algo, the world’s first supply chain analyst bot. Algo connects artificial intelligence, augmented reality and automation to retailers, distributors and manufacturers. The tool helps with activities including demand and inventory planning, sales forecasting, new product lifecycle management, and assortment optimization.

Cinelytic Gets $2.25 Million Investment

Data analytics firm Cinelytic announced a $2.25 million investment by Thailand’s T&B Media Global.

“The deal will enable Cinelytic to further advance its leading role in AI driven decision support for the entertainment industry,” according to a company press release.

Cinelytic combines artificial intelligence and cloud-based technologies to enable entertainment industry professionals to make faster, and better-informed, decisions throughout the content value chain by providing comprehensive data, predictive analytics and project management tools in an integrated online platform, according to the release.

“We are witnessing a seismic shift in the entertainment industry: while rapid technological advances have disrupted the traditional entertainment industry, they have also created huge opportunities,” said Tobias Queisser, co-founder and CEO of Cinelytic, in a statement. “By using the latest in machine learning, and cloud-based technology, we are able to provide the entertainment industry with game-changing insights in real-time. This investment enables us to expand Cinelytic’s platform for Film, TV and explore further cross verticals. We are delighted to have partnered with T&B Media Global who share and support our vision.”

“Companies in industries across the world have to begin with a data driven approach,” said Dr. Jwanwat Ahriyavraromp, CEO of T&B Media Global, in a statement. “Understanding the pros and cons of all scenarios should be foundational to any enterprise, and the same applies to entertainment. Cinelytic aggregates massive amounts of entertainment-based data and uses AI to provide invaluable analysis of potential returns for storytellers. It is a tool that will revolutionize how stories get told and launched into the market. We are very pleased to help be a part of this future-forward solution.”