Cynopsis: digital

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Cynopsis: DIGITAL

Good morning. It's Friday, February 1, 2013, and this is your first early morning digital briefing.


While we're on the topic of Netflix and House of Cards: Microsoft is unlocking the Netflix app for the duration of this weekend. This means all Xbox Live users, and not just those who have a Gold subscription, can stream Netflix content, provided that they're also Netflix subscribers. The decision to open up the Netflix app was specifically made in support of House of Cards. Microsoft's Director/Xbox Programming, Larry Hryb, indicated as much via a blog postannouncing the decision. "Watch every episode of the new Netflix original series House of Cards premiering Feb. 1," said Hryb. In the same post, Hryb announced that Xbox Live will offer exclusive Super Bowl-related content from the likes of Crunchyroll, EPIX, Dailymotion, and Maxim. In addition, the Hulu app will also be unlocked, allowing those who don't subscribe to Hulu Plus to watch Super Bowl ads on the service's AdZone.

Alchemy Networks, a multi-channel network (MCN) focusing exclusively on urban lifestyle and entertainment programming, is launching on YouTube as a premium channel partner. Comprised of about 30 YouTube channels, Alchemy currently averages more than 1 million views per week and is approaching 900,000 subscribers. In addition to aggregating these channels under one digital umbrella, Alchemy also plans to launch three new original programming channels, Kaleidosocope, FWD Network, and a premium channel in partnership with Kandi Burruss from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. The MCN says it will offer a range of programming, from news and celebrity gossip, to scripted dramas, comedies, music series, and DIY content, all targeted toward 18-34 "trendsetters" and 25-54 African American females. For the launch, Alchemy Networks has partnered with Bunim/Murray Productions, the Banijay Group company behind reality TV series like The Real World, Project Runway, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Bunim/Murray will produce content for Alchemy's suite of original and owned YouTube channels. In fact, it's already launched three new series: BRKDWN (daily news), Red Hawt Gossip (celebrity gossip), and Lookbook(everyday street fashion).

Today in web-to-TV programming: Two web series from AOL's automotive research and news sites, AOL Autos and Autoblog, will air on the Speed channel beginning next Tuesday. AOL Autos' Translogic will air on Speed starting at 10pm ET/PT on Tuesday, February 5.Hosted by Bradley Hasemeyer, the show covers the latest in transportation technology as well as the future of mass transit, concept cars, electric vehicles, and other forms of new transportation. Translogic is AOL Autos' top show. The second show, Autoblog's The List, will air immediately after Translogic, at 10:30pm ET/PT every Tuesday. Hosted by Jessi Combs and Patrick McIntyre, The List follows the hosts as they tackle an auto-based "bucket list," which includes doing things such as lapping Germany's Nurburgring, driving over 200 miles per hour, and learning how to drift. Each show has been repackaged into a half-hour format to fit the TV model.

UK broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB) plans to make its Sky Sports content available on a daily, pay-as-you-go basis via its Now TV online streaming service. Beginning this spring, for 10 pounds ($15.80) a day, customers will get unlimited access to all six Sky Sports channels for 24 hours. This option will be available to non-BSkyB customers as well. It's designed for people who want access to one-off sporting events like the Monaco Grand Prix or The Masters as well as a day's worth of action from the Barclays Premiere League, UEFA Champions League, the NBA, the NFL, England Test cricket, and Heineken Cup rugby. For the company, it's a way to compete with Netflix and LoveFilm by offering some of its most prized assets online (BSkyB has exclusive UK broadcasting rights to Premier League matches). During its Q4 earnings call, BSkyB said Now TV added 25,000 new subscribers in the fourth quarter. That's half of the 50,000 total new TV customers who signed up for BSkyB last quarter.

Just in time for the Super Bowl, Protagonist, an LA-based entertainment and digital media consultancy, has released a new documentary online about the world of legal sports betting. Directed by Isaac Feder, Life on the Line shines a spotlight on the lives of professional sports gamblers and how their lives are affected by one of the biggest betting days of the year, the Super Bowl. The documentary features one-on-one interviews with a number of sports bettors as well as footage of their day-to-day lives. Set in the gambling capital of the US, Las Vegas, the film also includes commentary from the Mayor of Las Vegas, local sports radio hosts, bookies, and others. It's available for $4.97 on Feder and Matti Leshem, CEO of Protagonist and the film's Executive Producer, are currently in discussions to develop the film into a TV series following the exclusive digital release window.

Newsmax Broadcasting has announced that The Steve Malzberg Show, a new live radio program on SiriusXM's America's Talk -- XM 166 channel, will also be simulcast in video form online at Newsmax.TV. The show premieres this Monday and will air live every weekday from 3pm to 6pm ET. It will blend breaking news coverage with interviews and interaction with listeners via the web. Newsmax.TV is an online video site that features a mix of news, commentary, lifestyle, and entertainment programming.


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