Day 1: *Content* News from Digital Content New Fronts (US)

The content announcements from the Digital Content New Fronts come quick, fast and are for the most part overwhelming. Those problems are compounded further still for those of us outside of the US, who — more often than not — are bewildered by the excitement around fact that Larry Shuckaheimer, star of That Show You’ve Never Heard Of, has finally made the move to online video

So rather than confusing the Europeans, VAN has separated the content coverage from the ad tech and data announcements. Here’s an overview of the content announcements, much of which was pulled directly from company wire releases and blog posts (for the ad tech and data announcements, click here):


Extracted from a ‘Microsoft Advertising Blog Post

“Xbox and OneBeat Debut New Experiences:

Microsoft AdvertisingXbox and OneBeat are teaming up to bring an exclusive, first-of-its-kind entertainment experience that is designed to pull back the curtain on the multi-billion dollar Electronic Dance Music (EDM) phenomenon – the fastest growing category of music according to Nielsen. OneBeat is one of the world’s only EDM-centric entertainment studios with deep industry partnerships. We’re excited to be working with them to bring a curated EDM app experience to Xbox next month that will be a one-stop shop and portal for both EDM artists and fans. The OneBeat app on Xbox will provide original content and immersive storytelling experiences that will introduce new opportunities for our brand partners to engage with EDM fans and culture.

“The LeBrons” Season Two:
We’re pleased to share that LeBron James’ breakout animated series, “The LeBrons” is back for season two and will be available on May 10th exclusively across Microsoft consumer platforms, including Xbox LIVE and the MSN Video Hub. We’ll also be doing some heavy cross-promotion on both Xbox and the Bing Sports app on Windows 8. “The LeBrons” is a family entertainment show designed to provide positive life messages to today’s young adults and is co-executive produced by LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Believe Entertainment Group Co-Founders Dan Goodman and William H. Masterson III.

Years of Living Dangerously:

This new Showtime TV series will be a powerful, informative and entertaining program focused on climate change. Microsoft Advertising will be the exclusive digital partner for the series and will extend the stories online through a multi-screen experience with complementary content across MSN, Xbox and Windows 8. We are offering an exclusive sponsorship opportunity for the associated interactive web experience coming in 2014. The series is an ambitious multi-media project that includes exclusive video segments, celebrity interviews, and behind-the-scenes content, in addition to a robust social engagement platform designed to drive action and engagement on the issue of climate change.

MSN Codename “StageDoor”

Today we debuted an exclusive entertainment video destination on MSN, codenamed “StageDoor,” that is an entirely different approach to surfacing engaging video content online. “StageDoor” aggregates trusted, brand-safe video content from across different topics and subject matters to reflect the interests of the actual person that is watching, not just genres or keywords. The content is organized into nine distinct channels that are programmed for the audience, making it more like a television experience than what any other major portal online provides.


(Taken from Yahoo! News Release)

Tiny Commando
YahooEd Helms became addicted to radio controlled toys at young age. Upon learning to pilot tiny helicopters, dune buggies, airplanes, boats and even motorcycles, Ed’s backyard suddenly became a miniature Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Always underlying the fun was a delightful fantasy: “What if a little tiny guy was actually piloting this thing?” And thus “Tiny Commando” was hatched. Part action, part comedy, and part insane RC vehicle chase sequence, every episode is a bombastic thrill ride of miniature adrenaline!

We Need Help
A Vuguru production, “We Need Help” takes place in the world of the rich and semi-famous, centering around a common problem: being stuck in a terrible job. Max is a struggling actor and needs work (and just one good showbiz connection wouldn’t hurt). He agrees to take the job of being a personal assistant to actresses and friends Cheryl Hines and Rachael Harris (who created and produced the show and also play versions of themselves in the vein of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”). Needing the money to take classes, eat and pay the rent, he’s willing to do things no 23-year-old man would ever do and still keep his integrity intact.
Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos
Each week, John will visit a different celebrity to get the scoop on how it all went down the first time she/he “did it.” Adding to the entertainment, viewers will be treated to humorous recreations using crude animation, stop-motion techniques, and the occasional Barbie Doll and/or sock puppet to help underscore the story. This is more than just a show about how celebrities lost their virginity; it’s about who they were before they were famous; and what insecurities they faced during their teen years.
Cinema & Spice
“Cinema & Spice” is an interactive cooking show showcasing Julianna Strickland and Natasha Feldman’s mutual love for delicious, healthy foods and fantastic shows and movies. Join them in an exploration of food and film while learning new cooking skills and unique decorating ideas!
Grill Girls (working title)
Hosted by Chef Megan Mitchell, this grilling show features women who know how to grill, as they share their secrets for grilling to perfection. Episodes will cover standard grill fare such as grilling the perfect steak, and even grilling peaches and pizza, and explore little known facts that can help everyone enhance their grilling skills. 
Fashion Recipe

“Fashion Recipe” visits a different woman’s closet each week with our celebrity stylist, Brett Alan Nelson, who examines how to get the most from a particular article of clothing (the pencil skirt, the little black dress, a blazer) or a killer accessory (scarves, bracelets, bags). This fast-paced, tip-filled program combines a look at fashion-forward trends with information and advice on how every woman can afford to bring them to life without breaking the bank.

The Weather Channel

The Weather ChannelLess than 30 days ago during Weather’s Upfront presentation, the company announced its partnership with Twitter to extend TV and digital content opportunities on to the Twitter platform to increase audience size and engagement. By combining video with promoted tweets, marketers can drive reach and target by location, interest, device and more.

Finnerty announced that The Home Depot will be the first marketer to leverage Weather and Twitter’s new offering. The Weather Channel and The Home Depot have a longstanding partnership, which includes their four-screen “Project of the Week” campaign. This will add another dimension to the campaign with social media as a fifth platform.

The Home Depot’s “Project of the Week” campaign will be featured in promoted tweets by The Weather Channel, with video content that can vary by location, weather and seasonal conditions. Examples of “Project of the Week” include how to create a flower tower, how to build patio pavers, outdoor living ideas, and more. The videos can be watched seamlessly in-tweet using Twitter cards technology.

“The Home Depot is a fantastic partner and has been really open to new approaches,” said Finnerty. “We’re excited to take the ‘Project of the Week’ campaign into the social media realm to engage new DIYers and build an even bigger audience for The Home Depot.”

New Content Development

Neil Katz, vice president and editor-in-chief, digital, for The Weather Company, discussed the company’s growth in digital, announcing that has doubled its audience for content from Feb. 2012–Feb. 2013, with 100 percent growth in unique visitors, and 800 percent page view growth.****** He also announced that since Jan. 2013, has had 100 percent delivery on every content campaign for its marketers.

Katz also discussed’s continuing investment in original content and video online and on mobile, introducing three additional series premiering this year under the Weather Films umbrella. They join three web series previously announced during Weather’s Upfront presentation, which included “Brink,” “Destination Uncharted” (formerly “The Bucket List”), and “Grid Breakers” (formerly “The Explorers”).

“Our goal this year is to blow people out of their seats,” said Katz. “We think Weather Films is going to take people there no matter which screen they’re watching on.”

The three new series will appear on all four screens –, cable, mobile and tablet. They include:

“I Am Unstoppable” (working title, launches October 2013)
“I Am Unstoppable” tells the inspiring stories of six outdoor athletes who’ve overcome extraordinary obstacles to become champions. The remarkable cast includes Sarah Reinertsen, Lopez Lomong, and Spencer West. Reinertsen, the first full-leg amputee to complete the Ironman competition, talks about her journey from learning at age nine that she’d lose her leg to becoming a world-renowned triathlete. Lomong’s harrowing story begins in the refugee camps of eastern Africa and ends with his bearing the flag for the United States at the 2008 Olympics. West shares how being born with no legs didn’t stop him from achieving a goal no one thought he could achieve: ascending, with almost no assistance, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

“Virus Hunters” (WT, launches November 2013)
“Virus Hunters” takes viewers inside the work of the scientists who protect us against nature’s most deadly killers. From an outbreak of H1N1 that spreads across the globe in weeks to a stolen vial of smallpox that decimates a population, the number of nightmare scenarios involving deadly pathogens is almost endless. But thanks to a dedicated group of scientists, most of them stop before they begin. Weather Films takes you inside their world, showing how techniques ranging from advanced data mining to old-fashioned detective work defeat deadly pandemics before they begin.

“Alive” (WT, launches December 2013)
“Alive” shares the stories of extraordinary Americans who have survived manmade and natural disasters. What’s it like to survive an earthquake, a tornado or a hurricane? What about a flight that nearly crashes or a shipwreck? Weather Films talks to the survivors who defied death, and to the scientists who explain what happened.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street JournalThe Wall Street Journal will be launching ‘WSJ Startup of the Year,’ an episodic video documentary for WSJ Live, the Journal’s online video platform. The show is slated to premiere on June 24th. The documentary will match ‘global business leaders and influencers with 25 innovative startups, capturing their stories from startup to success over the course of five months’.

Throughout the documentary, editors from The Wall Street Journal, working closely with mentors and considering viewer votes, will narrow down the businesses to decide who will be the Journal’s first ‘Startup of the Year.’ Startup of the Year will be WSJ Live’s most expansive foray into original content programming to date. WSJ Live is currently available on 30 platforms and generates on average between 20 and 25 million streams per month.

Some of the influencers who have agreed to participate include: Sir Richard Branson: Founder of Virgin Group; Steve Case: Chairman, Case Foundation; Chairman, Startup America; Co-Founder and Former CEO, AOL; Founder,; Co-Founding member, Black Eyed Peas; David Sacks: CEO and Founder, Yammer; Producer, “Thank You for Smoking”; and MC Hammer: Entertainer and entrepreneur.


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