Archive for April, 2013

Won’t You Be in My Nextdoor Network?

April 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

If you’re like a lot of people, you use Facebook to keep in touch with friends who live hundreds of miles away. The neighbors you can wave to from your front yard? Not so much. [ See post to watch video ] Though it sounds counterintuitive, you might get to know your next-door neighbors better by joining a free social network called Nextdoor from a company of the same name. This hyper-local site verifies users by address, uses each person’s real name and doesn’t allow people access to a network if they don’t actually live in the neighborhood. It isn’t focused on making new friends; rather, it’s designed to connect neighbors. On Nextdoor, people can talk about the new construction on the block, ask if anyone wants to participate in a nanny share or sell an old dining-room table. Nextdoor launched in 2011 and is now running in every state, in over 11,500 neighborhoods. It adds about 40 or so neighborhoods each day, according to its co-founder and CEO, Nirav Tolia. The company plans to release an app for Apple’s iOS devices within the next month and an Android app sometime this summer. Nextdoor currently works as a website only, which can be accessed on mobile browsers. I’ve been testing this website for the past week in my Washington, D.C., neighborhood, which already had a Nextdoor network, while a colleague got someone to start a new network in his suburban Maryland neighborhood. Though I’m skeptical of joining yet another social network, Nextdoor’s neighborhood-based approach made it a standout network with real value. Its layout is similar to Facebook with posts and comments by users.

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Sinatra Doc, Helmed by Gibney, Targeted for HBO

April 30, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

The untitled project comes from the newly formed TV division of Alcon Entertainment.

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Comedy Is King at the Hulu NewFront

April 30, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

For a bunch of presentations thrown by technology companies, the NewFronts are becoming notorious for glitchy executions. The exception to the rule this season—likely because it’s run by networks who are old hands at this sort of thing—is Hulu , which came out swinging on Monday with Saturday Night Live writer/performer Seth Meyers, who explained that he was emceeing the event as a way of “hedging my bets.” “Welcome to the Soylent Green waiting room!” he said as buyers drank in both the lime green decor and mid-morning cocktails. “If you get that joke, you are not in the demo.” The network had plenty for ad buyers to relate to, including notable crossover talent. This summer will see Geico caveman John Lehr in the network’s original comedy Western, Quickdraw. The presentation made a serious attempt to ease upfront-goers into the digital world—large swaths of it were a love letter to old television shows, with execs delivering the expected selling points against backdrops of old title cards from shows like Hill Street Blues. The event also included a reel of advertisements that ranged from the vintage to the contemporary

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Soap Heavyweights One Life to Live, All My Children Revived Online

April 30, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The soap opera All My Children is the most-watched show on Hulu, and retooled Web versions of that show and One Life to Live are among the most popular content on both Hulu and iTunes. Starting Monday at 5 a.m., they were both made available for free on Hulu and iTunes. New episodes will be released every weekday, with a recap show on Friday featuring bonus material. The successful premiere of the shows comes in the wake of its producers' unusual marketing and online culture-centric publicity stunts, ranging from bizarre out-of-home ads to casting Riff Raff to sending the show's stars to a mommy blogger convention. Los Angeles-based production company Prospect Park acquired the rights to All My Children and One Life to Live in 2011, shortly after they were canceled by ABC. The net axed the soaps when they became too expensive to produce. As the median age of the audience audience climbed past 55, advertisers lost interest, and the advent of DVR allowed viewers to record daytime soaps and fast-forward through commercials. Headed by former Walt Disney chairman Rich Frank and former talent manager Jeff Kwatinetz, Prospect Park is attempting to inject some youth into the series in order to woo advertisers. The shows are shorter, faster-paced and racier, with a trendy aesthetic that approximates a lower-budget Gossip Girl. Frank and Kwatinetz are also trying to attract young people with stunt casting. Rapper Snoop Lion wrote the new theme song for OLTL. The show also features cameos from Cover Girl models, earworm merchants Hot Chelle Rae and Jenni "Jwoww" Farley from MTV's Jersey Shore, who plays a bartender. Hip-hop performance artist Riff Raff plays a Floridian art dealer named Jamie Franko, in a multi-layered meta reference to James Franco, who played a Riff Raff knockoff in Spring Breakers as well as a self-referential character in ABC's daytime soap General Hospital. "We are marketing to the television-watching audience, many of which already watch online as well," Kwatinetz told The Hollywood Reporter . Prospect Park's marketing for the soaps included a blitzkrieg of print, radio and TV ads. The show's marketing team launched an exhaustive media campaign , with the soaps' stars appearing on entertainment shows like Access Hollywood as well as a red carpet screening on the NYU campus. Kwatinetz stressed the importance of social media in the campaign, telling The Hollywood Reporter he wanted to "go viral." The shows have also gained publicity from a $25 million breach-of-contract lawsuit filed against ABC by Prospect Park, which alleged the network sabotaged their revival attempts.

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BuzzFeed Founder Jonah Peretti: On The Social Web, EQ Matters More Than IQ

BuzzFeed Founder Jonah Peretti: On The Social Web, EQ Matters More Than IQ

April 30, 2013  |  Blog  |  No Comments

In a world of Facebook and social sharing, having heart is more important than being smart, according to BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti. Today at Disrupt NY 2013, Peretti discussed the difference between activity that exists on social sites like Facebook versus what people are searching for in non-social situations. Because of the way people use the social web, tapping into human empathy is a greater way to connect with people than using somewhat salacious content. In the world of Google, people search for naked pictures of celebrities, Peretti explained, but no one wants to be known as the sleazy guy asking

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How social communities are shaping the future of established brands

How social communities are shaping the future of established brands

April 30, 2013  |  Blog  |  No Comments

Social is a serious business, judging by the conversations that took place last week in San Francisco at Lithium's LiNC conference. Brands are no longer content to have their social media conversations exist purely outside of their control in siloed social networks; instead, they're bringing the conversation back to their own websites and using it to reinvent themselves. Kicking off LiNC 2013, Lithium's president and CEO Rob Tarkoff said that putting your customer service offering at the top of your business's agenda has the power to modernise and reposition your company for the connected age. Whereas previously people had predicted the death

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Gary Bagley, Executive Director of New York Cares

Gary Bagley, Executive Director of New York Cares

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April 30, 2013  |  NGE  |  No Comments

Gary Bagley joined New York Cares in 2004 and served in the capacities of Senior Director of Programs and Associate Executive Director before becoming the Executive Director in 2008. Gary directs all aspects of the organization’s work, including strategy, programming, fundraising, public relations, finance/operations, and board relations. He is responsible for more than tripling annual volunteer service delivery, filling more than 150,000 volunteer positions on 18,000 projects and serving over 1,300 nonprofit organizations and schools last year. Gary led New York Cares in garnering The 2009 New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Award for Overall Management Excellence and the 2010

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James Windon, Head of Revenue, Causes.com

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April 30, 2013  |  NGE  |  No Comments

James Windon is a silicon valley marketer and entrepreneur, currently working as Head of Revenue at Causes.com. Formerly Facebook Causes, Causes.com is the world's largest platform for social good, having raised over $50M for charity and boasting over 180 million registered members. At Causes, James oversees all business development and revenue operations, including brand sales, marketing and partnerships. He focuses his work on helping Fortune 500 companies leverage new technologies and media in their social media and social good marketing efforts, working with brands like Toyota, Coca-Cola, AT&T, Dell and Anheuser Busch. James is a noted speaker and writer on

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Roland Emmerich to Develop Lawrence of Arabia miniseries

April 30, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

LONDON – Helmer-producer Roland Emmerich is to develop a miniseries based on the life of Lawrence of Arabia for FremantleMedia Intl. Emmerich, who is best known for “Independence Day” and the upcoming  “White House Down,” is developing the series alongside Marc Frydman (“Straw Dogs,” “Murder in the First,” “Nil By Mouth”) and Rod Lurie (“The... Read more

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Former Groupon President and COO Solomon Joins Accel Partners

April 30, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Accel Partners has added longtime tech exec Rob Solomon — who was most recently president and CEO of Groupon — as a venture partner. The high-profile Silicon Valley venture firm said Solomon will focus on early stage and growth equity opportunities and focus on “operational issues like product management, scaling infrastructure, business operations, and mergers and acquisitions.” Said Accel Partner Andrew Braccia in a statement: “[Solomon] has been at the helm of some of the most high profile consumer internet brands and has demonstrated a unique ability to inspire and lead teams through both rapid growth and challenging times.” Indeed, Solomon has had a long Silicon Valley career, including as an top exec at Yahoo, running its commerce efforts. He was also CEO of SideStep, a real-time vertical search engine in the travel sector that was later sold to Kayak and is also on several boards, including HomeAway. But Solomon is best known for his stint as the No. 2 exec at the Chicago-based Groupon, the once high-flying daily deals site. But, for a variety of reasons, including wanting to be located in California, he left the company two years ago . Solomon emailed me last night to explain why he decided to take a job as a VC at Accel and here’s what he wrote: “I love the tactics and strategies associated with scaling up Internet companies. Nothing is more exciting then digging deep into a space and then figuring out which companies stand the best chance to create new markets and become iconic category defining companies. I was lucky enough to work with some of the world’s best founders, technologists and executives at Yahoo and that experience taught me what is possible in a very short span of time

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