PLATFORMS, APPS + DEVICES
Instagram announced that it has surpassed 700 million monthly active users. The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing app hit the 600 million user milestone a mere four months ago. By comparison, it took Instagram 6 months to leap from 500 million users to 600 million, and 9 months to move from 400 million to 500 million. In other words, Instagram’s growth isn’t just swift – it’s accelerating.
Viacom is placing Dan Reich in charge of a new unit, dubbed the Global Product Development Group. The new group will be in charge of developing digital applications and websites for Viacom’s networks. Reich previously helped build the company’s suit of “Play Plex” OTT apps, which include Nickelodeon Play, Nick Jr. Play, Comedy Central Play, and MTV Play. Reich’s new title will be SVP of Global Multiplatform Products at Viacom.
Viacom is also making some new moves in East Asia. The company is teaming with HJ Holdings to offer MTV Mix, a new music and entertainment channel, as a subscription-based linear option that will play on Hulu Japan. (Hulu Japan is owned by HJ Holdings and, by extension, by HJ Holdings parent Nippon TV. It’s not in any way connected to America’s Hulu.) The MTV Mix channel will debut on June 1. In addition, in a new deal with Indonesian telco Telkomsel, Viacom’s Nickelodeon Play app will launch in Indonesia within Q3 of this year. That will be followed by the Indonesia launch of the Nick Jr. Play app.
And so it begins. In a major speech in Washington, D.C., FCC Chair Ajit Pai signaled his intent to begin a process of rolling back his agency’s net neutrality rules. Those regulations – which passed in 2015, when the FCC was controlled by Democrats – forbid internet service providers from intentionally blocking or slowing down content, or from prioritizing content from those willing to pay for it. “Nothing about the internet was broken in 2015,” Pai said in his speech. Pai hasn’t put forward an exact replacement just yet, though reports suggest that his plan may call for ISPs to promise not to slow competitors’ internet speeds. Next month he’ll likely seek a vote that would open the FCC’s doors to public debate between Silocon Valley tech companies, ISPS, and consumer advocates.
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
AMC‘s The Walking Dead is getting a new VR experience. Walking Dead Executive Producer David Alpert told Variety that he and Skybound Entertainment – the entertainment company founded by Robert Kirkman, creator of the Walking Dead comics – have begin work on the project. Not too many other details are known just yet.
Tweet of the week: @Matt_Santangelo: What a way to grab your 500th goal. Lionel Messi, take a bow. #ElClasico
Canvs, the language analytics company that measures emotions around content, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from April 19-25 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Insights from the 2,669,958 tweets expressing a specific Emotional Reaction (ER) include:
– Top in congrats ERs: the soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona during which Lionel Messi scored his 500th goal for Barcelona and secured victory for the team.
– An episode of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta left viewers feeling really annoyed with Mimi.
– Viewers were shocked when Heather Morris and partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy were eliminated from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars despite earning the first perfect score of the season.
– Viewers were super excited when contestant Mark Isaiah was announced the winner of the Instant Save during the Live Top 12 Eliminations of NBC’s The Voice after his performance of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.”
Vessel may have been shuttered after Verizon acquired it last year, but the team that ran it has essentially taken over go90. As first reported by VideoInk, Chip Canter has departed Verizon’s mobile video service, which he’s helmed for the past year. The Go90 team will now be led by Richard Tom, who co-founded Vessel and served as its Chief Technology Officer. “Effective immediately, Richard and his team will assume full responsibility for all mobile digital video products,” a Verizon spokesperson said in a statement.
Mobile ad tech company MobAir has named Richard O’Connell as GM of MobAir’s China operations. He previously served as VP of Marketing for Papaya Mobile.
Our Last Trivia Question: Who’s the creator and showrunner of Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale?’ Answer: Bruce Miller. Kudos to Louis Lewow-Lewow Media Group/GA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, and Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA
Hulu’s first TV ad, which ran during the 2009 Super Bowl, described the service as an “evil plot to destroy the world.” What well-known actor starred in the ad?