OTT + SVOD
Disney rocked the digital media world this week when it announced plans to end its movie deal with Netflix and launch two new streaming services of its own. One of those services will be ESPN-branded, and one will be Disney-branded. But as it turns out, there may be others as well. During the company’s earnings call, CEO Bob Iger floated the idea of a Marvel-centric service, as well as a Star Wars-centric one. Iger also suggested that Marvel and LucasFilm content could instead wind up on the Disney service, which is slated to launch in 2019. Or, he said, the company could simply continue licensing select Star Wars and Marvel titles to Netflix. Iger’s comments make it clear that Disney still hasn’t decided how two of its most valuable properties will fit into its streaming plans.
When Google announced plans to introduce its own ad-blocker for the Chrome browser – set to roll out next year – some advertisers were understandably spooked. But it turns out that Google has been trying to make it easy for publishers to see what adjustments they’ll need to make. The tech giant revealed that publishers have been using its Ad Experience Report – a tool released earlier this summer – to evaluate and score their sites based on design and creative. The tool also provides videos and screenshots of ads that have been identified as being annoying to users. So far, Google says it’s identified only 700 sites that needed corrective action; it’s reviewed about 100,000.
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
Coldplay is coming to VR. Samsung and Live Nation will team up to broadcast the band’s A Head Full of Dreams tour live in virtual reality on August 17. The concert will be held at Soldier Field in Chicago, starting at 9:30 pm ET. Viewers will need a Samsung Gear VR headset, along with the Samsung smartphone that powers it.
VC FUNDING + INVESTORS
Here Be Dragons, a VR production startup, just raised $10 million in Series A funding. Discovery Communications led the round. The company says it will invest the funding in creative services and ideation across virtual, augmented, and mixed reality formats, as well as in new technologies.
Essential Products, the electronics startup founded by Android inventor Andy Rubin, appears to be very well-funded. The company raised $300 million in a new round led by Access Technology Ventures. Amazon, Tencent, Foxconn and others also participated. Essential Products debuted at the end of May; it’s first product, the Essential Phone, will roll out in the U.S. within the coming weeks. Rubin also says he wants the company to sell other connected products in the future, including an Amazon Echo-like device.
Netflix has landed a couple of Hollywood giants: Joel and Ethan Coen will write, direct, and executive produce a new series for the service. A Western anthology series called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the show will debut in 2018. Tim Blake Nelson will star in the title role.
Lionsgate Digital Studios has recruited four social media stars – Meghan Rienks, Karrueche Tran, Arden Cho, and Sasha Pieterse – to star in a new movie. The news was first reported by Variety. Called Honored, the comedy will center on four high school friends. All four actresses have substantial digital followings; Lionsgate has previously said that it intends to spend around $25 million a year on films helmed by digital stars.
SHAREABLEE SOCIAL TV RATINGS: Top 10 U.S. Primetime and Streaming Shows for July 31 – August 6. Based on Shareablee’s Video Power Index (VPI), which combines viewing, consumer interactions and audience scale across all active platforms, and includes the video performance of primetime and streaming shows.
Source: Shareablee Inc. The total actions metric includes the total volume of post-level likes, shares, favorites, retweets and comments across social platforms.
Tweet of the week: @_khak14: THE BACHELORETTE OMG WUTTTT
Canvs, the emotion analytics company, analyzed tweets about TV and streaming programming from Aug. 2-8 using Twitter data from Nielsen. Insights from the 1,802,019 tweets expressing a specific Emotional Reaction (ER) include:
– People were incredibly psyched for the NFL preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals on NBC.
– Viewers found the finale of ABC’s The Bachelorette to be totally crazy when it was revealed that Peter wasn’t ready to get engaged to Rachel, essentially leaving her no choice but to choose Bryan.
– Fans truly enjoyed the latest installment of Game of Thrones on HBO, although some were distraught to realize there are only three episodes left this season.
– While watching the most recent episode of Big Brother on CBS, viewers made it clear they seriously dislike all the bullying that’s taken place this season.
– Bonus insight from Canvs’ YouTube data: People are loving the new animated short film about a closeted boy’s heart chasing down the guy of his dreams; many are calling “In a Heartbeat” simply beautiful.
Audience data provider Eyeota has promoted Elizabeth Christensen to Managing Director, Americas. In the new role, Christensen will oversee revenue growth strategies, go-to-market strategies for new products, and will develop agency and partner relationships. She previously served as General Manager, Americas, joining the company in January.
Our Last Trivia Question: This former Lionsgate Motion Picture Group executive is picking up the reins at TMP Entertainment, which recently took over Open Road Films from AMC and Regal. Answer: Rob Friedman. Kudos to Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Alessandra Kroeff-Univision Communications Inc./NY, Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, and Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA
Amazon Video’s ‘The Tick,’ set to debut on August 25, is only the latest iteration of a character who’s been crawling around since 1986. Who created him? (Email email@example.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)