APPS + PLATFORMS
Great Big Story, the short-form video startup backed by CNN, is now available through the OTT video aggregation service Xumo. Great Big Story says it now has more than 1,500 pieces of video content. The company offers docu-style videos in categories such as Frontiers, Flavors, and Human Condition. Great Big Story will be added to Xumo’s mobile apps, as well as its integrations on smart TVs, Roku devices, and LG’s Channel Plus service. Xumo is a joint venture between Panasonic and Time Inc.’s Viant.
Hulu has named Crispin Porter + Bogusky as its newest creative agency partner. The MDC Partners agency, which is based in Los Angeles, won the account after a competitive review. CP+B will oversee an integrated brand campaign for Hulu, slated to launch next year. It’s not the first time the agency has worked with Hulu. CP+B worked on two Super Bowl campaigns with Hulu, including a 2009 ad starring Alec Baldwin and a 2012 spot starring Will Arnett.
APPS + PLATFORMS
In a new update, the family-friendly YouTube Kids app now features a layout that varies in appearance depending on who the user is. When kids set up their profiles, they can choose their own avatar – some options include a banana peel, a star, and a giraffe. Users also enter their birthdate. The interface they’re then greeted with will reflect their age: For instance, younger users will see a layout that’s light on text and heavy on pictures. And older users will see a wider range of video content options. YouTube Kids will also now let kids set passcodes to prevent other family members from accessing their profiles.
CNN has launched CNN Underscored, new online shopping guide. The section, now live at CNN.com/underscored, recommends services and products related to tech, health, travel, and style. At launch, CNN Underscored has roughly 20 posts. A pair of full-time writers are expected to produce about 40 new posts monthly.
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CNBC Digital has hired two new reporters. Alex Sherman will join the publisher in December. Sherman had been with Bloomberg News since 2008; his reporting has tended to focus on technology and the world of Silicon Valley venture capitalism. And Jillian D’Onfro will join CNBC Digital’s San Francisco team later in November, with a focus on Alphabet/Google. She previously spent three years as a senior tech reporter at Business Insider.
Crackle, Sony’s ad-supported streaming service, has nabbed the exclusive rights to Federal Offense, a comedy film starring Chevy Chase. The news was first reported by Variety. Scripted by first-time writer Conor Martin, the film will center on three friends who lose a drug kingpin’s stash and find themselves on the lam – right after breaking their foul-mouthed grandfather (Chase) out of a nursing home. Boundless Pictures is producing. The film is still in development, and no premiere date has been set.
AUDIO + MUSIC STREAMING
Music streamer Pandora took in $378.6 million in Q3 revenue. That number marks an 8% year-over-year increase, but it was also an underperformance: Analysts had been expecting revenue of $380.57 million. The company said that its number of paid subs increased to 5.19 million in Q3; in Q3 of 2016, the number was 4.01 million. Ultimately, Wall Street reacted negatively to the report: The company’s shares fell by almost 6% in initial after-hours trading.
Pandora did beat the competition in one area: In-app revenue. According to app analytics firm Sensor Tower, the music streamer was the top-grossing non-gaming app in Q3, taking in $80 million. (Netflix came in second, followed by HBO Now.) The Pandora app’s performance likely has a lot to do with the launch of Pandora Premium, the company’s on-demand music service. Pandora Premium first became widely available to users in April.
Spotify has named a new PR chief. The job goes to Dustee Jenkins, who recently held a similar role at Target. The news was first reported by Recode. Jenkins will report to Seth Farbman, Spotify’s Chief Marketing Officer. Spotify publicists Graham James and Angela Watts, meanwhile, will now report to Jenkins. Spotify is gearing up for its first public offering, likely to be a direct public listing instead of a traditional IPO. That’s now expected to come during Q1 of 2018.
Our Last Trivia Question: Which Oscar-winning actor plays the role of Al Templeton – a longtime friend of Franco’s Jake Epping – in Hulu’s 11.22.63? Answer: Chris Cooper. Kudos to Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/TX, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg/CA, and David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA
Follow-up: For which movie role did Chris Cooper win an Academy Award? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)