APPS + PLATFORMS
Amazon has released the Fire TV Basic Edition, a new version of its Fire TV streaming stick that’s geared toward international consumers. The product – which can’t be ordered from within the U.S. – doesn’t offer access to the Alexa voice assistant. That’s intentional. The company is aiming to accelerate the rollout of its streaming hardware, as well as that of the Prime Video service. Tailoring Alexa to each individual market would slow down the process immeasurably. The Fire TV Basic Edition can play HD video at up to 60 fps, and has 8GB of storage space for apps. Amazon is charging $50 for the device, and shipping it more than 100 countries.
OTT + SVOD
French media company Vivendi has brought Studio+, its short-form SVOD service, to the U.S. The U.S. version of the service features a collection of series designed for mobile viewing. It’s priced at $3.99 per month. The app can now be downloaded for iOS devices; the Android version will arrive sometime soon.
Back in August, Netflix acquired Millarworld, the comic book publishing firm founded by comic-creator Mark Millar. Now we know more about the first project that Millarworld will put out under its new owner. Millarworld will publish a six-issue comic series, called The Magic Order, in the spring of 2018. The Magic Order will be written by Millar, with Marvel’s Olivier Coipel contributing as an artist. The series will focus on five families of magicians who are sworn to protect the world. No word yet on whether Netflix will adapt this specific comic into a TV series, but the company has made it clear that it does intend to bring Millarworld properties to the screen. That was kind of the point of the acquisition: Netflix wants to own the full rights to TV-ready comic book properties, instead of exclusively relying on licensing deals with companies like Marvel.
LET’S MAKE A DEAL
Group Nine Media, the digital media holding company backed by Discovery Communications, has made a new acquisition. The company acquired Jash, a digital comedy studio whose founders include Sarah Silvermen, Eric Wareheim, Tim Heidecker, Reggie Watts, and Michael Cera. Jash’s productions are distributed across numerous platforms, including Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Verizon’s Go90, and Jash.com. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. Group Nine’s existing properties include Thrillist, the Dodo, Seeker, and NowThis Media.
VIRTUAL + AUGMENTED REALITY
The NBA is coming to VR. The league has partnered with Intel and Turner Sports to make games available in virtual reality. (Viewers will still have to subscribe to Turner’s TV networks to gain access to the VR broadcasts.) To start, Intel will set up a variety of specialized lenses and VR cameras at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena and Dallas’s American Airlines Center. The three partners plan to expand VR broadcasting capabilities to more arenas in the future. Turner will begin streaming VR content starting with 2018’s NBA All-Star Weekend. Users will be able to access the broadcasts through an upcoming NBA on TNT VR app, which will be available for the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View headsets.
The ListenFirst Television Interest (TVI) Rating (TM) is a standardized measurement of the most buzzed-about TV programs on linear TV and streaming services. A complement to ListenFirst’s other syndicated data products (such as the ListenFirst Digital Audience Rating – TV), the metrics included in the rating capture organic actions that are largely unaffected by paid media. Programs that surface on the TVI leaderboards are the most hashtagged on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr, as well as most searched for on Wikipedia (used as a proxy for organic search volume).
Streaming Series (10/30/17 – 11/05/17)
Source: ListenFirst. The TVI Rating aggregates metrics that measure organically generated activity by fans of the TV show. The metric includes total volume of official hashtag mentions on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Tumblr, along with Wikipedia page views (as a proxy for organic search volume) for a show as a percentage of the total volume of the same activities for all shows.
Advertising software company Pixability has named Alan Beiagi as its new Chief Product Officer. Beiagi will now oversee engineering, product management, and the company’s product marketing teams. A veteran of the digital technology space, Beiagi most recently served as VP of Product Management for DataXu.
Hulu’s first original kids’ series – a spinoff of Fraggle Rock created by The Jim Henson Company – was recently renewed for a second season. (It waited a long time for that renewal: The show debuted in 2014.) What’s the series called? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)
Our Last Trivia Question: iQiyi is of the most popular streaming entertainment platforms in China. It’s owned by a major web services company – which one? Answer: Baidu – basically China’s Google. Kudos to Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY, Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/CA, David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Bill Graff-beIN Sports/FL, and Lorrie Shilling/CA