VC FUNDING + INVESTORS
Axios, the online news startup formed by a trio of Politico alums, just raised $20 million in a new funding round. It’s only the company’s second funding round overall. The new investments come from a variety of sources, including WndrCo, the media and tech investment group formed by Ann Daly, Sujay Jaswa, and former DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg. With the new round, Axios has now raised $30 million to date. Its areas of coverage include politics, business, science and energy, health care, and technology.
APPS + PLATFORMS
Looks like Apple’s new smart speaker won’t be here in time for the holidays. The company has delayed the release of the HomePod, its upcoming competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Instead, Apple says the device will start shipping in early 2018. Apple first announced the HomePod device in June, at its worldwide developer conference. At the time, the company said the device would ship by December. The company also said the device would cost $349; unlike the release date, that figure probably won’t change.
YouTube just eliminated an extremely popular channel. Toy Freaks, which boasted over 8.5 million subscribers, featured an unnamed father and his daughters, as they carried out strange, grotesque, and often suggestive skits. (Some observers and writers expressed the opinion that the channel’s videos showcased child exploitation.) In recent weeks, YouTube has been promising to make sure its kids’ section is safer for, well, kids. That’s entailed eliminating or age-restricting videos that feature children’s characters in disturbing situations. A channel like Toy Freaks – seemingly aimed at children but featuring content that most kids would find upsetting – apparently met YouTube’s criteria for elimination. According to a recent article from The Guardian, Toy Freaks was the 68th largest channel on YouTube.
Netflix is commissioning another Indian original series. Called Bard of Blood, the new eight-episode show will be produced by Red Chillies Entertainemt, the production company of Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan. The series, based on a 2015 book, will follow an expelled spy who is recalled from his new life as a Shakespeare professor in order to save his country (and his lost love). Netflix has an existing output deal in place with Red Chillies, for both library content and feature films.
Dana Walden, the co-chair and CEO of Fox Television Group, has joined Hulu’s board of directors. Two other Fox execs already were already serving on the board: Peter Rice, the President of 21st Century Fox, and Brian Sullivan, the President and COO of Fox Networks Group’s Digital Consumer Group. 21st Century Fox currently owns a 30% stake in Hulu.
UPCOMING DIGITAL PROGRAMMING
… for the week of Monday, November 20, through Sunday, November 26
– People Now at People.com, Monday-Friday at 8:30 AM ET and 11:30 AM ET. Guests include actor Jason Biggs, musical group Cody Simpson & The Tide, and actor Dermot Mulroney
– YouTube: Best.Cover.Ever, a singing competition series, debuts on YouTube’s standard ad-supported platform today, November 20
– Hulu: Marvel’s Runaways, an series adaptation of the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, debuts Tuesday, November 21
– Netflix: Beat Bugs: All Together Now, an animated family special, debuts Tuesday, November 21
– Netflix: Brian Regan: Nunchucks and Flamethrowers, a new comedy special, debuts Tuesday, November 21
– Netflix: Saving Capitalism, a new documentary, debuts Tuesday, November 21
– Netflix: Godless, a new original western series from Steven Soderbergh, debuts Wednesday, November 22
– Netflix: Barbra: The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!, a new music documentary, debuts Wednesday, November 22
– Netflix: She’s Gotta Have It, a new series from Spike Lee, debuts Thursday, November 23
– Acorn TV: Drama series A Place to Call Home debuts Thursday, November 23
– Netflix: Cuba and the Cameraman, a new documentary, debuts Friday, November 24
– Netflix: Drama series Frontier debuts Friday, November 24
– Netflix: Trailer Park Boys: Out of the Park: USA, a comedy series, debuts Friday, November 24
Our Last Trivia Question: The CBS All Access service is home to a new comedy series, based on an Australian show of the same name. Will Ferrell and Tim Meadows are among the stars. What’s it called? Answer: No Activity. Kudos to David Westberg-SAG-AFTRA Federal Credit Union/CA, Andy Pittman-TAMU/TX, Susan Nessanbaum-Goldberg-M and S Entertainment/CA, Tom Moore Kalt Productions/CA, and Andrew Bellamy-Producers Guild of America/NY
Longtime Will Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay, who has an executive producer’s credit on No Activity, won an Oscar for screenwriting in 2016. For what movie? (Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and state.)