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Disney’s Creators Lab Leverages Power of Social Influencers

The Walt Disney Company is formalizing its efforts to leverage the power of social media influencers under a new program called the Disney Creators Lab. The initiative launches with 20 diverse influencers who have already established credibility with Disney by posting content related to the company on platforms including TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Disney says that while there is no direct financial remuneration involved, the program will help influencers improve their skills and expand opportunities. Participants will be enrolled in weekly online Disney courses imparting techniques to promote social media more effectively. Read more

PayPal Launches Super App for Consumer Financial Services

PayPal has begun rolling out its new app, designed as a one-stop financial services tool capable of handling everything from direct deposit and automatic payments to peer-to-peer transactions, shopping and crypto capabilities. In addition, the company has announced PayPal Savings, offering high-yield accounts in partnership with Synchrony Bank. Shifting paychecks to PayPal is seen as a big step that can centralize consumer financial chores through the service, making it competitive with neobanks like Chime and Varo. PayPal now links to 17,000 billers including utilities and credit card firms. Read more

Viewers Choose Episode Order in Netflix Heist Series ‘Jigsaw’

Netflix is exploring another interactive story approach with its upcoming eight-part series “Jigsaw,” currently in production. The heist thriller will allow viewers to watch the first seven episodes in any order, culminating in a designated finale that will tie things up, no matter the path chosen by different viewers. Branching story structure is nothing new to fans of video games and Netflix previously experimented with the format in the “Black Mirror” special “Bandersnatch” and “Love, Death + Robots,” but “Jigsaw” shakes things up a bit in that the series arc can be constructed at random. Read more

Roku Streaming Stick 4K Touts Faster Speed and Dolby HDR

Roku announced its Streaming Stick 4K, a $49.99 device that is faster with better sound integration than the popular Streaming Stick+ it replaces. Available next month, the Streaming Stick 4K offers a boot speed that’s about 30 percent faster, with a new long-range Wi-Fi receiver that boosts it up to twice as fast. It features Dolby Vision HDR, dynamically adjusting contrast frame-by-frame and adds the ability to create 5.1 surround sound. The new model also comes with a push-to-talk voice remote. Those who prefer hands-free can upgrade to the $69.99 Streaming Stick 4K+. Read more

SEC Is Investigating Workplace Conduct at Activision Blizzard

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into Activision Blizzard examining how the gaming company handled information related to workplace discrimination and sexual misconduct. Senior executives including CEO Bobby Kotick have been subpoenaed along with former and current employees. The SEC asked for Kotick’s internal communications and minutes from Activision board meetings dating from 2019. The publisher of “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft” and “Candy Crush” must also provide the agency with personnel files and 2021 separation agreements. Read more

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