Cryptocurrency Implosion Continues with BlockFi Bankruptcy

The fallout from cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s implosion continues, as BlockFi becomes the latest crypto lender to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in the wake of similar moves by Voyager and Celsius. BlockFi, which was to have been acquired by FTX, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey indicating more than 100,000 creditors, and liabilities combined with assets that range from $1 billion to $10 billion. An outstanding loan to Sam Bankman-Fried’s bankrupt American division FTX US for $275 million was among the liabilities. Continue reading Cryptocurrency Implosion Continues with BlockFi Bankruptcy

MoviePass Labor Day Reboot Has Waitlist and Tiered Pricing

MoviePass is opening a waitlist this week for customers that want to get onboard in time for the company’s Labor Day comeback. Subscription tiers are initially being offered at rates generally staggered from $10, $20 or $30 per month. The startup that had a spectacular rise and fall before being purchased out of bankruptcy by co-founder Stacy Spikes last November is now headed for its third act as Spikes relaunches the once-popular moviegoing service. Mark Wahlberg through Unrealistic Ideas, his non-fiction production unit, is developing a documentary on the MoviePass ascent and flameout. Continue reading MoviePass Labor Day Reboot Has Waitlist and Tiered Pricing

Russia Invites Patent Theft, Paves the Way for Nationalization

Russia is pushing back against sanctions by encouraging intellectual property theft, declaring that “unfriendly” countries will not be compensated for the use of patented technologies. The government legislative commission also approved measures laying groundwork for the nationalization of property of companies exiting the country. Russian officials are also intimating that some trademark restrictions will be lifted, so as to maintain a presence for brands like McDonald’s that are pulling up stakes. In addition to inventions and trademarks, the Russian measures could affect computer software and other technology. Continue reading Russia Invites Patent Theft, Paves the Way for Nationalization

Co-Founder Acquires MoviePass, Aims to Relaunch Next Year

The MoviePass subscription theater ticket service appears on track for a re-launch. The company was purchased by one of its original co-founders, Stacy Spikes, as a liquidated asset of parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2020. Spikes was upon launch in 2011 the CEO of MoviePass, which Helios acquired in 2017. He released a statement last week confirming the acquisition, which was “encouraged by the continued interest from the moviegoing community,” and said he hopes to relaunch the service next year with new investors. Continue reading Co-Founder Acquires MoviePass, Aims to Relaunch Next Year

AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

AMC Entertainment Holdings is in the midst of changes intended to appeal to its Reddit investors. In addition to opening new locations, chief executive Adam Aron said the company would start accepting Bitcoin at U.S. locations by the end of 2021. After AMC was brought to the verge of bankruptcy by COVID-19 lockdowns, its revenue tripled in the June quarter compared to the previous 2021 quarter. In the wake of that news, share prices rose 4.6 percent to $35.36 in after-hours trading. Its stock ended in 2020 at $2.12. Continue reading AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

SpaceX Starlink Internet Slated to Go Live Globally in August

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has already launched 1,500+ satellites for Elon Musk’s broadband Internet network Starlink that is currently available in about a dozen countries. According to Musk, who spoke at the Mobile World Congress this week, Starlink will be beaming Internet everywhere in the world except polar regions by August. He added that Starlink should have about 500,000 users within the next 12 months and that SpaceX will have invested between $5 billion and $10 billion before cash flow becomes positive. Continue reading SpaceX Starlink Internet Slated to Go Live Globally in August

MoviePass Settles with FTC Over Fraud, Data Security Issues

MoviePass, which shut its doors in January 2019, just settled with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it prevented customers from using the service as advertised and did not protect their data privacy. The company offered users one movie ticket per day for any movie at any theater for $9.95 a month but soon had to raise subscription fees and limit movie tickets. The FTC accused the company of deceptively marketing its services, invalidating customer passwords to prevent users from obtaining tickets, and failing to secure user data. Continue reading MoviePass Settles with FTC Over Fraud, Data Security Issues

HPA Tech Retreat: Variety Intelligence Analyzes M&E Industry

During this month’s HPA Tech Retreat, Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP) president and chief media analyst Andrew Wallenstein presented “The Third Wave,” the second VIP report on COVID-19’s impact on the media and entertainment business. “The Third Wave” analyzed the consumption habits of 23-to-49-year-old viewers, relying on data collected by VIP and the Trailer Park Group. “Perhaps it’s no surprise,” said Wallenstein, “that every available form of media and entertainment saw increases during the pandemic … but the biggest winner was streaming.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Variety Intelligence Analyzes M&E Industry

Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte had ruled that VidAngel, which has streamed hundreds of Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. movies without permission, was illegal. Now a jury has ordered the company to pay $62.4 million to those injured studios, potentially forcing it to shutter its doors. The Utah-based VidAngel ripped movies from DVD copies and then created versions sanitized of violence, sex and other so-called objectionable material. Earlier, VidAngel stated that it was allowed to do this under the federal Family Movie Act. Continue reading Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

Tribune Deal to Make Nexstar Top Local TV Operator in U.S.

Texas-based Nexstar Media Group has inked a deal to acquire Tribune Media for about $4.1 billion, which will make Nexstar the largest local U.S. TV operator. The news comes on the heels of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s thwarted deal to purchase Tribune for $3.9 billion, which fell through due to regulatory issues. According to sources, Nexstar made an all-cash offer for Tribune, valued at around $46.50 per share. The company, which has a market capitalization of $3.8 billion, was also able to outbid private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Continue reading Tribune Deal to Make Nexstar Top Local TV Operator in U.S.

Sirius to Acquire Pandora Media in $3.5 Billion All-Stock Deal

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM is acquiring online music service Pandora Media in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal. The deal should help John Malone’s SiriusXM reach beyond its current audience that most commonly listens while driving, and better compete with Spotify. The satellite radio operator paid $480 million last year for a 19 percent stake in Pandora when it started losing subscribers to streaming services. Billionaire Malone has been expanding his radio empire; in addition to the Pandora deal, his Liberty Media has expressed interest in iHeartMedia. Continue reading Sirius to Acquire Pandora Media in $3.5 Billion All-Stock Deal

MoviePass Settles on Plan: Three Movies Per Month at $9.95

In the wake of service outages and other problems, MoviePass has cut back the number of films that its subscribers can see monthly, from one per day to three per month. The company had upped the monthly subscription fee from $9.95 to $14.95, but that only drove customers away, deepening its financial woes. The limit of three movies per month is in lieu of the price hike. MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe said the new policy will take effect August 15 and will reduce the company’s “cash burn rate” by more than 60 percent. Continue reading MoviePass Settles on Plan: Three Movies Per Month at $9.95

Skyrocketing Membership Threatens the Viability of MoviePass

MoviePass chopped its prices eight months ago, bringing membership to two million people — and the company to the brink of bankruptcy. Parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which owns 92 percent of MoviePass, reported that it was down to just $15.5 million in cash at the end of April, with $27.9 million on deposit with merchant processors. The question now is if subscribers can slack off on movie-going before the company runs out of money. A recent SEC filing indicates that the company’s auditor has “substantial doubt.” Continue reading Skyrocketing Membership Threatens the Viability of MoviePass

U.S., China Reportedly Working on Deal That Would Save ZTE

Less than a month ago, the U.S. Commerce Department sanctioned U.S. firms from supplying components to Chinese firm ZTE, claiming that the telecom equipment company had violated terms of a settlement regarding sales to Iran and North Korea. By last week, ZTE had closed its operations and, now, in a surprise intervention, President Donald Trump is stepping in to prevent ZTE’s bankruptcy, tweeting that he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping. ZTE had made a request for a stay of the sanctions order, and the Commerce Department is reviewing it. Continue reading U.S., China Reportedly Working on Deal That Would Save ZTE

Cambridge Analytica to Cease Operations, File for Bankruptcy

In the wake of the Facebook privacy scandal, London-based data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and parent company SCL Elections announced yesterday that they will be shutting down and filing for bankruptcy. Cambridge Analytica, which is accused of mining the data of up to 87 million Facebook users without their consent, has defended its actions while blaming the media for damaging its reputation and driving away clients. The company said it was “vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas.” Continue reading Cambridge Analytica to Cease Operations, File for Bankruptcy