Short-Form Video Platform Triller Creates a New Virtual World

Triller, a short-form video sharing app acquired in 2019 by Hollywood financier Ryan Kavanaugh’s Proxima Media, is launching a platform called Metaverz for immersive experiences ranging from sports and concerts to social events that take place “past the velvet rope” in virtual nightclubs populated with influencers, creators and celebrities. Right now, the company is previewing a video that showcases what looks like basic video game graphics, although Triller is touting a partnership with Singapore-based Epik, a blockchain-focused firm described in the Metaverz announcement as “a leading global platform for AR/VR and gaming experiences.” Continue reading Short-Form Video Platform Triller Creates a New Virtual World

Roblox Targets Advertisers, Diverse Users with New Features

As it seeks to build-out a metaverse, online game platform and game creation system Roblox is courting brands as well as older users (54 percent of the platform’s daily active users are said to be age 12 and below). The popular gaming platform is adding facial capture for users and offering advertisers digital billboards and links to branded destinations. Roblox has been trying to divide its users by age, and added authentication for those 13 and above last September for access to more adult content. As part of the content diversification critical to both initiatives, Roblox is increasing its Game Fund to $35 million. Continue reading Roblox Targets Advertisers, Diverse Users with New Features

‘Fortnite’ Metaverse Build-Out Gets iHeartLand Music Venue

Epic Games is getting another major venue in its “Fortnite” metaverse with an iHeartMedia digital headquarters. The complex, iHeartLand, includes a main stage, recording studio and game park. An interesting example of how virtual reality is mapping IRL commercially, the concert venue struck a naming rights deal with insurance company State Farm. In addition to avatar concerts, State Farm Park features a large screen that can display 2D performances, the format chosen by inaugural guest Charlie Puth for his September 9 show. Continue reading ‘Fortnite’ Metaverse Build-Out Gets iHeartLand Music Venue

Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

U.S. audiences have been showing up at theaters to see summer blockbusters, a happy plot twist for an industry that saw the bottom fall out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Films such as Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” have proven that despite the surge in streaming, audiences will trek out of the home for content that rises to the level of an event. “There’s no question that we’re coming back — in relevance, and in actual behavior,” said Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein. Continue reading Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

Ticketmaster Teams with TikTok on Event Discovery Feature

Ticketmaster and TikTok have teamed up for an in-app event discovery feature that will let the short-form video app share live event information and direct users to Ticketmaster’s site for purchase. Influencers can now link relevant Ticketmaster events to their videos. Initially, the new feature will only be available to select creators, with plans to scale more broadly over time. Acts that have signed on to use the ticketing mini app at launch include Demi Lovato, OneRepublic, Backstreet Boys, Usher and more. WWE is also participating. The pact follows a similar agreement Ticketmaster made with Snapchat in February. Continue reading Ticketmaster Teams with TikTok on Event Discovery Feature

Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Amazon is combatting inventory shortages with a new invite-based ordering protocol for high-demand products, starting with U.S. fulfillment of the Sony PlayStation 5 game console, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. The idea is to prevent hoarding by “scalpers” who program bots to buy in quantity then resell the items at significant markup. Participation does not require Prime membership, merely a request for the invitation. Amazon plans to roll the program out to more countries as it strives to ensure a positive shopping experience for individual customers and households. Continue reading Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

IMAX Expands Its Offerings with More Live-Streamed Events

IMAX is looking to expand beyond film exhibition, and is adding a regular slate of concerts, stand-up comedy performances and eSports tournaments, in addition to other attractions. The company’s new era launched in December with the live stream of Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead” concert, which took place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and simultaneously beamed to 35 IMAX theaters, which sold out, adding an additional 10,000 seats. Last week, the company reteamed with West, streaming his “Donda 2” show from Miami to 60 IMAX theaters for an additional 18,000 tickets priced between $20 and $30. Continue reading IMAX Expands Its Offerings with More Live-Streamed Events

Meta: Facebook Blasts Off for the Metaverse with New Name

Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook in 2004 and is now its CEO and controlling shareholder, announced that the company has changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc. (doing business as Meta), reflecting its pursuit of growth opportunities in the VR and AR realms known as the metaverse. As of December 1, the company will trade as MVRS on the Nasdaq exchange, retiring the FB ticker symbol that took a long ride from a first-day close of $38.23 per share on May 18, 2012, to close at $316 on October 28, the day Zuckerberg announced the new name at the Facebook Connect developer’s conference. Continue reading Meta: Facebook Blasts Off for the Metaverse with New Name

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

YouTube Theater Will Debut This Summer in Hollywood Park

The three-story, 6,000-seat YouTube Theater will open mid-summer in Inglewood, California near SoFi Stadium and American Airlines Plaza, to host live entertainment and YouTube award shows, creator events, eSports competitions, concerts and more. The theater is the fruit of a 10-year naming rights agreement struck between Hollywood Park, a development backed by Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke, and Google’s YouTube. Financial terms were not disclosed. YouTube Theater will offer the company another way to build brand awareness. Continue reading YouTube Theater Will Debut This Summer in Hollywood Park

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

Streaming Now Makes Up 83 Percent of Total Music Revenue

In its year-end report, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated that, in the U.S., recorded music revenues grew 9.2 percent to $12.2 billion at estimated retail value, the fifth consecutive year of growth. Paid subscription services, ad-supported on-demand platforms and digital radio added $10.1 billion in revenue, a 13.4 percent jump. Paid subscriptions to on-demand services such as Apple Music and Spotify represented the majority of recorded music revenue, growing 14.6 percent to $7 billion in 2020. Continue reading Streaming Now Makes Up 83 Percent of Total Music Revenue

Square Acquires Majority Stake in Jay-Z’s Tidal Music Service

Digital payment firm Square is spending $297 million in cash and stock for a majority share of the subscription-based Tidal streaming music service. Tidal owner Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, will join Square’s board. Now, musicians on Tidal will be able to use Square’s Cash App payment service to digitally store and transfer money. Square hardware lead Jesse Dorogusker, who will temporarily lead Tidal, said, “we’re interested in a 360-degree view of artists as small-business owners,” noting live performances, merchandise and collaborations. Continue reading Square Acquires Majority Stake in Jay-Z’s Tidal Music Service

Apple Debuts 24-Hour Live-Streaming Music Video Channel

On October 19, Apple premiered Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated live stream of popular videos including what the company says are “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests.” The new service will, at first, be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music and Apple TV apps. The service launched with a countdown of the top 100 “most-streamed” songs in the U.S. and held an all-day Bruce Springsteen special event on October 22. Continue reading Apple Debuts 24-Hour Live-Streaming Music Video Channel

Epic Games and Apple Continue Heated Feud Over App Fees

The battle between Apple and Epic Games over the former’s commission fees for games sold in its App Store has heated up. Apple and Google both tossed Epic Games’ “Fortnite” from their app stores after Epic debuted an in-app payment system that prevented both companies from reaping 30 percent of customers’ spending. Epic Games filed a lawsuit, and Apple just filed a countersuit, accusing the software developer of “duplicity and greed” and asking a judge for punitive damages. Epic Games has seen its iOS- and Mac-based usership plunge. Continue reading Epic Games and Apple Continue Heated Feud Over App Fees