Netflix Said to Be Retooling Deals as it Readies New Ad Tier

Netflix has reportedly entered into discussions with studios including Warner Bros., Universal and Sony Pictures Television to revise licensing terms to include their content on the streamer’s planned ad-supported tier. The talks include shows created specifically for Netflix — like Sony’s “The Crown” and Universal’s “Russian Doll” — as well as second-run programming like Sony’s “Breaking Bad” and Paramount Global’s “NCIS.” Sources say the studios will likely be angling for a premium of 15 percent to 30 percent for duplexing the shows on the new tier. While Netflix self-produces some original content in-house, much of it is acquired externally. Continue reading Netflix Said to Be Retooling Deals as it Readies New Ad Tier

Lewis Black Hits Pandora with $10 Million Copyright Lawsuit

Comedian Lewis Black has slapped subscription-based streaming service Pandora with a $10.2 million copyright infringement lawsuit. Black becomes the latest humorist to take legal action against an audio streamer for unauthorized use of their work. Earlier this year, comedians Nick Di Paolo and Andrew Dice Clay — and the estates of Robin Williams and George Carlin — sued Pandora, which is owned by SiriusXM. Black is represented by the rights organization Spoken Giants, which is not a party to the suit, while the others are on the Word Collections roster. Continue reading Lewis Black Hits Pandora with $10 Million Copyright Lawsuit

TiVo Owner Xperi Acquires OTT Software Firm for $109 Million

Technology company Xperi has purchased Norway-based OTT software maker Vewd for $109 million. Xperi purchased TiVo for $3 billion in December 2019, with the goal of integrating TiVo’s video UX with its smart TV expertise. Xperi intends to compete with companies like Amazon, Comcast, Google and Roku for the “gatekeeper” position in the world’s connected-TV living rooms. The Vewd deal gives Xperi access to an installed European footprint of roughly 15 million devices that it plans to target for activation of TiVo+, a free ad-supported TV (FAST) service. Continue reading TiVo Owner Xperi Acquires OTT Software Firm for $109 Million

Google Is the First Paying Customer of Wikimedia Enterprise

Wikimedia Enterprise has announced Google and the Internet Archive as its first customers. The Wikimedia Foundation launched the enterprise unit last year as a paid service for clients that source and reuse Wikipedia data at high volume. Google has been using Wikipedia content to fuel its search engine results. Wikimedia Enterprise clients have access to custom APIs that allow it to scrape and utilize data more efficiently and at greater scale. The service also provides guaranteed uptime and real-time content updates, minimizing outdated or inaccurate information. Continue reading Google Is the First Paying Customer of Wikimedia Enterprise

Canada Revives Bill to Up Local Content on Digital Platforms

Canada is taking steps to ensure that digital platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify adequately represent Canadian artists for users who log in from a Canadian IP address. In an effort to protect Canada’s cultural identity, the nation’s television and radio broadcasters are required to fill a local content quota as a licensing condition, and the new bill — which passed the lower house of Parliament last week — would create a similar mandate for digital platforms, said Canada’s minister of heritage Pablo Rodriguez. The bill, C-11, awaits approval by the Senate to become law. Continue reading Canada Revives Bill to Up Local Content on Digital Platforms

Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

Google News is trying to keep peace with publishers while adding functionality to its feed with a revamped desktop that lets users customize up to three topics on the home screen. For example, Local News, World News and Top Picks can be set to display across three-columns. Meanwhile, the global payment battle between content providers and Alphabet’s aggregator has achieved closure in France, where the competition authority said a settlement has been reached after a two-year legal battle and a $525 million fine. Terms include a pledge from Google to give news providers estimates of indirect revenue generated from news content that appears in its search results. Continue reading Google Revamps News Display, Works to Settle EU Disputes

ByteDance on Hiring Spree for Expansion of Its Pico VR Unit

ByteDance appears ready to make a splash in the U.S. virtual reality market and is expanding the presence of its Pico VR unit on the West Coast, as per recent job listings. The Beijing-based ByteDance purchased Pico in August 2021, and now has more than 40 open positions posed for operations in San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. According to Pico’s website, the company makes “best in class” wireless VR headsets, and in addition to the U.S. has operations in Europe, China and Japan. Many of the current job listings are for a content division called Pico Studios. Continue reading ByteDance on Hiring Spree for Expansion of Its Pico VR Unit

Spotify Says One Billion MAUs by 2030 a Path to Profitability

Trying to assuage fears over what investors are concerned is a limited-growth market, audio streamer Spotify says it plans to hit one billion global monthly average users by 2030. Spotify closed Q1 with 422 million MAUs and 182 million paid subscribers, per Statista. At an Investor Day presentation in New York City this week, CEO Daniel Ek and chief freemium business officer Alex Norström showed slides indicating the company’s goal represents compounded annual growth rates of 26 percent for MAUs, paid subscribers and revenue (on a currency-adjusted basis). To get there, the executives emphasized emerging markets and podcasts. Continue reading Spotify Says One Billion MAUs by 2030 a Path to Profitability

New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

Nielsen’s Gracenote media data division is launching the Distribution Dynamics and Program Availability Archive to measure “bingeability.” The company says the new datasets will help content owners and buyers optimize program licensing and acquisition strategies by providing insights into programming characteristics that drive regular consumption. “The new thinking prioritizes understanding of why certain content resonates with viewers and what drives engagement,” Gracenote says, adding that “clarity on the characteristics of content that drive viewership and understanding the historical placement of content are key to generating the maximum value out of programming in the future.” Continue reading New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

Tencent Reports a Significant Profit Decline on Flat Revenues

Chinese tech and entertainment conglomerate Tencent Holdings posted a 23 percent first quarter profit decline on earnings that inched up only 0.1 percent, its worst results since publicly listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2004. China’s COVID-19 resurgence and the ensuing regulatory crackdown of the past year were cited as factors. The world’s largest video game developer said that it is refocusing on quality product as Beijing telegraphs it will limit the number of titles release in the coming months. Authorities suspended video game licenses and put time restrictions on game streaming in an effort to protect the nation’s youth. Continue reading Tencent Reports a Significant Profit Decline on Flat Revenues

FIFA and EA Sports Go Separate Ways After Long Partnership

After months of negotiations, Electronic Arts’s EA Sports and the FIFA World Cup governing body are parting ways after nearly three successful decades of game collaboration that generated tens of billions of dollars in revenue and helped popularize professional soccer around the world. Having decided not to renew the partnership with a new contract, the parties have agreed to extend the existing contract — which was to end in December after the World Cup in Qatar — through the summer of 2023 and the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Continue reading FIFA and EA Sports Go Separate Ways After Long Partnership

Paramount Global’s Streaming Subs Exceed 62 Million in Q1

Paramount Global’s worldwide streaming subscribers for Paramount+ and Showtime rose to more than 62 million in Q1, driven by Paramount+, which added 6.8 million for a total of close to 40 million, the company said in its earnings report. Paramount+ is poised to add the United Kingdom and South Korea to its global portfolio next month, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish told investors Tuesday. Paramount+ plans to launch in Italy, Germany, France and Austria in the second half of 2022, and in India next year. Pluto TV also grew, launching over 102 new channels internationally, totaling more than 1,000 global channels. Continue reading Paramount Global’s Streaming Subs Exceed 62 Million in Q1

AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

AT&T’s Q1 quarterly earnings — the last to include results for WarnerMedia, which was offloaded to Discovery in early Q2 — reported good news about HBO Max and HBO, which AT&T said ended Q1 with global subscribers totaling 76.8 million, an increase of 12.8 million year-over-year, and a 3 million subscription increase from Q4 of last year. AT&T also disclosed that WarnerMedia’s Q1 operating income fell to $1.3 billion, a 32.7 percent decline year-over-year. Diminished WarnerMedia earnings were attributed in part to “investments incurred in launching CNN+,” which new owner Discovery announced will cease operations as of April 30. Continue reading AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

TikTok Launches SoundOn to Help Music Creators Monetize

TikTok has launched a distribution platform for music creators, SoundOn. The all-in-one platform, which also offers marketing assistance, is designed to help artists develop and launch their careers. Released in beta last year, SoundOn has already gone live in the U.S., UK, Brazil and Indonesia, enabling music to be directly uploaded to TikTok and Resso, a music streaming platform ByteDance launched in 2020. SoundOn enables “artists to grow their fanbases, harness their creative voice and get their music heard worldwide,” TikTok says. Creators keep 100 percent of their streaming royalties in year one and 90 percent thereafter. Continue reading TikTok Launches SoundOn to Help Music Creators Monetize

Marvel Live-Action Series to Exit Netflix and Move to Disney+

Marvel series are moving from Netflix to Disney+. Beginning March 16, “Daredevil,” “The Defenders,” “Iron Fist,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “The Punisher” will begin streaming from Disney+ in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The Netflix licensing rights expired on February 28, reverting back to Marvel parent Disney. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will also join the Disney+ streaming fold on March 16 after seven seasons on ABC. The seven series will be made available to the rest of the Disney+ global markets later this year. Continue reading Marvel Live-Action Series to Exit Netflix and Move to Disney+