Disney Reports Strong Revenue and Subscriber Growth for Q2

Disney+ outperformed its subscriber goals, helping The Walt Disney Company to 23 percent revenue growth in its fiscal second quarter, ended April 2. “Our strong results in the second quarter, including fantastic performance at our domestic parks and continued growth of our streaming services — with 7.9 million Disney+ subscribers added in the quarter and total subscriptions across all our DTC offerings exceeding 205 million — once again proved that we are in a league of our own,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek summarized for investors. Disney+ now reaches 137.7 million subscribers. Continue reading Disney Reports Strong Revenue and Subscriber Growth for Q2

Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

Epic Games has raised $2 billion in a funding round that will fuel the company’s ambition to build a metaverse. Investments of $1 billion each came from existing shareholder Sony Group and Kirkbi, the family-owned company that owns 75 percent of the Lego Group. Epic continues to have a single class of common stock outstanding and remains controlled by founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, who launched the company in 1991. The fresh funds — the largest game company raise since 2002, according to PitchBook Data — positions Epic’s post-money equity valuation at $31.5 billion, the company says. Continue reading Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

New Plex Features Help Viewers Navigate Streaming Services

Further to its goal of becoming a sort of Google-with-benefits for viewers who stream TV shows and movies across multiple platforms, Plex is reformatting its welcome screen to include a discover feature, universal search and universal watchlists. Rolling out in beta, the new Plex interface offers what amounts to personalized search-and-save “across virtually any streaming service,” from Plex’s own free movies and television series to subscription services like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max. “As of today, Plex searches, personalizes, and organizes all of your content, no matter where that content lives,” the company announced. Continue reading New Plex Features Help Viewers Navigate Streaming Services

Disney+ to Roll Out Ad-Supported Plan in U.S. Later This Year

Streaming video service Disney+ plans to introduce an ad-supported subscription tier in the U.S. later this year, with plans to expand the tier internationally in 2023. While the company has yet to announce pricing or specific launch dates, the AVOD plan will cost less than the current $7.99-per-month ad-free version. According to the entertainment giant, the new ad-supported offering is part of a larger goal to attract 230-260 million subscribers globally by the close of Disney’s 2024 fiscal year. Streaming leaders such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do not currently offer ad-supported options. Disney’s Hulu does offer an ad-supported streaming plan. Continue reading Disney+ to Roll Out Ad-Supported Plan in U.S. Later This Year

Epic Pitches Big Tent in Metaverse with Bandcamp Purchase

Epic Games has purchased online music store and community Bandcamp. Citing a shared “mission of building the most artist friendly platform that enables creators to keep the majority of their hard-earned money,” the blockbuster game developer explained in a statement that Bandcamp will play an important role in the gamer’s “vision to build out a creator marketplace ecosystem for content, technology, games, art, music and more.” It’s an interesting strategic move. Competitor Electronic Arts has had success with music, getting its “Star Wars” scores released and creating hits through its “FIFA” and “Madden NFL” games. Continue reading Epic Pitches Big Tent in Metaverse with Bandcamp Purchase

FTC Develops New Antitrust Strategies for Taking on Big Tech

The Federal Trade Commission is taking an alternative approach to antitrust protections and Big Tech, focusing not on the ultimate harms of monopolies to consumers but rather the damage perpetrated by the giants inflicted on smaller companies that are often their partners. For an agency that since the mid-80s has focused its antitrust actions on the price-gouging or shoddy goods that usually result from consolidation, the new strategy may be an effective way to rein-in companies that offer their services free of charge, like Google and Facebook, or at what appears to be market rate, like Amazon. Continue reading FTC Develops New Antitrust Strategies for Taking on Big Tech

Light Field Lab Touts ‘Highest Resolution Holographic Display’

Light Field Lab is developing a “naked-eye” holographic technology called SolidLight, which essentially creates high-resolution 3D objects in the real world using light (think the “Star Trek” holodeck or Princess Leia uttering “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi” — but better than the actual hologram tech we’ve seen in recent years). “We’re creating a world where content escapes the screen and merges with reality,” claims the Light Field website. SolidLight builds freestanding 3D objects using what the company describes as a “broad-spectrum, complex-amplitude, dense converging wavefront.” Continue reading Light Field Lab Touts ‘Highest Resolution Holographic Display’

Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based digital locker and OTT streaming platform that allows users to pull together streaming movies from multiple digital stores into a single hub, is now adding an AI-enabled ability to generate personalized lists of those movies. Users have wanted a list-making capability, which will allow them to streamline their lockers, removing multiple listings of the same movie and funneling them into categories. An AI algorithm will keep track of user behavior and organize the list. The “My Lists” tab will be located next to “My Movies.” Continue reading Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

Netflix Drops $465 Million to Produce ‘Knives Out’ Franchise

In 2019, director Rian Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) wrote and directed “Knives Out,” which became a surprise hit. Now, Netflix spent about $465 million to buy two sequels. Experts are debating if the streamer overpaid or made a canny move to create a new franchise. Former Lionsgate co-president Erik Feig, who was involved with both the “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” franchises, noted that the sequels could turn into a TV show and, more importantly, establish a long-term relationship with high-profile writer/director Johnson. Continue reading Netflix Drops $465 Million to Produce ‘Knives Out’ Franchise

Disney+ Achieves 100 Million Subscriber Mark in Record Time

The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service Disney+ reached 100 million subscribers in its first 16 months of operation, after reporting 94.9 million subscribers on January 2. With the latest announcement, Disney+ is clearly on track to reach the goal of 260 million subscribers by 2024. At a shareholder meeting, Disney chief executive Bob Chapek again stressed that Disney+ is a company priority and that it still plans to add 100+ new titles each year. In comparison, Netflix has 203.7 million subscribers. Continue reading Disney+ Achieves 100 Million Subscriber Mark in Record Time

Disney+ Subs Skyrocket as Company Focuses on Streaming

Disney’s new streaming service Disney+ now has 86.8 million global subscribers and is growing so fast that the company expects it to triple to 260 million by 2024. The subscription VOD service has already passed Disney’s previous guidance, which stated it hoped to reach between 60 million and 90 million subscribers by that date. Disney has ratcheted up enthusiasm on its investor days, with bullish predictions in large part based on high-profile shows through its Marvel and Lucasfilm franchises as well as Disney Animation and Pixar Animation.  Continue reading Disney+ Subs Skyrocket as Company Focuses on Streaming

ILMxLAB Debuts New Star Wars Experience for Oculus Quest

ILMxLAB’s virtual experience, “Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge,” launches today in the Oculus Quest store for $25. Critical buzz is that it is levels above ILMxLAB’s previous VR series, “Vader Immortal,” a classic story in three episodes. The new VR experience excels at immersing the user in the Star Wars universe with the freedom to play and interact in a multitude of ways and have numerous exciting experiences, including chatting with bartender Seezelslak, played by Bobby Moynihan. former cast member of “Saturday Night Live.” Continue reading ILMxLAB Debuts New Star Wars Experience for Oculus Quest

Disney’s Streaming Services Hit 100 Million Subscriber Mark

Disney’s new streaming businesses — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ — have now accrued more than 100 million subscribers worldwide. With the release of blockbuster “Hamilton” on Disney+, that service hit 60.5 million subscribers after only nine months. That was a (low-end) number that Disney originally hoped to achieve at the end of five years. Disney has also announced that it would release its $200 million feature “Mulan” on Disney+, on a premium basis rather than movie theaters, in the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe. Continue reading Disney’s Streaming Services Hit 100 Million Subscriber Mark

Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

The Walt Disney Company chief executive Bob Iger said that Disney+ has more than doubled its subscription base in three months, from 10 million at its November launch to 28.6 million as of this week, stating that this has “exceed[ed] even our greatest expectations.” He revealed that Disney’s older programming has been as popular as its new original content, adding that 65 percent of subscribers who watched “The Mandalorian” watched 10 other movies/shows on the service. The next season of “The Mandalorian” debuts in November. Continue reading Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

Netflix Grows Globally but Disney+ Takes Limelight at Home

New streaming service Disney+ signed up 10 million customers on the first day it debuted in November. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings acknowledged the new streamer’s compelling content, saying that Disney+ “takes away a little from us.” It did: in Q4 2019, Netflix posted 420,000 new customers, less than the projected 600,000, noting that the slump may be due to Disney+. Disney, meanwhile, has moved up its launch date for Disney+ in the United Kingdom and parts of Western Europe, from March 31 to March 24. Continue reading Netflix Grows Globally but Disney+ Takes Limelight at Home