Thirdweb Attracts Investors for Its Web3 Development Toolkit

Thirdweb — licensor of a development toolkit that simplifies creation of Web3 products including games, smart contracts, NFTs, marketplaces and more — has raised $24 million in a Series A funding round with buy-in from Shopify, Coinbase, Polygon and Haun Ventures. The new investment translates to a valuation of $160 million for the startup, which provides cost-effective turnkey solutions for non-coders (or coders that want to save time) to try Web3 while waiting for it to hit critical mass. The company currently has operations in London, San Francisco and Brooklyn. Continue reading Thirdweb Attracts Investors for Its Web3 Development Toolkit

Netflix ‘Better Than Expected’ Q2 Results Include $6B Profit

Netflix is “relieved” over a loss of nearly one million subscribers, according to The New York Times, which proclaims “disaster has been averted” in time for Q2 reporting. Despite the largest subscriber losses in the company’s 25-year history, defections fell short of the two million Netflix had projected in its Q1 guidance. Netflix, now standing at about 220.7 million subscribers globally, told investors it hopes during Q3 to reengage as many as one million of the lost, a bullish outlook considering austerity measures that included layoffs during the first half of the year. Continue reading Netflix ‘Better Than Expected’ Q2 Results Include $6B Profit

HBO Max Ad-Supported Tier Bodes Well for Netflix Ad Plans

As Netflix strategizes its rollout of a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier, industry analysts are citing HBO Max data to predict the plan will be a win for the streaming service. A survey by Insider Intelligence says that 67 percent of HBO Max subscribers are opting for the $14.99 per month ad-free streaming tier, while 28 percent have chosen the $9.99 ad-supported tier. Launched in June 2021, the economy tier offers access to the same movie and series content, but is capped at 1080p and without the convenience of downloading for offline viewing. Continue reading HBO Max Ad-Supported Tier Bodes Well for Netflix Ad Plans

Sarandos Talks Netflix Ad-Supported Tier at Advertising Fest

Netflix is actively exploring partnership options for an ad-supported variation of its video platform. Company CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed last week that the company is speaking to multiple partners. Alphabet’s Google and Comcast’s NBCUniversal have emerged as leading contenders. “We’re talking to all of them right now,” Sarandos said during the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity advertising conference. “We want a pretty easy entry to the market — which, again, we will build on and iterate in. What we do at first will not be representative of what the product will be ultimately. I want our product to be better than TV.” Continue reading Sarandos Talks Netflix Ad-Supported Tier at Advertising Fest

Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

Seventy two percent of Americans say they “love” their user experience with streaming services, according to Nielsen’s State of Play report, which notes that 93 percent of those surveyed will increase their streaming subscriptions or make no change, despite nearly half the respondents admitting they’re somewhat overwhelmed by options. As of February, U.S. viewers could choose from more than 817,000 unique program titles, compared to about 646,000 in 2019. In the 12 months ending February 2022, Americans’ upped their average weekly video streaming time by 18 percent, to 169.4 billion streaming minutes, from 143.2 billion. Continue reading Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

Netflix Adds Boss Fight Entertainment to Its Games Portfolio

Netflix acquired mobile game developer Boss Fight Entertainment, an indie based in Allen, Texas with studios in Austin and Seattle. In the gaming world, a “boss” is a formidable computer-controlled enemy and battling them takes strategy as well as fast reflexes. The subgenre has its own fans, many of whom form teams to take on the boss. The company is known for titles including the RPG “Dungeon Boss” and casual game “MyVegas Bingo.” Netflix began building its game portfolio last year when it bought Glendale, California-based Night School Studio in October. Continue reading Netflix Adds Boss Fight Entertainment to Its Games Portfolio

Netflix to Introduce Daily ‘Trivia Quest’ Game Show on April 1

Netflix will premiere daily interactive quiz series “Trivia Quest” on April 1. Based on Etermax’s hit game “Trivia Crack” — which Netflix says is “the No. 1 multi-platform trivia franchise in the world” — the streaming animated show will feature 24 questions (12 standard, 12 difficult) across categories including science, history, entertainment, sports, art and geography. As with Netflix’s prior interactive specials, “Trivia Quest” has a “narrative twist,” taking players on a mission to help Willy “rescue the animated citizens of Trivia Land from the Evil Rocky, who’s bent on hoarding all the knowledge in the world.” Continue reading Netflix to Introduce Daily ‘Trivia Quest’ Game Show on April 1

Netflix Increases Its Production Spending, Acquires VFX Firm

With the success of “Red Notice” — the heist caper starring Ryan Reynolds, Gal Godot and Dwayne Johnson described as Netflix’s first stab at a film franchise — the streaming service has turned a corner, quelling resistance to making the first-run theatrical window an afterthought for direct-to-TV and Netflix’s 214 million subscriber households worldwide. Netflix has said it would spend $17 billion on original content in 2021, making it a talent magnet and major spender in Hollywood. The company plans to produce even more originals in 2022 and have them spread more evenly throughout the year (since the pipeline presumably won’t be interrupted with COVID-19 shutdowns). Continue reading Netflix Increases Its Production Spending, Acquires VFX Firm

Netflix Debuts Five Games on Android for Global Subscribers

Netflix has released its first slate of mobile games. Available to the global Android market, the inaugural five titles are “Stranger Things: 1984” and “Stranger Things 3: The Game,” both developed by Texas-based BonusXP; “Shooting Hoops” and “Teeter (Up)” from Vancouver-headquartered Frosty Pop; and “Card Blast,” created by England-based Amuzo in conjunction with L.A.’s Rogue Games. The titles were released Tuesday for download on Google Play, then began rolling out on the streamer’s app. Netflix is offering the games as a value-added for subscribers, without advertising or in-app solicitation. Continue reading Netflix Debuts Five Games on Android for Global Subscribers

‘Squid Game’ Propels Netflix to Strong Q3 Subscriber Boost

Netflix added 4.4 million subscribers for the third quarter, beating by 20 percent its forecast of 3.5 million. The company attributed the strong performance of new hits including “Squid Game.” Netflix now boasts a total paid global subscriber base of 213.6 million. Last year, Netflix added only 2.2 million memberships in the third quarter, underperforming expectations. South Korean export “Squid Game,” a dystopian 9-episode drama series, debuted on Netflix in September, becoming a global phenomenon. TikTok videos of people replicating the games went viral, while retailers began stocking show-themed Halloween costumes. Continue reading ‘Squid Game’ Propels Netflix to Strong Q3 Subscriber Boost

Netflix Continues Games Push with Purchase of Night School

Netflix continues its push into video games with the acquisition of Night School Studio, best known for developing narrative titles like “Oxenfree.” The move is part of a plan to expand the Netflix membership library to include “exclusive games designed for every kind of gamer and any level of play,” said vice president of game development Mike Verdu in a statement announcing the purchase. Within the past month the streaming service released two “Stranger Things” games globally and issued three Android mobile games in Poland, Italy and Spain. Netflix games have no ads or in-app purchases. Continue reading Netflix Continues Games Push with Purchase of Night School

New Netflix Hire Signals the Service’s Push into Video Games

As part of its plan to expand into gaming, video streamer Netflix has hired former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive Mike Verdu as its vice president of game development. At Facebook, Verdu worked with developers to bring virtual reality games and other content to Oculus headsets. At Netflix, Verdu will report to chief operating officer Greg Peters and is mandated with bringing video games to the Netflix platform within the next year. Sources said that Netflix does not plan on charging subscribers extra for gaming content. Continue reading New Netflix Hire Signals the Service’s Push into Video Games

Netflix to Launch Online Shop for Show-Branded Merchandise

Streaming giant Netflix has plans to open an e-commerce shop to sell branded goods tied to its many popular shows. The effort is led by Netflix vice president of consumer products Josh Simon, who held a similar position at Nike. Thus far, Simon has grown his team to 60 people (from 20) and inked deals with Amazon, Sephora, Target and Walmart to sell beauty kits, clothes, toys and other products related to its series and films. The online store — which Simon dubs a “boutique” — was created with e-commerce tech company Shopify. Continue reading Netflix to Launch Online Shop for Show-Branded Merchandise

HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Details Its Executive Coffee Program

During the HPA Tech Retreat, ETC Immersive Media Initiative program lead Phil Lelyveld presented highlights from the Entertainment Technology Center’s “Executive Coffee With…” program, a series of discussions between ETC industry members and USC students on a range of topics related to the future of entertainment. To date, executives from Verizon, Universal, Fox, Equinix, Vubiquity and Dolby have posed questions to the USC students, on topics from production during COVID-19 to the future of the theater experience. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Details Its Executive Coffee Program

Netflix Growth Lags in Q3, Largely Due to More Competition

Netflix revealed it added 2.2 million subscribers in the third quarter, although it predicted in July it would add 2.5 million. The slowdown follows two quarters of growth that was much larger than anticipated and added 26 million net subscribers, nearly its entire subscription growth for 2019. On the news, shares fell 6.4 percent in after-hours trading. To boost growth, Netflix created a new promotion that will offer everyone in a country access to free service for a weekend; the promotion will first launch in India. Continue reading Netflix Growth Lags in Q3, Largely Due to More Competition