ETC@USC Student Challenge: Future of Themed Experiences

On October 22, ETC@USC began a one-week student challenge on “The Future of Themed Experiences.” Leveraging the tools, techniques and resources of today and those that could emerge in the next few years, students were asked to come up with an original idea for an experience that: 1) has a specific location-based experience, and 2) extends the experience out into the real and virtual worlds before and after the person has the location-based experience. Eighteen 3-minute pitch videos were submitted and an esteemed panel of industry executives chose to reward five of them. All 18 videos with follow-up Q&A discussions are available online. Continue reading ETC@USC Student Challenge: Future of Themed Experiences

Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

The Walt Disney Company has begun mixing-in shopping opportunities among Disney+ streaming content. U.S. subscribers with Disney+ profiles verified as 18 and older will have first crack at new products from franchises including “Frozen,” “Star Wars” and “Black Panther.” Included among the items are a light saber ($250 to $400) and apparel ($27 to $100). After the limited Disney+ window closes on November 8 the goods will be made available to the general public for purchase. Disney is reportedly also considering an experiment with early access to new theme park rides. Continue reading Disney+ Subs Get Early Access to Exclusive Holiday Shopping

Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

The Walt Disney Company has announced the six companies to participate in its latest business accelerator program. The 2022 Disney Accelerator focuses on tech startups involved in Web3 and immersive experiences through work in augmented reality, NFTs and artificial intelligence. The six participants are: Flickplay, Inworld, Lockerverse, Obsess, Polygon and Red 6. Disney will offer participants investment capital, co-working space, guidance from Disney’s senior leadership team and an executive mentor. The Accelerator program will conclude with a Demo Day this fall at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

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

Disney’s Quarter Reflects Theme Park and Streaming Success

The Walt Disney Company reported record revenue in its theme parks sector and strong gains in streaming, a rather unlikely situation of benefitting from both sides of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Disney+ added 11.8 million new subscribers while people flocked to its location-based U.S. venues. “We’ve had a very strong start to the fiscal year,” said CEO Bob Chapek, announcing “record revenue and operating income at our domestic parks and resorts, the launch of a new franchise with ‘Encanto,’ and a significant increase in total subscriptions across our streaming portfolio” for the company’s first fiscal quarter, ended January 1, 2022. Continue reading Disney’s Quarter Reflects Theme Park and Streaming Success

Amazon Offers ‘One Palm’ Biometric Reader to Third Parties

After being road-tested in Amazon’s retail outlets, the Amazon One biometric palm reader is being made available as an identification and payment option to third-party businesses. Ticketing company AXS this week introduced Amazon One as an option for contactless entry at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Red Rocks guests can link their AXS Mobile ID with Amazon One at dedicated stations then enter the venue by hovering their hand, touch-free, over a scanner. Once the accounts are linked, Red Rocks ticketholders can quickly enter using a separate line exclusively for Amazon One users.  Continue reading Amazon Offers ‘One Palm’ Biometric Reader to Third Parties

Disney: Streaming Subscription Growth, Theme Parks Reopen

At the end of Q3, Disney+ had 116 million subscribers, exceeding the 112-115 million analysts had predicted. The most popular content included the Pixar animated feature “Luca,” superhero series “Loki” and live-action film “Cruella.” Meanwhile, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products earned a profit of $356 million. Disneyland in California reopened with limited capacity on April 30 after being closed for 14 months. Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said that park bookings are “really strong” despite the surge of COVID-19 cases with the Delta variant.  Continue reading Disney: Streaming Subscription Growth, Theme Parks Reopen

Comcast Adds Record Q2 Broadband and Cable Customers

Comcast posted Q2 results that beat Wall Street expectations: revenue of $28.55 billion versus the $27.18 billion predicted by Refinitiv, and adjusted earnings per share of 84 cents, versus Refinitiv’s prediction of 67 cents. Comcast said its NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock is now at 54 million subscribers. Meanwhile, Comcast’s high-speed Internet service added 354,000 customers (its highest ever for Q2), versus StreetAccount’s estimate of 270,000. Comcast also had its second best Q2 for total customer relationships, adding 294,000. Continue reading Comcast Adds Record Q2 Broadband and Cable Customers

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

Roblox Counting on Older Consumers to Join App, Buy Stock

Roblox, valued last month at $29.5 billion, told prospective investors it is trying to lure older users onto its gaming, concerts and educational platform. Chief executive David Baszucki said the company is counting on older adults not just to join the platform but to buy its stock when it goes public next month. The Apple and Google application has been a top earner during the pandemic, with 2020 revenue jumping 82 percent to $923.9 million and number of hours spent on the platform more than doubling to 30.6 billion. Continue reading Roblox Counting on Older Consumers to Join App, Buy Stock

ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs on Consumer Behavior

During ETC@USC’s second Executive Coffee with… installment, executives from Universal Pictures discussed trends in consumer behavior. “What’s the future of entertainment; in your hands, on a wall, and in the world around you?” was the topic of Universal’s first of two sessions with USC students. The September 29 session was hosted by CTO Michael Wise, along with VP of technology partnerships & innovation Greg Reed and media technology manager Lindsey Townley. Twelve students from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts plus four students from other USC schools took part. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs on Consumer Behavior

Consumer E-Commerce Behavior Likely to Last Post-COVID

In a recent survey of consumers, McKinsey & Co. found that nearly 70 percent intend to continue buying online for store pickup, even post-pandemic. It concluded that, within three months, consumers adopted new c-commerce habits that otherwise would have taken ten years. During the pandemic, many more people were forced to try online shopping as well as other remote applications such as medical appointments or workout classes. As a result, all kinds of businesses added or expanded digital services. Continue reading Consumer E-Commerce Behavior Likely to Last Post-COVID

Disney Doubles Down on Success of New Streaming Service

Last Thursday, The Walt Disney Company celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Disney+ streaming service, which reached 73.7 million subscriptions as of October 3, up from the 60+ million reported in August. That positive news has offset losses, much of it due to COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on tourism and movie-going, reported in the quarter ending June 27. “The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business,” said Disney chief executive Bob Chapek, pointing to the division that includes streaming operations. Continue reading Disney Doubles Down on Success of New Streaming Service

Comcast Posts Strong Q3 with Peacock, High-Speed Internet

In July, Comcast reported that its NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service had 10 million subscribers. Now, the company announced, Peacock has 22 million subscribers, adding that it is “a differentiating factor for customers considering Xfinity broadband and is also improving churn.” In the same quarter, Comcast added 633,000 high-speed Internet customers, for its best quarterly results in its history. Comcast stated that, in the first nine months of 2020, cable added more broadband sign-ups than in all of 2019. Continue reading Comcast Posts Strong Q3 with Peacock, High-Speed Internet

Disney Reveals Dates for Reopening California, Florida Parks

In California, pending state and local government approvals, the Downtown Disney District will reopen on July 9, with Disneyland and Disney California Adventure following on July 17. Its Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Paradise Pier Hotel plan to reopen on July 23. In Florida, Walt Disney World got the green light for a July 11 reopening. Disney reaps one-third of its revenue from its parks and resorts. The company’s Shanghai theme park, which was the first to close, reopened last month. Universal Orlando reopened June 11, but the company hasn’t set a date to reopen Universal Studios Hollywood. Continue reading Disney Reveals Dates for Reopening California, Florida Parks