Original Content podcast: ‘Dear White People’ returns to ask more uncomfortable questions

Dear White People has a pretty provocative title — and the show, for the most part, lives up to that promise, with a sharply drawn portrait of racial tension at Winchester University, a fictional Ivy League school. It was originally a film written and directed by Justin Simien, who then reinvented the story as a Netflix series with each episode focusing on a different character; the spotlight shifts from Samantha White (played by Logan Browning), the host of the titular radio show, to many of the other students — white and black — around her. The show just returned for season two, and on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we’re joined by our colleague Megan Rose Dickey (who also co-hosts Ctrl-T) to talk about our impressions of the new episodes, the show’s politics and how it resonates with our own lives and experiences. We also
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18 Media Technologies, Sorted by Adoption Rate

Chart: 18 Media Technologies, Sorted by Adoption Rate

18 Media Technologies, Sorted by Adoption Rate

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays. As you read this, know that you are not alone. Statistically speaking, over 50% of people are consuming media in some form at this given moment. In fact, the latest data shows that Americans spend over 12 hours per day consuming media in various forms. This means that people spend more time consuming media than they do working or sleeping – a prolific insight that explains why companies like Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, and Netflix have exploded in size and dominance over the last decade.

Media Adoption in 2018

Using the most recent survey data from Jacobs Media, we can get a sense of how all of this media is actually being consumed. The following data shows the survey results of 64,289 radio listeners in North America to highlight the
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A leaked look at Facebook’s search engine for influencer marketing

Facebook’s next money-maker could be this tool for connecting marketers to social media creators so they can team up on sponsored content Facebook ad campaigns. The Branded Content Matching search engine lets advertisers select the biographical characteristics of creators’ fans they want to reach, see stats about these audiences, and contact them to hammer out deals. Leaked screenshots of Facebook’s promotional materials for the tool were first attained and published in german by AllFacebook.de. TechCrunch has now confirmed with Facebook the existence of the test of the search engine. Facebook first vaguely noted it would build a creator-brand tool in March, but now we know what it looks like and exactly how it works. Even though Facebook will not actually broker or initially take a cut of the deals, the tool could equip brands with much more compelling and original marketing content. That could in turn encourage them to
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YouTube TV adds Tastemade and The Young Turks, as it expands its digital media content

In April, YouTube TV confirmed rumors it was expanding its service by way of digital-only networks by launching two news channels from Cheddar. The streaming service was also expected to roll out channels from Tastemade and The Young Turks soon, reports said – something YouTube TV hoped would differentiate its service from the now numerous live TV streaming rivals, while leveraging the power of big-name online brands to attract new subscribers. On Thursday, YouTube TV alerted customers by way of email it had added new channels Tastemade and TYT, along with Cheddar and Cheddar Big News, which had arrived earlier. The company also confirmed the news in an interview with Variety, where the company explained how it saw this as the first step towards YouTube TV fulfilling its original promise of delivering a streaming service that combined traditional TV content with that from YouTube publishers. Those efforts will continue, as YouTube
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Amazon picks up Nazi-hunting series produced by Jordan Peele

Amazon has given a 10-episode, straight-to-series order to The Hunt, a show created by David Weil and executive produced by Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele. The series follows a group of Nazi hunters living in New York City in 1977, who discover a broader Nazi conspiracy. As with other contemporary stories about fighting Nazis, I’m sure this will have absolutely no resonance with our current politics and culture. Amazon is already the home of The Man in The High Castle, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s alternate history novel in which the Nazis won World War II. Deadline reports that Sonar Entertainment (which is producing the series with Peel’s Monkeypaw Productions) was in talks with another network before Amazon jumped in. This is Amazon’s first series pickup since hiring NBC executive Jennifer Salke to take over Amazon Studios in February, following the departure of Roy Price amidst
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YouTube revamps its Red subscription service to offer standalone music streaming

Like Google’s messaging focus, YouTube’s efforts to spin out successful streaming and music products has felt confusing and haphazard. Now the company is simplifying and consolidating that play by decoupling the music and film components with the launch of a new service. YouTube Music is, as the name suggests, a music streaming service that will launch on May 22. Aimed squarely at competing with Apple Music and Spotify, it’ll cost $9.99 per month following a free trial period as is standard in the industry. An ad-supported version will be available for free also, but it won’t include premium features such as background listening, song downloads and music discovery features. (It’s worth noting that this new service will replace the existing Google Play Music service.) YouTube Music was originally part of YouTube Red, the company’s subscription video streaming service, and though it is being decoupled, customers will be
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Former YouTube exec unveils Next 10 Ventures, a $50M fund to back online creators

Next 10 Ventures is a new firm that’s raised $50 million to invest in new digital content, and also in new tools and services for the creators of that content. The firm was founded by Benjamin Grubbs, previously global director of top creator partnerships at YouTube, who also serves as Next 10’s CEO. He’s joined by COO Paul Condolora, who was formerly co-head of the Harry Potter franchise at Warner Bros., and who was also in charge of digital and consumer products at Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Grubbs told me the firm’s name refers to supporting the next 10 years of a creator’s career, and that it emerges from conversations he’d been having with successful online creators. “They ask, ‘How do I take this to the next level?'” Grubbs said. “‘I really enjoy what I’m doing, how do I build a career out of this?'” He
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Hulu’s mobile and web apps get the new live TV guide, better recommendations and more

Hulu’s mobile and web apps are getting an upgrade. The company is introducing a series of new features to make the apps more personalized, as well as better support Hulu’s newer Live TV experience, among other things. It’s also adding HDMI support for iOS and improving the Chromecast option, so it’s easier to watch on a big screen – even if you don’t have a streaming media player, like Roku or Apple TV. The changes were announced this afternoon by Hulu SVP, Head of Experience, Ben Smith, during his keynote address at The Pay TV Show event in Denver. Some of the updates had already made their way to other platforms, and are now heading to mobile and web. For example, last week Hulu launched its new live TV destination and guide on its TV platforms, like Apple TV, Fire TV, and game consoles, with plans to roll out to
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The new AI-powered Google News app is now available for iOS

Google teased a new version of its News app with AI smarts at its I/O event last week, and today that revamped app landed for iOS and Android devices in 127 countries. The redesigned app replaces the previous Google Play Newsstand app. The idea is to make finding and consuming news easier than ever, whilst providing an experience that’s customized to each reader and supportive of media publications. The AI element is designed to learn from what you read to help serve you a better selection of content over time, while the app is presented with a clear and clean layout. Opening the app brings up the tailored ‘For You’ tab which acts as a quick briefing, serving up the top five stories “of the moment” and a tailored selection of opinion articles and longer reads below it. The next section — ‘Headlines’ — dives more deeply into the latest
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AT&T’s DirecTV Now live TV service launches a DVR, upgrades the app with new features

AT&T’s over-the-top streaming service for cord cutters, DirecTV Now, is finally beginning to roll out its cloud DVR feature – a year and a half after its launch. The DVR has been in testing since last year, with AT&T in seemingly no hurry to push out the feature that’s since become a baseline for live TV services, including YouTube TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and others. In fact, AT&T’s DVR remains in beta today, the company says. But it is now broadly available iOS and tvOS users, along with the launch of several other features, including support for additional streams, an expanded on-demand library, and more access to local channels when traveling. The DVR – which AT&T calls the “True Cloud DVR” – will offer users 20 hours of free recording, support for fast forward and rewind, and the ability to store shows for up to 30 days.
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Netflix exec says 85 percent of new spending will go towards original content

In case you had any doubts that original content is a big priority at Netflix, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos estimated that 85 percent of the company’s total spending is going to new shows and movies. That’s according to Variety, which reported on Sarandos’ remarks today at MoffettNathanson’s Media & Communications Summit 2018 in New York. He also said Netflix has a 470 originals scheduled to premiere between now and the end of the year, bringing the total up to around 1,000. It’s probably not surprising that the service is prioritizing originals. After all, Netflix seems to be highlighting a new original every time I open it up, and competitors like Apple, Amazon and Hulu are ramping up their own spending. But the depth of Netflix’s library, which is achieved by licensing content from others, has always seemed like a strength — in fact, a recent study found
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Supreme Court allows states to legalize sports betting, opening floodgates for online gambling profits

Whoever had the over on DraftKings‘ boss Jason Robins and FanDuel chief executive Matt King being given a potential billion dollar windfall by the Supreme Court’s decision to allows sports betting should head to the cashier’s cage. In a six-to-three decision (Justice Breyer was a partial dissent), Supreme Court Justices struck down a federal law that had banned gambling on sporting events in most states. The implications of this for state tax revenues, and around arguments for making significant changes to the ways college athletes are compensated (or should be compensated), are huge, but clear winners from this ruling are the online betting companies… or any media company that has any sort of exposure to live streaming sporting events. DraftKings and FanDuel seem like clear early winners, but really there’s a market for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the major networks that hold sports broadcasting rights to open up new
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Subscriptions for the 1%

We are in a subscription hell. Paywalls are going up across the internet, at aggregated prices few but Jeff Bezos can afford. The software I used to pay for once now requires an annual tax, because … “updates.” We are getting less every day, and paying more for it, all the while the core openness that made the world wide web such a dynamic and interesting place is rapidly disappearing. I’m not a subscription hater. Far from it: subscriptions are vital, because they provide sustainability to the content and software I care about. Regular, recurring income helps make the business of creation more predictable, ensuring that creators can do what they do best — create — rather than stress about whether the next book or app is going to generate their yearly earnings. Greed, though, has managed to make subscriptions deeply unpalatable. Sustainability has become usurious, with news subscriptions
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Spotify removes R. Kelly from playlists as part of new ‘hateful conduct’ policy

Spotify has a new policy that covers not just “hate content” but also “hateful conduct” outside the music itself. And at least two artists have already been culled from playlists as a result. To be a clear, Spotify is making a distinction between hate content, which it says it will “remove … whenever we find it,” and music by artists who may have done morally or legally questionable things. Here’s how the company describes its approach in these situations:
We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.
So Billboard has confirmed that starting today, listeners
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Medium’s latest pivot leaves some independent media in the lurch

Medium has abruptly pulled a feature that allowed publishers to operate paywalls on its platform, leaving some independent media scrambling for alternative options to maintain a crucial source of revenue. The company this week shuttered a two-year program that let media run paid subscription services on its site. Nieman Lab reports that Medium contacted its 21 remaining subscription publishing partners at the end of April to give them a week’s notice on the shutdown. Although Medium said it offered to extend the deadline for those who needed more time. A lot can happen in a week, but it’s not a lot of time when it comes to rejigging business models — particularly in the media industry where revenue is sacred and direct relationships with readers are savored. Of course, because this is life, there were some complications. One publication, the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (BINJ), said the shutdown came out of the
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MoviePass parent drops another 46%

There’s been another bomb at the box office, and it isn’t a movie. MoviePass parent Helios & Matheson lost nearly half of its remaining value today as investors continued to flee the cash-burning movie service. That drop followed a 31% dive yesterday, after the company filed a statement with the SEC warning that it would have to sell equity in the coming weeks for it to remain solvent. Since Thursday’s opening bell last week, the stock has moved from $2.13 to $0.79, a drop of 63%. The company’s market cap is now $51.44 million. MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said in a written statement that “Our burn rate has been slashed by 35-40% by the implementations and abuse prevention measures we have put in place over the last few weeks. We have always known, from when MoviePass took off in August, that it was going to be
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Hulu launches its new live TV destination and guide

At this year’s CES, Hulu teased an upcoming addition for its Live TV streaming service: a new Live TV guide aimed at helping viewers browse currently airing programs, similar to a cable TV guide. Today, Hulu says it’s launching this new guide as well as a new Live TV destination in its app across its living room platforms. The goal with the Live guide, Hulu had previously said, is to increase viewership of live television on its service. “The majority of usage, even in our Live TV product, is on-demand,” Ben Smith, Senior Vice President and Head of Experience at Hulu, had noted back in January. “54 percent of usage is on-demand and 46 percent of usage is live.” And much of that viewing is news and sports, he added. In addition to trying to shift viewers from on-demand programming to live TV, the live TV experience is important
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MoviePass parent drops 31% on looming cash crunch

The big question in the media world today is whether MoviePass parent company Helios and Matheson can stanch the bleeding of its cash flows before it becomes insolvent. In a new filing today with the SEC, Helios informed investors that it had $15.5 million in available cash, with another $27.9 million in accounts receivable from members of MoviePass on longer-term subscriptions. Under accounting rules, those dollars can’t be used to fund current expenses. The company said that it has lost $21.7 million a month between September and April this year. Investors dumped the stock following the filing, and the stock was down 31 percent at the close of the equity markets today. While linear math would seem to indicate that the company is on track for insolvency in a matter of days, the filing and its CEO are maintaining an optimistic line. The company said that
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Yesterday’s Terabyte + What to Read This Weekend

Less than a fortnight ago, the proverbial airwaves and media web were falling all over themselves, chastising Facebook and its data addiction, which allowed the company to amass data on over two billion people. The insidious impact of the data and Facebook was all the object of moral outrage. Fast forward to this week, all that has been conveniently forgotten – replaced by happy, shiny headlines from Facebook’s annual festival of self-aggrandization, F8. Add to that an earnings report that sent Wall Street into raptures and pushed the stock higher, not too far from its all-time high of about $194 a share. Morality and ethics have no place in this perpetual profit machine. Continue reading "Yesterday’s Terabyte + What to Read This Weekend"

Subscription hell

Another week, another paywall. This time, it’s Bloomberg, which announced that it would be adding a comprehensive paywall to its news service and television channel (except TicToc, its media partnership with Twitter). A paywall was hardly a surprise, but what was surprising was the price: the standard subscription is $35 a month (up from $0 a month), or $40 a month including access to online and print editions of Businessweek. And people say avocado toast is expensive. That’s not the only subscription coming up though. Now Facebook is considering adding an ad-free subscription option. These rumors have come and gone in the past, with no sign of change in the company’s resolute focus on advertising as its core business model. Post-Cambridge Analytica and post-GDPR though, it seems the company’s position is more malleable, and could be following the plan laid out by my colleague Josh Constine recently. He
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