11/6/17 Streaming and Digital News

Photoillustration of a hand holding a phone with Media News on it.

This article is part of a series of news updates created by 1620 Media’s staff researcher Dakota Sky Bloom.

Facebook Buys tbh

Facebook picked up teen polling app tbh for under $100 million (to avoid regulatory approval). The app has picked up 5 million downloads in the past 9 weeks and is well on its way to becoming a . Given Facebook’s recent copying spree (Snapchat and Houseparty being two… recipients of Facebook’s attention), tbh taking the out while they could was likely wise. Given tbh’s adjacency to Facebook’s News Feed (that is, it could be replicated and put in the News Feed without much difficulty), tbh was at even greater risk than Houseparty and Snapchat for copying.

Why You Care: Facebook won’t slow its roll-up of US social media, even as calls for regulation of the Frightful Five (and Congressional criticism) gain momentum. The fact that Facebook recognized that regulatory approval may be harder to obtain these days and chose to buy the firm for less than the $100 million mandatory regulatory reporting does show a small note of caution. Other areas of new business (like its skinny bundle and online video ambitions) are on much safer regulatory ground due to the array of competitors Facebook faces, and could be the focus of redoubled efforts.

Spotify Reboots Video a Third Time

Spotify is cancelling its dozen-plus slate of originals. Shows cancelled include Drawn and Recorded by T Bone Burnett and Rush Hour with Russell Simmons as Spotify attempts to create a new format for its video content. Dubbing the new format Spotlight, it is supposed to be a combined audio and video playlists (rather than the now-cancelled non-playlisted series). Brittany Lewis, Spotify’s video programming manager for hip hop, “I don’t want you to listen to ‘Love Scars’ [by Trippie Redd] and then go to YouTube. I want to license a video from Trippie directly and make the best original content with him.”

Why You Care: Spotify getting rid of a dozen-plus series (and changing formats) demonstrates the risk of working with a non-video streaming first company as it works out the kinks in its video strategy. It also appears to make pitching and working with Spotify much less direct- creating a music video and pitching the artist (to be picked up and anointed in Spotlight) seems to be the approach. This might prove excessively roundabout for production teams.

Amazon Moves Towards How-To Videos

Amazon has pushed into another of YouTube’s strongest verticals by pushing merchants to put how-to videos on their product pages. How-to & instructional videos are crucial to selling online by proving to potential customers that the product works (1 in 3 millennials deeming them ‘very important), but the videos are mostly based on YouTube. As a result, Amazon shoppers would head to YouTube to watch the videos there. Amazon is launching its Enhanced Brand Content video pilot with Bose as part of a $500K deal and more should roll out during the holiday season.

Why You Care: YouTube holds 78.7% of all video streaming in the United States according to 2016 data. Despite that, Amazon holds 44.5% of all ecommerce sales in the United States. Amazon has a massive potential to pull in how-to and instructional video viewers while taking a chunk out of YouTube. Furthermore, there is a possible minor opportunity for content producers in creating a series of videos for larger merchants that do not have an in-house video team.

Quick Hits

  • Universal Music Group is distributing Virtual Reality content inside Within’s VR platform- a major vote of confidence for the burgeoning VR company.
  • YouTube tweaks its demonetization algorithms to allow more creators to monetize their videos- the move helps to calm restive creators who were demonetized in the Adpocalypse.
  • Go90 has a new show with Jukin Media that uses Jukin’s stash of first-hand accounts of major events to tell the stories of those events. This is yet another pickup in a very busy year for Go90 as Verizon ramps up the service.
  • Comcast is offering Netflix and YouTube on its Xfinity X1 platform, blurring the lines between cable & streaming companies.
  • Netflix adds 1.8 billion in debt in order to finance
  • Conservative YouTube channel PragerU sues YouTube for demonetizing its videos on controversial topics. Claims YouTube, due to its size, should be treated as a pub
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Russians orchestrated 22 protests across the US using Facebook pages- including staging diametrically opposing protests on the same days. This was done to increase civil discord in the United States.
  • Sinclair’s third-quarter results decline even as the Tribune acquisition grows more likely. The nearly-nationwide news coverage it gives them has sparked new ideas for content distribution- such as picking up the Qyou, a whole channel, and making them part of their content.