Cut to the Quibi #90

Deepnews Digest #90

Cut to the Quibi

Editor: Christopher Brennan
The “Streaming Wars” have claimed their first casualty. This week saw Quibi, the “quick bites” streaming service, announce it was ending after only six months. Beyond learning from the company’s failures, it’s also a good chance to take a look at what we’ll be looking at on our TVs and phones in the years to come as different platforms jockey for position. Though some of them take longer than a Quibi show to read, for this week’s Digest I thought it was a good use of the algorithm to set it looking for quality articles on streaming from around the world.
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Published every Friday


Hulu gets sidelined in Disney’s global streaming ambitions

Toward the end of 2019, Hulu delivered a proposal to Walt Disney Co., its controlling shareholder, outlining a strategy to expand the popular streaming service outside the U.S. After watching rivals Netflix and Amazon set up shop all over the globe, Hulu executives had spent the past couple of years drafting a plan to catch up.

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Hindu Business Line

Bollywood goes South in search of hitmakers

Diwali release — these are two humongous words for the Hindi film industry, an annual make-or-break carnival at the box-office for the scores of films that time their release around this big festival. Until, that is, Covid-19 arrived on the scene, much like rain on a child’s stash of Diwali fireworks. But there is one cracker yet that promises to light up screens with a bang: Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb is set to be globally streamed on Disney+Hotstar VIP on November 9, just before Diwali.

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Ad Age ($)

What Quibi’s quick demise means for the future of streaming and advertising

Quibi’s crash-and-burn trajectory is certainly enough to leave marketers skittish. Brands have been eager to jump into a streaming ecosystem that is exploding with new media properties like NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max. Brands are looking for sponsorship deals like the ones Quibi offered, giving them greater access and input into how advertising lives on these platforms. These deals, of course, often come with a higher price tag.

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Post and Courier (South Carolina)

Charleston musicians’ different approaches to writing and recording during coronavirus

Also a graphic designer, Curry has many uninspired days when he still has to get a project done for a client. He’s applied that to creating beats. And as online streaming picked up during the coronavirus, he was quick to pivot to Twitch, a platform where gamers and other creatives can livestream and chat with fans about their talents and projects.

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Financial Times ($)

BBC Films and why we need public-funded movies

The BBC Films ident — a faux-cosmic Big Bang in purplish blue — dates back to 2007. It was launched when Tony Blair was British prime minister. Steve Jobs had just unveiled the first iPhone. Now, in a different moment for the BBC, films and everything else besides, a new logo is finally replacing it. Simple white on black. Nothing celestial.

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Quibi Lands on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV — but It Might Be Too Little, Too Late

Quibi’s quick-bite originals are now streaming on three connected-TV device platforms — Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV and Google TV/Android TV. But there might be nothing that can save Jeffrey Katzenberg’s struggling mobile subscription-video startup at this point.

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TV networks face loss of affiliate revenue in shift to streaming

A major reason that TV networks have been slow to build up their streaming businesses in the first place is the many billions of dollars they receive from pay-TV providers like Comcast and Charter for each pay-TV subscriber that receives their channels. This affiliate revenue typically rivals networks’ advertising revenue and pumps up their profits, and stock prices, so networks have been careful not to sacrifice that money when setting up their streaming businesses. This is why networks initially oriented their streaming properties around their pay-TV businesses, limiting streaming access to shows to pay-TV subscribers in hopes that this might help to stave off people cutting the cord.

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Editor’s Note:

The story of streaming is not just one of new ventures but also of the big television networks moving into new territory. Here Digiday digs into issues of advertisement money versus the fees that the networks normally get from cable providers, and wonders about the future. – Christopher Brennan, Editor


What if cloud gaming doesn’t catch on?

Gaming industry professionals, observers, and fans used to rhapsodize about the promise of cloud gaming as an inevitable game-changer for the video game business. For more than a decade, the idea of streaming the latest AAA games at their highest quality to whatever hardware you happen to own has been teased as technology that’s going to be huge.

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Quibi’s Jeffrey Katzenberg & Meg Whitman Detail “Clear-Eyed” Decision To Shut It Down

EXCLUSIVE: “There was no question that keeping us going was not going to have a different outcome, it was just going to spend a whole lot more money without any value to show for it,” Jeffrey Katzenberg told Deadline on Wednesday in his first interview after the decision to shut down Quibi just six months after getting it up and running. “So, out of respect for these people that put up this extraordinary amount of capital to do it, that’s irresponsible and we both felt we shouldn’t do it,” the former DreamWorks Animation boss added.

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LA Times

Quibi was supposed to be a haven for creatives. Then it shut down

As Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman prepared to launch their streaming service Quibi, the powerhouse executives pitched it as a happy home for filmmakers to bring their short-form shows and movies. The company was what every producer wants to see in Hollywood — a big-spending new buyer hungry for fresh material.

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Rolling Stone

Meet the Concert Startup Backed By Cash From Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and J Balvin

It didn’t take long for the Weeknd to decide to invest in animated concert-streaming company Wave. It happened almost right after the R&B superstar streamed his first animated show.

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The Wrap ($)

Inside Quibi’s $2 Billion Fail – No, It Wasn’t the Pandemic

Quibi goes down as one of the most infamous tech flops in recent memory

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YourQuote Looks To Ride India’s Micro Content Wave, But Do Short Stories Sell?

Cofounder Harsh Snehanshu said YourQuote is looking to create writer-influencers and allow them to earn income similar to how TikTok did for video creators

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Editor’s Note:

One of the hallmarks of Quibi was of course the content’s length, though it was not the only one betting on short. Here Inc 42 looks at an Indian startup that is trying to make an audio-video platform specializing in poetry and short stories. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Vulture ($)

Quibi Is the Streaming Era’s New Coke

Last April, I started my curtain-raiser for Quibi thusly: “Type the words ‘will Quibi’ into Google, and the third auto-complete suggestion is short and stark: Will Quibi fail?”

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Hollywood Reporter

Behind the Slump in TV Sports Ratings

A crowded menu, cord cutting and other factors have driven individual sports’ numbers down, even as overall viewing is fairly stable.

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Don’t Cry for Quibi

But I had seen this kind of well-funded flameout before. It happened a few years ago with a startup called Clinkle. It happened when rock stars tried to start tech companies.

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New York Times

How Much Do You Really Miss Going to the Movies?

Amid concerns about the future of theaters, remember that the past wasn’t always glorious. This is the moment to rethink what we want at a cinema.

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Bitch Media

Why Are Suicide Videos Inescapable on TikTok?

“Social media’s greatest success might be in its ability to create virtual communities not easily accessed in the real world,” wrote Clare Murphy in a 2019 Dame article titled “Social Media is Changing the Way Americans Process Death.” In the piece, Murphy explores how digital connections allow us to grieve differently, often outside of typical family or friend groups: “Communities bonded by loss are common, and often form among people who wouldn’t typically connect.” But the dark side to grieving in online community with unknown others, one that’s unearthed when your grief is broadcast out of context to an audience that’s not bearing witness to it in good faith. Darker still is that the reality that your own death might all too easily become a source of content, made into viral fodder for an internet audience that has no idea who you were before death, but is desperately curious regardless.

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BTS’s Parent Company Is Going Public. Here’s How Others Could Replicate Its Massive Success

Over the weekend, BTS held a concert for nearly one million fans. The catch: it was virtual, streamed over their proprietary platform. In a music industry beset with the challenges of pandemic shutdowns, the globally-famous pop group has carved a path to ongoing connection, thanks to the foresight of their management agency, Big Hit Entertainment, and its founder and co-CEO Bang Si-hyuk (nicknamed Bang PD by fans). Big Hit’s IPO, with shares releasing to the public on Oct. 15, suggests that the scrappy South Korean unicorn has ambitions — and strategies — intended to match and overcome the challenges of their beleaguered business.

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Editor’s Note:

A couple of the articles on this list deal with the growing trend of concert streaming. This piece touches not just on that but on how Big Hit Entertainment, parent of sensation BTS, structures its business in the lucrative world of K-pop. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Thinknum Media

Netflix’s pageviews declined by 35% leading up to lackluster Q3 earnings

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock is down 6% Wednesday after a Q3 earnings call in which the company failed to meet Wall Street’s expectations for subscriber growth. The company was expected to rake in an additional 3.3 million new subscribers in the third quarter, but was only able to deliver 2.2 million, a 4.6 million-subscriber decrease from the same quarter last year. While subscriber numbers dwindled, revenue just barely made the cut, raking in $6.44 billion rather than the expected $6.39 billion.

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