Media & Entertainment

Axios and The Athletic consider a merger: The two media upstarts’ talks may include jointly building a portfolio of high-quality publishers and selling business subscriptions—the latest effort by media companies to diversify revenue streams.

A universal Universal streaming service: NBCU is reportedly considering launching a Universal-branded subscription streaming service in response to fears that the Peacock brand lacks global appeal.

Live sports is staple programming for Canada’s broadcasters, but streaming has provided a viable alternative for the more digitally inclined. Almost a quarter of adult sports viewers in Canada said they watched sports content via livestreams, compared with 60% who reported following sports via live TV, per a January 2021 survey by YouGov. Canada lags behind the 39% average for sports streaming across the 32 markets YouGov polled, but it was roughly on par with similar digital economies. For example, 17% of respondents in the US and 24% in the UK said they watched sports this way.

Disney delays its theatrical return: Straight-to-streaming releases and shorter theatrical windows are dimming hopes of a full movie industry recovery this year. Worse, some changes may be permanent, further hurting the entertainment industry’s ad spending growth.

Roku to launch in-house branded content: The streaming-first branded ad studio is Roku’s latest move to ramp up its advertising segment as marketer interest in CTV booms.

Microsoft wants to buy Discord: It’s the tech giant’s third attempt at tapping into a younger user base, but the third time could be the charm—Discord has a lot of synergies with Microsoft’s existing communications and gaming services.

Once relegated to the children’s market, virtual characters are entering the mainstream in China. Fictional as these digitally rendered avatars may be, they hold real jobs, from pop star to influencer, to even news anchor. And they’re becoming increasingly interactive and humanlike, thanks to improvements in technologies such as AI, motion capture, and virtual reality (VR). Recent advancements in augmented reality (AR), in particular, have enabled virtual avatars to step out of social media and make live appearances alongside flesh-and-blood celebrities.

On today's episode, we look at how awards shows are doing and hand out some pretend awards of our own: "Must-Pay-Attention-To Video Streaming Platform," "Traditional Media Dark Horse," "Standout Brand/Company/Advertiser of the Year," and more. Tune in to the discussion with eMarketer principal analysts at Insider Intelligence Jeremy Goldman, Nicole Perrin, Jillian Ryan, and Debra Aho Williamson.

On today's episode, we discuss Facebook and Apple's next virtual and augmented reality moves, Netflix cracking down on password sharing, whether Google and Facebook killed the concept of "free," what Americans will do with their stimulus checks, how ESPN+ will do on Hulu, where in the world there is a giant plughole in the ocean, and more. Tune in to listen to the discussion with eMarketer forecasting analyst Rini Mukhopadhyay, senior analyst Sara M. Watson, analyst Blake Droesch, and principal analyst at Insider Intelligence Jeremy Goldman.

Peacock wants to charge TV premiums for streaming: While streaming viewership continues to grow, NBCU's ambitious goal of pulling in equal ad pricing for its platform will likely face pushback.

Facebook strikes News Corp. deal: The social giant is the latest to concede to Australia's new law requiring platforms to pay publishers. More deals are likely to come soon, as the News Corp. deal opens the negotiation floodgates.

The Grammys flopped, but ad revenues soared: Despite historical low ratings, this year's Grammy Awards brought in $80 million in ad spending—a trend seen in many major live TV events. But as TV viewership keeps dropping, the bubble will likely burst soon.

Netflix originals may come to TV: The streaming giant is in talks to license its original content to ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal—likely a marketing tactic and a way to finance even more originals.

On today's episode, we discuss what an out-of-home (OOH) advertising comeback will look like and which areas are driving growth. We also examine how OOH movie theater advertising could recover, the significance of March Madness's return, when people will want to attend sporting events again, and replacing "primetime" with something more personal. Tune in to the discussion with eMarketer forecasting analyst Nazmul Islam and senior analyst at Insider Intelligence Ross Benes.

Digital audio has undoubtedly benefited from the UK lockdowns. Even with reduced commuting likely eating into their time spent with mobile audio, UK listeners still tuned in to digital audio elsewhere and will continue doing so.