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- 09/24/18--09:51: _5 new game trailers...
- 09/24/18--10:31: _The final season of...
- 09/24/18--10:36: _The 5 movies or TV ...
- 09/24/18--10:57: _The 7 biggest box-o...
- 09/24/18--11:59: _Comcast's $40-billi...
- 09/24/18--13:19: _Roku just released ...
- 09/24/18--14:26: _Comcast's $39 billi...
- 09/24/18--16:38: _Spotify is disrupti...
- 09/25/18--05:48: _The 5 most anticipa...
- 09/25/18--06:14: _Lady Gaga shared a ...
- 09/25/18--06:20: _11 horror movies an...
- 09/25/18--07:14: _Emma Stone only had...
- 09/25/18--07:29: _Nintendo's new Netf...
- 09/25/18--07:47: _In the TV war betwe...
- 09/25/18--08:19: _Netflix shared the ...
- 09/25/18--08:58: _How much the highes...
- 09/25/18--09:15: _The newest expansio...
- 09/25/18--09:27: _Fan Bingbing was re...
- 09/25/18--09:57: _The 19 movies that ...
- 09/25/18--09:59: _YouTube star Brando...
- The Tokyo Game Show is an annual showcase for Japanese developers.
- This year's event had record attendance, with 298,600 people stopping by over the weekend.
- The Japanese publishers Capcom, Konami, and Square Enix released new trailers for their coming triple-A titles.
- "The Walking Dead: The Final Season" video game may be left unfinished due to layoffs at Telltale Games
- Since 2012, "The Walking Dead" players have been making their own choices in the story-driven, critically-acclaimed video game. "The Final Season," which recently started, promised to finally wrap the story after so many years.
- "The Walking Dead: The Final Season" was scheduled to last for four playable episodes — but now, episode 2, due out September 25th, will likely be the last.
- "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Peal" (Movie — coming Tuesday, September 25): The original "Pirates" is still the best four sequels later, and one of the most entertaining summer blockbusters of the last two decades.
- "A Wrinkle in Time" (Movie — coming Tuesday, September 25): Ava Duvernay's Disney flick has been polarizing among audiences and critics, but that just means it's worth checking out to draw your own conclusion.
- "The Hurricane Heist" (Movie — coming Wednesday, September 26): If you like action movies with outlandish concepts and just want to put on something entertaining for less than two hours, then "The Hurricane Heist" is for you.
- "Hold the Dark" (Movie — coming Friday, September 28): Reviews have been mixed about this Netflix original mystery/drama. But it's from director Jeremy Saulnier, whose "Green Room" was one of the best-reviewed movies of 2016, and stars "Westworld's" Jeffrey Wright and "Big Little Lies" star Alexander Skarsgård, which makes it worth a look.
- "Chef's Table" Volume 5 (TV show — coming Friday, September 28): The Emmy-nominated documentary food series returns on Friday with a new volume.
- "The Imitation Game" (Movie — leaving Friday, September 28): If you haven't seen this historical drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay, this week is your last chance to stream it on Netflix.
- 09/24/18--10:57: The 7 biggest box-office bombs of 2018, so far
- Comcast's $40-billion deal for Sky will allow it to expand its global reach.
- The deal strengthens its content offerings to take on Netflix and Amazon.
- The fate of Hulu and Fox's stake in Sky may now be set for possible asset swaps, analysts say.
- Watch Comcast, 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney and Sky trade in real time.
- Comcast offered the winning bid for British broadcaster Sky over the weekend, besting the offer from Disney/Fox.
- Now, the industry looks to see what will become of Comcast's stake in Hulu.
- Hulu, a US streaming service with 20 million subscribers, shares ownership three ways: 60% Disney/Fox, 30% Comcast, and 10% AT&T.
- Analysts are split over the question of Comcast selling or retaining its 30% Hulu stake.
- Spotify has been making waves in the music industry by trying to sign up independent artists.
- But don't expect the company to replace the major recording labels anytime soon, UBS analysts said in a new report.
- The company doesn't have the money to really compete with them, and it's heavily dependent on them, they said.
- Even if it doesn't become the Netflix of the music world, Spotify still has plenty of other opportunities ahead of it, the analysts said.
- 09/25/18--05:48: The 5 most anticipated new TV shows premiering in October
- Lady Gaga released a preview of a song from the highly anticipated and critically acclaimed movie, "A Star is Born."
- The song is called "Is That Alright?"
- The full soundtrack for the movie, which is entirely original songs performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, doesn't come out until the movie does on October 5.
- For the single-shot action sequence in episode 9 of "Maniac," Emma Stone only had a few hours to prepare, and she injured her wrist doing it.
- The entire sequence was shot in less than half a day, the show's director Cary Joji Fukunaga told Business Insider.
- Data from Ampere Analysis shows that Amazon is focusing on dramas in upcoming TV shows and movies, while Netflix is focusing more on comedy.
- 25% of Amazon's upcoming titles are dramas, while 23% of Netflix's are comedies.
- Both are developing plenty of sci-fi and fantasy content, though, as is Apple as it prepares to enter the streaming game.
- Netflix announced on Tuesday that "Making a Murderer" Part 2 will premiere October 19.
- The new season will be "over 10 episodes," and follow Kathleen Zellner, the postconviction lawyer for Steven Avery, the subject of the popular first season.
- The Chinese actress Fan Bingbing disappeared from the public eye in early July after being accused of tax evasion.
- A new report says she had been pursuing a defamation lawsuit against a Chinese billionaire who accused her of having an affair with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.
- The billionaire, Guo Wengui, claimed that Fan disappeared because "somebody wants to shut Fan up," not because of tax-evasion allegations.
- Brandon Rogers is a YouTube star with 4.5 million subscribers who was nominated for a Streamy Award for Comedy on Tuesday, but his road to success has not been easy.
- Rogers toiled on YouTube in relative obscurity for years before going viral on the now-defunct video service Vine.
- Rogers' career has included many twists that are emblematic of the changes (and struggles) of digital media, including having a show on a subscription service that shut down, dealing with having his videos demonetized on YouTube, and getting one of the first premium Facebook Watch shows.
- Rogers gave Business Insider a behind-the-scenes look at his rise, from making depressing videos for a personal injury law firm to the time Facebook told him to tone down the blood and feces on his show.
Nearly 300,000 people packed the halls of Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan, over the weekend for the Tokyo Game Show, the country's largest annual video game showcase. Japanese developers use the event to make major announcements and to give the crowd of gamers precious hands-on time with coming titles.
This year, 298,600 attendees were treated to a wave of new trailers, including footage from the long-awaited "Kingdom Hearts 3," the mysterious "Death Stranding," a revived "Devil May Cry," and the remake of "Resident Evil 2."
"Kingdom Hearts 3"
Born from a crossover between Disney's animated features and the "Final Fantasy" franchise, "Kingdom Hearts" has earned a cult following. Fans have been anticipating a true sequel to "Kingdom Hearts 2" since 2006, and the developer Square Enix is ready to deliver after teasing the fan base with releases like "Kingdom Hearts 2.5" and "Kingdom Hearts 2.8" in the interim.
"Kingdom Hearts" brings players to various Disney universes, and the new trailer for "Kingdom Hearts 3" shows the game's heroes visiting the worlds of "Frozen" and Marvel's "Big Hero 6" for the first time and enlisting the help of Jack Sparrow from "Pirates of the Caribbean."
"Devil May Cry 5"
Capcom's "Devil May Cry 5" looks like a return to form for the demon-hunting action series as a true sequel to 2008's "Devil May Cry 4." After fans had a less-than-warm response to the 2014 reboot "DmC: Devil May Cry," the new title brings back familiar faces and a renewed focus on the stylish combat that has defined the series.
As Capcom works to repair the damage done to "Devil May Cry" by the 2014 reboot, it's also working on a highly polished remake of "Resident Evil 2."
"Resident Evil 2" remake
Originally released in 1998, "Resident Evil 2" is considered one of the best games in the franchise, improving on the storytelling of the original and weaving a narrative through two separate campaigns. The story will be getting a cinematic treatment in the remake, with no shortage of gore thanks to Capcom's new game engine.
Even after multiple trailers, people are still trying to figure out what "Death Stranding," the new game from the "Metal Gear Solid" producer Hideo Kojima, is actually about.
The game's creators hadn't shown off any combat in previous clips, opting to show more exploration from the game, which stars the "Walking Dead" actor Norman Reedus on a desolate planet. The Tokyo Game Show trailer, however, introduces an antagonist for the first time and what looks like a boss fight. While the plot and gameplay of "Death Stranding" still remain a mystery, the game looks to be full of the surrealist themes that have captivated fans of Kojima's work.
The biggest surprise of Tokyo Game Show was "Judge Eyes," a new beat-'em-up action game from Sega. Featuring gameplay similar to Sega's "Yakuza" franchise, "Judge Eyes" stars the popular Japanese actor Takuya Kimura as a private investigator named Takayuki Yagami who is on a quest to solve a series of murders and will need to discover suspects, interrogate witnesses, and get his hands dirty to finish the job. Following up on the critically acclaimed "Yakuza 6," "Judge Eyes" looks to deliver a potent story along with some unique gameplay mechanics that go beyond the usual beat 'em up.
"Kingdom Hearts 3," "Devil May Cry 5," and "Resident Evil 2 Remake" are all due to arrive in the first quarter of 2019. "Judge Eyes" will is scheduled for release in Japan in December and for international audiences in 2019. "Death Stranding" is still awaiting a release date.
Video game developer Telltale Games shocked the gaming industry when they laid off some 90 percent of their staff on September 21st, in anticipation of what appears to be a total shutdown of the company.
Known for narrative driven "choose your own adventure" games based on popular franchises, Telltale had enjoyed critical success with titles based on hit properties like "The Walking Dead," "Batman," and "Game of Thrones."
The announcement was particularly surprising to fans of Telltale's "The Walking Dead," who were expecting a new entry into the series in just a few days. "The Walking Dead: The Final Season," is the culmination of six years worth of storytelling, and players have been able to carry over their own personal decisions and story developments between four different releases in the series so far.
Each Telltale game has been released in a series of playable episodes that are about 2 hours each. Players can pay for a season pass in advance and play through all the episodes as they are released, which are usually released a month or two apart. "The Walking Dead: The Final Season" was planned to be four episodes long, with the first being released on August 14 and the second due on September 25th. But with the sudden shuttering of Telltale's operations, the ending that some players have been working towards for years may now be in jeopardy.
In a statement on September 21st, Telltale Games confirmed that all but 25 members of its 250-person staff had been laid off. Melissa Hutchinson, the lead voice actress of "The Walking Dead" video game, posted a statement to Twitter sharing her fears that the final season would be left incomplete after episode two is released.
Hello friends. I am so very deeply moved by the messages of love that I, and the folks from @telltalegames have been receiving. Yesterday was one of the toughest days ever. A lot of hearts were broken, including mine. Please read the attached. #TelltaleJobs#Clementine#TWDpic.twitter.com/Fb68z86j8e— Melissa Hutchison (@Melyhutch) September 22, 2018
Hutchinson played Clementine, a young Asian-American girl who comes of age in the zombie-infested world of "The Walking Dead." Players shaped the personality an eight-year-old Clem with their in-game decisions as she grew into a powerful protagonist in her own right. After three full seasons of character development, Telltale promised a conclusion to Clementine's story with "The Walking Dead: The Final Season."
Now, gamers who paid $19.99 for the final season's may be short changed for the third and fourth episodes, and fans who have invested their time in "The Walking Dead" game for the last six years may be left without closure.
New titles come and go on Netflix every week, but choosing what to stream can be a daunting task.
That's why every week Business Insider will suggest what Netflix users should watch that is either new or leaving. This week sees a variety of titles arriving to the service, and only a couple that are leaving. The titles include "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," and a Netflix original horror movie.
New movies and TV shows coming this week:
Titles leaving this week:
It’s been a good year at the multiplex, as the box office is up over 8% from last year. But the year hasn't been without a few duds.
A handful of titles couldn't find an audience in the US, ranging from the latest movie from the guys who made "Jackass" to a Disney release.
Here are the seven worst box-office earners so far this year.
Note: This selection is limited to titles that played on more than 2,000 screens for at least two weekends. Grosses are all domestic earnings from Box Office Mojo.
7. "A Wrinkle in Time" — $100 million
Reported budget: $103 million
(Note: Production budgets are estimates and do not include expenses for marketing and release.)
If you factor in the movie's foreign gross, the movie made back Disney's production budget, but the studio doesn't want to just break even on its movies.
6. "The Predator" — $40.4 million*
Reported budget: $95 million
*Movie is still playing in theaters.
It's been out for only a few weeks, but its lousy reviews seem to be keeping the fans of the franchise far away.
5. "Death Wish" — $34 million
Reported budget: $30 million
Bruce Willis finds here that if he's not named John McClane and holding a gun in a movie, audiences may just not care.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Comcast's $40-billion acquisition of the European broadcaster Sky will strengthen its global footprint in content creation to take on Netflix and Amazon. The US cable giant, which owns NBC Universal, has had its eye on Sky ever since it dropped out on the $71 billion bidding war for 21st Century Fox assets in July.
After beating out the Disney-backed Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to acquire Sky's assets, Brian Roberts, Comcast's chairman and chief executive, said, "This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally."
With the takeover of Sky, Comcast immediately gets access to 23 million customers in seven countries, 2 million customers on its streaming service called Now TV, and broadcasting rights to premier sporting properties like English Premier League games and Formula One. This will allow Comcast to compete against Netflix and Amazon by investing in original programming and scaling up distribution channels in new markets.
Due to the rise of streaming giants and a large number of households dropping cable-TV subscriptions in favor of the former, media companies have been struggling to figure out alternate revenue streams to the mature American TV market. In an effort to solve their problems, they have launched streaming services, acquired companies, and expanded overseas. They have even sold themselves to wireless companies like Time Warner did with AT&T.
According to a UBS note sent to clients on Monday, Comcast’s subscriber base will climb to 53 million from 30 million as a result of the Sky deal, while its international reach jumps to 25% from 8%. The deal will also help Comcast develop its direct-to-consumer strategy by giving it "greater scale to amortize its content investments," the analysts said.
But the battle between the cable giants is not yet over. Analysts now see the limelight shifting to Hulu, and Disney-Fox's stake in Sky. Currently, Comcast, Fox, and Disney each have a 30% stake in the streaming service. Now, with its acquisition of Sky, Comcast owns 61% of the European pay-TV giant while Disney and Fox own the remaining 39%.
And based on the Comcast offer, UBS analyst John Hodulik values the Disney/Fox stake in Sky at about $15.5 billion and Comcast's stake in Hulu at $3 billion.
"We believe it also sets the stage for possible asset swaps," he said. "With Disney/FOX potentially selling its Sky stake (worth ~$15.5B based on Comcast's offer) and Comcast perhaps selling its 30% stake in Hulu (UBSe $3B)."
Comcast shares were down 7% Monday. Shares of Disney were up by 2% and Fox shares climbed 1.1.% while Sky surged by 8.9%.
Using a Roku to stream 4K, ultra-HD TV and movies just got a lot cheaper.
The company just announced three new additions to its lineup of streaming devices — the Roku Premiere, Premiere+, and Ultra. These members of the Roku family were technically already on the market before, but these new models announced on Monday have notable upgrades, not to mention slashed prices.
By offering 4K streaming for as cheap as $40, Roku is taking on competitors like Google and Amazon, which both offer their respective 4K streaming devices for around $70 each. The Roku Premiere, its flagship 4K streaming device, was offered at that same $70 price point, but that's now down to $40 with this new model.
All three devices are available for pre-order, and will be shipped in October.
Here's what they're like:
The Roku Premiere is the company's cheapest 4K streaming device, at $40.
The Premiere features streaming in 1080p, 4K, and HDR, with up to 60 frames per second. The device uses a standard infrared remote, with no voice controls. However, Roku's free mobile app lets you search for TV, movies, and other videos with your voice.
This newer version of the Premiere features a smaller body than the previous, and its price was lowered from $70 to $40.
The Premiere+ is nearly identical to the Premiere, but it's only available at Walmart. However, the $50 device features a voice-enabled remote.
The Premiere+ is a Walmart exclusive. It's identical to it cheaper cousin, with the notable exception that the remote has a microphone so you can search Roku content with your voice.
The Roku Ultra is the most feature-packed and expensive member of the Roku family, priced at $100.
The Roku Ultra isn't receiving any significant upgrades from its previous iterations. But it will now include a pair of JBL headphones for free, usually priced at $40.
Those headphones will come in handy, too: One of the main differences between this model and the cheaper devices is that users can plug headphones into the Ultra's remote. That allows them to quietly listen to streamed shows or movies without bothering or waking anyone else in their home.
here's also a "lost remote finder" feature, which plays a sound from the remote after you press a button on the Ultra device. Like the Premiere+, the Ultra features voice control via remote.
Aside from a nicer remote, the Roku Ultra also supports 1080p and 4K streaming, additional storage through micro SD cards or USB, and a "night listening" mode that levels out the sound by lowering high-volume moments and raising low-volume moments. You can also connect the Ultra to the internet via an ethernet port, if the wifi in your home isn't optimal for streaming — a feature that the Premiere lineup lacks.
All three Roku devices are advertised as having access to more than 500,000 movies and TV shows.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Comcast and Disney traded victories all summer in the fight for Murdoch-owned media content and European pay-TV subscribers.
While Disney won 21st Century Fox assets for $71 billion, Comcast will likely take British broadcaster Sky for $39 billion. That latest victory again pits the media behemoths against each other over the future of streaming.
Hulu, a US streaming service with 20 million subscribers, shares ownership three ways: 60% Disney/Fox, 30% Comcast, and 10% AT&T. Analysts are split over what will become of Comcast's stake in Hulu.
Comcast might try and block a Disney-branded platform
Comcast intends to hold onto Hulu, a source familiar with the matter told Business Insider. And Comcast is barred by the British Takeover Panel from making any side deals to trade the Hulu stake for the 39% of Sky that Fox already owned.
Still, unnamed sources told CNBC on Sunday that Comcast was willing to discuss a sale of Hulu to Disney. Some analysts find such a sale hard to understand.
"We have a hard time understanding why Comcast would want to enable Disney to have near full control of an entity with over 20 million direct-to-consumer (DTC) subscribers that could accelerate Disney’s DTC ambitions, to the direct detriment of Comcast," BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield wrote in a note . "We suspect Comcast is highly likely to stay invested in Hulu and to prevent it from becoming a Disney-branded DTC platform."
Disney has already begun work on its own OTT service, dubbed Disneyflix by the industry, that it hopes will be a competitor to streaming giant Netflix. Disneyflix is expected to launch at the end of 2019 and include newly-acquired content from Fox, as well as Disney classics. And Disney's direct-to-consumer sports streaming service ESPN+ has been increasing subscribers since its April launch.
Disney could roll all of its content into a single streaming platform: Hulu. But enriching Hulu's content also means its competitors — Comcast and AT&T — benefit, an outcome that is surely less than ideal for Disney.
If Comcast chooses to stay a minority stakeholder in Hulu, it forces Disney to continue on its two-path solution with Hulu and Disneyflix as separate entities, according to Greenfield. "With only 30% ownership of Hulu, Comcast can frustrate Disney and continue to benefit from Hulu buying Comcast/NBC content and licensing NBC live channels (boosting revenues), while Hulu losses show up as a minority interest below the line," Greenfield wrote.
Comcast might sell-off Hulu to avoid competing with Now TV
But a Hulu platform, with majority ownership from Disney, would also directly compete with Comcast's newly-acquired Now TV, Sky's OTT platform, leading some analysts to predict Comcast will sell-off its Hulu stake.
"Comcast may divest its stake in Hulu given it will now have its own Now TV platform and would likely have no interest in feeding its content to a direct competitor to both sides of its business," according to a research note by Cowen analysts.
In the US, Comcast has dabbled with other OTT streaming platforms, but hasn't yet found success. NBC shuttered its comedy streaming service Seeso last year, and couldn't get the app Watchable off the ground.
Comcast might focus on a global Netflix challenger, building out Now TV, which already has a strong content portfolio with exclusive rights to run HBO shows like "Game of Thrones" and "Westworld" across Europe. It also has the majority of Premier League TV rights and exclusive rights to the German Bundesliga.
Either way, Comcast and Disney still end up unhappy
In the end, the decision will come down to financials, according to Alex DeGroote, an independent media analyst. And Comcast's 30% equity stake in Hulu will fetch $3 billion.
"Hulu is loss making and Comcast cannot compete with Netflix in terms of programming budgets in US streaming market," DeGroote said in an email to Business Insider. "Comcast has placed its chips on Sky and European expansion and it cannot realistically develop/fund Hulu as well, which is relatively immature."
Though Hulu doesn't report its financial figures, some estimates place its annual loses in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion. And while Hulu has 20 million US subscribers, that still pales in comparison Netflix's more than 130 million subscribers worldwide.
DeGroote said he expects Disney to acquire Comcast's Hulu stake, "though neither Disney nor Comcast is fully content with the outcome."
"Comcast wants Hulu but can't have it, Disney wants Sky, but can't have it," he said.
Netflix may be trying to beat Hollywood at its own game, but don't expect Spotify to do the same in the music business.
Unlike Netflix, which has become a major player in the video content business by moving aggressively to produce its own shows and movies, Spotify is in no position to take on the traditional labels, financial analysts from UBS said in a recent report. In fact, instead of Spotify or other streaming music "platforms" significantly cutting into the labels' business, both sides are likely to profit as streaming catches on more broadly, the analysts said.
"Our current view is platform disintermediation is overplayed, and we see platform-label economics likely to remain broadly unchanged in the medium term," they said. They continued: "Our base case ... is the music streaming opportunity is significant enough for both platforms and labels to benefit."
There's been growing talk in recent months of Spotify potentially trying to cut the labels out of the loop and just work with artists directly. Last week, the company announced it would allow artists to directly upload their music to its service, instead of having to go a music label as a middleman. Meanwhile, it recent months, the company has been reaching out to various managers and independent artists, offering to pay them cash up front to license their music directly to it.
Such a move could help Spotify's bottom line. A huge portion of its costs come from licensing music from the major labels. If it licensed songs directly from artists, rather than from the recording companies, it could reduce its costs.
Spotify is unlikely to become the music world's Netflix
But despite the hype and the potential profit boost, Spotify's unlikely to become a real threat to the labels anytime soon, if ever, the UBS analysts wrote.
While streaming is opening up new opportunities for artists, labels still perform a valuable role in the industry in helping new musicians establish themselves. Some 6 million songs are released each year, the analysts estimated. The labels help their artists be heard above the noise, they said.
The Big Three music labels that dominate the industry — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group — spend about $4 billion each year to discover, promote, and give advances to new artists each year, they estimated. Universal Music Group alone spends about $1.7 billion of that.
That's spending that Spotify can't even come close to matching right now, given that it's likely to post an operating loss of as much as $321 million this year, they said.
"Spotify does not have the financials to become a label today or in the medium term," they said.
Even if Spotify could afford to spend more to attract and promote artists, signing up exclusively with it wouldn't be in the best interests of most artists. That's because even though it's the leading streaming music provider, it still only accounts for about 16% of revenue for the recording industry. Only dealing with Spotify would mean writing off revenue from big-ticket competitors like Apple Music and YouTube, not to mention the still sizeable amount of revenue that comes from sales of CDs and other physical music products.
"Signing up exclusively to Spotify ... would limit the size of the total market opportunity," the analysts said.
But it's also not in Spotify's interests to be too aggressive in signing up artists, because the company is very dependent on the labels and can't afford to alienate them.
Most well-known musicians are already on long-term contracts with particular labels, which often control the artists' albums they've produced in perpetuity. Spotify needs access to those albums. The vast majority of songs played through its service — some 64% — are songs that are at least 3-1/2 years old, which are typically controlled by the Big 3, the analysts said.
Spotify has big opportunities in advertising and promotions
Still, Spotify's financials can improve without it having to become a major competitor to the Big 3, the analysts said. As the leading player in the streaming business, the company is set to benefit as growing numbers of consumers sign up. UBS projects that the total number of streaming music subscribers will hit 726 million in 2027 from 176 million last year.
But Spotify could get a boost to its bottom line sooner than that. Its contracts with the recording companies will be renegotiated next year. Right now, the labels get about 52% of the revenue Spotify generates from consumers. UBS is forecasting that amount will go down to 50% in the next contract year, which would help the company cut its losses.
But the company has other and potentially bigger opportunities to improve its revenue and profits, the analysts said. Potentially, the company could attract a significant chunk of the $4 billion the labels spend on promoting artists by convincing them to tout new musicians on its service.
Spotify could allow labels to sponsor songs or artists so that would appear at the top of search lists on its service, the analysts said. It could also offer advanced analytical services that the labels could use to track how their songs, artists, and promotional campaigns are faring.
What's more, the company could expand its advertising sales effort. Spotify runs about 6 minutes of ads per hour on its free, advertising-based services. It could potentially increase the number of ads its runs significantly, the analysts said. And as it offers more video-based content through its app, it could make a more serious play for video ads, which fetch higher prices than other ads.
"We believe the revenue opportunity [from advertising and promotions] is sizeable," the analysts said.
As part of the note, UBS analyst Eric Sheridan reiterated his buy rating and $242 price target on Spotify shares. The company's stock closed regular trading on Monday up $1.95, or 1%, to $176.97.
To find out which series audiences are anticipating the most for October, the TV tracking app TV Time analyzed data from its 13 million global users to see which upcoming TV series viewers had followed the most frequently on its app.
Its list includes shows like Netflix's dark "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" prequel, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," and The CW's supernatural drama series "Legacies."
Here are the 5 new shows viewers are anticipating the most for October, according to TV Time:
5. "The Rookie" — Premieres October 16 on ABC
Summary: "Starting over isn't easy, especially for small-town guy John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of being a Los Angeles police officer. As the force's oldest rookie, he's met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis."
4. "Elite" — Premieres October 5 on Netflix
Summary: "When three working-class teens enroll in an exclusive private school in Spain, the clash between them and the wealthy students leads to murder."
3. "Charmed" (Reboot) — Premieres October 14 on The CW
Summary: "Follows the lives of three sisters who, after the tragic death of their mother, discover they are powerful witches."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The hype for "A Star Is Born," Bradley Cooper's directorial debut that stars himself and Lady Gaga in her first major role in a motion picture, is building and building.
On Monday night, Lady Gaga, who is a favorite to win an Oscar for best actress for her role in the film, shared a one-minute clip of a song called "Is That Alright?" The song is set to clips seen in the "A Star is Born" trailer.
"A Star is Born," which will likely dominate the 2019 Oscars and is an absolute must-see, comes to theaters October 5. The soundtrack comes out on the same day.
NOW WATCH: How actors fake fight in movies
Netflix already has an impressive catalog of horror titles that genre enthusiasts can explore this Halloween season, from Netflix original films like "Gerald's Game" and "The Ritual," to modern hits like "It Follows" and "The Conjuring."
But the streaming giant is adding even more spooky movies and TV shows in October for users to choose from.
They include horror classic "The Shining" and Netflix's reimagining of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" called "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina."
Below are all 11 spooky titles Netflix is rolling out next month, just in time for Halloween:
"The Shining" (1980)
Netflix release date: October 1
Description: "All work and no play makes Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson—the caretaker of an isolated resort—go way off the deep end, terrorizing his young son and wife (Shelley Duvall).
Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, who's come to the elegant, isolated Overlook Hotel as off-season caretaker. Torrance has never been there before—or has he? The answer lies in a ghostly time warp of madness and murder.
Master filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's visually haunting chiller, based on the bestseller by master-of-suspense Stephen King, is an undeniable contemporary classic. Newsweek called 'The Shining' 'the first epic horror film,' full of indelible images, and a signature role for Nicholson whose character was recently selected by AFI as one of their 50 Greatest Villains."
"Truth or Dare" (2017)
Netflix release date: October 3
Description: "Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars) and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) lead the cast of Blumhouse's Truth or Dare, a supernatural thriller from Blumhouse Productions (Happy Death Day, Get Out). A harmless game of "Truth or Dare" among friends turns deadly when someone—or something—begins to punish those who tell a lie—or refuse the dare…"
"Creeped Out" Season 1 (Netflix Original Series)
Netflix release date: October 4
Netflix description: "A modern-day 'Are You Afraid of the Dark' meets 'Black Mirror' kids anthology series that depicts creepy tales and ends with a lesson. The series is linked together by a masked ‘story collector’ called The Curious who appears in each episode."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
You're always in store for a visually stunning story when Cary Joji Fukunaga is at the helm, and "Maniac" is no different.
The Netflix series features a dystopian New York City, a fantasy world of elves and talking bugs, and VR where you can have sex with the high priestess of Atlantis. But one of the most striking visuals on the show is the single-take action sequence in episode 9 ("Utangatta").
Thanks to the drugs they have been testing that give them incredible hallucinations, in this episode Annie (Emma Stone) is a CIA operative and Owen (Jonah Hill) is a disgraced Icelandic spy. To free Owen from those who have captured him (in reality, his inner demons), Annie finds herself up against an army of armed villains in a hallway. To play out the action of Annie taking them all out, Fukunaga did the entire scene in one, uncut sequence (known as a "oner"). The result gives the viewer a thrilling view as Annie shoots, kicks, and punches her way to the elevator as Owen cheers her on in delight.
Fukunaga is no stranger to doing a oner. One of the most memorable moments from him directing the first season of HBO's "True Detective" was doing a six-minute single shot of a housing projects raid.
The director said that in both instances, it was less a style choice than a practical one.
"That was efficiency," Fukunaga told Business Insider. "One of the reasons to do that oner in 'True Detective' is because there's no way in the schedule that we can shoot this in a real action sequence. It would be a bad version of it. So a oner actually, if you have the time to get the choreography down, is just more efficient. For 'Maniac,' we shot that whole thing in less than half a day."
That's a shockingly short amount of time to get the scene done. And Stone had even less time to prepare.
"She had like a couple of hours," he said. "She's not doing anything extremely 'Aeon Flux'-like. But she's a good dancer, she understands her body."
And Fukunaga said Stone also had to get through injuring her wrist while doing the sequence.
"I don't remember what take we ultimately used, but there's no place to do a splice to cut together, so she just had to kind of get through the whole thing," he said.
Hill, on the other hand, had the easiest job. Though his character shoots a few people, for the most part he's the comic relief. In fact, most of his lines were improvised during the sequence.
"There were a few lines we wrote, but things like 'I killed many men,' that's just him," Fukunaga said.
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Nintendo is the Disney of video games.
There are plenty of arguments for why this is the case, but the most obvious parallel is Nintendo's vast library of classic games. Starting with the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the early '80s and going all the way up to the Nintendo DS and Wii in the early '00s, Nintendo has a wealth of classic games that people still want to play.
And, for years, people have clamored for a way to access that library. "Why not offer a Netflix-style subscription service?" they shouted, while throwing money in the general direction of Nintendo's Kyoto, Japan headquarters.
Last week, on September 18, Nintendo finally offered just such a service ... sort of.
Behold: Nintendo Switch Online!
But after a week of using Nintendo's Netflix-like subscription service, I'm left wanting much, much more than what's currently available.
Allow me to explain.
1. The list of games is paltry.
20 games sounds like a lot of games, but we're talking about original NES games here — outside of "The Legend of Zelda" and "River City Ransom," these aren't very lengthy experiences.
There are somewhere in the realm of 700 NES games. Starting with just 20 — and no games from Super NES, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Game Boy, etc. — is underwhelming to say the least.
2. The games that are included aren't especially thrilling.
The list of launch games on Nintendo Switch Online is padded out with stuff like "Soccer," "Tennis," and "Ice Hockey." Nothing against sports games, but these aren't particularly iconic choices for the launch list.
The inclusion of the original "Mario Bros" is similarly puzzling — the series didn't take off in popularity until "Super Mario Bros." (seen above). "Mario Bros." is ... it's not very good. There's no nice way to say that: It just isn't very fun to play.
Nintendo fans are better served by the other two "Super Mario Bros." games included on the list ("Super Mario Bros." and "Super Mario Bros. 3").
3. The addition of online functionality to games is extremely limited.
More than just putting NES games on the Switch, Nintendo Switch Online adds online multiplayer functionality. In two-player games, you can compete with a friend. In single-player games, you can switch off with a friend. In co-op games, you can play together with a friend.
The language I'm using there — "with a friend" — is crucial, as you're only able to play with people you've previously added to your Nintendo Switch Friend List. There's no way to find an online game of, say, "Balloon Fight" with a stranger. You're only able to play with people on your Friend List.
It's something many Nintendo fans are used to dealing with. It's also ridiculous in 2018 that the most iconic video game company in the world isn't providing online matchmaking services — especially in the context of this being a paid online service.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Netflix and Amazon are major players in streaming, and as both services have accelerated original content production, putting them in competition with one another for projects, they've also found their respective niches.
New data from Ampere Analysis shows how much Netflix and Amazon differ in upcoming content in terms of genre. Recently, Netflix has leaned into comedy, while Amazon is focusing more on drama.
The chart below shows that 25% of Amazon's in-development shows and movies are dramas, while 15% are comedies. On the other side, 23% of Netflix's upcoming titles are comedies, and 17% are dramas.
A major upcoming original drama from Amazon is "The Romanoffs" from Matthew Weiner, the creator of "Mad Men," that drops on the service in October. Meanwhile, stand-up comedy has seen a resurgence on Netflix with plenty more to come.
Sci-fi and fantasy content is also a focus for both services. Netflix recently announced that it will develop a live-action "Avatar: The Last Airbender" series, while Amazon purchased the rights to "The Lord of the Rings" for its own TV series.
Ampere found that Apple, which is preparing to enter the streaming game, is also focusing on sci-fi to compete with Netflix, with 27% of its upcoming content being in that genre.
Apple is planning a revival of Steven Spielberg's sci-fi and horror anthology series, "Amazing Stories," a sci-fi drama series from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" showrunner Ronald D. Moore, and an adaptation of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation."
Here is a chart that shows the breakdown of upcoming content by genre for Netflix and Amazon:
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More "Making a Murderer" is coming in less than a month.
Netflix announced on Tuesday that part two of the hit documentary true-crime series will premiere on the streaming service on October 19, and released a teaser for the new season.
You can watch the teaser below:
Netflix also released story details for part two. The new season will be "over 10 episodes" and introduce viewers to Kathleen Zellner, the post-conviction lawyer for the subject of the first season, Steven Avery, "in her fight to prove that Avery was wrongly convicted and win his freedom."
Over 10 new episodes, #MakingAMurderer Part 2 introduces viewers to Kathleen Zellner, Avery’s hard-charging postconviction lawyer, in her fight to prove that Avery was wrongly convicted and win his freedom. https://t.co/sTVFjQ35Lo— See What's Next (@seewhatsnext) September 25, 2018
Netflix's "Making a Murderer" premiered in 2015 and captured viewers' attention with its real-life story of Avery, who served nearly two decades in prison after being wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder. He was released in 2003 and exonerated, only to be convicted for the murder of Teresa Halbach in a different case two years later.
Brenden Dassey, Avery's nephew, was also arrested and convicted in relation to that case. Since the release of "Making a Murderer" season one, a judge ruled in 2016 that Dassey's confession was coerced. Despite an order from the judge that he be released, Dassey remained behind bars due to an appeal from the Wisconsin Justice Department. In 2017, a panel voted to uphold Dassey's original conviction.
Avery was also sentenced to life in prison. In 2017, the Wisconsin Circuit Court denied Zellner's appeal for a new trial for Avery.
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How much are networks shelling out to bring Hollywood stars to TV?
In this age of proliferated programming, marquee names have become essential to bring sizable audiences to shows. And the competition among networks and producers has driven industry salaries to new heights.
At its height, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman reportedly negotiated $1 million salaries for the upcoming second season of HBO's Emmy-winning drama, "Big Little Lies."
Jim Parsons of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" made headlines last month for walking away from a reported two-year, $50 million paycheck for two more seasons of the sitcom, which CBS subsequently decided to end in 2019.
On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the five central stars of the NBC drama "This Is Us" renegotiated their contracts to make $250,000 each per episode for the show's third season.
Here's how much the highest-paid stars on TV are earning per-episode:
Note: Some salaries may include producing fees.
Jethro Nededog contributed to a previous version of this story.
$1,000,000 — Nicole Kidman, "Big Little Lies" (HBO)
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
$1,000,000 — Reese Witherspoon, "Big Little Lies" (HBO)
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
$1,000,000 — Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS)
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Back in May 2017, months before the launch of "Destiny 2," I spoke to the game's director Luke Smith at length about "unhiding the fun," a phrase he continually used to describe the upcoming sequel to "Destiny."
Smith’s “unhiding the fun” mantra was an allusion to the first game, where players felt like too many features stood in the way of having fun: from simple things, like not being able to see where you are on a giant map of a planet, to how you’d need to visit third-party websites to find other people to play with. “Destiny 2" was an attempt to destroy those barriers between players and the game they wanted to play.”
Over a year later, Smith's goal to "unhide the fun" was only somewhat successful.
"Destiny 2" stumbled out the gate when it launched to the public, and needed a full year to fix some of its biggest issues that kept players away. The massive "Forsaken" update in September has been a definite improvement, as it offers plenty of new incentives for players to return to the game, but there are five specific aspects of the game that stand between players and having more fun.
The game takes an incredibly long time to load.
This is probably the biggest issue with the game right now: It performs terribly on consoles.
This doesn't seem to be an issue for PC players, but since the launch of "Forsaken" in September, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One players (myself included) have noticed considerably longer load times — whether you're flying to a planet, matchmaking with other players for activities like the Crucible, or even just opening your inventory, which you'll do constantly.
Even engrams, which are encrypted items that drop in the game as random rewards, cause considerable lag and slowdown on consoles when they pop out of enemies. I'm spending far too much time in loading screens instead of actually playing the game.
"Shaders," one of the best parts of the first "Destiny" game, are still a major headache in "Destiny 2."
Shaders basically let you change the color of your character.
In "Destiny 1," you could use shaders as often as you'd like. In "Destiny 2," shaders became consumable items, which meant you couldn't change your character's colors on the fly unless you collect enough of the colors you want.
Also, there aren't enough slots in your inventory for all of the shaders in "Destiny 2," which means you're constantly deleting old shaders to make room for new ones. And though you can "recycle" 5 shaders at a time with a certain in-game vendor, there's no system for deleting shaders in massive batches: Most players have dozens of each kind of shader, and deleting one at a time takes far too long.
Bungie should go back to how shaders worked in the first "Destiny" game, where they had unlimited uses. This would make the game far more fun, as I'd spend less time deleting shaders, or worrying if I have enough of a certain shader, and more time actually using them.
Bounties are fun, but getting them is a chore.
"Destiny 2" initially killed the "bounties" feature from the first game, which gave you some small rewards in return for completing specific tasks, like killing a certain number of enemies during a strike.
But "Destiny 2" re-added bounties recently, and while more rewards are a good thing, you have to visit certain locations on different planets to pick up all of the available bounties — and since so many bounties reset after a day, you'll be visiting these planets a lot even before you can start actually playing.
This is made worse by the long loading times in "Destiny 2." Bungie should give players a way to pick up bounties without having to visit different physical locations to get all of them; either put them all in one physical location, or let people pick up bounties on their ships, while they're waiting for activities to start.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The Chinese actress Fan Bingbing had been suing a Chinese billionaire over his allegations that she was sleeping with China's vice president when she disappeared, according to a new report.
Fan was pursuing a defamation lawsuit in the US against the billionaire, Guo Wengui, who in a series of online videos accused Fan of having an affair with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, The Mail on Sunday reported, citing court documents.
The actress, who played Blink in the 2014 film "X-Men: Days of Future Past," disappeared from the public eye in early July shortly after she was accused of tax evasion in China.
Fan's lawyer, Andrew Brettler, confirmed to Business Insider that they filed the lawsuit in New York in July 2017, but did not comment on the status of the case. He told The Mail that he hadn't heard from Fan or her representatives in China since April.
Last year, Guo, who also goes by the name Miles Kwok, published at least two videos online alleging that Fan had a long-term affair with Wang in Beijing, according to The Mail. The videos accused Fan of deriving financial benefit from the arrangement by pocketing bribes, the publication said.
Guo lives in self-imposed exile in New York's Upper East Side. He regularly posts hourlong rants against Chinese officials, including Wang, on YouTube.
Wang, 70, the eighth-highest-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party, is often described as President Xi Jinping's right-hand man and the man behind the country's massive anticorruption crackdown.
Fan's lawsuit described Guo's claims as "unsupported, wild, and defamatory," The Mail reported.
According to the newspaper, the documents also said that "Ms. Fan has never had any sexual relationship or adulterous affair with Mr. Wang, nor has she ever participated in any bribery scheme."
The veracity of Guo's claims has previously come under scrutiny. For example, he has claimed that he bought his New York apartment for $82 million when in reality he paid $67.5 million, according to The New York Times.
Guo also claimed that Fan had disappeared not because of the tax-evasion accusations — which he described to The Mail as a "smokescreen" — but because someone in the Chinese Communist Party was trying to attack Wang.
"Firstly, someone is trying to use Fan Bingbing to get to Wang Qishan," he told the newspaper. "Secondly, somebody wants to shut Fan up."
Business Insider has contacted Brettler for comment on Guo's claims.
Chinese-language publications have in the past week speculated over Fan's whereabouts.
The Chinese arm of Radio France Internationale and the movie industry site Duowei News reported over the weekend that officials in Jiangsu province were still investigating her case. Hong Kong's Apple Daily tabloid also reported that Fan had been questioned by authorities but was not allowed to leave her house.
Earlier this month, China's state-run Securities Daily reported that Fan was "under control and will accept the legal decision" that comes from the tax-evasion charges.
This year's "Hereditary" may have blown critics away — it has an 89% critic score on review-aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes — but it was polarizing among audiences. The A24 movie received a D+ CinemaScore, which conducts exit polls of audience opinion on opening nights.
"Slender Man" also came close this year, with an even worse D-.
But that's not the lowest score a movie can get. Only 19 films have ever received that, an "F" rating, since CinemaScore started logging data in 1986.
The most recent film to receive an "F" from audiences was last year's "mother!" from director Darren Aronofsky, which left moviegoers bewildered by its controversial and violent elements.
Other "F" rated films include Nicolas Cage's "The Wicker Man" and "Disaster Movie," which really lived up to its title.
Below are the 19 films to receive an "F" rating from CinemaScore (along with their Rotten Tomatoes critic scores for comparison):
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 69%
Academy Award-winner Jennifer Lawrence plays a housewife obsessed with renovating her isolated house who has her world turned upside down when her husband (Javier Bardem) invites strangers to stay inside the home.
"Mother!" received mixed reviews since it opened but became CinemaScore's latest "F"-rated film.
"The Darkness" (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 3%
A family awakens an evil supernatural presence while on vacation at the Grand Canyon and their lives turn upside down.
"The Devil Inside" (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 6%
After her mother murders three people following an exorcism, a young woman investigates numerous exorcisms that were performed without permission.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
It was 2 a.m. by the time Brandon Rogers had packed up everything he could fit in his car, ready to run away from his hometown of Livermore, California — a small, sleepy city on the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area — and to Los Angeles.
It was his "rock bottom point," Rogers told Business Insider. He was in his mid-20s and had been making YouTube videos for about seven years, with only a few thousand subscribers and nothing tangible to show for it. He had watched his other actor friends make their way through college and graduate.
“I was scared,” he said. “I was going to be left in this town without my friends because they all got their s--- together and got out.”
Little did Rogers know the YouTube channel that seemed so futile then would — a few years later, and a decade after he started it in 2006 — begin to blow up, eventually reaching its current height of over 4.5 million subscribers. That subscriber count puts Rogers in the upper echelon of YouTube creators, and he was nominated for a Streamy Award on Tuesday in the Comedy category.
But it hasn’t been a straight path. In many ways, his long strive for stardom is representative of the numerous fits and starts the fledgling web video medium, and its top platforms, have experienced over the past decade. Rogers, right alongside Facebook, Google, Twitter, and a few other titans, has been trying to figure out what native web video content is, what fans want, and what business model makes sense.
On his way to the top, Rogers experienced every twist of the changing ecosystem, from going viral on video-sharing network Vine (RIP), to landing a show on Fullscreen’s now-defunct subscription service, to creating one of the first shows on Facebook’s Watch platform.
“It really does feel like I’m on the cusp of history,” Rogers said. “I’m not making it, but I’m a part of it.”
Indeed, Rogers’ comedy feels like it could only exist in the Wild West of the internet. It is frenetic, bawdy, offensive, and utterly unhinged — in a way that millions have found hilarious. He has developed a roster of dozens of surreal characters who interact with each other, often at a dizzying pace.
His characters include an ornery grandpa who refuses to provide candy, a mom who always seems to be on the verge of a highly caffeinated breakdown, a blind German fashion designer, and a strict hall monitor.
If you aren’t familiar, here is a video that mashes up a lot of his characters:
But while Rogers said he’s always enjoyed playing various characters, he didn’t develop his signature style until he took a depressing job at a law firm — following that late-night move to LA — and found his cameraman and collaborator Gabriel Gonzalez.
In tracing Rogers’ story, you can see what a strange ride the digital media business has been for creators over the last few years, and how little Hollywood (and even tech giants like Facebook and Google) understand about this new world of internet entertainment.
Developing his style while making brutal videos for a law firm
The first job Rogers found in LA was making videos for a personal injury law firm. Rogers would go into the house of the plaintiff of the suit, the injured person, and do a documentary on a “day in their life” with their new, horrible circumstances.
“It’s so sad, you’d cut to their confessionals, ‘What do you miss most about your previous relationship with your wife,’ and they would start crying,” he said. “Almost all the videos won the cases. It was a dark job. I had to take someone who was f----- up and make them look even more f----- up [to] pull the heartstrings of a jury.”
Rogers did the job for three years with Gonzalez, who was the cameraman. Gonzalez was brilliant behind the camera and would get beautiful shots for these videos, Rogers said. And the idea started brewing in Rogers’ head that these “day in the life” videos were compelling and could travel beyond the courtroom context.
“Let’s make a funny version of these,” Rogers proposed to Gonzalez one day.
Rogers had been making every type of YouTube video imaginable for nearly a decade, but these “day in the life” videos of wacky characters were the ones that caught on.
But there was a big problem.
Rogers’ videos didn’t go viral when he uploaded them to his YouTube page. They actually started to get picked up when someone Rogers didn’t know uploaded 6-second clips of them to the video-snippet-sharing platform Vine. (After buying Vine in 2012, Twitter shut it down in 2016.)
The first clip that blew up on Vine was a clip of Rogers playing his grandpa character at a supermarket.
“They didn’t think I was an actor,” Rogers said of the people watching the clip on Vine. And worse, he wasn't credited. Then another clip, and another, began to circulate on Vine. He wasn’t credited in any of them.
“No one knew it was the same person,” Rogers said, because he looked so different dressed as each character. He said he even started seeing quotes from the clips on tee shirts in restaurants and felt “maddeningly” like Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent.
“No one knew it was me,” he said. It was agony.
“The most gratifying moment of my career”
But then in August of 2015, Rogers had what he called the “most gratifying moment of my career.” The Fine Brothers, one of YouTube’s original superstars, made a video connecting the dots that Rogers was the creator behind these Vine clips, and the memes that resulted.
“That immediately stopped any negativity about people taking my work,” Rogers said. He gained 27,000 followers overnight, he said. It changed his life.
“Those 10 years, not only did my family think it was a waste of time, but I did too,” Rogers said. “I’d go home at night crying for no other reason than, ‘This is my life now, and it’s not going to get any better than this.’”
After the Fine Brothers video, Rogers ascended quickly in the ranks of the YouTube famous, though it didn’t begin to financially sustain him until he reached around one million followers, he said.
“I had 10 years of catalogued footage” for fans to work through, he said when explaining one reason his fan base exploded so rapidly.
“No one really knows that they are doing”
Soon, Rogers was given the opportunity to expand his reach beyond YouTube.
In 2016, less than a year after his fame started to rise, Rogers got a call saying digital studio Super Deluxe, owned by Turner, wanted to meet with him. Rogers had been taking a lot of meetings around LA and didn’t really know what this one was going to be about.
It turns out, Super Deluxe wanted to offer him a show.
“I walked into that office and they said, ‘We’d like to give you a show,’” Rogers said. “It was the CEO himself … They were looking for a brand of comedy that hadn’t quite been done, that really pushed the limit.”
Rogers said the meeting lasted 15 to 20 minutes. And just like that, Rogers was a showrunner with nearly total autonomy. Super Deluxe confirmed to Business Insider that the show was greenlit after one meeting between Rogers and the CEO.
The show was called “Magic Funhouse” and portrayed “the dysfunctional production team for a children's show.” Super Deluxe made it to run on Fullscreen’s short-lived subscription service, a Netflix competitor that cost $6 a month which aimed to create premium shows with YouTube talent. (Fullscreen, which has been fully controlled by AT&T since August, announced in November 2017 that it was shutting down the subscription service and laying off 25 people.)
Fullscreen (and Super Deluxe) gave “Magic Funhouse” a generous budget for a streaming show from a first-time creator. It was a time when upstart subscription services like Verizon’s Go90 and YouTube Red were spending relatively large amounts on shows anchored by digital talent. Rogers said the show had a total of around 150 people working on it, a number that was confirmed by Super Deluxe (including “cast, extras, crew, and post-production”).
“They brought me into this extra-large conference room for our first production meeting and it was a sea of people — all that was very scary,” he said. “The show was run by rules and regulations of a TV show … but you kind of come to a realization that no one really knows what they are doing. They know how to produce a show, but to produce it for a digital network? I started to get frustrated because I felt like nothing was going my way.”
He said he kept getting notes to “dial it down, dial it down,” for being too outlandish, though Super Deluxe disputed that characterization, saying some things were simply “cut back for production reasons.” Rogers felt a lot of money was going toward the production when it really should have been going toward the writing, he said.
And even though he was paid well, ultimately Rogers felt like he wasn’t reaching an audience. Rogers said Fullscreen didn’t give him any viewership data, though he was told it was the service’s top-performing show. Fullscreen confirmed to Business Insider that “Magic Funhouse” was its subscription service’s most-watched original show.
But being the top show on Fullscreen wasn’t satisfying for Rogers.
“I’ll tell you what I’d never do again is another digital platform like Seeso or Fullscreen,” he said, both of which folded their subscription services in 2017. “It’s almost a demotion compared to YouTube.”
But despite some of his frustrations with “Magic Funhouse,” Rogers got another crack at a streaming-only “premium” show the next year, this time with Facebook footing the bill.
“Tone down the blood and feces”
When Facebook came knocking on Rogers’ door in 2017, he was having trouble making money on YouTube because his videos kept getting flagged as inappropriate and demonetized. In YouTube’s quest to keep advertisers away from hate videos, many creators saw some of their videos cut off from ads. This was colloquially called the “adpocalypse” by many YouTubers. It was especially painful at the time because YouTube had been one of the only platforms to provide a steady source of income for digital talent, letting creators keep 55% of ad revenue generated by their videos.
YouTube declined to comment for this story.
"Facebook comes out from the shadows: 'Hello Brandon, we understand YouTube is f------ you over,'" Rogers said. "They brought me into the office. We had a YouTube sh--talking contest. They offered me a 20-episode webseries: 'We understand you’re a risky kind of a guy with your humor.'"
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
Rogers worked on that series for about six months, putting aside most of his work on his YouTube channel. He had complete creative control and got a flat budget. He worked with just two other people on it and had little overhead.
“We made a good chunk of change from it,” he said.
He’s proud of how the show, called “Stuff & Sam,” turned out. “The series was really, really awesome,” he said. But he doesn’t know how Facebook felt.
“Every time I would talk to them, they’d say, ‘Oh it’s funny’ — but they have to say that … I don’t know whether they liked it or not.”
He said he only got one real note.
“They did call me once, once to specifically tone down the blood and feces,” he laughed. “Not eradicated. But just toned down. That was really the only thing.”
Facebook didn’t really market or promote “Stuff & Sam,” which launched in October 2017 as one of its early Watch shows, he said, but it gave him a budget and freedom. And Facebook only demanded exclusivity on it for two weeks, after which he put the episodes on YouTube. The show ended up getting much more viewership on YouTube. For instance, the first episode currently sits at 127,000 views on Facebook and 2.5 million on YouTube.
“I couldn't be mad,” he said. Rogers said he thought Facebook helped him reach a different audience, and that he noticed more men coming to his live shows following the release, whereas before it was mainly women.
And there was another benefit: YouTube started to listen to him.
“I mentioned [to YouTube] how much I loved Facebook,” he said. “Suddenly YouTube, they remonetized my videos, every video I put up, untouched. Facebook helped me get my YouTube mojo back.”
“They don’t understand but they try to...”
The main thing Rogers has learned maneuvering the convergence of digital and linear TV, and the birth of new forms of entertainment, is that no one has quite figured it out.
Everyone is "testing" — "testing is a great way to make money" for a creative, he said.
"These old rich white f---ers in ties don’t know what they are doing," he said, but neither do many of the young execs. "No one knows what they are doing … You have to stand out among the rest and a lot of these companies are afraid to."
Rogers recalled one meeting with an exec of a big-name cable TV channel.
"Your stuff, it’s very out there, we love it," Rogers said, imitating the exec. "But you should really, you know, if you bring it down a bit like … Amy Schumer … She’s funny, she’s out there, but she does keep it grounded."
"They don’t understand but they try to," Rogers said of entertainment execs, exasperated.
Rogers said despite the strides made by creators who came up through social media, there is still a negative stigma around YouTubers in Hollywood. But he has the opposite view.
"No, we are actually better than you," Rogers said in regards to more traditional movie or TV stars. "You got chosen. You got lucky. We have to promote ourselves. We have to go out there and do everything on our own."
Rogers is currently touring with his live show:
10/7 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
11/4 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
11/17 – Austin, TX – Stateside at the Paramount
11/25 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Amaturo Theater
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