• Our Strategic Consulting team developed an all-day, hands-on workshop for the international heads of SONY's transactional (VOD, Electronic Sell-through) division, which I led last week in London. The goal of the day was to strategize with SONY's leadership how the company can best navigate the evolving home entertainment marketplace and accelerate its global transactional business. Discussion topics included Industry Headwinds, the Post-COVID Media Landscape, Transactional Value Props, Language and Communication, and the implications of Web3: Crypto/NFT/the Metaverse. We ended the (very long!) day with 15 concrete action steps, with the opportunity for Allied to support their implementation.


Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • TripleLift is acquiring 1plusX AG, a company that helps publishers and advertisers reach audiences using first-party data, for $150M. (WSJ)

  • Facebook has selected Zefr as its first brand safety measurement partner to report on where ads appear in the platform's Feed section and help brands avoid appearing next to controversial topics. (Yahoo)

  • Microsoft is positioning itself to expand its advertising business, including the possibility of selling more ads in mobile games created by Activision Blizzard. (Marketing Dive)

  • Google has added a new ad unit to its AdSense suite called Related Search. The new ad unit essentially works as a suggested content type prompt on your website, which re-directs users to more of your related pages to increase site engagement. (Social Media Today)

  • Nielsen, known for its ratings that are used to determine advertising rates for TV commercials, may be bought by a consortium of private-equity firms including Elliott Management. Nielsen is valued at about $15 billion including debt. (Reuters)

  • Roku announced it will be rolling out Roku OS 11 over the next few weeks. Changes users can expect to see include the launch of Roku Photo Streams, as well as expanded content discovery menu options, automated speech clarity, and new sound modes. (Streamable)

Awards / Festivals

  • CODA won big at the 2022 Producers Guild Awards, winning the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for outstanding producer of theatrical motion pictures. Winners for TV and episodic comedy included Ted Lasso and Succession. (THR)

  • CODA, Don't Look Up, Hacks, and Succession were the biggest winners at the 2022 Writers Guild Awards. (Variety)

  • Pineapple Street Studios' '9/12' won Podcast of the Year at the Ambie Awards. (THR)

  • Ahead of the Oscars, consumers only know ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Dune’ among the 10 Best Picture nominees. (Morning Consult)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • All but six of the current 22 Broadway productions filled more than 90% of their available seats last week. Most of the ones that didn’t hit that mark came very close. (Deadline)

  • The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, was the highest-grossing broadway musical last week, ending with $3.4M. Coming in second was Hamilton, with $2.2M. (Deadline)

  • Season to date, Broadway has grossed about $568M, with total attendance of 4.6M at about 82% of capacity. (Deadline)

Gambling / Casinos

  • 45M Americans are expected to bet on the NCAA basketball tournament this year, more than 17% of American adults. (American Gaming)

  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City was flooded with gamers who came to compete for $9K in prizes in a two-day Madden NFL ’22 tournament hosted by Esports Entertainment Group. (CDC Gaming Reports)

Live Events / Attractions

  • Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell will perform their Oscar-nominated song “No Time to Die,” from the James Bond film of the same name, during the 94th Oscars ceremony. (THR)

  • There was a line around the block at SXSW to get inside an interactive exhibit decorated with “Doodles,” a collection of NFTs. Doodle holders and curious passersby could enter a Doodle-themed structure to buy a drink at the bar, get Doodles painted on their nails, eat some noodles and display owned Doodle NFTs throughout the exhibit. (WSJ)

  • Disney will temporarily close its resort in Shanghai in response to China’s surging Covid cases. (NYT)

  • Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole, and Green Day will headline Lollapalooza this summer in Chicago. (Pitchfork)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • Warner Music Group will soon acquire Qanawat Music, a top music distributor in the Middle East. The deal will allow Warner Music to expand its presence across the region. (WMG)

  • Apple Podcasts will be adding follower metrics to the platform, allowing podcast creators to see data on followers and time spent listening. (THR)

  • Music artist 24kGoldn performed a virtual concert inside of Roblox's platform. This is the first immersive concert experience from Roblox in partnership with Sony. (Venture Beat)

  • Spotify has two new job postings that will focus on Web3-related projects, meaning NFTs could be coming to your discover playlist very soon. (Morning Brew)

  • A new study has found podcast advertising raises positive perceptions of brands and encourages listeners to take buying action. The study found 65% of listeners paid attention to podcast adverts - more than adverts on TV at 39% and adverts on the radio at 38%. (The Guardian)

  • Shazam has partnered with Bandsintown to enable users to find information and tickets for nearby concerts by ‘Shazaming’ a song or searching for it in the app or on the website. (Billboard)

  • Spotify and Google have announced they are working on implementing Users Choice Billing. Users who’ve downloaded Spotify from the Google Play Store will soon be presented with a choice to pay with either Spotify’s payment system or with Google Play Billing. (Spotify)

NFT / Blockchain / Crypto

  • Heineken has released Heineken Silver, a virtual beer available at the company's virtual brewery in Decentraland. (Mashable)

  • Goldman Sachs is now the first major U.S. bank to trade cryptocurrency over the counter. The bank traded a bitcoin-linked instrument called a non-deliverable option with crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital. (CNBC)

  • Universal Music Group bought a Bored Ape Club NFT for 360K to be the front person of a virtual metaverse band, Kingship. (Reuters)

  • The controversial crypto startup, Worldcoin, is raising $100 million from Andreessen Horowitz and Khosla Ventures to build more eyeball-scanning orbs. (The Information)

OTT / Streaming

  • Experiencing global saturation, Netflix has just 101.8M potential subscriptions left in their top 20 countries, only 6.6M of which are in the US. (Streamable)

  • In an effort to expand distribution across DirecTV platforms, FOX will be debuting FOX Nation and FOX Weather on DirecTV Stream later this month. (Streamable)

  • Hulu subscribers can now add Disney+ for $2.99/mo and not just for a limited time. (Streamable)

  • For a limited time Discovery+ is available for $4.16/mo, 40% off the Discovery+ premium ad-free plan. (Streamable)

  • The Chicago Cubs are potentially launching a Cubs-themed DTC streaming service, allowing Cubs fans to watch without cable or satellite in 2023. (Streamable)

  • The AppleTV app on Android TV no longer allows rentals, purchases, or subscriptions, leaving the app to serve as a portal for the content paid for elsewhere. (The Verge)

  • Netflix is testing a new feature that will raise prices for account sharing. The new option will initially be tested in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru and will roll out over the next few weeks to those markets. (Tech Crunch)

  • Netflix will premiere 398 Originals in 2022, a record for the platform. (TTVNews)

  • YouTube announced it will be introducing free, ad-supported TV to its platform, allowing users to stream more than 4,000 episodes of television at no cost. (Yahoo)

  • The owner of AGM client AMCN has signed a multiyear deal with entertainment-data-mapping company Katch to figure out why consumers like the shows they do. (Variety)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • 1 in 3 U.S. adults, and half of millennials, have tried a CBD product. CBD awareness among U.S. adults has risen 5 percentage points since 2019\ to 65%. (Morning Consult)

  • Instacart will be adding fuel surcharges to customer orders to offset higher gas prices. The surcharge will be $0.40, but this amount may increase over time. (Business Insider)

Social Media

  • Instagram will now have parental controls which will let parents see how much time their teens spend on the app and set limits. (WSJ)

  • Brazil has lifted its ban on social app, Telegram, after the country’s Supreme Court blocked the messaging app two days earlier for failing to comply with court orders. (The Verge)

  • Twitter is testing a new feature for Spaces, allowing a host to share a clip of recorded Spaces on their timeline. The feature is now available to “certain Hosts on iOS.” (The Verge)

  • Following its announcement that it will make creators pay thousands of dollars per year to keep their video content live, Vimeo has now announced that it will instead make major changes to its bandwidth policy. The new cap for monthly bandwidth use is a flat 2TB. (The Verge)

  • Linktree, a tool used to support multiple links in one's link in bio, announced a $110 million all equity round led by Index Ventures and Coatue Management, raising its valuation to whopping $1.3 billion. (Tech Crunch)

Video Games

  • A gaming and esports event originally from Europe called Gamergy will come to Argentina, Mexico, and Chile in 2022. (Produ)

  • The worldwide video game phenomenon, Halo, is now a live-action streaming series starring Pablo Schreiber and premiered last week on Paramount+. (CBS)

  • Netflix will soon introduce “Into the Dead 2: Unleashed,” a shooter title based around a zombie apocalypse which will be the first-ever first-person shooter mobile game. (Streamable)

Interesting Campaigns / Creative

  • Arby's teamed up with Pusha T, who created the McDonald's “I'm Lovin' It” jingle, to release a Filet-o-Fish diss track as promotion for its new Spicy Fish Sandwich. The track — in which Pusha claims "a little cube of fish from a clown is basic" — is Arby's latest attempt in integrating itself into pop culture. (Marketing Dive)


  • The UK government published its national AI strategy, which outlines its long-term vision for the technology and its impact on society.

  • Rodney Brooks, the creator of the Roomba, throws cold water on the idea that AI will surpass human intelligence in the near future.

  • A unique look behind the curtain at how one VC fund increased returns.

  • How Peloton uses design and gamification to keep people on the exercise platform.

  • If you think gentrification is about new coffee shops and high rents, you are missing an essential aesthetic element.

  • Watch out for the Trisolarians! Scientists might have found the first-known planet orbiting three stars at once.

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