In celebration of the new Amazon Original Series HARLEM, Allied created and executed a free pop-up experience at the historic Harlem Parish honoring female Black-owned businesses and their executives, and the community of Harlem. The activation included a premiere after party for talent and VIPs, a press and influencer screening, and a two-day marketplace open to the public which featured a variety of programming including panels, fitness classes, and even paint & sip sessions. The event was very well received by the client, the community, our partners! The project was a shared labor of love across several teams. Be sure to watch HARLEM on Prime Video!


Ad Vendors / Platforms

  • Researchers discovered a batch of apps downloaded from Google Play more than 300,000 times before thy were revealed to be banking trojans that surreptitiously siphoned user passwords and two-factor authentication codes, logged keystrokes, and took screenshots. The apps—posing as QR scanners, PDF scanners, and cryptocurrency wallets—belonged to four separate Android malware families that were distributed over four months. They used several tricks to sidestep restrictions that Google has devised in an attempt to rein in the distribution of fraudulent apps in its official marketplace. (Ars Technica)

  • Verizon does not need to get permission from users before tracking their activity. The towers, servers, and networks built by Verizon can see everything you do on your device that requires cellular data. Users have the ability to opt out, but all users are automatically tracked. (Inc)

  • In the advertising sphere, TV has been the most important sell because it has always commanded the highest CPMs. This article argues that full-motion digital billboards are the new television. Soon we’ll see 3D holographic ads on streets and buildings, as well as in the sky itself. (ad age)

Awards / Festivals

  • After receiving two nominations for the 2022 Grammy Awards, Drake has withdrawn his nominations. He was nominated for best rap performance for his song “Way 2 Sexy” and for best rap album for Certified Lover Boy. Though it's unclear why the four-time Grammy winner and his management withdrew the nominations, the decision follows the artist speaking out against the Recording Academy following The Weeknd’s high-profile snubs last year. (THR)

  • Aleem Khan’s directorial debut After Love was the standout performer at this year’s British Independent Film Awards. The film — about a widowed Muslim convert who uncovers the secret life led by her late husband — landed six awards, including the top honor of best British independent film. (THR)

  • Netflix is launching an 11-day stand-up comedy mega-festival in Los Angeles featuring 130 comics. Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival will take place across 25 venues from April 28-May 8 2022, including The Greek Theater and The Hollywood Bowl. The lineup features Gabriel Iglesias, Kevin Hart and controversy magnet Dave Chappelle. There’s also an LGBTQ+ Celebration event that includes Margaret Cho, Tig Notaro, Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, Sandra Bernhard and others. (THR)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story will not screen in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman or Kuwait. In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — considered the strictest in terms of censorship — the film wasn’t granted a release certificate. In the remaining countries, censors requested cuts Disney refused to make. The film had been due for release on Dec. 9 and was on all major cinema websites. Sources told THR the decision was due to the character Anybodys, written as transgender in the new adaptation and played by nonbinary actress Iris Menas. With homosexuality officially illegal across the Gulf, films that feature any LGBTQ references or issues often fall foul of the censors. (THR)

  • Disney's animated musical Encanto led the post-Thanksgiving session at the box office, usually a quiet weekend following the holiday. This year was further complicated by the ongoing pandemic. Encanto grossed $12.7 million from 3,980 theaters in its second weekend for a domestic total of $58 million and $58.1 million overseas — where omicron is more of a concern — for a global cume of $116.1 million. The pic is setting records in parts of Latin America, where it has earned $5.9 million in Colombia, the film’s No. 1 international market behind France ($6.5 million). (THR)

Live Events / Attractions

  • Ticket scalping has long been an issue with event ticketing, with Ticketmaster recently coming under fire when BTS tickets were seemingly snatched up by scalpers before sales opened to the general public. UK-based ticketing platform Ticketpass, founded in 2016, was developed with the goal of enabling ethical ticket resales. The platform allows for reselling of tickets at face value, and lets fans easily pass tickets on to someone else. In addition to donating half of all its booking fees, Ticketpass caps its fees at £5, regardless of the ticket price. Ticketpass is doubling down on the UK for the next year, and had plans a US expansion in the near future. (XLIVE)

OTT / Streaming

  • FX's two-year-old hub on Hulu, “FX on Hulu,” will rebrand to just “FX” with the network’s logo now appearing above the titles on all of its programming. The change, which begins this month, includes new scripted originals as well as library titles developed by Landgraf and company. The FX brand will also be used internationally as programming makes its way to Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in other territories that aren’t age gated because of their adult content. (THR)

  • More than 30 Democratic members of Congress have raised concerns about Discovery’s proposed $43B takeover of WarnerMedia, owner of CNN, HBO, Cartoon Network, and the Warner Bros. television and film studio. In a letter to the U.S. Atty. General, the lawmakers said the proposed consolidation “raises significant antitrust concerns” and warranted increased scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division. This represents the first major pushback against the deal in the U.S. (LA Times)

  • Discovery has reportedly entered into talks with BT to buy BT Sport. This is a late development for BT, which is said to be in the late stages of negotiations with DAZN regarding a £600M takeover deal. In contrast to DAZN, which reportedly wants to buy the broadcaster, the FT claims that Discovery has offered to create a joint sports venture with BT to create a larger competitor to Sky Sports. Discovery is the European rights holder to the Olympics while BT’s flagship property is the UEFA Champions League. (DigitalTVEurope)

  • ViacomCBS and South Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM have unveiled a strategic partnership that will “bring premium entertainment to audiences worldwide with a comprehensive global deal that includes co-productions for original series and films, content licensing and distribution across ViacomCBS’ and CJ ENM’s leading streaming services.” Under the pact, streaming service Paramount+ will debut in South Korea in 2022 as an exclusive bundle with TVING, CJ ENM’s streaming service, marking its first entry to the Asian market. CJ ENM recently agreed to acquire Endeavour Content, supercharging its Hollywood ambitions. (THR)

  • Roku now makes most of its money selling ads. To broaden business, it'ss been taking baby steps into the world of making its own programming. That’s why The Information is predicting Roku will take a giant leap in that direction next year by buying a film and TV studio. Among the likely candidates are Lions Gate Entertainment, which has said it is considering spinning off its Starz cable channel business. That would make Lions Gate a more appealing target for acquisition by any companies looking to beef up their film and TV production—including Roku. And at a likely price of about $6 billion, the studio—whose library of hit movies includes “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight”—would be easily affordable. (The Information)

  • Netflix is aiming to boost its editorial efforts with the launch of a new website called Tudum. It marks a new push into the publishing world by Netflix, which already runs several editorial and social channels like Strong Black Lead and Geeked. Tudum will function under the streamer’s marketing division and content will be curated according to a subscriber’s viewing habits. Meaning, a subscriber watching Bridgerton will be fed stories about the series when they open Tudum on devices where they are logged into Netflix. Tudum can be accessed worldwide but is currently available only in English. (THR)

  • Fox Corp. is ready to flip a switch and stream Fox News directly to consumers — if the state of the pay TV business necessitates it. Speaking at a UBS conference last week, Fox CFO Steve Tomsic underscored the company is committed to the linear pay TV business for its sports and news assets but added it is ready and willing to push further into streaming if it has to. (THR)

  • AVOD platform Pluto TV is set to launch in Australia ‘soon’. [Mumbrella]

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • So far, mobile devices have proved to be a key part of this year's holiday shopping season, especially for browsing. Smartphones made up about 62% of online visits to retailers on Black Friday, up 1.6% from a year earlier, according to Adobe Analytics. Mobile shoppers also were ready to spend money, with smartphones powering 45% of all online sales, up nearly 13% from the prior year. (Marketing Dive)

  • Everything old is new again: the revived Toys R Us plans to open a new two-story, 20,000-square-foot flagship at the American Dream mall in New Jersey. The store is set to open in mid-December, at the tail end of this year's holiday shopping season. It represents the first stand-alone Toys R Us since WHP's acquisition of the brand, and the only U.S. store after two short-lived stores, under a partnership with b8ta, shuttered earlier this year. (Retail Dive)

  • The Average Daily Rate (ADR) for Las Vegas hotels in October was $173.68, well above pre-pandemic levels: up 11.5% from September, up 66.1% from 10/2020, and up 28.3% from 10/2019. Weekend occupancy was 90.4% for the month. (LVCVA)

Podcasts / Music / Audio

  • Spotify has removed the work of hundreds of comedians, including John Mulaney, Jim Gaffigan and Kevin Hart, amid a new fight over royalty payments. Tiffany Haddish, Mike Birbiglia and other popular acts have joined a group of entertainers trying to get paid a royalty on a copyright for jokes they wrote when they're played on radio and digital service providers like Spotify, SiriusXM, Pandora and YouTube. The comedians’ effort is largely led by Spoken Giants. The global rights administration company wants to collect royalties for underlying composition copyrights of spoken-word media—essentially, the comedians’ words—similar to how songwriters are paid. Spotify took the content down after reaching an impasse with Spoken Giants. (WSJ)

  • As subscription revenue increased between 2018 and 2021 as a share of total audio revenues, digital ad spending waned. Advertising will fall to 36.1% of total audio revenues in 2022, but rebound to 37.9% in 2025. While total US audio subscription revenues will remain relatively stable, the category remains competitive. Currently Spotify has the largest share of subscription revenues as Apple, Amazon, and Google all continue to build out their audio businesses. The number of paid audio subscribers has been increasing in the US. That figure will reach 121.9M by year-end 2021, for an 11.2% YoY increase. eMarketer expects future growth to be modest, as penetration for audio subscribers settles at a saturation point. (eMarketer)

  • UMG has inked an expansive global partnership with “avatar technology company” Genies to develop avatars and digital wearables for UMG’s artist roster, building on what it says are the “companies’ early collaborations to bring recording artists into the metaverse." UMG and Genies will equip artists “with official virtual identities for use in Web 3.0 and the shifting age of the Internet." In addition to virtual activations, UMG’s artists will have the ability to release exclusive avatar wearables for their fans to collect and use to outfit their own avatars in the metaverse. (Music Business Worldwide)

Social Media

  • This week, Facebook Messenger begins testing a new “Split Payments” feature to let US users to share the cost of bills and expenses through the app. The company says the new feature is a “free and fast” way to handle finances through Messenger. To use Split Payments, users need to click on the “Get Started” button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. From there, they can split a bill evenly or modify the contribution amount for each individual in the group chat. (Tech Crunch)

  • Instagram has started prompting users with a notification encouraging them to create a new account to “keep up with a smaller group of friends.” The platform already offers options to help users maintain a tighter feed, including setting accounts to private and sharing posts with “Close Friends” only. The real reason for the move is likely better ad targeting. By pushing a user to start over and only follow accounts they identify with, Instagram can target users with more relevant ads -- which, in turn, will drive more engagement. (The Hustle)

  • WhatsApp will now let users set all chats to disappear by default. According to the Verge, WhatsApp has changed its disappearing messages feature to give users more options for the length of time before a message is deleted, including after 24 hours and 90 days. (The Verge)

  • Twitter has acquired Quill, a business-focused messaging service meant to compete against the likes of Slack. It says the acquisition will aid the platform in making the app's messaging tools such as DMs "more useful & expressive." Quill, which launched to the public in February, will shut down and its staff will join the Twitter Experience team. (Tech Crunch)

  • Snapchat has outlined its latest advances in AR. These include new options for Lens developers, opportunities for brand connection via AR display, updates on Snap’s AR-enabled Spectacles, and new real-time data integrations which will enable Lens creators. For brands monetizing their work, Snapchat is also adding a new Lens Call-To-Action option. (Social Media Today)

Video Games

  • Google is bringing its mobile games to PC in 2022. With access to mobile games on PC, players will be able to start a game on mobile and pick up later on PC. (IGN)

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