Note: This will be the final 2021 edition of “This Week at AGM.” We'll return on January 10. Happy Holidays, everyone!


Our Dublin team developed and produced the second annual Bytedance wrap up event of the year, for the Trust & Safety team who moderate the Tik Tok platform. The 2 hour virtual event was produced in Dublin and broadcast to 10,000 people across 19 countries. The event comprised strategic insights from global leadership through fireside chats and panel discussions, in addition to a range of entertainment from Tik Tok stars to local talent performing live on stage. We created all aspects of the event from event naming (The Get2Gether) to video production, stage design, media training, asset creation to edit and post production.


Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • Twitter is rolling out auto-captions on videos. The captions will only appear on new videos but will be available globally and in “most languages”. Twitter have previously been criticised for their lack of accessibility. (The Verge)

  • TikTok is testing a desktop streaming software called "TikTok Live Studio". The program will allow creators to login and stream live from their desktop. The feature is set to encourage creators to stay within the app rather than asking their followers to watch them on Twitch or YouTube. (TechCrunch)

  • In an unusual movie, DirecTV is cutting back on channels that viewers apparently aren’t watching much. Some DirecTV customers were notified in October that History Channel, A&E Network, Vice and Lifetime Movies would be removed on Dec. 8 unless they visited the opt-in page and asked to keep them on their grids. A message from DirecTV on its forum site reads: “Some customers with low-to-no viewership of the A&E channels will have them removed from their Select or Entertainment DirecTV base package.” DirecTV hasn't addressed whether it will lower prices commensurately. (MediaPost)

Awards / Festivals

  • The 2022 Independent Spirit Awards nominations have been revealed and A24’s Zola leads the way with seven nods, the most of any project. A24, which often scores multiple Spirit Awards nominations, leads the distributor tally this year with 13 nods. Other top nominees are IFC Films’ The Novice, with five nods, and four-time nominees The Lost Daughter and Wild Indian. (THR)

  • The International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has confirmed it is going ahead with plans to hold an in-person event for its 51st edition to be held January 26-February 6, despite concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Rotterdam moved its 2022 industry events — including the CineMart market and the Rotterdam Lab — online amid COVID-19 concerns. The shift was also a pragmatic one as few international industry attendees from outside Europe would have been likely to attend in person. (THR)

  • In a break from the usual timeframe, APRA AMCOS and the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) are set to honour Australia’s finest creators of film, television, documentary and advertising music at the Screen Music Awards in early 2022. Initially due to take place last month, ongoing uncertainty around restrictions prompted the change of plans. The 2021 Screen Music Awards will instead celebrate Australian screen composers and their music soundtracks at Forum Melbourne on 22 February 2022. (Mediaweek)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • Universal is pushing back the theatrical release of Fast & Furious 10 by six weeks from April 7, 2023, the beginning of Easter weekend, to May 19, 2023. Universal already had the May 19 date reserved for an “untitled event” film. The studio did not provide a reason for the shifts. F10 will now open closer to the lucrative Memorial Day corridor. (THR)

  • Spider Man: No Way Home is breaking box office records all around the globe. The film scored the best ever Wednesday launch ever in the UK with £7.65M and the biggest Mexico opening day ever with $9M. Predictions are being made that the film will hit $1Billion globally. (Deadline)

  • Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff said the studio has no plans at the moment to change its 2022 theatrical release strategy, despite variants of COVID-19 continuing to impact the movie business. Sarnoff said that despite the challenges the 2021 strategy of releasing movies in theaters and on HBO Max the same day is unlikely to be repeated next year. (THR)

  • Sony’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” crushed box office expectations, generating a $253M from 4,336 theaters in North America. It was the best domestic opening weekend turnout of any movie in pandemic times. Prior to this weekend, no other COVID-era film had crossed even $100M in a single weekend. Overseas, the film collected $334M from 60 international markets for a global tally of $587M. It ranks as the third-biggest worldwide opening weekend ever behind “Avengers: Endgame” ($1.2B) and “Avengers: Infinity War” ($640M). (Variety)

Live Events / Attractions

  • Covid-19 outbreaks have caused a string of West End shows to close including Lion King, Hamilton and Cabaret. This is a huge blow to the industry as the festive period typically accounts for one third of income for theatres. (The Guardian)

  • The Omicron variant in the UK has also led to further rules being enforced within the hospitality industry. Nightclubs and large events will require proof of vaccination or negative test for entry. Cinemas and theatres will require attendees to wear face masks. ( Sky News )

  • Stages on both Broadway and the West End have gone dark as the live theater community grapples with COVID, temporarily closing everything from London’s revival of Cabaret to Hamilton in New York. New rules took effect in London last week, which mean theatergoers must show a negative test or proof of vaccination to be admitted. In New York, rules have tightened for children: All kids aged 5 to 11 must now show proof of receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to attend a Broadway show and must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult. (THR)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • A new scripted Audible Original, The Miranda Obsession, will recount the true story of Miranda Grosvenor, who cold-called famous and powerful men from Hollywood to New York beginning in the early 1980s. It will be performed and executive produced by Rachel Brosnahan. The project marks the first for Audible under its partnership with Vice Studios and Wingate Media. It’s currently in production and scheduled to premiere on the platform on April 28, 2022. (THR)

  • Australians downloaded more than half a billion podcasts in 2021, 28% more than the year before, with comedy again the most popular category, followed by news; society & culture and true crimel. Comedy, which includes radio show podcasts, accounted for 118.61 million or 22% of the 543 million podcasts downloaded during the year, but the fastest growing categories were business (up 57% to 22.21 million downloads) and health & fitness (up 54% to 22.16 million downloads). (Mediaweek)

  • Spotify has acquired Whooshkaa, an Australian podcasting platform which lets radio broadcasters turn their shows into monetizable podcasts. Using Whooshkaa’s technology, broadcasters can record live broadcasts and edit out ads, which can be replaced with dynamic, podcast-only ads. Following the acquisition, Whooshkaa’s tech will be integrated into Megaphone, the podcast advertising and publishing platform Spotify acquired last year, and the audio giant will be able to add more third-party audio content to its library. (THR)

OTT / Streaming

  • Terence Winter, the writer and exec producer behind The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire, is launching an ad-supported streaming network next year under Infamous Media, a newly formed indie media company Winter co-founded with Joe Poletto, a former HBO exec. One of the first channels will be focused on mafia and other mob-related TV shows, movies and docs. (THR)

  • Netflix has reduced its pricing in India for the first time since it launched there in 2016. Its costly pricing has been one of the key roadblocks for the service's growth in the country, especially as it competes with rivals such as Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, ZEE5, and SonyLIV among others. The service rolled out a new auto-upgrade feature for existing members starting December 14, letting subscribers auto-upgrade to the next tier if they're comfortable paying the existing prices. (Money Control)

  • JustWatch published a chart showing the most popular streamer by usage on their app by country. Netflix - the streamer with the most global subscribers - leads in most countries. But interestingly, not in India, where Disney’s Fox acquisition, which came with Hotstar, gives them the lead. In China it's iQIYI, and in Turkey it's BluTV. (Entertainment Strategy Guy)

  • BritBox International, the international version of the SVOD, has teamed up with Swedish pay TV outfit C More to launch in the Nordics. Starting in early 2022, C More’s customers will have access to BritBox under the partnership, bringing over 3,000 hours of both new original series and library content to viewers. BritBox content will be available to C More’s customers in Sweden, Denmark and Finland as well as via TV 2 in Norway starting in early 2022. The launch will take BritBox into continental European markets for the first time following launches in the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. (Digital TV Europe)

  • A recent Morning Consult study of US adults found Boomers spend relatively more on telecom services than younger cohorts, but a smaller percentage of that spend goes to streaming. Generational divides in spending are largely driven by the ways that U.S. adults of different ages prefer to watch TV: Baby boomers and Gen Xers tend to spend more on cable TV services each month, whereas Gen Zers and millennials rely more on streaming services. (Morning Consult)

  • CNN plans to pull its original series off HBO Max and put the programming on its own streaming service as the cable news channel prepares to launch CNN+ next year. The programs that will likely move include popular food shows starring Anthony Bourdain and Stanley Tucci and other CNN original series and documentaries, according to a person familiar with the matter. CNN no longer plans to produce shows for HBO Max, which is owned by the same parent company, AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia. (Bloomberg)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • Supergreat, a beauty-focused live streaming and shopping app, has raised $20 million in a funding round led by Greenoaks and joined by Shopify. The startup, based in New York, is best known as a source for creator-generated product reviews and beauty tip videos. In a beta test launched last month, Supergreat is trying out one-click integration for beauty businesses on Shopify. That way, Supergreat creators can review business’ products and sell on their behalf. A full rollout hasn’t yet been announced, but there’s already a waitlist for participants to join. (The Information)

  • France announced last Thursday that because of surging COVID-19 cases in Britain only designated categories of people would be allowed to travel between the two countries, and anyone arriving from Britain would have to self-isolate. The new restrictions mean the only people allowed to travel from France to Britain are British nationals returning home, people attending a funeral of a close relative, people traveling for medical reasons, people carrying out essential work, and some other exceptional cases. Under the new rules, people are only allowed to travel from Britain to France if they are a French citizen, or a foreigner permanently resident in France, are carrying out essential work, or are in transit for less than 24 hours. (Reuters)

  • Americans’ Comfort With Dining Out Drops Back to September Levels: 64% of U.S. adults said they feel comfortable going out to eat at a restaurant as of a Dec. 9-12 survey, down 3 percentage points from the previous week, the lowest comfort with the activity has been since September. Comfort with dining out remained at 64% all through September, and then hit 70% in late October, roughly matching a record high for the activity first set on the Fourth of July. (Morning Consult)

Social Media

  • Instagram is testing longer videos on Stories. Videos of up to 60 seconds will no longer be segmented. ( 9to5 )

  • Instagram now has more than 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, according to employees with knowledge of the key metric. Facebook doesn’t break out Instagram revenue or users in its financials, and the last time it disclosed user numbers was June 2018, when the app topped 1 billion MAUs. The milestone comes as Instagram faces heightened scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators and stiffer competition from TikTok. (CNBC)

  • Reddit has confidentially submitted a draft registration with the SEC for an initial public offering of stock. The social media company said in August that it was worth more than $10 billion after a new funding round. Founded in 2005, Reddit sold itself in 2006 to Condé Nast, the magazine publisher that owns Wired. In 2011, it spun out and became a separate company owned by Advance Publications, Condé's parent company. Advance remained the majority shareholder through several rounds of financing, but by 2019, its stake was reportedly reduced to 30-35%. It wasn't clear how much Advance owns today. (Protocol)

  • Around 1 in 5 social media users in 7 countries most want to see pictures that don’t use filters from the people they follow, and the stakes for professionals choosing to modify content are higher. This year, Norway made it illegal for influencers to share retouched photos without a disclaimer, and this line of thinking is catching on among consumers. A quarter of internet users say influencers should make it clear when they use filters on their photos. (GlobalWebIndex)

Video Games

  • Minecraft has passed 1 trillion views on YouTube. The world-building game first appeared on the platform in 2009 and has grown to become one of the biggest YouTube communities. There are more than 35,000 Minefract creators on YouTube across 150 countries. This is in addition to the 140 million who play Minecraft across PC, mobile devices and video game consoles. (CNET)

  • This past weekend, Hades made history by becoming the first video game to ever win a Hugo Award, an annual literary award presented to the best science fiction or fantasy works from the previous year. Hades was developed by Supergiant Games and released after a period in early access last year. (Kotaku)

  • Tencent is adding to its already large roster of video game studios by acquiring Slamfire, the parent company of Back 4 Blood developer Turtle Rock Studios. Turtle Rock will be “retaining its independent operations” in California and the current leadership team will still run the studio. (The Verge)


  • 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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