Entertainment

Karma explores how today’s fragmented entertainment landscape is disrupting legacy media business models in terms of development, financing, production, distribution, and promotion, and the effects and implications on popular culture and society. 

Vivendi’s Canal+ Acquires African Film Studio ROK to Help Cut Losses in France

Vivendi’s Canal+ acquired Nigeria’s largest film production house ROK, expanding into Africa’s growing “Nollywood” film industry while it fights rising competition at home. The deal by France’s pay-TV giant Canal+, according to Reuters, is the first international acquisition in Nollywood.

Smartphone Maker ROKiT Launches $50 Million Indie Game Development Fund

ROKiT, maker of 3D smartphones and handheld devices, launched a $50 million development fund to support independent game developers. The fund, ROKiT Games Limited, will invest in both mobile and console titles. Selected companies will be eligible to receive...

U.S. Podcast Rivals Stitcher, Wondery Team Up with Eyes on Growing U.K. Market

U.S. podcasting rivals Stitcher and Wondery are teaming up to help U.K. advertisers sell to their expanding podcast audience.  The ad networks unveiled a podcast platform, Podfront UK, which allows U.K. advertisers to buy premium inventory for Wondery and...

Music Modernization Act Brings a Level of Fairness to the Industry — But There’s Still Further to Go

Last week, Taylor Swift’s master recordings were sold to music entrepreneur Scooter Braun, reigniting uproar surrounding artists’ rights in the age of streaming.  Music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have long been criticized for skimpy payouts to...

‘Netflix for Podcasts’ Aims to Address Subscription Fatigue

Danish podcasting startup Podimo has attracted investor interest as it seeks to become the “Netflix for podcasts.” The company raised about $6.7 million in an investing round led by Germany’s e.ventures and Denmark’s Heartcore, ahead of the product’s launch later this year. Podimo...

Why Taylor Swift’s Scooter Braun Beef May Be a Turning Point for Modern Musicians’ Rights

Private equity now owns a stake in Taylor Swift, and while she’s not happy about it, she’s taken to the bully pulpit to repeat her concerns over eroding artists’ rights in the rapidly-changing music industry. On Sunday, media mogul...

Earios Takes on the Male-Dominated Podcast Network Space

A trio of female entertainment industry veterans have started a podcast network catering to women, carving out a niche as the nascent format expands rapidly and attracts bigger advertising dollars.  Former comedy agent Priyanka Mattoo joined writers and actresses...

China Yanking Podcast Apps May Chill Investment

China’s two top podcast-sharing Apps -- Himalaya FM and Lizhi FM -- were yanked from some Android markets amid Hong Kong protests, a move that may cool interest from companies who had been eager to invest in the world’s most populous country,...

YouTube’s Kid Issue Isn’t Just a YouTube Problem — It’s the Internet’s

YouTube is in the hot seat again for child safety shortcomings. Last week, The Washington Post revealed that YouTube was in the late stages of a Federal Trade Commission investigation launched following complaints from consumer groups that the site...

Wondery’s $10 Million Highlights Promise, Pitfalls of Podcast Industry

Wondery, the podcasting company that spawned the hit TV show “Dirty John,” announced a $10 million private equity cash infusion in a move that highlights rapid growth in the nascent corner of media as well as challenges to reach wider audiences.

Imgur Investment May Open Revenue Streams for Meme Creators

As consistent advertising revenue becomes harder to come by, micropayments are growing as a way for meme-makers and other independent creators to get paid. Meme-hosting site Imgur secured its second big funding round, a $20 million investment from micropayments...

Comcast Champions Media Accessibility with New Eye Control TV Feature

Comcast launched an eye control feature for its Xfinity X1 cable service that it says makes television more accessible for people with disabilities. According to Quartz, Comcast is the first American entertainment company to offer full eye control capabilities to customers.

Epic Games Buys Houseparty to Combat Gen Z’s “Loneliness Epidemic”

Generation Z is on “the precipice of a loneliness epidemic,” according to Sima Sistani, co-founder and CEO of the “face-to-face” video chat app Houseparty. The video app aims to help ease that loneliness. This week Houseparty announced that it...

‘It’s not enough to say a thing.’ Simon Kelly on Impact and ESG Messaging

Impact investment funds and ESG strategists often struggle to distinguish between good intentions and good marketing. It’s not a new idea: tobacco firms once pushed menthol cigarettes as a healthy alternative, and to this day some people believe in so-called “clean coal."

Streamroot’s Tech Aims to Improve “Viewing Experience,” Reach Wider Audiences

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. Delays and interruptions in the delivery of content mean the loss of viewers, which can deeply hurt the financial performance of media companies. But Streamroot believes that its video-delivery systems can eliminate...

The Spring League’s Brian Woods: “What is it you’re doing different than the NFL to grab people’s attention?”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Fluctuating NFL broadcast ratings have spurred an increase in the number of independent football leagues around the United States. Brian Woods is the CEO of The Spring...

Apple News+ Dilemma Stalking Big Media: Matt Lindsay

It’s been nearly two months since Apple launched its $9.99 a month Apple News+, but the debate over its offering to media companies and the public at large is far from over. In exchange for allowing Apple News+ to...

The Power of Toddlers: Why Streaming Giants Need to Take Kids’ Content Seriously

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Netflix has made only four acquisitions in its history: the comic book company MillarWorld, Albuquerque’s ABQ Studios, the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, and now small children’s...

Streamroot’s Tech Aims to Improve “Viewing Experience”, Reach Wider Audiences

Delays and interruptions in the delivery of content  mean the loss of viewers, which can deeply hurt the financial performance of media companies. But Streamroot believes that its video-delivery systems can eliminate these problems and improve streaming quality...

Why Consolidation Could Ruin Hulu and Other Streaming Services

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. The tongue-in-cheek tagline of Hulu’s first national ad campaign, “we’re about to ruin TV for you,” may ring true for TV fans — but not in the...

The Spring League’s Brian Woods: “What is it you’re doing different than the NFL to grab people’s attention?”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Fluctuating NFL broadcast ratings have spurred an increase in the number of independent football leagues around the United States. Brian Woods is the CEO of The Spring...

Peter Cosco: “Frothy Environment” Continues for Deal-Making in Media Startups

Strategic Investors: Profiles of investors with strategies to consider. As an investment bank specializing in the media sector, Palazzo is navigating stormy seas. M&A activity is brisk and there has been no shortage of IPO activity, with both Pinterest and Zoom going public in April. Yet, the...

ScreenCraft’s John Rhodes on the State of Hollywood: “We live in a weird spot right now.”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Open Screenplay, a new screenwriting platform, launched earlier this year with hopes to democratize the screenwriting process. The Toronto-based startup has already picked up backing from several...

Luminary’s Launch Serves as a Warning to Future Podcast Challengers

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. It has been a rough freshman week for podcasting’s first $100 million VC darling. Luminary, the buzzy new startup heralded as “the Netflix of podcasts,” launched on April...

Merrill Brown: Ads Won’t Save Media Companies, But They’re Still Part of a Diversified Revenue Play

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. The cannibalization of journalism and digital media sites by major technology companies has undermined the old advertising revenue model, but new business strategies are emerging. Merrill Brown, CEO...

John Rhodes: “I recognized an opportunity to create a more meritocratic system for identifying talent.”

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. There’s no business like show business: In 2018, film revenue hit all-time highs of $11.9 billion in North America and $41.7 billion globally, signalling that there are more opportunities than ever for emerging...

Chad Huffman: “It’s not about the content being king. It’s about good content being king.”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. So far, 2019 has seen the audio industry abuzz with acquisition deals, new funding rounds, and snazzy new feature launches. As the music-streaming industry evolves, what’s in...

Friends In Need: Google and Amazon End Streaming App Feud

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. As streaming becomes an increasingly crowded field, two tech giants have decided that “kiss and make up” is a better strategy to continue growing their user bases and fending off newer...

360Learning Raises $41 Million to Support Expansion in the UK, U.S.

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. 360Learning, an e-learning training platform for business, raised $41 million in a Series B investment to fund an aggressive push into the U.S. and U.K. Investors in the round included Bpifrance, Hi Inov -...

Esports Brand Gen.G Adds Will Smith, Soccer’s Honda as Investors in Raising $46 Million

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Esports company Gen.G raised $46 million in new funding from celebrity investors including Will Smith and soccer player Keisuke Honda to help pay for a global expansion and a new headquarters...
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