Архив метки: IP

Warner Bros. in talks about a Harry Potter TV series for HBO Max

Warner Bros. is in talks about a Harry Potter Max Original series on HBO Max, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to TechCrunch. The company is nowhere near striking a deal yet, the source tells us.
Bloomberg was the first to report about the potential deal. Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) CEO David Zaslav and HBO chief Casey Bloys have apparently been trying to convince author J.K. Rowling to approve the series.
Potterheads everywhere will likely be excited about a future series, being that Harry Potter is overall the best-selling book series, with over 600 million copies sold. In total, the eight films based on the series generated $7.7 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
The Harry Potter brand has turned into many products and spinoffs, with the most recent being the video game Hogwarts Legacy, which Warner Bros. published in February and has sold more than 12 million copies so far. There’s also a stage production called “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” that had its official opening night on June 19, 2022.
Warner Bros. has wanted to do more with the popular book series for a long time. The company previously said it would take “full advantage” of its IP, including Harry Potter, noted Zaslav during the Q4 2022 earnings call.
“I believe that we have an overwhelming advantage in the marketplace with the IP that we own,” Zaslav said. “We have the strongest hand in the industry, with the most complete portfolio of assets and globally renowned franchises, personalities and storytelling IP across sports, news, nonfiction and entertainment, in virtually every region of the globe and in every language.”
Other plans include new films based on The Lord of the Rings franchise, a prequel series for Stephen King’s “It,” and more “Game of Thrones” projects. WBD has also brought on filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran to reboot the DC Universe.
Next week, the company will hold a press conference to announce its new streaming strategy, which will see a new streaming service that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ content.

Warner Bros. Discovery plans to keep Discovery+ as a standalone streaming service in the US

Warner Bros. in talks about a Harry Potter TV series for HBO Max by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
Warner Bros. in talks about a Harry Potter TV series for HBO Max

Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside acquires Stremium to bring live, interactive shows to your TV

Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside, which today offers podcasters and other creators a way to host interactive, live shows with audience engagement, will soon expand to the TV’s big screen. Variety reported, and Fireside confirmed, it’s acquired the open streaming TV platform Stremium, which will allow Fireside’s shows to become available to a range of connected TV devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, smart TVs and others.
Deal terms were not disclosed. Cuban retweeted Variety’s reporting but made no other public comment.
A company spokesperson confirmed the deal to TechCrunch, noting it was for a combination of IP and talent.
“Fireside has acquired all of Stremium including its full team and intellectual property,” the spokesperson said. “The company is the first interactive web3 streaming platform and the acquisition will help Fireside accelerate delivering on being the only platform that turns creators, celebrities, brands, and IP owners into the studio, networks, and streaming services of the future. Expect other major announcements coming soon on this front,” they added.
Launched just over a year ago, Fireside arrived on the heels of the pandemic-fueled demand for startups offering live entertainment as well as a growing number of startups catering to the creator economy.
Despite some early — and erroneous — comparisons between Fireside and other live audio platforms like Twitter Spaces or Clubhouse, the startup gained traction due to a differentiated feature set that also prioritizes video content. Shows on Fireside’s platform could be streamed live to its app, recorded, saved, or even simulcast to other social networks. The app additionally includes audience engagement tools and other features to aid creators with promotion, editing, measurement, distribution, monetization, and audience growth, all of which are part of Fireside’s end-to-end content production experience. More recently, the company had been exploring web3 technologies, including NFTs.
Co-founded by Cuban, early Yammer employee Mike Ihbe, and former Googler, YouTuber and Node co-founder Falon Fatemi, who sold her last company to SugarCRM, Fireside has managed to attract some high-profile creators like Jay Leno, Michael Dell, Melissa Rivers, Craig Kilborn, and screenwriter and Entourage creator Doug Ellin over the past year.
In a letter to Fireside investors published by Variety, Fatemi shared that the Stremium acquisition would help Fireside to offer a “second screen experience where the audience can use their phones to engage and interact in real-time while watching on their TVs.”
“Imagine watching a live cookalong show with your favorite chef simultaneously on your TV and your phone where you can interact and get invited to talk directly to them and even show them what you are cooking from the palm of your hand,” Fatemi explained. Plus, Stremium’s infrastructure would allow creators to upload, publish, program and distribute their live shows across both mobile and TV, she added. (Stremium confirmed to us the letter’s accuracy.)
TechCrunch this February reported Fireside was in talks to raise a $25 million Series A that valued its business at $125 million. That round has since closed, but Fireside hasn’t yet made a formal announcement about raise, investors, or its valuation. We understand this may be because Fireside is still adding some additional strategic investors to the deal, and it plans to detail the fundraise soon. Of course, the funding may have helped pave the way for Fireside to make this new acquisition.
Other investors in Fireside include the Chainsmokers, HBSE, Goodwater, Animal Capital, and NFL stars Larry Fitzgerald and Kelvin Beachum and former NBA star Baron Davis, in addition to Cuban. Ahead of its Series A, Fireside had raised around $8 million.
Stremium had been developing a service that allowed consumers to aggregate all their favorite channels using their “TV Everywhere” credentials and use a cloud DVR instead of downloading separate streaming apps. It also included a selection of free streaming channels. But the service faced an increasingly competitive landscape where there are now numerous ways to watch free streaming content, like Tubi, Pluto TV, The Roku Chanel, Freevee (formerly IMDb TV), Plex, and more. Meanwhile, cord-cutting is accelerating leaving fewer people with cable TV logins for Stremium to market its services to.
The Stremium website is now pointing visitors to Fireside and confirms the acquisition. Fireside is aiming to release its TV product sometime next year as a result of the deal.
Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside acquires Stremium to bring live, interactive shows to your TV by Sarah Perez originally published on TechCrunch
Mark Cuban-backed streaming app Fireside acquires Stremium to bring live, interactive shows to your TV

HTC looks to the metaverse for answers

LG officially pulled the plug on its smartphone division in April of last year. It was another signpost in a dramatically changing mobile market that had left the electronics giant behind. HTC tends to be lumped into that conversation, though the Taiwanese manufacture has — in spite of everything — continued to press on, even after Google acquired around half of the company’s phone talent and IP in 2017.
HTC’s mobile division has spent the last several years searching for the right angle to recapture some of that magic. In 2018, it was the HTC Exodus, which was undoubtedly ahead of the curve as a blockchain/crypto-focused handset. That device, predictably, failed to make a dent. Now the company’s back with another trend-surfing handset, the HTC Desire 22 Pro, a “metaverse” focused device it’s been teasing for a few weeks now.
This time, at least, the company’s got a leg up in that department, as one of the primary manufacturers of VR headsets through its Vive line. HTC is positing the Desire 22 Pro as “the phone to carry you into the future” and “the perfect companion with Vive Flow VR glasses.” On the face of it, however, it’s a fairly middling mid-range device with limited claims to actual metaversiness.
The product sports a 6.6-inch 1,080 x 2,412 display with a 120 Hz refresh rate. Inside you’ve got Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 695 5G, coupled with 8GB or RAM and 128GB of storage. Any actual metaverse functionality appears to be little more than marketing from a company struggling to rediscover its footing in the cruel and unforgiving world of mobile phones.
Image Credits: HTC
It does, however, apparently sport a digital wallet and an NFT, as evidenced by the above images of cats posing as classical artwork. Though, as noted, such functionality appears to be limited to select markets.
If all of that sounds good for some reason, the handset is up for preorder now and set to start shipping August 1.
HTC looks to the metaverse for answers

6 investors on 2021’s mobile gaming trends and opportunities

Many VCs historically avoided placing bets on hit-driven mobile gaming content in favor of clearer platform opportunities, but as more success stories pop up, the economics overturned conventional wisdom with new business models. As more accessible infrastructure allowed young studios to become more ambitious, venture money began pouring into the gaming ecosystem.
After tackling topics including how investors are looking at opportunities in social gaming, infrastructure bets and the moonshots of AR/VR, I asked a group of VCs about their approach to mobile content investing and whether new platforms were changing perspectives about opportunities in mobile-first and desktop-first experiences.
While desktop gaming has evolved dramatically in the past few years as new business models and platforms take hold, to some degree, mobile has been hampered. Investors I chatted with openly worried that some of mobile’s opportunities were being hamstrung by Apple’s App Store.
“We are definitely fearful of Apple’s ability to completely disrupt/affect the growth of a game,” Bessemer’s Ethan Kurzweil and Sakib Dadi told TechCrunch. “We do not foresee that changing any time in the near future despite the outcry from companies such as Epic and others.”
All the while, another central focus seems to be the ever-evolving push toward cross-platform gaming, which is getting further bolstered by new technologies. One area of interest for investors: migrating the ambition of desktop titles to mobile and finding ways to build cross-platform experiences that feel fulfilling on devices that are so differently abled performance-wise.
Madrona’s Hope Cochran, who previously served as CFO of Candy Crush maker King, said mobile still has plenty of untapped opportunities. “When you have a AAA game, bringing it to mobile is challenging and yet it opens up an entire universe of scale.”
Responses have been edited for length and clarity. We spoke with:

Hope Cochran, managing director, Madrona Venture Group

Daniel Li, partner, Madrona Venture Group

Ethan Kurzweil, partner, Bessemer Venture Partners

Sakib Dadi, investor, Bessemer Venture Partners

Alice Lloyd George, founding partner, Rogue VC

Gigi Levy-Weiss, general partner, NFX

Hope Cochran and Daniel Li, Madrona Venture Group
Does it ever get any easier to bet on a gaming content play? What do you look for?
Hope Cochran: I feel like there are a couple different sectors in gaming. There’s the actual studios that are developing games and they have several approaches. Are they developing a brand new game, are they reimagining a game from 25 years ago and reskinning it, which is a big trend right now, or are they taking IP that is really trendy right now and trying to create a game around it? There are different ways to predict which ones of those might make it, but then there’s also the infrastructure behind gaming and then there’s also identifying trends and which games or studios are embracing those. Those are some of the ways I try to parse it out and figure out which ones I think are going to rise to the top of the list.
Daniel Li: There’s this single-player narrative versus multiplayer metaverse and I think people are more comfortable on the metaverse stuff because if you’re building a social network and seeing good early traction, those things don’t typically just disappear. Then if you are betting more on individual studios producing games, I think the other thing is we’re seeing more and more VCs pop up that are just totally games-focused or devoting a portion of the portfolio to games. And for them it’s okay to have a hits-driven portfolio.
There seems to be more innovation happening on PC/console in terms of business models and distribution, do you think mobile feels less experimental these days? Why or why not?
Hope Cochran: Mobile is still trying to push the technology forward, the important element of being cross-platform is difficult. When you have a AAA game, bringing it to mobile is challenging and yet it opens up an entire universe of scale. The metrics are also very different for mobile though.
Daniel Li: It seems like the big monetization innovation that has happened over the last couple of years has been the “battle pass” type of subscription where you can unlock more content by playing. Obviously that’s gone over to mobile, but it doesn’t feel like mobile has had some sort of new monetization unlock. The other thing that’s happened on desktop is the success of the “pay $10 or $20 or $20 for this indie game” type of thing, and it feels like that’s not going to happen on mobile because of the price points that people are used to paying.
Alice Lloyd George, Rogue VC

6 investors on 2021’s mobile gaming trends and opportunities

MTV partners with Unrd to create a mobile version of ‘Ghosted: Love Gone Missing’

Mobile storytelling startup Unrd is making its first move into adapting existing intellectual property — specifically “Ghosted: Love Gone Missing,” an MTV reality series about ghosting (the dating practice, not anything supernatural).
Until now, Unrd (pronounced “unread”) has created original crime, horror and romance stories that are told through characters’ phones, through content like text messages, video footage and more.
Starting next week, on November 16, the app will feature a version of “Ghosted” that — unlike the TV show — is scripted, as users explore characters’ text messages, photos and video calls to discover why they’ve been ghosted. They’ll even get to vote on whether the characters should “ghost” or “make up” before they see the stories’ ending (their votes won’t affect the outcome).

MTV Head of Digital Rory Brown told me that this was a “very close collaboration” between MTV and the Unrd team, led by CEO Shib Hussain.
“This is the first time they’ve partnered with an already established IP — but that didn’t scare us at all, to be that first media partner that they worked with,” Brown said. “There was a strong point of view on our side of the house how to keep it true to the existed format, while the Unrd team helped us reimagine it, and our collaboration met in the middle of that Venn diagram.”

Image Credits: Unrd

He also argued that while interactivity can be “a bit of a buzzword in the industry,” Unrd isn’t focusing on “interactivity for interactivity’s sake.” Instead, the aim is to create “a more immersive experience for the user.”
Unrd will feature three stories tied to “Ghosted,” each of them unfolding over six days.
“The key thing that we do different is this notion of real time,” Hussain said. “You can’t just binge it and consume every story in one day. You’ve got to wait with the character for the next message. That’s more immersive, and it also builds that tension and excitement amongst users as well.”
Brown noted that these Unrd stories are launching during a break in the second season of “Ghosted.” The hope is that they’ll keep existing fans engaged while creating new fans as well.
“At MTV, we’re always going to keep looking at ways to test the elasticity of IP,” he said. “I think Unrd is one way to do that. We’re talking to other partners, but Shib and his team have been fantastic to work with and we’d love to keep the relationship going.”

HBO releases a wellness-focused AR app to promote ‘His Dark Materials’

MTV partners with Unrd to create a mobile version of ‘Ghosted: Love Gone Missing’