Why Disney+ is online

Hello and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your business guide to the gaming and media industries. This Thursday, we take a closer look at live streaming on Disney+ and the end of Lightform. Also: An EWlogy (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Next step for Disney+: live broadcast?

Earlier this week, Disney ran a little test that could hint at big things to come: the subscription video platform was streaming the Oscar nominations announcement live.

Did you miss it? You’re not alone. The ad also aired on Hulu and the Academy’s website, meaning the Disney+ viewership for this particular live stream was likely quite small. In fact, I wouldn’t have known either if it hadn’t been for an email from Disney’s public relations department, which included the following statement:

“We conducted a test of live streaming capabilities on Disney+ in the US with this morning’s Oscar nominations. We are pleased with the results and will continue to test as part of our ongoing, iterative approach to delivering the best user experiences to consumers.”

The test has led to all sorts of speculation among industry insiders, who wondered: Why did Disney test live streaming on Disney+ if it already has so many other platforms for live video?

  • One possible explanation: the company is set to ditch traditional TV and move some of its cable networks to Disney+.
  • “People without cable…could just go to Disney+ and select ‘Watch Disney Channel/Disney Junior Live’ and stick with it,” one expert said. speculated.
  • Not so long ago, people would have called this talk crazy. However, last year Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced plans to shut down 100 television networks worldwide in response to audiences shifting to streaming.
  • Then again, Disney still has a number of lucrative distribution deals with pay-TV providers, which generally don’t allow the company to make the same streams available outside of those packages.
  • Disney is more likely to copy the way Viacom, AMC and everyone else does streaming channels these days: instead of taking a 1:1 copy of the Disney Channel, it might launch something new that looks like a kinda, kinda like the Disney Channel online channel. cousin.
  • The company might even launch multiple channels to bring a laid-back experience to Disney+. How about a “Marvel Heroes channel”, a “Disney Classics channel” or a “Star Wars channel?”
  • “I would really like to see Disney+ integrate linear channels focused on brands and shows and even Hulu and ESPN+ content”, tweeted online video consultant Kirby Grines.

However, all of this is not really live programming. If Disney wanted to test the channels, they would test the channels and not broadcast a live event in real time.

  • I guess the test was more about laying the groundwork for real live events.
  • This could include milestone events, like award shows and live TV musicals, or live streams associated with existing Disney events like Expo D23.
  • There may also be room for smaller exclusives that cater to a dedicated fan audience. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that people love casting meetings, even if they happen on Zoom.

Ultimately, live-action programming could become another way for Disney to extend the life of its franchises, which Disney+ has already done very well. MCU fans, for example, are already getting a slew of Disney+ shows to accompany them until the next blockbuster hits theaters. In the future, we may see live programming as a key part of this puzzle.

—Janko Roettgers

Lights out at Lightform

Projection-mapping startup Lightform, which aimed to turn every surface into an interactive display, is closing. The San Francisco-based company announced on its website this week that it had “suspended all material production” and was winding down operations in the coming months.

Lightform had produced both an all-in-one projector capable of turning surfaces into interactive displays and a modular kit consisting of a Logitech camera and a small computer to bring the same functionality to existing projector setups. The company had also developed its own projection mapping creation software and was exploring ways to miniaturize its technology for incorporation into lamps and other household items.

Lightform blamed the shutdown on the pandemic and its impact on live events and location-based entertainment. “As COVID dragged on, cutting costs wasn’t enough,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We just needed more funding to maintain existing supply chains and launch our new products.” Lightform was unable to raise additional funds and will end support for its existing products and services in August.

—Janko Roettgers


Samba TV leverages the world’s largest independent source of first-party connected TV data, helping brands, agencies and content owners plan, buy and measure it all in one place. The State of Audience report offers the industry’s most accurate insights into TV viewing and ad engagement. Download the report on www.samba.tv

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In other news

Apple acquired AI Music, a startup that — surprise! — uses AI to make music. The company’s website has been taken down and it’s unclear what Apple might use the technology for.

CEO of Emerge on building hardware for the metaverse. The company’s first device has just launched on Kickstarter. Here is the backstory.

FuboTV is testing three-month subscription plans just like people are trying to find ways to broadcast the Olympics. Oh, and the test is set to end just days after the Super Bowl. It’s a way to increase retention, I guess.

What everyone is wrong about Joe Rogan. No, Spotify sticking to Rogan has nothing to do with Section 230.

Tubi streamed 3.6 billion hours of video last year. The Fox-owned free streaming service estimates that ad-supported streaming will overtake subscription video this year.

Fire TV is doubling its live channels. Amazon’s smart TV platform now integrates with 15 streaming services and lets users customize their programming guide.

The rights to “Lord of the Rings” are auctioned off. According to Variety, the film/TV adaptation, merchandising and video game rights to the JRR Tolkien saga are up for sale, with rights holder Saul Zaentz set to auction the properties for at least $2 billion. of dollars.

Take-Two CEO says no to NFTs. Strauss Zelnick told Fast Company this week that the Grand Theft Auto publisher will “steer clear of speculative economics” for now, although he said NFTs and Web3 will likely play an important role. in the game all the way.

Epic will not support Fortnite on the Steam Deck. Tim Sweeney has shot down any hopes that Valve’s handheld console will run Epic’s battle royale, citing cheating issues on the Linux platform powering the Steam Deck.


This week’s news that IAC is shutting down the print edition of Entertainment Weekly didn’t exactly come as a surprise to anyone who paid attention to everything, well, everything, but it’s still sad. EW was an institution, and his death makes someone like me, who spent way too much time and money on magazines in general, a little melancholic. I’ll also miss my kids saying things like “I read about this in the bathroom magazine” every time a new movie trailer comes out (yes, we’re among the few homes left with an active subscription).

But mostly, I’m disappointed that Entertainment Weekly isn’t coming out with a bang. A lot of people were upset when the magazine went from its weekly cadence to a monthly cadence in 2019 without changing the title, but I thought it was cheeky and worth repeating. If other magazines can publish their March issue in early February, why not publish a weekly once a year? Or every time George RR Martin travels to write another book?

And now, excuse me, I have to find a new bathroom magazine.

—Janko Roettgers


Samba TV leverages the world’s largest independent source of first-party connected TV data, helping brands, agencies and content owners plan, buy and measure it all in one place. The State of Audience report offers the industry’s most accurate insights into TV viewing and ad engagement. Download the report on www.samba.tv

Learn more

Thoughts, questions, advice? Send them to [email protected] Have a good day, see you tomorrow.

About Jon Moses

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