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The biggest media and technology companies are having an identity crisis – CNBC

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Media companies are having an identity crisis. And, just like in life, coming to grips with who they are will define the rest of their existence.

It used to be simple: there were content companies, distribution companies and technology companies. Disney was a content company. It made movies and TV shows. Comcast was a distribution company. It provided cable hookups to watch programs that Disney (and many others) make. Google was a technology company. It made phones and set-top boxes and operating system software.

The blurring began about a decade ago, when Comcast acquired NBCUniversal (the parent company of CNBC). AT&T, mostly a tech company, went big into distribution when it acquired DirecTV in 2015, then bought content behemoth Time Warner in 2018. 

As television has grown more and more connected to the internet, new layers of distribution have developed. Companies like Roku aggregate streaming applications through hardware. Companies like Netflix aggregate content within a platform. 

Some companies, like Comcast, are trying to play at nearly every level of the media supply chain, offering broadband, creating Flex broadband boxes, developing and selling the Xfinity/X1 operating system, creating Peacock as a new digital distribution platform and selling NBCUniversal content to other platforms. 

Establishing dominance at every level will be difficult. It’s part of the reason why Peacock and AT&T’s HBO Max are holding out from carriage deals with Roku and Amazon, as CNBC reported earlier this week. It’s also why Google suddenly jacked up its YouTubeTV pricing 30% in the middle of the pandemic. Companies can only do so many things well. 

The path these companies choose will dictate how much they spend on content, their M&A strategies, and ultimately, their stock prices. Welcome to the new world order of media.

Three tiers of “distribution”

There are now three different tiers to content distribution, each relying on the layers below it.

The base level of distribution is the same as it’s always been — a pipe to the home. The only difference is now the connection may be mobile broadband (such as Verizon’s 5G Home) instead of cable or fiber.

The next level of distribution is new — aggregating streaming applications, which are replacing linear networks as the main channels of content, and delivering them in new types of hardware and software. 

In the old world, pay-TV companies owned this level of distribution. You’d get a set-top box through Comcast or Dish, and it would contain all the linear TV channels that you subscribed to.

But cable companies often didn’t make their own set-top box, and the makers of those boxes (Cisco, Pace, Arris, TiVo, Broadcom, etc.) didn’t shift quickly or successfully enough to offer digital TV hardware.

Instead, that market went to Roku and Amazon (Fire TV), which control about 70% of the more than 400 million connected U.S. TVs. Apple (Apple TV), Google (Android TV/Chromecast), Samsung, Comcast (Xfinity/Flex), Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (PlayStation) also play in this world. 

That’s a lot of companies aiming to “control the living room,” as Lightshed media analyst Rich Greenfield wrote in a note to clients this week. The companies that control your TV can theoretically run your entire home through connected devices and voice applications. It’s not a stretch to imagine consumers living in an Apple House or an Android House or an Amazon House. 

The third level of distribution are companies aggregating content from different producers within their subscription video services. This is Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and Hulu — services that have licensed content from other companies and added their own original programming. These companies want you to spend as much of your life as possible within their application. As Netflix has said, the main competition is sleep

These kinds of services act as mini-cable services or jumbo networks. “Three to five” of them will ultimately succeed, said Starz CEO Jeff Hirsch in an interview. 

“Whether it’s Peacock, HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon or Disney and Hulu, these guys are going to fighting to be the primary aggregator that serves everybody in the home,” Hirsch said. “Eventually it’s going to be kids, sports, news and weather. These guys are fighting to replace the traditional cable TV bundle.”

Defining yourself

The overlap is where things start to get messy — and where all of the intrigue of media and technology lies right now. 

As Hirsch said, it appears AT&T’s HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock would like to join the ranks of the large umbrella platforms. They want their applications to be the center of your viewing world — hence the slogan “HBO Max: Where HBO Meets So Much More.” This is partly why both of those companies are currently fighting Amazon and Roku in carriage negotiations.

But it’a not clear yet that Peacock will have the breadth of content to do this.

Then there’s ViacomCBS, which is planning to launch its expanded CBS All Access application later this year. Does ViacomCBS also want to be a platform? Its CEO Bob Bakish said earlier this year that he wanted to be both a platform and an arms dealer, keeping some content exclusive and licensing some to other distributors, like it did with Peacock earlier this month.

Can HBO Max get enough subscribers to pay for the amount of content spend it will need to compete with Netflix? Is Apple TV content to be a premium niche service or does it want to be Netflix?

With Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, Disney seems primed to be one of the dominant content companies. But so far, Disney doesn’t own a living room device. Could Disney acquire Roku? Could it build something itself? Does it want to be something closer to Comcast? Does Netflix?

“You could end up with somebody that has Charter‘s Spectrum broadband into the home, with an Apple TV, spending their time watching Peacock,” said Hirsch. “It kind of feels like if you put all these companies in a pot and shake it out, it’s kind of mud. There’s so much flexibility and so many combinations for consumers.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com.

WATCH: HBO Max under pressure to justify price premium, analyst says

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Torque Esports media brands The Race and WTF1 take the lead as world motorsport returns – Canada NewsWire

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  • The Race and WTF1 YouTube channels surpass 526 million impressions in 2020
  • 800,000 subscribers consume the equivalent of 406 years of motorsport video content in 2020
  • Torque Esports motorsport media brands lead the way in both engagement and quantity
  • Esports racing focus drives fan engagement

LONDON, July 14, 2020 /CNW/ — As major international motorsport championships, including Formula 1, begin to return, Torque Esports’ (TSX-V: GAME) (OTCQB: MLLLF) motorsport online platforms The Race and WTF1 are dominating the race for fan reach and engagement.

Torque Esports (which intends to complete its name change to Engine Media tomorrow), oversee the two channels that feature motorsport content across websites, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, cater to two diverging audiences who love Formula 1 and motorsport.

Launched in February this year, The Race features the world’s top motorsport journalists providing detailed insights into the sport to “super-serve the super fan.” The recently-acquired WTF1 platform takes a fun and whimsical look at the world of Formula 1 with a heavy focus on reaching young fans via social media. More than 60 percent of WTF1 fans are under the age of 35.

The two brands’ combined 800,000 YouTube subscribers have recorded more than 526 million impressions in 2020 and watched a total of more than 3.57 million hours of content – that is the equivalent of 407 years of motorsport action.

More than 178,000 subscribers have been added to The Race and WTF1 YouTube channels in 2020 – enjoying both real-world motorsports content and a heavy focus on the fast-emerging genre of esports racing.

While fans continue to flock to The-Race.com and WTF1.com, the two brands’ impact across social media continues to impress.

The Race has become a force at @wearetherace on Twitter – not only serving up the most content of any motorsport news channel with more than 7,400 tweets across 2020, but having a market-leading engagement rate of 6.1 percent. Its closest rival – WTF1 – comes in at 4.8 percent.

During Formula 1 race weekends, the WTF1 audience really slots into high gear – the @WTFofficial channels of Twitter and Instagram enjoying staggering market-leading engagement rates north of 50 percent.

“We’re incredibly proud of the work that our teams at The Race and WTF1 have done in 2020 and also incredibly excited about what the future holds as the sport begins to emerge from its COVID-19 enforced hiatus,” Torque Esports President and CEO, Darren Cox said.

“Our two media brands may both focus on Formula 1 and motorsport, but their audiences are completely different. Being able to cater to such a wide spectrum of fans gives us unparalleled reach and the ability to offer advertising partners access to highly-engaged consumers.

“Our demographic numbers for under 35s for WTF1 are massively unique for the world of motorsport. Between that focus for WTF1 and The Race elevating esports racing as a key motorsport genre – we’re working hard on bringing new fans into the sport.”

While the on-track action has now returned, the focus of The Race on esports as one of its key audience pillars has also paid huge dividends for Torque Esports in 2020.

“The Race was just over a month old when the motorsport world began to shut down in March this year,” The Race’s Head of Motorsport, Andrew van de Burgt said.

“Not only has our exceptional team of journalists been able to provide great insights into what are the next steps for the sport, our inclusion of esports and virtual racing as a key part of our brand has paid off handsomely.

“Esports racing allows the fans to virtually compete in the same cars and on the same tracks as their heroes, and this genre of the sport has gone through an incredible growth phase in 2020.

“Not only did we report on the news, we also created it with the launch of The Race All-Star Series powered by ROKiT Phones and the Legends Trophy.

“We had some of the biggest names of the sport competing in our events, including World Champions Fernando Alonso, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Jenson Button, and Sebastian Vettel. Fans would read about it on The-Race.com, watch all the action on our YouTube Channel and keep up to date with the latest on our social media platforms.”

The series generated 26 million impressions for The Race on YouTube and was shown to millions worldwide on TV on ESPN, Eurosport and more. 71 international networks showcased the series with a weekly highlight program reaching a potential audience of 610 million homes.

While fans are embracing a return to real-world motorsport, Torque Esports continues to gain great benefit from its esports racing endeavors. Last weekend Torque and its racing simulator brand Allinsports tasted victory in the iRacing Spa 24 Hour esports event with an all-star team of sim racers and real-world stars, including Alonso, Ferrari Formula 1 legend Rubens Barrichello and Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan.

Young drivers looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes Alonso, Barrichello and Kanaan also were given their chance to shine. Torque Esports and its gaming tournament and broadcast platform UMG last weekend completed the eight-round Skip Barber eRace Series in conjunction with one of the world’s most prestigious racing schools – the Skip Barber Racing School.

The success of The Race and WTF1 is just part of the impressive growth in 2020 for Torque Esports Corp. (TSX-V: GAME) (OTCQB: MLLLF). Torque confirmed in May that it had completed its acquisition of Frankly Inc. (TSX-V: TLK) (OTCQX: FRNKF) (“Frankly”), and WinView, Inc. (“WinView”) – to create Engine Media – a new brand at the forefront of esports, gaming, news streaming and sports gaming across multiple media platforms.

To date, the combined companies have clients comprised of more than 1,200 television, print, and radio brands including CNN, ESPN, Discovery / Eurosport, Fox, Vice, Newsweek, and Cumulus; dozens of gaming and technology companies including EA, Activision, Blizzard, Take2Interactive, Microsoft, Google, Twitch and Ubisoft; and have connectivity into hundreds of millions of homes around the world through their content, distribution, and platform.

About Engine Media Holdings, Inc.
Engine Media is focused on accelerating new, live, immersive esports and interactive gaming experiences for consumers through its partnerships with traditional and emerging media companies. The company was formed through the combination of Torque Esports Corp., Frankly Inc., and WinView, Inc. and trades publicly under the ticker symbol (TSX-V: GAME) (OTCQB: MLLLF).  Engine Media will generate revenue through a combination of: direct-to-consumer and subscription fees; streaming technology and data SaaS-based offerings; programmatic advertising and sponsorships; as well as intellectual property licensing fees.  To date, the combined companies have clients comprised of more than 1,200 television, print and radio brands including CNN, ESPN, Discovery / Eurosport, Fox, Vice, Newsweek and Cumulus; dozens of gaming and technology companies including EA, Activision, Blizzard, Take2Interactive, Microsoft, Google, Twitch and Ubisoft; and have connectivity into hundreds of millions of homes around the world through their content, distribution and technology.

About Torque Esports
Torque Esports whose brands and businesses include UMG, Stream Hatchet, Eden Games, IDEAS + CARS, The-Race.com, WTF1 and Allinsports visit: www.torqueesport.com

About Frankly Media
Frankly and its wholly-owned subsidiary Frankly Media, LLC, provides a complete suite of solutions for streaming, VOD and advertising visit: www.franklymedia.com

About WinView
WinView is a Silicon Valley-based company, pioneering second-screen interactive TV which is pioneering mobile gaming and interactive second screen viewing through its ownership and licensing of intellectual property foundational patents visit:  www.winview.tv

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” (together, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United States securities laws. Often, but not always, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking information contained in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the Torque’s filing of a listing application with NASDAQ and its plans to file a Form 40-F with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and any regulatory or other approvals required in connection therewith, Torque’s expectations for growth in its operations and business and Torque’s plans for submission of resolutions for shareholder approval. In respect of the forward-looking information contained herein, Torque has provided such statements and information in reliance on certain assumptions that management believed to be reasonable at the time, including assumptions as to obtaining required regulatory approvals. Forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements stated herein to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks.  Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information contained in this news release.

The forward-looking information contained in this news release are made as of the date of this release and, accordingly, are subject to change after such date. Torque does not assume any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by us or on our behalf, except as required by applicable law.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE Torque Esports Corp.

For further information: Engine Media/Torque Esports: Paul Ryan, [email protected] 678-644-0404, or Darren Cox, [email protected], http://www.torqueesport.com

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RNAO launches new social media campaign #Maskathon – Canada NewsWire

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TORONTO, July 14, 2020 /CNW/ – As we continue to battle COVID-19 in our communities and around the world, we must all play a part in staying safe and healthy. That’s why the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) has launched #Maskathon.

The social media campaign builds on #Masks4Canada, an initiative that has moved municipality after municipality to make masks mandatory – with Quebec being the first to make masks mandatory for the entire province. RNAO applauds politicians who realize that masks are an additional effective step to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to save lives and mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

RNAO urges everyone – including children and youth – to wear a non-medical mask or face covering in indoor public spaces (shops, malls, other businesses), busy areas and transit and send us photos via social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) with the hashtags: #Maskathon and #TogetherWeCanDoIt.  

“Nurses, doctors and other health professionals have already spoken out about the importance of wearing masks in indoor public spaces and show that wearing a mask – on top of practising safe physical distancing and good hand hygiene – makes a difference to contain a second wave of COVID-19. #Maskathon encourages you and your loved ones to raise awareness about masks and why everyone should be wearing them to stop the spread of COVID-19,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun, adding we must remain vigilant and do all we can to slow down a second wave of this dangerous virus.  

“Children and young adults many times can act as role models for their siblings and parents by demonstrating that wearing a mask can be fun. This is especially true this summer as we go out more and as businesses, pools and other public places are opening. It is important that we stand together and play a part in this fight against COVID-19,” says RNAO president Morgan Hoffarth.  

What: #Maskathon campaign to encourage everyone – including kids and young adults – to wear a mask in public indoor spaces (shops, malls and other businesses), busy areas and transit.

How to participate: We urge participants to post their pics on social media using the hashtags:  #Maskathon and #TogetherWeCanDoIt. For those who do not have social media, but would still like to participate, please send us your photo at [email protected] and we will share it on our social media channels. Please be sure to also include a caption with your photo (e.g. this is my daughter wearing her mask while grocery shopping with me).

Weekly contest: Every Thursday, we will be selecting one “photo of the week” and sharing it across our social media channels and CEO Blog.

How to wear a mask properly: When wearing a non-medical mask or face covering, please remember to wear it all the way up, close to the bridge of your nose and all the way down under your chin. The mask should also fit snug around your face without gaps.

#Maskathon is the latest initiative of RNAO’s campaign #TogetherWeCanDoIt, which launched on March 19, 2020. The campaign is designed to show support for health workers and other essential personnel who are doing all they can during the pandemic on behalf of Ontarians and around the world.

RNAO is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners, and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit our website at RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

SOURCE Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario

For further information: about #Maskathon, please contact: Victoria Alarcon, Communications specialist/coordinator, RNAO, Phone: 416-408-5610, [email protected]

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Canucks’ Media Night Wars | Sippin’ On A Coffee – Nucks Misconduct

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This doesn’t make much sense.

Joining me on this uncoordinated keyboard smashing is a mutated apple, a cup of vintage office Joe, an incredible fritter from a European bakery (No apologies to Timothy Horton), munchies dominated by Pretzels and finally a glass of non-tap water.

What will all that is on the table ultimately bring to the blog table? Hopefully a read that has your mind content thus leading you to believe that me, yes me, @kylebhawan, may just become a fixture in your hockey life.

And if not, you know the deal.

It is what it is.

Somebody made that up

Another predictable answer for what was a predictable yet necessary rumor.

Ah what a time to be alive,

Why necessary?

This is Vancouver.

Aww man

Well would you look at that? Wagner & facts had to ruin the fun.

Make something up

I had 2 beers only.

If Petey is your bestfriend…

He’d want you ‘round all the time.

If only I had become a professional athlete. Only then I would know how vital personal friendships are in a potentially 10 month long business trip.

But i’m currently living the life I knowingly chose. One that has me blogging away at the medium rare age of 27.

Anyways, if I’m answering the phone calls, i’m listening to the second most talented Canuck of all time.

Do the math

And let’s be honest, anyone who claims to be fans of our favorite sport can muster up this equation.

Canucks in “cap hell” + possibly losing Tanev + having Jim Benning as a general manager + this is Vancouver + invested fanbase + no Stanley Cup in 50 years of existence + a rainy summer + 2020 + Tofolli’s first ten games in blue and green = the obvious.

The morale of the story

It is and always will be a results oriented business. Nobody is safe.

But would you do it?

Do what?

Signal out to the masses of quarantined followers that the team is interested in parting ways with the 2018 Calder Finalist?

If I was a reporter with a trusted source and sits in one of the chairs on Vancouver’s favorite sports radio show, you damn right I would.

But would you do it in 2020?

*Takes a sip of the tea with the fruit and the nuts*

Absolutely not.

Look, I guess I’m not living in my version of a normal world. Things still don’t make sense and rightfully so.

Right?

The outlook of this team has changed for me in such a short and eventful amount of time. Gone are the moments in which I hope this team is taking one step at a time towards the goal a franchise can predict if moved with ease and precision. That couple alone should equate to being overly competitive year in and year out.

Nowadays I, @kylebhawan is just hoping for the best and letting go of those moments we really can’t control. Especially those during a futuristic offseason which honestly could start as early as next month or as scheduled in the late fall.

In my world circa 2020, cap space and asset management really could go down that lost porta potty.

Again, I’m hoping the best for those athletes that represent this city. Who really don’t have to be giving us something to watch let alone monetize. I know this sounds cheesy, even from this Wisconsin native, and it ignores that fact that those same athletes risking it all for your viewership & wallet are also risking it all for their dreams and goals.

But it really is, what is is. For @kylebhawan at least.

Even if I hear it, the above rumor, I ain’t saying sh*t in 2020.

PLUG

As the recently high-school graduate Quavo would say.

MEDIA NIGHT WAR

I’ll be real and I’ll be honest. I don’t really know what’s going on here. @kylebhawan is an old soul who can’t take the time to comprehend a Twitter feud and hopes they would just save it for the ring.

Aka the airwaves.

Or in 2020, anywhere consumable via headphones.

That being said, I am a firm believer in learning new concepts that could help this life of mine. So let’s attempt to comprehend this battle.

A bit of a reach

I actually don’t know if I stand by this header.

It was just there and my dogs at the door.

Drance wants to dance

And did he ever actually hang up?

Wait, what happened?

We at the Nucks Misconduct Network didn’t have enough to clear the bill to air the entire fight on the now 14th greatest Canucks blog according to a unnamed source.

Ahh to be mad at such a putrid sized wallet would be reasonable, I guess.

Nonetheless the show goes on.

Bad luck and sh*t

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

You can call me a piss baby

Honestly, I’ve probably been one a couple hundred times.

It’s all good.

It is what it is.

They’ll take less than you think

I promise.

I should just call this the Taj Report btw.

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