HEADLINE NEWS FROM THE SOCIAL SPACE
YouTube Theater Opens At Hollywood Park
YouTube will be opening a 6,000-seat performance venue, named the ‘YouTube Theater’ later this summer. The site will be opening at the Hollywood Park sports and entertainment complex and will open as part of an exclusive multi-year booking agreement with Hollywood Park. The new YouTube venue will host concerts, stand-up comedy, award shows, esports competitions, community events, conferences and other events that feature YouTube creators.
A statement from YouTube’s VP of Brand Marketing stated:
“YouTube Theater will drive the uniqueness of YouTube by combining physical, ‘in real life’ events that bring creators and fans together, while simultaneously sharing that same event experience with our two billion global monthly users through live streams and VOD content”
The aim of the theater is to ultimately drive opportunities for creativity and help support creators to build businesses and expand their communities. The venue will combine state-of-the-art technology and premium amenities to enhance both the experience for creators and their fans. This is not the first deal that YouTube’s parent company Google has had with Hollywood Park – recently Google Cloud became the exclusive cloud partner of the Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and the SoFi Stadium. YouTube will also be the exclusive video services and music streaming partner of YouTube Theater, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. Furthermore, YouTube will be the exclusive video services partner and official music streaming services partner of the Rams and Chargers.
SpaceX’s Starlink Progress
SpaceX is spending between $5 billion to $10 million to set up Starlink. Starlink essentially provides internet through a network of satellites orbiting low enough to actually be visible to stargazers. The initial costs are staggering, but SpaceX could be spending as much as $30 billion to provide internet to even the most isolated areas of the globe. Currently, Starlink supplies internet to 12 countries and active users are growing, with reports stating that the figure is already at 69,420 users. Elon Musk also announced that Starlink could soon offer the service everywhere except the polar regions by August.
The expensive venture is currently working at a loss, hardware costs around $1,300 to produce but is selling for $499. However, in the long-term, the company aims to recoup losses, with Starlink having the potential to make 10 times the revenue of the rocket-launching branch of SpaceX.
Cameo Names Nundu Janakiram First VP of Product
Cameo is a video-sharing website that was created in 2016 by Steven Galanis, Martin Blencowe and Devon Spinnler Townsend. The platform enables celebrities, public figures and influencers to send personalized video messages to fans for a fee, these messages also include live Zoom calls and DMs. The platform had a surge in usage during the pandemic, and as of May 2020, it was reported that 30,000 celebrities joined the platform. New integrations have also since been added that include gift cards, a rush option (24 hour Cameo turnarounds) and digital wallets – allowing creators to gather more insights into their revenue.
Now Cameo has hired Nundu Janakiram as VP of product, who previously worked at Uber as director of product and YouTube as head of consumer viewing experience. In the role, Janakiram will be improving user experiences, launching new fan interactions and investing in B2B opportunities. Cameo recently raised a $100 million Series C funding round, which was said to be allocated into areas such as user experience, new product launch and reaching new consumers and markets – areas that Janakiram will be working closely on.
NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF INFLUENCERS
TikTok Star Michael Le To Headline Facebook Reality Show
Michael Le, better known as JustMaiko on TikTok, has made a name for himself through dance content on the platform. The creator is now in the top 11 most-followed people on TikTok and founded ‘The Shluv House’ – a collective of creators much like the infamous Hype House. However, the creator also has a popular TikTok family account that features his mum, sister and younger brothers – named ‘The Shluv Family’.
It was announced that Michael Le and his famous family will be starring in a Facebook reality series called The Shluv Family. The show recently premiered across Facebook-owned apps, including Michael Le’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
This is yet another example of creators from TikTok becoming megastars and venturing into new formats. The D’Amelio Family not too long ago announced a show on Hulu, whilst Facebook also hosted ‘Sway Life’, a show featuring another TikTok house – which has since split up.
Norway’s New Law For Influencers
In Norway, it is now illegal to not label a retouched photo on social media. The new law is an amendment of the 2009 Marketing Act to ensure influencers do not perpetuate unrealistic body standards in the country. The changes were made by the Norweigan Ministry of Children and Family Affairs after passing 72 to 15 votes in government. Advertisements with adjustments to body size, shape or skin will now need to be marked with a standardized label designed by the Ministry. This directly impacts celebrities and influencers who receive payment or gifting for a post on social media.
These labels also apply whenever a filter is used on posts and violations of the law will result in fines and in extreme cases potential imprisonment.
This law will be difficult to enforce with some adjustments often being difficult to distinguish, for example, the impact of good lighting can greatly impact the appearance of shots. However, this amendment is a step in the right direction, with many on social suffering from the unrealistic body standards facilitated through the technological advancements of photo and video editing.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH PLATFORMS?
Facebook Launches Bulletin
Mark Zuckerberg announced the beta test of Bulletin via an Audio Room recently. Bulletin is essentially Facebook moving in on newsletters, providing a platform where writers can create content and have their audience pay or receive free content. Facebook announced Bulletin with a host of authors that include Malcolm Gladwell, Mitch Albom and Tan France – to name a few.
Bespoke newsletter platforms are nothing new, with the leading provider currently being Substack – hitting a $650 million valuation this year. Twitter also recently rolled out Revue in January and has seen some success with this added offering on the platform. It is also worth noting that Facebook will not take a cut from creators at launch and will allow creators to choose their own prices. Revue currently takes 5% from authors while Substack takes 10%.
Creators using Bulletin will also own the rights to their content and subscriber list, but the platform will still be somewhat dependent on Facebook – readers don’t need a Facebook account to see content but will have to use Facebook Pay for any transaction.
Facebook’s Bulletin isn’t just for writers – podcasters can also join the platform. Tools will be developed to aid the distribution of the audio format. Creators will also have access to Facebook Live and Audio Rooms to connect with their audience. The platform will be on a separate site with author profiles being customisable, giving control over branding – very much like their own blog. However, to help with discoverability, articles and podcasts will appear in users’ News Feed within the Facebook News section.
Instagram Tests New Content Recommendations Within the Main Feed
Instagram is testing out placing suggested posts and topics in a user’s main feed. This will include instances where it is ahead of posts from profiles that you already follow.
Last year, Instagram added a new listing of suggested posts at the end of your main feed, but it appears the platform is going a step forward by showing content recommendations higher up within an individual’s feed. This move could be polarising as many users still want the return of a chronological feed and to not be bombarded with content that isn’t from friends and family first. However, this move is yet another way Instagram is trying to replicate the success of the TikTok experience. The aim is to serve content in feed that keeps people engaged for longer, something TikTok does very well by being less about who you follow and more about what content is generating high volumes of engagement.
This update from Instagram will also be based on your interests, which will be manageable when viewing suggest posts in-feed. This is something similar Twitter has been testing with its topics, but Instagram might find more success in this area in curating feeds with new engaging content, based on what the individual user has interests in.
Instagram Makes It Easier To Discover Black-Owned Businesses
Instagram has rolled out the ability to label US businesses with Shops on the platform as “Black-owned”. This label will be visible on profiles, making it easier to discover and support black business owners. As highlighted by Instagram, last year the platform community came together in support of Black-owned businesses through 1.3 million Instagram posts being shared showing support during the summer and fall. Businesses located in the US stating in their profiles that they were “Black-owned” or “Black-led” also increased by over 50% during this period, showing the importance of the creation of the specific business label.
Not only has Instagram created the “Black-owned” label, but also curated collections in the Shop tab, allowing users to explore a range of products from Black-owned businesses. This move is part of an ongoing investment in supporting Black-owned businesses on the platform, which speaks to Instagram’s wider inclusivity and diversity pushes, with recent updates also including the addition of preferred pronouns on the platform.