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Quibi Embraces Smallest Screens and Biggest Talent in New Mobile Streaming Service from Jeffrey Katzenberg

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Aging Mogul and CEO Eye Disruption with Innovative Mobile Platform

In a market apparently oversaturated with online video streaming platforms, it may seem like an inopportune time to start up a brand new service for audiences to consume content on their personal screens. This outlook, however, has not stopped Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, two aging entertainment tycoons, in raising over a billion dollars to fund their novel mobile streaming project, Quibi.

Katzenberg and Whitman is, on paper, a corporate match made is heaven. Katzenberg was the chief of Walt Disney Studios during its 1990s animation renaissance and then went on to create DreamWorks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Whitman, meanwhile, was a tech mogul, formerly serving as CEO of eBay and Hewlett-Packard. Both in their sixties, these two veteran experts in their respective industries have recently combined their knowledge to launch Quibi—an upcoming streaming service made for the smallest of screens. Namely, mobile devices.

Of course, watching content on a smartphone or tablet is nothing new. Almost every streaming service has a mobile app, and YouTube alone has a seemingly endless amount of free content for viewers to watch wherever is convenient. Nevertheless, while most of these platforms hold true to the philosophy that the bigger-the-screen-the-better, Quibi embraces the small, personalized screen format exclusively, working it into their very production model.

Can “Turnstyle” Take Off along with 10 min “Quick Bites”?

Quibi is incorporating new technologies and resources to make their content highly personalized and appropriate for smartphone screens. Perhaps the company’s most innovative initiative is its “Turnstyle” format, whereby all content is made for both vertical and horizontal screens.

Unlike most mobile videos that are best watched horizontally, Quibi content will adjust for the phone’s orientation. Thus, there is no optimal way to watch Quibi; viewers can do so however they deem comfortable and switch back and forth in a seamless fashion.

Furthermore, Quibi has factored in the short attention spans of young audiences using mobile devices. Realizing that most mobile viewers seek quick bursts of information or entertainment, Quibi aims to keep its shows between seven and ten minutes long, providing episodic gusts of action often ending on cliffhangers. Moreover, the company is also looking to expand its daily video programming, whereby new content comes out each day.

While this high-turnover temporal model may appear as a mere means of reducing costs for the up-and-coming Quibi, Katzenberg and Whitman are far from pinching pennies for the service. Estimates claim that Quibi will pay its creators up to $125,000 for every minute of scripted and unscripted content, and around $10,000 for the daily programming. This is a bold, yet consciences effort to ensure quality, thus helping Quibi stand out amongst the competition and justify its subscription cost—$4.99 a month with ads, or $7.99 without ads.

The prospect of quality content on Quibi is further confirmed by the copious prestigious names already attached to the service. As aforementioned, Katzenberg and Whitman are far from beginners in the industry, and they have long lists of professional connections. Hence, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro, Steven Soderbergh, Sam Raimi, Anna Kendrick, Kevin Hart, Jennifer Lopez and Zac Efron amongst other A-list names have already committed to Quibi.

Likewise, the company already has investment deals with some of the biggest studios in Hollywood including Disney and Warner Brothers, and will have content connected to ESPN, NBC News, and BBC.

Quibi’s exhaustive and impressive list of attached talent is made possible in no small part thanks to Katzenberg and Whitman’s networking prowess. However, the company is also incentivizing its creative minds with unprecedented terrain to explore on.

Additionally, Quibi promises its talent the right to retain ownership, after a specified interval, over creations. That way, no projects or characters are eternally bound to Quibi—directors can take their ideas to new platforms if need be and can keep all merchandizing and marketing rights to themselves. In a world where syndication dominates the entertainment industry, this is a very rare and appealing offer.

”Too Rich to Fail” Motto seems Apt, and Resonates with with Big Name Talent

Some of the shows on Quibi are already well into production or even post-production. Sam Raimi is working on an anthology series titled “Fifty States of Fright,” where he will be going back to his early horror roots as a filmmaker. Meanwhile, Steven Soderbergh is directing a suspenseful series called “Wireless” for the platform.

The projects that have garnered the most buzz, however, include a documentary series on DC and Marvel Comics spearheaded by “Avengers: Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo, as well as a revived continuation of the hit Comedy Central show “Reno 911!” Projects from Spielberg and Del Toro are yet to be fleshed out, but the two filmmakers’ unparalleled reputations are likely to bring Quibi even more interest.

In short, the industry is certainly on board with Quibi. The real question now is whether or not consumers will be into it. With so much free content to scroll through on one’s phone, many viewers might not see adequate reason to pay a monthly fee for particular shows—especially when they are already paying for Disney+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other services.

Quibi is certainly showing creativity in their use of the mobile platform and they definitely have a lot of promising talent in their corner. Nevertheless, some might deem Quibi’s mobile innovations as excessive gimmicks, and their talent as impressive, but not quite alluring enough of an end to justify the means.

A lot of skepticism existis that this entirely new format, in terms of show length, cost and price as well as the somewhat wacky “turnstyle” tech has a chance to become established. In some ways it is similar to Apple TV+ in the sense that the massive cash hoard backing each service (Quibi at least $1.4 Billion, Apple TV+ $6 Billion+) will ensure that, regardless of how long it takes to become popular with the public, in the end they are “too rich to fail”.

We won’t really know until April 6th, when Quibi officially launches and enters into the streaming war as a tactical and unpredictable underdog.

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Crypto

Lloyd Ostertag aka Elon Musk aka The DogeFather on SNL – full clip

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Above: photo via Twitter credit: Mac Rumors

Was it really a knock on Crypto, or was there a hidden plug in the details?

Elon’s big night in NYC was awkward, as expected and he should probably keep his day job. The highlight, for pretty much everyone on earth (not sure about mars), was the Weekend Update segment where Musk appeared as Lloyd Ostertag, a crypto “expert” dressed in professorial garb.

Watch the clip below, and you will notice that, although the punchline was a dis’ on Doge, saying, or rather “admitting” that it’s a “hustle”, a detailed listening to Musk’s entire speech reveals some gems that go in the opposite direction, for those that follow crypto, and, well, money.

Elon-Musk-Read-More

The dollar is just as real (or unreal) as DogeCoin

In a comedy skit looking like it was designed to avoid scrutiny by the SEC, the writers at SNL, presumably with Musk’s help, decided to put a negative spin on both mentions of DOGE during the show. First, in an exchange with his Mom, Maye, Musk sheepishly grins and nods after she says she “hopes it won’t be DogeCoin” referring to her Mother’s day gift.

He eventually capitulates and, after saying that DogeCoin is “about as real as that dollar” he “concedes” that “it’s a hustle”.

Elon Musk, as LLoyd Ostertag on Saturday Night Live, May 8th 2021

Later, in the “Weekend Update” segment Musk plays “Lloyd Ostertag” who calls himself the “DogeFather” – and the anchors ask repeatedly, in a somewhat dismissive tone, “what is DogeCoin?”. The gag is that he, as Ostertag, eventually capitulates and, after saying that DogeCoin is “about as real as that dollar”, “concedes” that “it’s a hustle”.

Read More UFO Viral Footage Article

While the bulk of his appearance in the segment does reconfirm and support his actual views, in a smirking and slightly deprecating way, as Ostertag”, it also underscores a deeper truth that cryptocurrencies are “as real as the dollar” (some would say more real). However, in the end, the punchline is a negative way to sweep all of that away, with a nod to Buffet, Munger and the SEC, thereby toeing the line and insuring himself one less courtroom headache.

DOGE has the last laugh? Is Crypto dead? Doubtful…

As of Sunday, May 9th, DOGE is hovering around .51 cents. The Muskian peak was .74 cents on May 7th. This means that, although there was a decline on the “news” that Musk would not break the SEC rules by blatantly pumping DogeCoin on live national TV, the coin is still up approximately 33% for the week, 734% for the last month and 19,446% for the last year. And, according to Elon Musk, aka Lloyd Ostertag, aka the DogeFather, it is “about as real” as that dollar in your pocket.

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Breaking News

Was Elon Musk’s weak dis’ on SNL the real reason for DogeCoin’s Drop?

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Is any chosen form of “money” any more of a “hustle” than another?

Elon’s big night in NYC turned out, not surprisingly, to be less than climactic for the Shiba Inu meme crypto coin DOGE as it was seen sinking during the show and on Sunday. A wise man once said “correlation is not causation” and yet can anyone or anything be responsible for the drop in the high flying cryptocoin other than Elon and his Mom?

Elon-Musk-Read-More

In stock market lingo this was what’s known as a “date certain” event. Meaning, the entire world knew that Elon would be on SNL and would, one way or another, mention DOGE, given that he has been endlessly associated with the coin in the media, and it’s a “joke” that has to be told, if only to prove to the SEC that he is really just joking. “Look guys, I am literally on a comedy show talking about this”, he seems to be saying.

“Buy the Rumor, Sell the News”

For good measure, and to avoid scrutiny by the oversight body, he, and the writers at SNL, decided to put a negative spin on both mentions of DOGE during the show. First, in an exchange with his Mom, Maye, Musk sheepishly grins and nods after she says she “hopes it won’t be DogeCoin” referring to her Mother’s day gift.

He eventually capitulates and, after saying that DogeCoin is “about as real as that dollar” he “concedes” that “it’s a hustle”.

Elon Musk, as LLoyd Ostertag on Saturday Night Live, May 8th 2021

Later, in a sketch with 100% focus on the crypto coin, the “Weekend Update” segment features Musk playing “Lloyd Ostertag” who calls himself the “DogeFather” – who is asked repeatedly “what is DogeCoin”. He eventually capitulates and, after saying that DogeCoin is “about as real as that dollar” he “concedes” that “it’s a hustle”.

While the bulk of his appearance in the segment does reconfirm and support his actual views, in a smirking and slightly deprecating way, as Ostertag”, it also underscores a deeper truth that cryptocurrencies are “as real as the dollar” (some would say more real). However, in the end, the punchline is a negative way to sweep away all of that, with a nod to Buffet, Munger and the SEC, toeing the line and insuring himself one less courtroom headache.

Was it the Day of reckoning for Dogecoin? Possible but doubtful

As of Sunday, May 9th, DOGE is hovering around .51 cents. The Muskian peak was .74 cents on May 7th. This means that, although there was a decline on the “news” that Musk would not break the SEC rules by blatantly pumping DogeCoin on live national TV, the coin is still up approximately 33% for the week, 734% for the last month and 19,446% for the last year. And, according to Elon Musk, aka Lloyd Ostertag, aka the DogeFather, it is “about as real” as that dollar in your pocket.

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Books

Best Under-the-radar Books from Our Research

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Above:Photo Credit / Olivier Chatel on Unsplash

Sometimes, lost in all the hype and hoopla are gems that just don’t quite make it into the forefront of the mainstream. We make it our mission to keep our eyes open and be on the hunt for just those kinds of gems. Perhaps it’s an idea, or a thread of meaning, or maybe just something that is boiling under the surface about to explode like a geyser in Yellowstone Park.

Here are a few books, and the idea of a physical book itself is also one of those overlooked genius things that seems to slip past us everyday, and these are just the kind that only the eagle-eyed may have noticed previously. To make it easier they are featured front and center, below, along with descriptions, provided courtesy of the Bookshop, and some links for a variety of options to purchase.

Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe

Infinite Powers Book image
buy at Bookshop

From preeminent math personality and author of The Joy of x, a brilliant and endlessly appealing explanation of calculus–how it works and why it makes our lives immeasurably better.

Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket.

Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down-to-earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number–infinity–to tackle real-world problems, breaking them down into easier ones and then reassembling the answers into solutions that feel miraculous.

Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age

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Antitrust enforcement is one of the most pressing issues facing America today–and Amy Klobuchar, the widely respected senior senator from Minnesota, is leading the charge. This fascinating history of the antitrust movement shows us what led to the present moment and offers achievable solutions to prevent monopolies, promote business competition, and encourage innovation.

In a world where Google reportedly controls 90 percent of the search engine market and Big Pharma’s drug price hikes impact healthcare accessibility, monopolies can hurt consumers and cause marketplace stagnation. Klobuchar–the much-admired former candidate for president of the United States–argues for swift, sweeping reform in economic, legislative, social welfare, and human rights policies, and describes plans, ideas, and legislative proposals designed to strengthen antitrust laws and antitrust enforcement.

Klobuchar writes of the historic and current fights against monopolies in America, from Standard Oil and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to the Progressive Era’s trust-busters; from the breakup of Ma Bell (formerly the world’s biggest company and largest private telephone system) to the pricing monopoly of Big Pharma and the future of the giant tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

She begins with the Gilded Age (1870s-1900), when builders of fortunes and rapacious robber barons such as J. P. Morgan, John Rockefeller, and Cornelius Vanderbilt were reaping vast fortunes as industrialization swept across the American landscape, with the rich getting vastly richer and the poor, poorer.

She discusses President Theodore Roosevelt, who, during the Progressive Era (1890s-1920), busted the trusts, breaking up monopolies; the Clayton Act of 1914; the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914; and the Celler-Kefauver Act of 1950, which it strengthened the Clayton Act. She explores today’s Big Pharma and its price-gouging; and tech, television, content, and agriculture communities and how a marketplace with few players, or one in which one company dominates distribution, can hurt consumer prices and stifle innovation.

The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age

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From the man who coined the term net neutrality, author of The Master Switch and The Attention Merchants, comes a warning about the dangers of excessive corporate and industrial concentration for our economic and political future.

We live in an age of extreme corporate concentration, in which global industries are controlled by just a few giant firms — big banks, big pharma, and big tech, just to name a few.

But concern over what Louis Brandeis called the curse of bigness can no longer remain the province of specialist lawyers and economists, for it has spilled over into policy and politics, even threatening democracy itself. History suggests that tolerance of inequality and failing to control excessive corporate power may prompt the rise of populism, nationalism, extremist politicians, and fascist regimes.

In short, as Wu warns, we are in grave danger of repeating the signature errors of the twentieth century. In The Curse of Bigness, Columbia professor Tim Wu tells of how figures like Brandeis and Theodore Roosevelt first confronted the democratic threats posed by the great trusts of the Gilded Age–but the lessons of the Progressive Era were forgotten in the last 40 years. He calls for recovering the lost tenets of the trustbusting age as part of a broader revival of American progressive ideas as we confront the fallout of persistent and extreme economic inequality.

Silent Spring (50th Anniversary Edition)

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The classic that launched the environmental movement

Rarely does a single book alter the course of history, but Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring did exactly that.

The outrcrythat followed its publication in 1962 forced the banning of DDT and spurred the revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water.

Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully throughout the world, and her eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement.

This is without question one of the landmark books of the twentieth century. The introduction, by the acclaimed biographer Linda Lear, tells the story of Carson’s courageous defense of her truths in the face of a ruthless assault form the chemical industry following the publication of Silent Spring and before her untimely death.

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Entertainment

Netflix’s latest Thriller ‘Awake’ – Wipes out the ability to Sleep

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Insomnia plays the #1 villain

Above: Official Trailer for Awake / Netflix

The next global catastrophe movie is coming to Netflix, its called “Awake” and the premise has quite the spin. This apocalyptic thriller makes surviving even more difficult because the Earth’s population no longer has the ability to sleep, which leads to mass hallucinations, disorientation, and ultimately death.

Buy at Bookshop

“Awake” hopes to garner the same success as the Netflix original film “Bird Box”, which was a watch-at-the-end-of-your-seat apocalyptic horror/thriller where upon one glimpse of something terrifying would drive a person to deadly violence. The Netflix film released back in 2018 starred Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson and John Malkovich.

The cast includes: Gina Rodriguez as Jill, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Shamier Anderson, and Ariana Greenblatt as Matilda, the young girl who may hold the key to figuring out the film’s mystery. The film will debut on the Netflix streaming platform starting June 8, 2021.

Read More UFO Viral Footage Article

According to a press release by Netflix, the summary of the film is as follows:

After a sudden global event wipes out all electronics and takes away humankind’s ability to sleep, chaos quickly begins to consume the world. Only Jill (played by Gina Rodriguez), an ex-soldier with a troubled past, may hold the key to a cure in the form of her own daughter. The question is, can Jill safely deliver her daughter and save the world before she herself loses her mind.

Directed by Mark Raso known for his work on “Kodachrome”.

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