Coronavirus Updates: Newsom Talks Businesses Opening; Wave Hosts Virtual Concerts; Film Release Rumblings
Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.
- Newsom eyeing how to reopen businesses -- at least in parts of the state
- No concerts? No problem. Wave to host virtual performance series with avatars
- Trolls scores $100 million in revenue from streaming, bypassing shuttered theaters; AMC lashes out
Newsom says eyeing how to reopen businesses -- at least in parts of the state
Los Angeles startups like Bird, ZipRecruiter, Shipsi and Tender Greens have been slammed in the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, being forced to layoff and furlough vast portions of their workforce. There was a glimmer of hope Tuesday that perhaps some businesses are getting closer to getting back to work. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that he believes the state is "weeks, not months, away from making meaningful modifications" to its current shelter-at-home restrictions.
However, Newsom's announcement of a four-phase plan did not mention any specific dates in which non-essential business can open their doors. He said the state is examining data, and that additional progress needs to be made. During the same press conference, he said California education and health officials are examining even opening up school districts in certain parts of the state in late July or August. However, he is leaving many of the major decisions to regions of the state. Los Angeles County announced it surpassed 1,000 deaths on Tuesday from the coronavirus.
No concerts? No problem. Wave to host virtual performance series with avatars
Wave, an L.A.-based entertainment technology company, announced it will host a series of virtual concerts throughout the spring and summer. Performers will include John Legend, Tinashe, and Galantis, the last of whom will kick off the "One Wave" series on Thursday, April 30. "Through our proprietary technology and core gaming capabilities," said Wave CEO Adam Arrigo in a statement, "Wave can go beyond the traditional live streaming concerts and create artist avatars, virtual environments and interactive experiences that truly immerse audiences at the nexus of gaming and entertainment."
"Performances will stream across various social media and gaming platforms, so fans can socialize and interact with the artists as they perform, cheer as part of a global avatar audience, voting on key show moments, play mini games, and socialize with each other," the statement continued. Wave, founded in 2016, claims that up to 500,000 fans have tuned in to its past virtual concerts. Proceeds from the One Wave series will go to non-profit organizations that could use a hand during the coronavirus pandemic, the company said.
Trolls scores $100 million in revenue from streaming, bypassing shuttered theaters
Universal Pictures' Trolls World Tour earned nearly $100 million in revenue over three weeks via streaming, The Wall Street Journal reported today. The sequel reportedly has already earned more revenue than the original Trolls film did over the five months of its traditional-style theatrical release. Theater owners have long fought for exclusive exhibition windows at the beginning of a film's release cycle, but with venues shuttered due to the coronavirus, studios have begun to look at streaming as an option to circumvent this entrenched arrangement.
The encouraging figures (which may have been boosted by circumstances) could add momentum to the theater-window paradigm's further unraveling. But not if the theater owners have their say. AMC, the nation's largest theater chain, already threw down the gauntlet pledging to boycott all Universal movies: "Effectively (sic) immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East," AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement. "This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat."
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Streaming has dramatically changed how consumers view Hollywood and hear music as theatrical release windows shrink and social media replaces radio and television as a source of music discovery.
In our latest Strategy Session, dot.LA spoke with three talent representatives about how new platforms, models and the pandemic are shifting the ways artists reach their audiences, and what might be in store for the future.
Troy Carter, Founder and CEO of Q&A
Troy Carter, Founder and CEO of Q&A<p>Troy Carter is the founder and CEO of Q&A, a technology and media company focused on powering the business of music through distribution, services, and data analytics. Formerly, Troy was the founder and CEO of Atom Factory, where he rose to prominence, nurturing the careers of global superstars including Lady Gaga and John Legend. He most recently served at Spotify as its global head of creator services, overseeing the company's growth strategy for artists and record labels. In 2017, Carter was also named entertainment advisor to the Prince Estate. </p><p>His interest in the intersection of technology and culture resulted in the formation of AF Square Investments. Early investments include Uber, Lyft, Dropbox, Spotify, Warby Parker, theSkimm, Blavity, Gimlet Media, Thrive Market, PlayVs, and FazeClan. Troy currently serves as a trustee for The Aspen Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and CalArts.</p>
Jim Meenaghan, Co-Head of the Independent Film Group and Head of Business Affairs - Motion Pictures
Jim Meenaghan, Co-Head of Independent Film Group and Head of Business Affairs, Motion Pictures<p>As co-head of UTA Independent Film Group, Meenaghan is actively involved in structuring and negotiating film financing and distribution deals for independent films across all media. Meenaghan also oversees day-to-day business affairs operations for the motion picture departments across the agency and works closely with many of UTA's high-profile clients including Wes Anderson, Joel and Ethan Coen, Drew Goddard and Noah Baumbach.</p><p>Prior to joining UTA, Meenaghan served as executive vice president of Anschutz Film Group/Walden Media ("The Chronicles of Narnia," "Charlotte's Web," "Ray"<em>) </em>and was in charge of all aspects of the company's business and legal affairs. Prior to that, he was senior vice president, business affairs at Icon Productions ("What Women Want," "We Were Soldiers," "Passion of the Christ"<em>). </em></p>
Rena Ronson, Partner and the Co-Head of the Independent Film Group
Rena Ronson, Partner and Co-Head of the Independent Film Group<p>Rena Ronson is a partner and the co-head of the Independent Film Group at leading global talent and entertainment company United Talent Agency (UTA). One of the industry's pre-eminent packaging and finance executives, Ronson specializes in global film finance, distribution and marketing strategies for independent and co-financed features, helping the world's most acclaimed independent filmmakers see their work reach global audiences.</p><p>Throughout her career, Ronson has helped package, structure financing for, and sell numerous high profile films, including Oscar-winning "I, Tonya," "Room" and "Icarus," and Oscar-nominated films, "Hidden Figures," "The Big Sick," "Lady Bird," and "Call Me By Your Name," among many others. She is also known for working with acclaimed filmmakers on their directorial debuts, including Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird," Haifaa al-Mansour's "Wadjda," Don Cheadle's "Miles Ahead," Marielle Heller's "Diary of a Teenage Girl," Jill Soloway's "Afternoon Delight," Crystal Moselle's "Skate Kitchen," and Emerald Fennell's "Promising Young Woman." Additional upcoming films include "The Father" starring Anthony Hopkins and "The Mauritanian" starring Tahar Rahim, Jodie Foster, and Benedict Cumberbatch.</p>
Kelly O'Grady, Chief Host and Correspondent
Kelly O'Grady, Chief Host and Correspondent<p>Kelly O'Grady is dot.LA's chief host & correspondent. Kelly serves as dot.LA's on-air talent, and is responsible for designing and executing all video efforts. A former management consultant for McKinsey, and TV reporter for NESN, she also served on Disney's Corporate Strategy team, focusing on M&A and the company's direct-to-consumer streaming efforts. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. A Boston native, Kelly spent a year as Miss Massachusetts USA, and can be found supporting her beloved Patriots every Sunday come football season.</p>
Sam Blake, dot.LA Entertainment Reporter
Sam Blake, dot.LA Entertainment Reporter<p>Sam Blake is dot.LA's entertainment reporter. Prior to joining dot.LA, he had a writing fellowship with The Economist, where he wrote primarily for the business and finance sections of the print edition. Sam previously interned at KCRW and hosted a podcast at UCLA's college radio station while completing his dual-degree MBA and Master's in Public Policy. A native of Detroit, Sam previously lived in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City. He studied history at the University of Michigan and speaks four languages.</p>
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