Coronavirus Updates: Cedars Joins Drug Trial, U.S. Consumers Streaming Skyrockets Amid COVID-19, Says Nielsen

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.


Cedars-Sinai joins international clinical trial to test COVID-19 drug

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Los Angeles-based hospital system Cedars-Sinai announced Tuesday it is joining an international effort to test the drug remdesivir for treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The drug is not FDA-approved but has shown promise in animal testing and in small numbers of humans. Starting this week, Cedars plans to administer the drug intravenously to up to 30 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19. They will be monitored throughout their hospital stay and their outcomes will be measured against a control group, which will be given a placebo. The U.S. National Institute of Health is sponsoring the trial, which includes dozens of sites around the world, according to the statement.

Gilead Sciences, based in the Bay Area, owns the remdesivir patent. Early this month the company applied for "orphan drug" status in an effort to expedite the clinical trial timeline required by the FDA. That status was granted last week, but the company subsequently requested a withdrawal of the designation. Some health groups expressed concern that orphan status would limit the ability of other organizations to produce treatments in the future. In a statement Gilead said it remains "confident that it can maintain an expedited timeline in seeking regulatory review of remdesivir."

U.S. consumers spend 400 billion minutes streaming content to TVs, says Nielsen

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Coronavirus is forcing Americans to stay at home, and American consumers have watched about 156 billion minutes of streaming content on their televisions during the week of March 16 — a 22% surge from a week earlier, according to a Nielsen analysis. The first three weeks of March saw an estimated 400 billion minutes of streaming an 85% surge from the year-ago period.


Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Hulu make up the biggest bulk of streaming on TV sets (the study did not include viewers on mobile phones). By the numbers, Netflix and Hulu claimed a smaller share of that viewing than they did last year, according to the data. Netflix claimed 29% of total streaming minutes for the week ending March 22, down from 36% in the same period a year ago. Hulu accounted for 10%, down from 15%. YouTube represented 20%, up from 19%. And Amazon inched up to 9%, from 7%. New services like Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus fueled the "other" category to to 31% from 23%.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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The Los Angeles Kings Embraced the Metaverse, and the NHL Is Ready to Follow

Steve Huff
Steve Huff is an Editor and Reporter at dot.LA. Steve was previously managing editor for The Metaverse Post and before that deputy digital editor for Maxim magazine. He has written for Inside Hook, Observer and New York Mag. Steve is the author of two official tie-ins books for AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad” prequel, “Better Call Saul.” He’s also a classically-trained tenor and has performed with opera companies and orchestras all over the Eastern U.S. He lives in the greater Boston metro area with his wife, educator Dr. Dana Huff.
An screenshot from Tetavi's metaverse
Courtesy of Youtube

Fans attending the Stanley Cup playoff at Crypto.com Arena in May 2022 might have noticed that the Los Angeles Kings went the extra mile with in-arena videos. Vibrant, 3D images of players plus Kings mascot Bailey the Lion flashed across the massive screens, impressive products of the team’s collaboration with Israeli “deep tech” startup, Tetavi. However, the excitement of the games might have obscured the significance of those videos—they marked the first time an NHL team used volumetric technology to record player footage.

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