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Weekly Tech Recap: The Streaming Revolution Is Starting to Look Like a Rerun

At the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills this week, media executives deliberated over the future of online streaming, the disruptive technology that has changed the way content is distributed and consumed. But some of those changes, it turns out, may not be so transformative; from the reemergence of commercials to bundled subscriptions, the future of TV may end up looking a lot like its past.

“I think we are going to see a great re-bundle,” said Marc Graboff, Discovery’s president of global business and legal affairs. “Eventually, there will be a limited number—three, four or whatever it is— of platforms that people will go to get their content.”

Graboff was referring to how deep-pocketed tech titans like Amazon or Apple may ultimately roll up rival streaming services into single consumer offerings on their own platforms. He noted that it would be a lot like the days when TV was dominated by just three networks: ABC, NBC and CBS.

The panel discussion came in the wake of Netflix’s stunning first-quarter earnings report, when the streaming giant disclosed that it lost subscribers for the first time in more than a decade and expects to lose another 2 million in the current quarter. Netflix is now in the midst of a reckoning, laying off staffers and re-considering its long-standing opposition to advertising. That’s because its competitors—including those on stage Wednesday—have shown that consumers are willing to watch commercials if it means paying less per month.

Here’s What Happened in LA’s Entertainment Tech World This Week 🍿

The fallout from Netflix’s disastrous first-quarter earnings continues with a new shareholder lawsuit that claims the streaming giant misled investors about its ability to sign up more subscribers. Meanwhile, the company laid off many staff writers for its Tudum companion sitejust five months after launch.

The New York City Employees’ Retirement System and various pension funds for the city’s firefighters, police and teachers are suing Activision, alleging its failure to address workplace harassment devalued their investment portfolios.

Goodreads is focused on building a community of readers. Newly launched app Copper Books wants to build one for authors, too.

Investors including the Chernin Group, eBay and former Disney CEO Bob Iger have taken a 25% stake in Funko’s figurines.

For all the ambitious talk about how revolutionary the metaverse will be, it’s got a long way to go before the average person will want to engage with it.

FaZe Clan–a composite of professional esports gamers, celebrity investors and brand partnerships–will launch its first pop-up shop in West Hollywood.

Social Media 📱

A teenage girl has sued Snap after she says she was coerced into sending explicit photos of herself through the app.

More TikTok employees are speaking out against what they say is a grueling work culture at the company.

TikTok’s trying to up its advertising game—and cut in its top users.

Snap announced several new initiatives, including new shows, a new ad program and a new partnership with video-sharing app Cameo.

Match Group, the dating app owner of popular platforms like Tinder and Hinge, appointed a former Zynga executiveas its new CEO.

Reddit’s co-founder said he doesn’t believe a Musk-owned Twitter will be as bad as some might think, but it won’t be as great as others may hope.

Transportation 🚗

Electric vehicle maker Fisker is developing its third vehicle: an electric sports car codenamed Project Ronin.

Among the electric vans and autonomous food rovers operating in Santa Monica, URB-E may have the simplest solution for last-mile deliveries: e-bikes with trailers.

California electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian announced that it secured $1.5 billion in tax incentives from Georgia to begin construction on its new plant outside of Atlanta.

The Biden administration will spend $3.1 billion to fill electric vehicle battery production gaps and reduce the U.S.’s dependence on foreign battery suppliers.

Venture Capital đź’°

A new VC focused on climate technology is emerging in Orange County, currently raising a $50 million fund. It’s already invested in two startups.

LinearB has raised $50 million in Series B funding to expand its engineering, sales and marketing teams and develop its product.

This cannabis business mentorship doesn’t come with funding, but it does come with access to Seth Rogen and his co-founder (and screenwriting partner) Evan Goldberg.

See the full list of SoCal fundraising for the week in our "Raises" round up.

🎧 Listen Up 

On this episode of Office Hours, Austin Texas Mayor Steven Adler talks about why “weirdness” is key to the city of Austin’s success as a tech mecca.

For years, people have invested with a 60/40 portfolio. Evoke Advisors’ Michael Carney said it’s time for an update.

Also...

The future of remote work looks increasingly like it will include software that tracks employee performance.

From cloud infrastructure to designing video games, Amazon is adding 2,500 positions to its SoCal campuses.

Coinbase’s CEO says the U.S. is at risk of being left behind in the world of cryptocurrency.

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