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Weekly Tech Recap: Disney's Growing Metaverse Ambitions

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Disney appears to be looking at a play for the metaverse.

The Mouse has been beefing up its Next Generation Storytelling creative experiences team in recent months. The team focused on “interconnected consumer experiences across immersive new storytelling canvases,” a Disney spokesperson said. On Friday, Disney poached a top gaming executive from Apple. Mark Bozon, a 12 year veteran of Apple who most recently worked at the tech giant’s video game service, will become the team's vice president. In February, the company named a senior vice president for the group.

Disney has also looked to boost its operations around NFTs, the digital assets verified by blockchain technology that could play a big role in the metaverse, —a loosely-defined term for immersive, virtual reality-aided online experiences.

Those moves echo what Disney CEO Bob Chapek told CNBC in February, when he described the metaverse as “a third dimension of the canvas that we let our creative people paint.” Chapek noted that the company could parlay the digital realm across its wide array of assets, from film and media to theme parks and resorts. So far, Disney’s moves include bringing augmented reality to its theme parks and selling digital artwork using its vast trove of intellectual property.

“If the metaverse is the blending of the physical and the digital in one environment, who can do it better than Disney?” Chapek said.

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

Netflix’s crackdown on password sharing has resulted in plenty of inconsistencies, leaving some customers—and even its own employees—confused. Still, after a rough couple weeks, the streaming giant is finally reporting some good news.

The family of Kerri Moynihan have reportedly dropped their wrongful death lawsuit against Activision Blizzard.

Ten sports tech startups, including four from SoCal, got one-on-one time with leaders at NASCAR, the PGA and Sky Sports as part of Comcast’s accelerator program.

TikTok is entering the world of streaming services with a new subscription comedy series.

Musician Halsey, who was prevented by their label from releasing a track until they created a fake 'viral moment' on TikTok, did just that by openly complaining about the policy on the platform.

Snap’s foray into travel ads hopes to interest the tourism industry as summer trips get underway.

Poparazzi is a new social photo app aimed at people who are put off by the polished content and pressure to look good on competitors like Instagram.

VR therapy startup TRIPP raised new funds and announced it has purchased Eden, a small VR world-building platform and online social hub for meditation.

Venture Capital 💰

Santa Barbara has become a hub for software startups, and it now has a new venture fund to back them.

Bonfire Ventures is looking to invest in 25 to 30 startups with its new $230 million fundraise.

🎧 Listen Up 

U.S. House Representative Derek Kilmer spoke to Office Hours host Spencer Rascoff about how technology can improve politics, and how social media has made consensus so much harder.

Regeneration.VC’s Dan Fishman joined the LA Venture podcast to talk about how his experience scaling businesses in food and fashion prepared him to focus on climate innovation.

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Azure Printed Homes said it can build a backyard studio in under 24 hours. Can it help ease California's housing crunch?

Bird is offering free rides in the city of Long Beach as part of its new disability-accessible e-scooter and wheelchair program.

eBay's pop-up on Fairfax aimed to get sneakerheads to think of shoes beyond investment opportunities, by giving them deep discounts to wear their new kicks out of the store.


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