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Social media giant Snap has hired Colleen DeCourcy as chief creative officer, tapping an advertising veteran who spent nearly a decade at Wieden+Kennedy, one the world’s largest independent ad agencies.
DeCourcy, who was co-president and chief creative officer at the Portland, Oregon-based ad agency, joined Snap a few months ago and will lead the company’s global creative efforts, according to a Snap spokesperson. She will work to boost Snap’s brand and report to Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Mitchell.
Colleen DeCourcy, Snap CCO
Photo provided by Snap.
“At Snap I’ve met a thoughtful group of people with values and a mission that can make a difference. That’s 100% why I’m doing this,” DeCourcy said in a statement to dot.LA. “What I didn’t expect is how much fun it would be to take my advertising brain and do something completely different with it.”
At Wieden+Kennedy, DeCourcy oversaw Nike’s Emmy-winning “Dream Crazy” campaign that featured Colin Kapernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem of NFL games. DeCourcy, who said she was retiring from advertising in December, also produced work for major brands such as McDonald’s, Ford, Visa and Airbnb.
DeCourcy recently helped Snap build its first Oscars commercial spot that was inspired by this year’s winner for Best Picture, “CODA,” which tells the story of the only hearing member of a deaf family. The ad highlighted how Snapchat users can learn American Sign Language using hand-tracking tech.
“We are so honored to have Colleen join our team at Snap,” Mitchell said in a statement. “Her exceptional strategic and creative leadership makes her the perfect person to help transform the way we bring the Snap brand to life around the world.”
Snap has been on a leadership hiring spree over the last year, adding Jacqueline Beauchere from Microsoft as to be global head of platform safety; Anne Laurenson from Google as managing director of global carrier partnerships; Rajni Jacques from Allure as global head of fashion & beauty partnerships; and Konstantinos ‘KP’ Papmilitiadis from Facebook to be vice president of platform Partnerships.
Shira Yevin’s lifelong crusade against a male-dominated music industry began with a pink RV.
After attending the Vans Warped Tour in 2004 and seeing far too few women on the bill, the punk rocker decided to take matters into her own hands: She crashed the tour by parking a pink RV on the campus of Cal State Fullerton and performing on a makeshift stage with her band, Shiragirl. The impromptu show was such a hit that Warped Tour welcomed Yevin back to run an official “Shiragirl Stage,” where female-fronted bands—including artists like Joan Jett and Paramore—performed in the following years.
Now, Yevin is taking an entrepreneurial approach to carve out more space for women in music. She’s the founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based startup Gritty In Pink, which runs an online “marketplace network” that connects music industry professionals with female talent—from musicians and songwriters to engineers and producers. Having launched in beta earlier this year, the startup’s InPink platform lets employers search for talent by skill and demographic.
“Businesses now know they need to find diverse women to hire—but they have no idea where to go to find them,” Yevin told dot.LA.
Whether Gritty In Pink can help solve that imbalance remains to be seen—but what’s clear is that there’s still a huge gender disparity in the music industry that needs addressing. A recent University of Southern California-sponsored study found that there’s been little to no improvement over the last decade in the number of women credited as artists, songwriters or producers on popular songs.
“Women's contributions are often dismissed or devalued,” according to Katherine Pieper, program director at USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which conducted the study on women in music. “They're not given the opportunity to work on these songs, or when they are, their work is not being credited to them.”
The USC study examined credits for 1,000 songs that landed on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart over the last decade. Researchers found that just 23.3% of artists on the annual chart were women in 2021—a marginal improvement from 22.7% in 2012. The report’s authors blamed stereotypes around women and their abilities as well as the situations in which they must work, noting women in the music industry are often sexualized by their colleagues.
The music industry is not alone in these dynamics; the film industry has made little progress in addressing its own gender imbalance. Women made up only 25% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers working on top-grossing films in 2021, according to the latest study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. That’s an improvement of just 6 percentage points from 19% in 2015, and up only 8 percentage points from 17% in 1998.
“The findings of my research suggest that progress will be slow—evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary,” Martha Lauzen, the center’s director, told dot.LA.
But just as Gritty In Pink is trying to diversify the music industry’s ranks, so are there startups now looking to bring more women into film production. Launched in 2018, L.A.-based Crewvie is a platform connecting film projects with production workers and vendors, with a focus on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Crewvie allows talent to create profiles that voluntarily self-identify their gender, race, sexual orientation or disabilities; productions can use Crewvie to hire such talent, track the composition of their crew and use demographic data to ensure they’re eligible for awards and tax incentives.
“We see Crewvie as a resource for women and other underserved people to be found,” co-founder and CEO Marcei Brown told dot.LA. “So there's no more excuses [like] ‘I can't find’—because they're all collected here in one place.”
From left, Crewvie founders Sandra Jimenez, Jeanette Volturno, Marcei Brown and Camille Alcasid.Photo provided by Crewvie
Film studio Endeavor Content recently struck a deal with Crewvie to deploy the startup’s software across all of its productions. YouTube productions use the platform as well, according to co-founder Jeanette Volturno. Crewvie charges rates ranging from $200 to $1,500 for individual projects, while rates for enterprise clients (such as film studios) depend on the number of people and projects expected to use it.
With less than 10 employees, Crewvie is currently looking to close a seed funding round, with eyes on a larger future funding round to expand the platform into other territories and languages. Crewvie is also considering an expansion into live events like theater productions, as well as a foray into the music industry, Volturno said.
Likewise, Gritty In Pink is still in its “baby stages,” Yevin said, having raised $100,000 from Irvine-based Sunstone Management and the Long Beach Accelerator, with plans for a $1 million pre-seed round. The startup can count singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, of “Come to My Window” fame, among its supporters; Etheridge recently joined Gritty In Pink as a strategic advisor and has a stake in the company.
It also has dreams of expanding beyond the music industry, Yevin noted. “Our big vision is actually to become the global destination to hire female freelancers in every industry,” she said.
Disney Plus just showed up Netflix.
After Netflix stunned Wall Street by losing subscribers for the first time in a decade, Disney said Wednesday that its flagship streaming service is still chugging along nicely. Disney Plus added 7.9 million paying customers during the second quarter of fiscal 2022, beating Wall Street’s expectations of about 5 million. That brings Disney Plus to 137.7 million total subscribers.
The Burbank-based media giant’s strong showing comes amid growing concerns with the streaming business. Netflix’s poor earnings and the rapid demise of CNN Plus have rattled investors, who previously rewarded entertainment and tech titans that spent billions to launch streaming platforms and added many subscribers during the pandemic.
Now, Netflix’s stock has plunged 70% over the last six months. The company lost 200,000 subscribers during its first quarter and expects to lose 2 million more in the current quarter. Netflix blamed the subscriber slowdown on increased competition, password sharing and the war in Ukraine, among other things. And recent surveys show consumers are canceling subscriptions they believe are too costly.
“The business model isn’t as attractive as once thought due to the intensifying competition for time, attention and consumer spending,” media analysts Robert Fishman and Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson wrote in a recent report.
The problems facing Netflix don’t seem to be holding back Disney Plus—at least not yet. Executives told analysts that the service had a “stronger than expected” first half of the fiscal year and that it is expected to add more subscribers during the final six months, though maybe not by much. The company’s goal of hitting at least 230 million Disney Plus subscribers by 2024 is still on track, CEO Bob Chapek said.
“The growth of the platform since its launch reinforces its unique nature. Quite simply, we believe Disney Plus is one of a kind,” Chapek said. He later touted that, despite Disney’s family-friendly branding, almost half of Disney Plus subscribers were adults without kids.
Disney Plus may still be growing, but streaming is costing the company a lot of money. Disney’s direct-to-consumer division, which also includes Hulu and ESPN Plus, lost $887 million during the second quarter—more than triple the loss from a year ago. Disney executives expect its flagship service to become profitable in 2024.
Overall, Disney’s revenues rose 23% year-over-year to $19.2 billion during the second quarter. Net profits were down 48% to $470 million.
Despite avoiding Netflix’s fate—for now—Wall Street wasn’t impressed. The company’s shares slid more than 2%, to $102.75, as of 3:09 p.m. PT in after-hours trading.
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