LG Partners with Ficto on Shows Designed For Its New Dual-Screen Smartphone

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

LG Partners with Ficto on Shows Designed For Its New Dual-Screen Smartphone

Ficto, a cross between Quibi, Netflix and a video game that is set to launch next month, got a big boost this week when LG announced the app would come preloaded on 1.3 million of its new double-screened LG Wing smartphones.

The deal should help Ficto stand out from the competition by (literally) putting it in people's hands.

The mobile streaming service set to launch in October will focus on shows that leverage the smartphone's unique features, bringing to them a heavy dose of interactivity and social engagement. It also offers some brands, like LG, product placement and a degree of creative control in their shows. "Snoop 16," an interactive gameshow hosted by Long Beach native Snoop Dogg, will debut as one of the streamer's original programs.


Mike Esola is the chief executive of L.A.-based Fiction Riot, a.k.a. Ficto. He told dot.LA that talks with LG began about a year ago. Both companies thought the other would be a good match.

"(LG Wing) is best utilized by apps that exhibit premium-level content on the main screen and interactive functionality features on the second screen," Esola said.

In exchange for the preloads, Ficto will embed LG products into some of its programming. LG will be paying for the product placements as well, a revenue stream that will likely be key to the free service's growth. In future phases of the partnership, LG will also include the app on other phones and televisions, Esola said.

Ficto has had about 60,000 users during its beta period. It will launch next month with dozens of licensed shows and seven originals. The latter group is where its mobile- and social-oriented content will predominate.

"Snoop 16" episodes, for example, will center around a March Madness-style bracket, except the competitors will be various items like rappers or cars; viewers will fill out and submit their own brackets, and if they match Snoop's, they will receive an LG Wing smartphone giveaway.

Streaming service Ficto is creating shows with LG's new smart phone in mind.Courtesy of Ficto

Esola acknowledged there is no guarantee the new phones will sell. And getting the app integrated with LG Wing's swiveling second screen required investment.

"It's not easy to adapt to a new form factor," Esola said, referring to the phone's shape and size. "Apps don't (usually) spend the time [to adapt] until they know. We took the risk."

In doing so, LG is betting that Ficto can break through in the crowded streaming field. It will aim to do so largely through interactivity, which Esola has referred to as a form of "engaging and empowering" viewers.

The ability to share Ficto content across social media is a departure from fellow mobile-oriented streamer Quibi, which did not allow users to share content clips. After a disappointing launch, the L.A.-based company recently added that feature, among others.

By contrast, Ficto has built-in technology to enable sharing clips over social media while complying with copyright law. Ficto will also provide creators with some analytics about the performance of their shows, something that Esola says many streaming companies, namely Netflix, do not do.

Ficto has raised $5 million since it incorporated in March 2018.

About 80% of the company's revenue currently comes from licensing shows to foreign markets, which allows apps in those markets to use Ficto's shows and essentially present them as their own.

The company also makes revenue from brand integrations, an area that is expected to grow as its user count climbs. Such arrangements allow a company like Anheuser Busch to "sponsor" a season or episode in exchange for a degree of creative control and product placement.

Ficto also licenses its proprietary technology for functionality like e-commerce integration and data analytics.

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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

Pickleball

Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


Day Trip to Catalina Island

Image Source: Love Catalina

Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


Top Golf

Image Source: Topgolf

Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


SoFi Stadium Tour

Image Source: Discover LA

A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


Corporate Volunteering

Image Source: L.A. Works

Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


Corporate Improv Sessions

Image Source: Improv for the People

A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
Image Source: Paramount

Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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