Hollywood, an economic engine that has powered Los Angeles since the dawn of television screens and movie cameras, has been devastated by stay-at-home orders. With production at a standstill and sports halted, mass layoffs and unemployment have stopped the show.
Studios, theaters, production companies and entertainment venues have laid off or furloughed more than 14,000 workers in Los Angeles County over less than two months, according to state filings. The April and May records reflect only a sliver of the job losses in the entertainment industry, but they provide a window into just how widespread the pain has been felt by workers from Disney to independent production studios and sports networks.
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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.
- Jam City launches GoFundMe initiative to help employees impacted by COVID-19
- Comcast's stock slides on troubles linked to COVID-19, but can Peacock save the day?
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Comcast's stock slides on troubles linked to COVID-19, but can Peacock save the day?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjkzNDc3Ni9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MjA3MzkzM30.BzTjxiCmRr1-PV03UGRMJNKg7shyGXcetP8pk3WRR1M/img.gif?width=980" id="93ac1" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4b487b9b4b4fd7b793ef7d604326111c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
NBCUniversal<p>Comcast Corp. -- the media behemoth that controls NBC, Universal Pictures, and countless other properties -- had some good news on their first-quarter earnings call. The cable and broadband segment of the company added 477,000 new subscribers during the period, most of it coming as Americans clamor for Internet service in an era of being stuck at home and hungry for content. The surge came during the last three weeks of the quarter, and represented a 27 percent year-over-year increase. But that may be a temporary bump.</p><p>Wall Street remained worried, and punished the stock with an 8 percent slide in midday trading after the company reported both profit and revenue were down during the quarter. And its second-quarter projections were generally weak. The problems: Universal Pictures will have a tough time getting movies into theaters if cinemas aren't open and the Universal Studios theme parks are shuttered in the U.S. and Japan. The company called out that the current environment is a "difficult comparison" to the previous year's relative success and "theater and entertainment venue closures as a result of COVID-19."</p><p>The company said broadcast TV was up, "reflecting increases in content licensing revenue and distribution and other revenue." And NBCU CEO Jeff Shell noted that <a href="https://dot.la/nbc-peacock-streaming-service-2645721883.html" target="_blank">early signs of Peacock</a>, the new streaming service recently rolled out to a subset of Comcast customers, are "very, very encouraging, particularly the amount of time each person is spending watching." Comcast CEO Brian Roberts noted that Peacock has exceeded internal projections of both view time and monthly active users, but did not provide numbers.</p><p>And in the wake of a prominent mid-week spat with AMC theaters over his comments about future film release strategy, Shell seemed to backtrack a tad by emphasizing that theater releases will remain a "central element" of NBCU's studio business. </p>
Bring on the bird puns! On Wednesday, Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal's streaming service, Peacock, takes flight. Initially available to a subset of Comcast cable and broadband subscribers, Peacock will reportedly spread its wings across Comcast's footprint by the end of April before expanding on July 15 to other cable company customers and web and streaming platforms.
The new service will hatch with up to 15,000 hours' worth of content. Peacock's library will include a flock of NBC favorites like Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock and Law & Order: SVU; movies from Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Animation such as Jurassic Park, E.T. and Shrek; and news segments, talk shows, original series and content from Telemundo. Peacock will also offer a selection of live sports (once those migrate back), and in 2021 will have exclusive rights to The Office.
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