The 11th Hour Dispatch – Monday, April 23, 2018

| April 23, 2018

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BINGE WATCH

Sling TV’s subscription rates have slowed and if things don’t change, good ole DirecTV is going to eclipse it with DirecTV Now. Sling TV was the first internet MVPD to market and has amassed 2.21 million subscribers, but DirecTV was busy picking up the slack as Sling TV basked in the glow like a YouTube commenter that loves to exclaim “FIRST!!!!” in the first five seconds of an upload. DirecTV added 300,000 more new subs in 2017 than Sling TV did. However, Sling TV is still the closest of the top options to an actual pay TV service with its DVR functionality, parental controls, grid DVR, and closed captioning options — not to mention that it only costs $20 while DirecTV Now comes in at $35 per month. There’s definitely room for a good old fashioned boxing match between the two, and all you need to do is grab an Olympic-pool sized bucket of popcorn to kick back and watch with.

YOUNG MONEY

Beijing-based short-form video startup Pear Video has secured $98.2 million in a Series A funding round led by Chinese media powerhouses Tencent and Baidu. Pear plans to use the capital to flesh out its content production network and better its business operations. If you didn’t know, China has been cracking down on “lowbrow online content” (wow, way to attack my personal brand) as of late. The Chinese government recently ordered Kuaishou, one of the country’s most popular live-streaming apps, to remove “vulgar, violent, gory, pornographic and harmful” content from its properties. Douyin, a short video site operated by Beijing Bytedance Technology, was forced to shutdown temporarily to update its content policing systems, and Bytedance’s news aggregation app Jinri Toutiao was also ordered to get rid of Neihan Duanzi, a popular account that pumped out prank videos “like people dropping flies into other people’s food.” Pear Video itself received a slap on the wrist in February 2017 for releasing “so-called exclusive news content” without an internet news services license. Since then, the platform, which produces 1,500 short videos each day and attracts one billion daily views, has pivoted to focus on content aimed at a younger Chinese audience.

COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES

If you’re like me and have been haunted for the last two years by that video of a sea turtle with a single-use plastic straw lodged in its nostril, you might want to check out FinalStraw. The BPA-free straws collapse into a case small enough to add to your ever-growing keychain, and they self-expand when you take them out of the case to have a lil sip of iced coffee. Each straw includes a squeegee that fits inside the case so you can clean your straw after each beverage. The average person uses 1.6 plastic straws every day, which collectively is enough to wrap around the earth 2.5 times every single day. Plastic straws cannot be recycled because the machines that sort recyclables are not designed to grab materials as small as the the little polypropylene suckers, and it’s not cost efficient for the sorting machines to be reworked to do so. If you’d like to back FinalStraw and do a little earth-saving today, you can do so right here.

BIG BUSINESS

J. Cole’s new album broke a pretty impressive record for Apple Music. KOD racked up 64.5 million streams in its first 24 hours released, and seven of the top 10 streamed songs on Apple Music currently are from J. Cole’s album. Even more astounding, the album pulled in 66% of all of its first-day U.S. streaming market share and 60% globally on Apple Music. Over on Spotify, KOD was streamed only 36.6 million times in the U.S. in its first 24 hours. This is definitely something to take note of considering Apple Music is 120 million subscribers short of Spotify. Keep a close eye on this music war that’s a-brewing. If nothing slows down Apple Music, it’s on track to surpass Spotify in users as soon as this summer, and it could be a gamechanger for the music industry.

NOTHIN’ BUT ‘NET

Jim O’Heir (Jerry/Terry/Larry/Garry from Parks and Rec) rating babies is what my heart needed today.

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