The 11th Hour Dispatch – Thursday, May 3, 2018
At its NewFronts presentation today, Refinery29 announced plans for a new OTT channel aimed at “young, progressive” women. Channel29 will launch in Q4 on Smart TVs and across Refinery29’s platforms. The company also announced 10 new and six returning series, some of which are in partnership with other brands. A few of the shows include a serialization of R29’s popular Money Diaries column, in partnership with Intuit; America the Beautiful, a look at the “political, cultural and economic power of black women in cities nationwide” hosted by Michaela Angela Davis; Unbothered Presents, a social-video series aimed at black millennial women based on Refinery29’s fastest-growing Instagram channel “Unbothered”; and Shady, an investigative documentary series examining counterfeit cosmetics. Refinery29 will also be partnering with CBS News ahead of the 2018 midterm elections for The Secret Political Lives of American Women, a series about millennial female voters. Other things on Refinery29’s brightly-colored plate include a global expansion of its wildly popular 29Rooms experiential events and Beauty and the Beats, a mobile VR “dance party that can go anywhere.”
Wedding registration startup Zola closed $100 million in Series D funding. Comcast Ventures, an early investor in the company, led the round. NBCUniversal and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners are the newest investors helping bring the company’s overall funding total to $140 million and a valuation of $600 million. NBCU is also joining as a media partner to assist with “both promotional and commercial partnership opportunities across the NBCU portfolio that drive mutual value and accelerate growth.” Zola allows couples to register their guests, shop from over 600 brands for that casserole dish they’ll use only one time, and keep track of what they need to get done on customizable checklists.
COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES
Pinterest now lets users search by skin tone for beauty products thanks to a new AI tool from a collaboration with ModiFace. This tool enables users to search for products and makeup looks that match their shade. The tool also tracks a user’s clicks to suggest posts featuring models with similar skin tones to better tailor a user’s feed to what is relevant to them. As of now, the tool is capable of searching four different skin tones, but Pinterest and ModiFace are looking to expand that soon. “Beauty” is Pinterest’s fifth-most searched category, with over half of user activity based on finding beauty products. Of those searching for beauty products, 40% of them pin those images to their boards for later.
Cambridge Analytica, the data firm at the heart of the Facebook data misusage scandal (and the name that haunts my dreams), is shutting down, basically because it has lost all operational leads in the wake of the situation. The company suspended its CEO Alexander Nix in March when it announced that it was undertaking a private investigation into the situation. SCL Group and SCL Elections, two firms that are affiliated with Cambridge Analytica, are also closing their doors in the U.S. and the U.K. In a joint statement released on Wednesday, Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections said that Cambridge Analytica “has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations” and that “the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers” making continued operation of the company impossible. Facebook reported that the data of as many as 87 million users was mishandled by Cambridge Analytica.
NOTHIN’ BUT ‘NET
The commemorative royal wedding coin looks like the Distracted Boyfriend meme because life is good.