The 11th Hour Dispatch – Tuesday, March 6, 2018

| March 6, 2018

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Facebook has snagged BuzzFeed and Pinterest execs to grow its video arm, Watch. BuzzFeed’s Matthew Henick will join as Head of Content Planning and Strategy, and Pinterest’s Mike Bidgoli will join as Head of Product. Henick launched and led BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, a viral video factory with which he recently sold film rights for a series of BuzzFeed articles to Warner Bros. Bidgoli served as Product Lead on emerging ad products for Pinterest. Watch is trying to create a series synonymous with its brand like HBO’s Game of Thrones or Netflix’s Stranger Things, so these hires are big wins for Facebook. However, content is king, so there are still major hurdles for the platform to cross.


HQ Trivia has raised $15 million, putting it at a $100 million post-money valuation. Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund led the round, as well as Lightspeed Venture Partners. The money will be used to build out the live trivia app’s engineering team, which it is in dire need of. The game is pulling in as many as 2.1 million players per game, but it often buffers, loses players’ answers from tech glitches, or crashes completely. HQ and its founders Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll are also looking to expand the game geographically and make first steps toward revenue from native content-type ads. The ultimate dream is $1 million jackpots, which will award you like $10 max if you actually win, as you split the jackpot with every winner of the game.  


A new survey from Pew Research concluded that YouTube is the most popular social media across all age groups. 73% of respondents of all ages use YouTube. The all-powerful Facebook was the only platform that came even close to that level of influence, with 68% of respondents logged in to the Zuck’s master plan. Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat finished the top five list with 35%, 29%, and 27%, respectively. However, the survey revealed that younger social media users are diversifying their internet usage with different platforms than their older counterparts. 78% of 18-24 year olds reported to use Snapchat while only 7% of people aged 50 and older did the same. That’s a mindblowing difference when you wrap your head around the fact that a majority of every age group uses Facebook and YouTube. Surveys like this are probably why YouTube is dragging its feet to fix its issues, because the end users (i.e., the moneymakers) are not stalling their usage of the site, even with its numerous problems and lackluster responses. 


23andMe can now (legally) inform you if you’re at risk for breast cancer by getting you to spit in a tube. The FDA cleared the genetics company to report on three BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations associated with an increased breast and ovarian cancer risk. This makes 23andMe the first direct-to-consumer test to give users a look into their genetics and risk factors. Usually, this would require visiting a doctor, which we can all agree is one of the least fun things in the world, only second to riding the downtown E train at 6 pm. Outside of being a massive selling point for 23andMe, this is generally just a massive win for the company, as the FDA previously barred the company from sending health-related data to consumers with concerns that the company was “misrepresenting genetic tests as medical advice” back in 2013.


People are sending wine money on Venmo to Becca from The Bachelor after Arie proposed and then dumped her on national television.

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