The 11th Hour Dispatch – Tuesday, May 1, 2018

| May 1, 2018

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BINGE WATCH

Disney Digital Networks announced to advertisers at its Upfront today that it will release a free OTT app aimed at millennials this summer. This app is not to be confused with Disney’s widely discussed full-fledged streaming service, but is likely a precursor intended to get some buzz associated with The Big Mouse (all hail) and the streaming space. This app will live within Disney Digital Network’s digital platform and feature short-form and social content from Disney’s editorial brand Oh My Disney, Disney Digital Network influencers, and Disney-owned Maker Studios. The reason? Disney’s hoping to lure advertisers away from YouTube, which has raised numerous brand safety issues over the past year. Disney Digital Networks also announced the launch of its newest brand Disney Eats, which will celebrate food from Disney parks, some of which have garnered a near-cult following. The brand will focus on young families (i.e. millennials) with kids and has already inked a content partnership deal with Tastemade. Disney Digital Networks, which launched last year, currently has 1.3 billion followers.

YOUNG MONEY

Famed guitar maker Gibson Brands has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but it already has a turnaround plan in place to give control of the company to bondholders. The company has “struggled with debt load” and blames a lot of its money problems on its failed 2014 acquisition of the Hong Kong-based Gibson Innovations Ltd. division, which sells Philips-branded consumer electronics. The bankruptcy petition indicates that Gibson faces as much as $500 million in debt, some of which matures as early as this July. Bondholders will cough up $135 million to allow it to continue operation during the bankruptcy process. While the business acquisition side of its company has soured, Gibson is still going strong with its musical instrument arm. The division is cash flow positive and ended Q1 with $26 million in operating income.

BIG BUSINESS

Facebook’s F8 developer conference took place today, and as you’d expect of anything with the word “Facebook” attached to it anymore, a lot of news poured out of it. One of those announcements was that Instagram users will now be able to directly share content from third-party apps thanks to a slew of new integrations. The first partners in this new project are Spotify and GoPro. Another announcement was that Facebook Messenger passed 300,000 chatbots, which is 200K more than this time a year ago. The chatbots allow consumers to “communicate” with businesses directly, and over 8 billion messages from these interactions take place every day, up from just 2 billion daily messages last year. Of course The Great and Powerful Oz, I mean Mark Zuckerberg, tried to do some PR work at the conference by rolling out new privacy features for users. We’ll now reportedly be able to see exactly what websites are tracking our data. And in news nobody asked for, Facebook is adding dating app features to Facebook (news of which obliterated the stock price of Match Group, the parent of Tinder).

NOTHIN’ BUT ‘NET

Amazon launched a $23 subscription box of books to get kids to read, dang it.

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