The 11th Hour Dispatch – Wednesday, March 7, 2018

| March 7, 2018

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Streaming video platform Vimeo has promoted former SVP of Creator Business, Anjali Sud, to CEO after nixing its SVOD platform. Vimeo recently canceled its subscription video-on-demand service to focus on efforts to bring more professional and semi-professional creators to the platform. Under previous CEO Kerry Trainor, the company heavily invested in original, high-quality content in an attempt to become a Netflix or Hulu competitor. While I’m never one to crush a dream – live your truth and all – this is probably a genius pivot, as the creator business is a much bigger revenue driver than an SVOD service could ever be. Vimeo currently has over 800,000 people already paying for its creator tools, and with support for 360-degree video, membership plans for marketers and brands, and integration with professional video tools on the horizon, it’s fair to say that that number could jump pretty significantly. 


Lego sales have fallen for the first time since 2004. The reason? They made too many of those little plastic foot puncturers in 2016 and spent last year trying to cheaply rid themselves of excess inventory. Consequently, the toy company suffered an 8% decline in revenues and a decrease in operating profit of 17%. The company plans to focus on growth in 2018 by continuing to invest in China, the Middle East, and north Africa and creating a new office in Dubai. Its recent announcement of toy elements made from sustainable sugarcane-based plastic should also help boost a few sales. However, CEO Niels B. Christiansen bleakly stated there would be no “quick-fix” for the company in a recent interview.


The production company behind the Wolf of Wall Street, Red Granite Productions, has agreed to pay $60 million to the U.S. government to settle a claim that the company financed the film, as well as Daddy’s Home and Dumb and Dumber To, with illegal foreign funds. The U.S. Department of Justice accused the production house of accepting money from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a Malaysian government investment fund at the heart of a major multi-million dollar fraud case. Red Granite must pay the settlement in three equal payments over the next 12 months. I hope a hungry screenwriter is firing up their 2008 Macbook and getting to work on the script for the inevitable movie about this mess.


Tech giants including Google, Facebook, and eBay have launched an initiative in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund, TRAFFIC, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare to fight online wildlife trafficking. The Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online will unite tech, e-commerce, and social media companies to reduce the illegal online trade of trafficked animal goods, such as elephant ivory, pangolin scales, red and pink coral, and even tiger cubs, by 80% by 2020. Illegal traders and poachers are increasingly taking advantage of the anonymity the internet can award if manipulated correctly. The coalition plans to put algorithms in place that use machine learning to detect and flag certain keywords and create teams of “wildlife crime cyber-spotters” that can manually take care of issues, specifically on social media sites. Really great to see some of these industry behemoths doing something that’s not a bit icky for once.


Amazon Alexa has been maniacally laughing at people, unprovoked, and that’s a big fat nope from me.

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