Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman today announced a slate of new series and projects heading to their forthcoming video streaming service, Quibi. The list includes an origin story to complement Telemundo’s hit show “El Señor de los Cielos;” a music competition show produced by Justin Bieber manager and entertainment exec Scooter Braun; a show from Jennifer Lopez’s company about the power of giving and paying it forward; as well something called “Frat Boy Genius,” which will focus on the rise of Snapchat — and specifically its creator, Evan Spiegel.
“It is the story of how he built and created Snapchat, which is one of the great social platforms of our time,” touted Katzenberg. “And we want to tell a story that is as compelling and interesting about the creation of Snapchat and Evan’s story as “[The] Social Network” was for Facebook,” he added.
The project will be based on the screenplay by the same name, which had written Spiegel as a hard-partying Stanford student, according to Vulture’s review of the much-hyped script.
“He should be flattered,” remarked Katzenberg, of Quibi’s plans for the Spiegel-focused project.
Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman were at SXSW to speak about the upcoming streaming video service, which plans to offer short-form video designed for mobile. On Quibi, consumers watch “quality” video cut into smaller pieces, including both scripted and unscripted original content, exclusives from Quibi’s partners and other daily news and sports programming.
Already, some of Quibi’s content plans have been announced.
For example, Deadline reported last fall that filmmakers Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro and Antoine Fuqua and producer Jason Blum will all create series for the service. And a pitch deck had touted other examples of Quibi’s programming — like a show called “Inspired By” with Justin Timberlake and “Under the Gun” with Kobe Bryant. Plus, Katzenberg himself had revealed in a LinkedIn post that Quibi was working on a basketball-related series with Steph Curry’s production company.
However, the story about Snapchat’s founding highlights how Quibi could benefit from its combination of tech and entertainment industry roots, in terms of deciding what to greenlight.
Whitman, a former HP Enterprise president and CEO, also pointed to another example: her penchant for using data to make decisions.
“I am deeply analytical and Jeffrey will argue in stories and allegories,” Whitman said. “And I will say: ‘Jeffrey, do you have any data to suggest that what you have just said is true?’ And he’ll say, ‘no I don’t have any data — but it’s true,’ ” she explained.
“Then I will come with data, facts, total available market size, market segmentation, market research, and he will say, ‘you know, not everything yields to analysis.’ And I’ll say ‘no, not everything does, but most things do,’ ” she said.
For the most part, today’s onstage discussion was a pitch for why Quibi will work and why it needs to exist — with Katzenberg touting its promise as an app that will benefit from 5G mobile networks as well as the cord-cutting behavior among younger millennials, who are no longer interested in traditional pay TV.
Both execs also stressed that Quibi was not a Netflix or YouTube competitor — despite angling for the same share of consumers’ mobile minutes and a set amount of downtime not spent on social media and mobile gaming, for example. They instead believe Quibi will be additive, and other services — like Netflix and Disney+ — can still win, even as Quibi wins.
Katzenberg said that Quibi aims to grab 20 minutes of the 70 minutes per day people spend watching short-form video, but doesn’t believe it will necessarily come at the expense of YouTube or others.
“Six years ago it was six minutes. A year and a half ago, it was 40 minutes. And today it’s 70 minutes,” he said, illustrating mobile video’s rise. “People love being able to watch great short-form content on the go.”
“What we know is that our users are watching a lot of video on mobile. They’re excited about the opportunity to see something differentiated. But honestly, we’re using a lot of judgment, and we’ll know whether it works when it launches,” Whitman added.
Quibi will publish more than 100 pieces of content every week, meaning it’s going to be making 5,300-5,400 pieces of content per year, Katzenberg said. He also mentioned a few others examples of programming, including a daily round-up of the best of late night TV, and spoke more vaguely of the potential for a show that delivered music news, the way that MTV’s Kurt Loder once did.
The streaming service is launching in April 2020, Katzenberg also confirmed today, putting a more definitive time stamp on the launch time frame beyond “early 2020” or “spring.”
Samsung opens beta on Galaxy Upcycling to breathe new life into old phones – TechCrunch
Samsung announced Galaxy Upcycling a few years back, but has largely been quiet on that front, aside from some stage time at CES back in January. Today the company announced that Upcycling at Home is being opened to beta today for users in the U.S., Korea and the U.K.
It’s a pretty novel program, in a world where consumers are encouraged to scrap their old devices every two to three years for something shiny and new. The program is designed to breathe new life into handsets that might otherwise be tossed in a landfill or stashed away in a drawer.
“We are rethinking how we use existing resources, and we believe the key to upcycling is to enable solutions that transform old technology into something new by adding value,” VP Sung-Koo Kim said in a release tied to the news. “We are committed to integrating sustainable practices into our day-to-day lives, and through Galaxy Upcycling at Home, users can join our journey toward a more sustainable future.”
Specifically, the products can be revamped into smart home devices, like childcare and pet monitors.
The feature can be accessed within the SmartThings Labs feature found in Samsung’s SmartThings App. When enabled, the product can send alerts when things like a crying baby or barking dog are detected. The recorded sound will be sent as part of the alert. Another feature uses built-in sensors to turn on a room’s lights when things get dark. The service will optimize device battery so it can operate for an extended period while detecting these inputs.
UK’s IoT ‘security by design’ law will cover smartphones too – TechCrunch
Smartphones will be included in the scope of a planned “security by design” U.K. law aimed at beefing up the security of consumer devices, the government said today.
It made the announcement in its response to a consultation on legislative plans aimed at tackling some of the most lax security practices long-associated with the Internet of Things (IoT).
The government introduced a security code of practice for IoT device manufacturers back in 2018 — but the forthcoming legislation is intended to build on that with a set of legally binding requirements.
A draft law was aired by ministers in 2019 — with the government focused on IoT devices, such as webcams and baby monitors, which have often been associated with the most egregious device security practices.
Its plan now is for virtually all smart devices to be covered by legally binding security requirements, with the government pointing to research from consumer group “Which?” that found that a third of people kept their last phone for four years, while some brands only offer security updates for just over two years.
The forthcoming legislation will require smartphone and device makers like Apple and Samsung to inform customers of the duration of time for which a device will receive software updates at the point of sale.
It will also ban manufacturers from using universal default passwords (such as “password” or “admin”), which are often preset in a device’s factory settings and easily guessable — making them meaningless in security terms.
California already passed legislation banning such passwords in 2018 with the law coming into force last year.
Under the incoming U.K. law, manufacturers will additionally be required to provide a public point of contact to make it simpler for anyone to report a vulnerability.
The government said it will introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.
Commenting in a statement, digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman added: “Our phones and smart devices can be a gold mine for hackers looking to steal data, yet a great number still run older software with holes in their security systems.
“We are changing the law to ensure shoppers know how long products are supported with vital security updates before they buy and are making devices harder to break into by banning easily guessable default passwords.
“The reforms, backed by tech associations around the world, will torpedo the efforts of online criminals and boost our mission to build back safer from the pandemic.”
A DCMS spokesman confirmed that laptops, PCs and tablets with no cellular connection will not be covered by the law, nor will secondhand products. Although he added that the intention is for the scope to be adaptive, to ensure the law can keep pace with new threats that may emerge around devices.
Watch Apple’s Spring Loaded event light right here – TechCrunch
Today, Apple is holding a (virtual) keynote at 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris). And you’ll be able to watch the event right here as the company is streaming it live.
Rumor has it that Apple plans to unveil a brand new iPad Pro. In particular, Apple’s tablet could get a big display update as the company could switch to mini-LED displays. You can expect some better specifications as well.
But that’s not all, we expect to see a refreshed iPad mini. Apple could also be ready to release AirTags after many months of rumors and leaks. As always, the only way to find out is by watching the event.
You can watch the live stream directly on this page, as Apple is streaming its conference on YouTube.
If you have an Apple TV, you don’t need to download a new app. You can open the Apple TV app and find the Apple Events section. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old ones.
And if you don’t have an Apple TV and don’t want to use YouTube, the company also lets you live stream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.
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