Apple plans to fix an iPhone email security bug, Magic Leap cuts 1,000 staffers and Google is requiring all advertisers to identify themselves.
Here’s your Daily Crunch for April 23, 2020.
1. A new iPhone email security bug may let hackers steal private data
According to security firm ZecOps, the bug is in the iPhone’s default Mail app. By sending a specially crafted email to the victim’s device, an attacker can overrun the device’s memory, allowing the attacker to remotely run malicious code to steal data from the device.
The bug dates back to iOS 6, but on the latest version of iOS 13, it doesn’t require any user interaction. Motherboard, which first reported the story, said the bug has been fixed in a beta version of the software, and a fix will be rolled out in an upcoming update.
2. Magic Leap reportedly slashes 1,000 jobs and steps away from consumer plans
Magic Leap announced today that it has laid off a “number of employees” and is backing away from its consumer ambitions to focus more heavily on selling to enterprise customers. Bloomberg reports that half of the company’s employees were laid off, roughly 1,000 in total.
3. Google is extending identity verification requirements to all advertisers
The identity verification feature was first introduced in 2018, requiring political advertisers to provide documents to verify their identity, which is then displayed as part of the ad itself. Moving forward, Google says it will make identity verification a required part of the ad buying process, regardless of topic.
4. JustEat Takeaway $7.6B merger approved, pair pick up $756M in new funding
The UK’s competition watchdog officially gave a nod to the merger between UK’s JustEat and the Netherlands’ Takeaway.com. And the merged company announced that it had raised an additional €700 million ($756 million) in funding.
5. Cowboy VC’s Aileen Lee: Your coronavirus scenario planning should be more conservative
Lee and her fellow Cowboy Ventures partner Ted Wang joined us for our first episode of Extra Crunch Live, a virtual speaker series for Extra Crunch members. They covered a wide range of topics, including PPP loans, advice for business leaders around layoffs, the right time to seek funding and the right firms from which to seek that funding, how to pitch during a downturn and which sectors in particular Cowboy is interested in financing right now. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
6. Boston Dynamics’ Spot finds a new career in telemedicine amid COVID-19 pandemic
For two weeks, Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot has been walking the halls of local hospital Brigham and Women’s. Telemedicine wasn’t generally listed as one of the primary applications for the company’s first commercial product, but Boston Dynamics is only one in a long list of tech companies that’s found itself shifting on the fly as the COVID-19 pandemic has become an all-consuming part of life.
7. Bill Gurley is stepping away from an active role at Benchmark, 21 years after joining the firm
Gurley’s transition out of the firm won’t surprise many. Benchmark — which has always run a fairly small operation — has routinely groomed new investors as veterans of the firm have moved on.
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.
‘The Mandalorian’ Season 3 will premiere on March 1 • TechCrunch
Disney announced today The Mandalorian’s long-awaited third season will debut on March 1st on Disney+. The company had previously said that the third season would debut in February, so fans will have to wait a little longer than expected to see the upcoming season.
The third season will take place following the events of “The Book of Boba Fett,” in which Din Djarin reunited with Grogu. A teaser for the upcoming season shows Mando fighting armed warriors on Mandalore.
The second season “The Mandalorian” premiered back in October 2020, so fans have had to wait quite some time to see their favorites together again. Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito and Katee Sackhoff will all be returning in the third season of the show.
YouTube launches its first-ever official trends podcast, ‘Like & Describe,’ with content creator MatPat • TechCrunch
YouTube launched its first-ever official trends podcast today, the company announced. Hosted by popular content creator MatPat and produced by YouTube’s Culture & Trends team, the “Like & Describe” podcast will tackle lesser-known stories behind the biggest YouTube trends.
Episodes will release monthly on YouTube’s main channel for viewers to watch as well as all on major podcast platforms for listeners, including Spotify, Apple, Amazon and Google. Episode one debuted on December 1 with a second episode set to premiere on January 1.
The announcement comes a few months after YouTube introduced a dedicated podcast homepage. It’s likely the company launched “Like & Describe” to further cash in on the ever-growing podcast industry. Plus, MatPat could draw in millions of listeners since the creator has over 34 million subscribers in total across his four channels–The Game Theorists, The Film Theorists, The Food Theorists and his gaming channel, GTLive.
In the first episode, titled “The Rise of the VTubers,” MatPat explores Virtual YouTubers (aka VTubers), animated characters voiced by humans that garner a collective total of 1.5 billion views every month, according to YouTube.
MatPat meets with VTubers like Gawr Gura, a 9,000-year-old half shark/half girl, and Mori Calliope, a Grim reaper that raps in motion-capture music videos, among others. He also speaks with Earnest Pettie, Trends & Insights Lead of YouTube’s Culture & Trends team, content creator Dave Cherry and other experts.
Unlike most video podcasts where hosts sit in front of a camera and speak into a mic, “Like & Describe” has viewers follow along with graphics as MatPat narrates—similar to his video style for his YouTube channels.
The second episode will have MatPat meet with more special guests from the Culture & Trends team as they provide commentary on the biggest videos and creators of 2022.
Netflix is letting more subscribers preview its films and TV shows, report says • TechCrunch
Content is king for streaming services, and Netflix may be going the extra mile to ensure its content is up to par with subscribers. According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix’s prerelease screening program will soon enlist tens of thousands of subscribers to preview new movies and shows and provide their feedback.
Netflix declined to comment to TechCrunch on the Wall Street Journal’s report.
Similar to how major Hollywood studios have test screenings for new films, the “Netflix Preview Club” has over 2,000 previewers that review Netflix titles before they release to the streaming platform, the Wall Street Journal wrote. The program will reportedly increase by 400% in early 2023, should the report prove accurate.
The program has existed since May 2021, Variety previously reported. Netflix confirmed to Variety that it runs subscriber-feedback panels in the U.S. only.
According to Reddit users who claim to be in the program, the Netflix Preview Club is invite-only. Subscribers are required to sign an NDA before watching the film and then answer a series of survey questions one person wrote. “You get a special Netflix account, and they email when they have a movie in there for you to watch. Usually, you have to watch and review within a week,” the Reddit user added.
Amazon and Hulu have similar programs, the “Amazon Preview” program and the “Hulu Brain Trust,” where subscribers offer feedback on content.
WSJ points out that “Don’t Look Up” was apparently too serious for the Netflix Preview Club, and creators took this feedback and added more humor before it was released. Although “Don’t Look Up” was poorly reviewed by critics and has a 56% Tomatometer score and 78% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, it had four Oscars nominations and broke a Netflix record with 152.29 million weekly viewing hours.
Netflix intends to spend $17 billion on content next year, so it’s imperative that it’s smart about what it invests in. And in order to avoid repeating the disaster of Netflix’s first and second quarters of 2022, the company needs to keep subscribers engaged to limit churn.
Netflix rebounded in Q3 2022, jumping to 223 million global subscribers, so if expanding its preview program proves to be successful, its content could grow its subscriber base even more.
The streamer has seen success with its drama shows like “Stranger Things,” “Bridgerton,” “Squid Game,” and Tim Burton’s newest series “Wednesday,” which just topped 340 million hours viewed. However, Netflix needs more than that if it wants to fill in the gaps. Hopefully, the program will help give the streamer a better idea of what viewers want.
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