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Quibi’s Quick Decline Shows How Competitive The Streaming World Is

Quibi announced recently that they would be calling it quits, less than one year after launching into the streaming service industry that is now saturated by big business owners and their endless content.

The app’s demise was officially announced this past Wednesday, six months after its launch, in what’s being referred to as the most predictable business failings of 2020. The app was founded by Disney and DreamWorks alumnus Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett Packard and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

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The app initially advertised itself as a streaming service that delivers face-paced, short-length television episodes and movies that the average individual can watch throughout their day whenever they have free time. The idea behind Quibi was that you can watch an episode of a TV show while waiting for the train, or on your lunch break, without having to worry about stopping the episode half-way through when you have to return to your daily responsibilities.

Hence its name, Quibi, which means “quick bites” of entertainment. On average the TV shows and documentaries were 7-9 minutes in length. Initially, the app had a lot of Hollywood agents and investors ready and willing to dip their toe into this new form of streaming. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic arose in March, the idea of “on the go entertainment,” became a foreign idea for most who were now quarantining in their homes indefinitely.

In March, when Quibi was asked about the dilemma of running an app that advertises itself as entertainment on the move in the middle of a pandemic that forces everyone to stay home, the company dismissed the concerns. However, the pandemic wasn’t the only issue that arose with the app. After the first two months users were left uninterested in the limited and quick content that it offered, and many began deactivating their accounts.

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Quibi also arrived on the market months after the initial wave of major companies in the world announcing their participation in the streaming service industry. Platforms such as Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and of course the more established Netflix and Hulu have existed for quite some time now, so a completely new streaming service offering a new type of entertainment entering into the market right at the beginning of a global health crisis, set Quibi up for some massive failures.

In a recent open letter published by both Katzenberg and Whitman, the two acknowledged that they personally may never understand why the platform failed as quickly and greatly as it did.

“The media migration from the traditional ad-supported template to a direct-to-consumer subscription model continues to basically fly blind, leaving companies largely guessing about where the saturation point resides.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently was interviewed about the future of the streaming industry and the multitude of new players trying to get involved. He claimed that additional service casualties will definitely be expected as time progresses, but overall “we’ll see what happens.” Quibi unfortunately set the standard of these casualties, which will likely lead many businesses to rework their plans for new services.

American Flag Coronavirus

Late-Night Hosts Reflect On Trump’s Mishandling Of The Pandemic And Urge Viewers To Vote

As the US is entering into its third major wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and all 50 states are seeing rises in case numbers, late night television hosts are joining the likes of other celebrities with a major platform and speaking up against the current president and his handling of the virus as a means of getting their viewers to vote come next week. 

Halloween Movie

Classic Halloween Movies To Get You In The Spooky Spirit 

Halloween in 2020 definitely looks a little different than what the world is used to, however, just because there’s a global pandemic happening outside of our doors that doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy all the fun festivities the holiday has to offer. And what better way to get you and your quarantine crew in the mood for spooky season than some classic Halloween entertainment? 

Scream: This classic teen-slasher film is a trailblazer for modern murder-mysetery scary movies. This cult classic follows Cindy Prescott, a year after her mothers murder, as she fights off an evil ghost-faced killer who’s hunting down her and all of her friends. 

Get Out: This newer film has already been highly regarded as a horror classic. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, this film follows a Black photographer who goes home with his white girlfriend to meet her family for the first time. Surrounded by comments of casual racism, the relationship and dynamics of the characters only gets more and more ominous as it progresses. 

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Beetlejuice: This Tim Burton horror/comedy classic follows a ghost couple who are working to haunt their prior home with the help of a devilish poltergeist spirit known as Beetlejuice. The 1988 film has had multiple modern adaptations, including a Broadway show, but nothing compares to the original classic. 

Halloween: It truly isn’t Halloween until you’ve watched the classic 1978 film of the same name. This movie was a part of that classic set of horror movies that were filmed in the 70s and 80s that set the standard for the horror movie genre as we know it today. While there have been multiple sequels, reboots, and spin-offs, the original film starring Jamie Lee Curtis has gone doesn in history as one of the best horror films of all time. 

Edward Scissorhands: This movie also comes from the unique and spooky mind of Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder. This unlikely love story follows a man with scissor blades for hands who falls for your average girl next door suburban teenager. 

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Ghostbusters: If you’re looking for a more family-friendly Halloween movie to watch look no further than the 1984 classic Ghostbusters. Or spice it up with a marathon and watch the first, second and third film and top it off with the hilarious 2016 remake starring Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. 

Carrie: This Stephen King novel adaptation follows an introverted teenage girl with a complicated relationship with her mother, and an unexpected secret gift. After being bullied relentlessly all year Carrie finally decides to stand up to herself at the school prom and let’s just say it gets quite … messy. 

The Exorcist: You aren’t a real fan of horror movies unless you’ve seen this 1973 classic. This film set the standard for all demon possession type scary movies as it follows a young girl and her mother who attempts to save her daughter from demonic possession. After countless attempts she finally calls upon the church to perform an exorcism. 

Hocus Pocus: Another family-friendly classic Halloween movie, this film stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as three witches in Salem, Massachusetts who are resurrected on Halloween and spend the night trying to suck the youth out of all the trick or treaters as a means of staying young and beautiful. 

Child’s Play: This movie introduced the infamous Chucky doll horror character to the world in 1988. When Chucky gets possessed by a serial killer, he wreaks havoc on his new owners and changes the definition of “play time.”

Music Awards

2020 Billboard Music Awards Recap: Post Malone Wins Big In Nine Categories 

Post Malone proved to be the big winner of 2020’s Billboard Music Awards, taking home nine awards including top artist for the year. Kelly Clarkson hosted the ‘Covid-19 style” award show that involved many remote performances, a crowd less Dolby Theater, and plenty of distancing for the artists that were there to accept their awards. Eight of Post Malone’s awards were delivered to him via cart by Clarkson. 

The show was originally scheduled for April, but obviously the pandemic through a wrench in that plan. Since this award show was meant to take place six months ago, it mainly awarded songs, and albums from last year. For example, Lil Nas X took home four prizes for his 2019 shit single ‘Old Town Road.’

Many of the winners for the evening used their speech time to urge their fans to get out and vote. Lizzo took it all a step further and wore a simple black dress with the word ‘Vote’ repeated all over it while she accepted her award for being the Top Song Sales Artist. 

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“Let me tell y’all something, when people try to suppress something, it’s normally because that thing holds power. They’re afraid of your power. So whether it’s through music, protest or your right to vote, use your power, use your voice, and refuse to be suppressed.”

Billie Eilish picked up three awards throughout the whole night including top female artist and top new artist. When Eilish won the new artist award she stood on the stage and simply said “Please vote, please wear a mask, and please wash your hands and be safe.” Demi Lovato also performed her new politically charged single ‘Commander-In-Chief” which takes aim at President Trump and his harmful policies in terms of the pandemic and other areas of reform.

NBC censored the part of Lovato’s performance which displayed the word “Vote” on the screen, as the broadcasters felt it would be seen as a call to vote against the current president, instead of a neutral call to action. NBC did, however, tweet out the image of Lovato with the word displayed behind her. 

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John Legend gave an emotional performance of his song ‘Never Break,’ which he dedicated to his wife Chrissy Teigen, who suffered a misscarriage a couple of weeks ago. There were several other performances throughout the three-hour show, including a performance of ‘Love Looks Better’ by Alicia Keys and ‘Better Together’ by Luke Combs. The two performances have been regarded as heartfelt and empowering. Combs also won the award for Top Country Artist this year. 

“I know everybody out there has been through so much this year. I want to thank the crew that is working on this show tonight, because they have gone through some insane stuff to make this happen for you guys. I hope everybody’s staying safe at home.”

BTS gave a remote performance of their hit single ‘Dynamite’ from South Korea, where they shortly after won the award for Top Social Artist; an award that’s voted on by the fans. Doja Cat then gave a ‘Chicago’ inspired performance of her songs ‘Say So’ and ‘Juicy.” 

The real winner of the night was Post Malone, and unsurprisingly so as well considering what a year 2019 was for the young artist. In 2019 alone Malone scored two multi-platinum singles in the US with ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Circles,’ while his third studio album ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ sold three million copies. The singer-songwriter and rapper, 25, said he was “blown away, just by the love that everybody’s shown to me.”

For a list of all the winners, click here

Netflix on TV Screen

Texas Grand Jury Indicts Netflix For Controversial ‘Cuties’ Film 

A grand jury located in Tyler County, Texas has indicted Netflix on criminal charges that allege the streaming service is promoting “lewd visual material of a child” within their new film “Cuties.” The French film originally premiered at Sundance film festival earlier this year and was meant to be a commentary on the over-sexualization of children in the media and online with influencer culture, however, to a majority of viewers it felt as though the film is more so contributing to that problem, rather than speaking out against it. 

The director of the film, Maïmouna Doucoure, has defended the film multiple times, despite the multiple petitions and calls for Netflix to remove the film from the platforms. According to IMDB, “Cuties” follows an 11-year-old girl named Amy who joins a new group of dancers called the cuties. Amy eventually “grows aware of her burgeoning femininity – upsetting her mother and her values in the process.” 

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“I decided to make this film and sound an alarm and say we need to protect our children. It’s bold, it’s feminist, but it’s so important and necessary to create debate and try to find solutions, for me as an artist, for politicians and parents. It’s a real issue.”

Many individuals didn’t feel the same way as Doucoure, and viewed the film to be a hypersexualization of the young girls that are meant to be seen as empowered. In the official complaint filed, the grand jury claims Netflix knowingly promoted inappropriate visual material which  “depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age at the time the visual material was created, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex, and has no serious, literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

Netflix has already defended the decision to keep the project on the platform, claiming that the film is a “powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up.” To which the public responded, can’t we have that discussion without further contributing to the problem by advertising a movie about 11-year-olds doing inappropriate dance moves. 

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It’s a major point of contention that has opened a much larger conversation regarding the sexualization of young people in TV and film. This past Tuesday, Netflix released another statement defending the film, stating that it’s a social commentary and they “stand by the film.”

Initially the movie sparked a backlash movement on Twitter with the hashtag #CancelNetflix, and for Tyler County District Attorney Lucas Babin, he knew right away that there was “probable cause to believe it [the movie] was criminal.” 

“The legislators of this state believe promoting certain lewd material of children has destructive consequences. A grand jury found probable cause for this felony, and my job is to uphold the laws of this State and see that justice is done.”

The Parents Television Council also recently called upon president Trump and the Department of Justice to interrogate Netflix about “Cuties” and the alleged “pattern of behavior” the platform has been exuding.

Netflix on Screen

‘Glow’ And ‘Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance’ Join Growing List Of Cancelled Netflix Originals

As Glow and Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance join the long and growing list of Netflix original series that receive praise from audiences everywhere only to be abruptly cancelled months later, viewers are beginning to ask the question, is Netflix killing off their series too soon?

Sense8, The OA, Santa Clarita Diet, and One Day At A Time are all examples of shows that have been cancelled after receiving critical acclaim everywhere, as well as massive social media followings. They’ve all released around two to three seasons before Netflix announced they’re getting the boot, and more times than not the series ends on a cliffhanger due to the abruptness of the cancellations. 

Now, Glow and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, have joined that list. The latter show is a prequel to the 1983 Jim Hensen movie which became famous for its intricate puppet design and animatronic use. Netflix premiered the prequel series in August of 2019, garnering near universal acclaim from critics and a slew of award nominations. It also received a 2020 Emmy for outstanding children’s program. Even with all of these positive accolades and reviews, Netflix still cancelled the series before it was able to develop further. 

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Glow on the other hand is a three-time Emmy winner, and is a show that follows the culture of female wrestling in the 1980’s. The show had three seasons and was about to start filming its fourth and final season when the pandemic hit. Now, thanks to the uncertainty regarding all things Covid-19, Netflix decided to just scrap the final season in its entirety, leaving many fans disappointed that their favorite show from the past three years won’t be receiving a proper ending. 

The way that Netflix decides what shows get renewed every year is still a mystery to the public. The streaming service has claimed that the cancellations have to do with social media presence as well as viewership, however, they never release their actual rating figures, leaving the public in the dark as to why these shows actually get cancelled. 

Netflix is notoriously known for watching the way their viewers interact with their programming. They look at analytics regarding what you watch, when you watch it, what time of year you’re watching it, what device you’re watching on, how many episodes you watch in a row, when you pause it, etc. The data gets so specific so the company has a better understanding of its customers. 

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Netflix apparently also looks at viewership mainly seven to 28 days after a series launches. They break their viewers into three categories: “starters, who watch the first episode; completers, who finish a show in its launch window; and watchers, a measure of all subscribers who watch a show. The more who finish a season within the first 28 days, the higher Netflix regards the show, it seems.”

This algorithm, however, is putting Netflix in the hot seat more and more, as fans are growing tired of paying more monthly for a service that keeps cancelling the shows audiences grow a deep connection too. Glow being one of the biggest and most recent examples of this, even the cast and crew working for the show went online to express their extreme disappointment in Netflix’s decision, showing that the individuals involved in the making of these shows are left in the dark just as much as the rest of the world when it comes to how/why certain shows don’t get renewed.

By exclusively looking at the viewership of a show within its first month of launching, Netflix is excluding an entire audience of individuals who have yet to discover the show, get Netflix, catch up with said show, etc. There’s a complete market of viewers that they’re choosing to ignore and while there’s been signs from management that this style of renewing would shift, the Covid-19 pandemic has flipped the entire entertainment industry on its head in general, so who’s to say. 

Woman Reading a Book

Cozy Reads To Enjoy While On Lockdown This Fall 

Now that October has officially begun, the weather is finally starting to cool and people are gearing up for fall and all of its cozy glory. Reading is always a popular indoor activity to do by the fire on a cool autumn day, and now that we’re all enduring a global health crisis that forces everyone to stay indoors, it’s the perfect time to stock up on some new reads to welcome in the cooler season. Here’s a few options of good reads to get cozy with:

“Whale Day” By Billy Collins: Collins’ has a very distinguished style of writing that is often regarded as funny and light, which makes it easy to get into and keep reading. This book is his most recent collection of poems that is meant to take readers on a journey that will force them to use their imagination. The themes of life and mortality are threaded throughout the novel, and Collins hopes readers can enjoy the whimsical nature of the poems. 

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“The Book of Two Ways” By Jodi Picoult: Picoult is a New York Times bestselling author, and her most recent novel has been reviewed as the perfect read to enjoy while sipping on your morning coffee. The story follows Dawn Edelstein who’s in the middle of a flight when she has to prepare for a crash landing. She ends up surviving the crash only to realize that when her life flashed before her eyes she wasn’t nearly as satisfied with what she’s done so far, so she makes some major changes and aims to find the man she fell in love with 15 years prior. 

“The Thursday Murder Club” By Richard Osman: Now that it’s October and spooky season is officially here, it’s time to break out some scary stories. This novel is the first by author Richard Osmand and tells the story of four friends in a retirement village that meet up weekly to talk about unsolved crimes. As the story develops the group of friends notice more local murders are taking place, and it’s up to the Thursday Murder Club to solve the cases. 

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“The End of Her” By Shari Lapena: Keeping up with the Halloween theme, this novel is a great new suspense story that centers around an average couple, Stephanie and Patrick, as they raise their twin daughters. They’re family is relatively nuclear, until a woman from Patrick’s past appears one day and accuses him of murder. The accusation is just the beginning of a whole slew of lies that Stephanie finds out about her husband, leaving her confused and in need of the truth. 

“No Time Like The Future” By Michael J. Fox: This is a memoir collection of stories from Fox, as he discusses illness, health, family, friends, and life in general. The book won’t be available to purchase until November 17th, however, the timing makes it the perfect gift for any memoir lover in your family. Fox openly discusses his ongoing experience with Parkinson’s disease while threading in his classic humor throughout. 

“The Little Ghost Who Was A Quilt” By Riel Nason: This book is perfect for younger children who love Halloween, but want to keep the holiday light and innocent. This novel follows a little ghost who stands out when compared to his ghost friends. All of his other friends have classic white sheets to disguise themselves while the little ghost is left with a quilt, making it hard to fly as fast as the others. However, on Halloween he learns a very valuable lesson about what it is to be an individual, and that it’s okay to be special or different from what everyone else considers “normal.”

Colorful Music

Bob Mould Criticizes America With Comeback Album ‘Blue Hearts’

Bob Mould has been spending the past few weeks quarantined in his sealed San Francisco home as toxic smoke fills the California air, which is just one of the many thematic elements that makes up his new album, Blue Hearts.

TV Remote with TV

Study Finds An Over Emphasis Of Criminality In Immigrant Representation On TV

A new study performed from the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project, which is titled “Change the Narrative, Change the World: How immigrant representation on television moves audiences to action,” examined 129 immigrant characters from 59 different narrative TV shows that have aired within the past two years. The goal of studying through 97 episodes of television was to better understand how Hollywood generally portrays immigrants/immigration in some of its most popular programs; such as Orange Is The New Black, Madam Secretary, and The Conners. 

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The study found that there has been a major improvement in quantity of immigrant representation on TV, however, there’s a continued over-emphasis of criminality in practically all immigrant characters on these shows, and a majority of these characters only receive centralized plot lines if they’re undocumented. 

Specifically, the study found that about one-fourth (22%) of immigrant characters on the shows studies were associated with criminality to some degree and 11% with incarceration (either were imprisoned on the show or were previously imprisoned). In 2018, however, the same group performed a similar study and found that the number of incarcerated immigrant characters went down from 34% to that 11%. 

There was also a major emphasis in the study on how television still has an over-representation problem when it comes to portraying immigrants as undocumented. Of the TV characters observed 63% were claimed to be undocumented on their shows, compared to only 24% of American immigrants. 

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The representation of immigrants as being undocumented and being profiled as such, however, has also increased during a time in politics where immigration is a major point of contention for many. For example, in Orange Is The New Black’s final season, a major portion of the episodes were spent in an ICE detention facility and was extremely graphic in terms of how these immigrant characters were treated by officers; while the show’s themselves are fictional, the real-life situations occurring at our border now that these plots are based on is unsettling for viewers. 

Half of the immigrant characters on TV in 2019 were of Latinx origin which is actually representative of the situation in the US, however, Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants continue to remain under-represented on TV, taking up only 12% of the characters observed. 

The study also discussed how practically every show ignored the very real reality of what it’s like to be a transgender or gender non-conforming immigrant, as well as undocumented black immigrants. These demographics of individuals are some of the most severely treated individuals in this country, however, you’d never know based on the lack of representation/coverage in mainstream media. There are currently 600,000 undocumented black immigrants in the US and a fifth of them are currently facing deportation in the middle of a pandemic. 

While there have been several LGBT+ identifying immigrant characters in TV within the past year, none of them identified as transgender or gender non-conforming. Transgender immigrants are often placed in the wrongly gendered detention camp, much like they are placed in wrongly gendered prisons. The issue has always existed in America, and yet Hollywood and the media has remained silent. While representation of these characters has improved over the past few years, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Controller

10 Of The Most Popular Games Of 2020 So Far

2020 has truly been one of the most unpredictable years in history. With a global health crisis keeping everyone indoors, many have turned to video games to keep themselves occupied while having the ability to enter a completely new reality. Here’s a list of some of the most popular games that people have been playing throughout the past year:

Animal Crossing: New Horizons: If you own a Nintendo Switch, you definitely already know what this game is. The desert-island alternate-reality game has been one of the most popular Nintendo Games for years now. With the most recent version, New Horizons, being released right as the pandemic began, gamers flooded the Nintendo Store to get their hands on it and start building their island. Players create their own custom avatar and island, while taking care of their 10 animal villagers of various species. 

Streets Of Rage 4: This game is available on a multitude of platforms such as PlayStation, Xbox, PC, Switch, and more. This is the fourth installment in Sega’s legendary Streets of Rage series, which hasn’t seen a reprise in nearly 25 years. Players enter Wook Oak City where they will join a slew of vigilante heroes and use a wide variety of weapons and battle moves to defeat massive waves of criminal masterminds trying to ruin the city. 

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Half Life: Alyx: Half_Life 3 has been widely anticipated from fans for over a decade now, so they were surprised when the virtual reality-exclusive prequel to the game was released instead. The game follows resistance leader Alyx Vance at the start of her fight against the alien Combine. This thrilling game is the exact type of VR excitement we all would want in the middle of a pandemic. 

Ori And The Will Of The Wisps: This is the sequel to indie platform adventure game Ori and the Blind Forest. This game follows its predecessor, and players will experience the beautiful quality of the rich, sylvan landscapes and magical elements woven throughout the plot. The game is said to be extremely calming and melancholic when compared to other fighting games. 

Kentucky Route Zero: After six long years, fans are finally getting their concluding chapter to this minimalist, and magical adventure game. The game has been regarded as one of the “defining games of the decade” thanks to its subtle and desolate painting of the universe. The atmosphere creates a calming atmosphere for the player through mystical characters and stories. 

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Coffee Talk: Basically, in this game players are hired as a barista working the night shift in a remote coffee shop located in Seattle. The twist? Your main customers are vampires and werewolves, all looking for a shoulder to cry on and someone to tell their story to. This leisure adventure game is regarded as being widely entertaining and quite funny. 

Lair Of The Clockwork God: In this game friends Ben and Dan must work together to prevent the apocalypse from occurring. This comedy-adventure game offers a more classic style of gaming with simple point-and-click techniques while maintaining a certain modern edge to it. 

Resident Evil 3 (Remake): After last year’s extremely successful launch of the remake of Resident Evil 2, creators knew they had to do the same for the third-installment of the game. The game itself keeps the same narrative and setting as the original Resident Evil 3, but this time certain controls and components have been tweaked to include a more entertaining experience. 

SnowRunner: The gist of this game involves driving huge trucks through mud and snow to make deliveries. While this may sound like one of the most mundane games on the market today, it’s been reviewed as having an “unexpectedly hypnotic” effect on the player. The navigation is slow and steady, and the detailed settings offer a relaxing game play experience. 

In Other Waters: In this exploration game about deep-sea diving on another planet, players become an AI robot installed in the explorers suit. The player is then reliant on the explorers text descriptions and sketches of alien life to map out what this planet actually looks like. The game is also regarded as being very relaxing and peaceful to play.