South Korea’s Naver Buys Wattpad Storytelling App for $600 Million

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The Hollywood Reporter reports: “The Canadian storytelling app Wattpad has unveiled a deal to be acquired by Naver, the South Korean Internet conglomerate and home of Webtoon, the global digital comics platform as part of a cash and stock deal valued at $600 million.”

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Future of TV Briefing: Free, ad-supported streaming TV bubble nears an inflection point

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Deadline reports: “The free, ad-supported streaming TV market has quickly expanded to the point of becoming overgrown. Now it’s in need of some pruning.”

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Valve and five PC games publishers fined $9.4M for illegal geo-blocking

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TechCrunch reports: “A four-year antitrust investigation into PC games geo-blocking in the European Union by distribution platform Valve and five games publishers has led to fines totaling €7.8 million (~$9.4M) after the Commission confirmed today that the bloc’s rules had been breached.”

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Netflix Stock Soars to Near Record Highs on Q4 Subscriber Beat, Positive Free Cash Flow Forecast

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Variety reports: “Netflix shares saw their biggest single-day gains in four years after the streamer reported strong Q4 subscriber growth that topped Wall Street expectations.”

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Instagram lead says he’s not happy with Reels yet and might ‘consolidate’ video formats

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The Verge reports: “Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, isn’t thrilled with the platform’s TikTok competitor Reels. He discussed the format, which launched in the US in August, during an interview with The Verge’s Decoder podcast today.”

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Cinedigm Acquires Fandor, Plans to Reboot Indie-Film Streaming Service

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Variety reports: “Cinedigm continues its rollup of niche streaming brands: The company has acquired the assets of Fandor, a subscription-streaming service with a catalog of 4,600 films that has been in hibernation mode for the last two years.”

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Apple Mulls Podcast Subscription Push Amid Spotify’s Land Grab

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Billboard reports: “The iPhone giant has explored adding a paid audio product, a risky move given the proliferation of free, ad-supported programming.”

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SiriusXM Takes $1B Pandora Hit Due To ‘Royalty Cost Structure’

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Hypebot reports: “SiriusXM added 909,000 new subscribers last year, bringing their total monthly self-pay subscriber base to a record of 30.9 million at the end of 2020.”

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Paramount Plus to Launch March 4 in U.S. and Latin America

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Variety reports: “ViacomCBS has set March 4 as the launch date for Paramount Plus, the company’s effort to join the direct-to-consumer streaming revolution alongside its larger rivals.”

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TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin launches an e-wallet

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TechCrunch reports: “Tencent’s WeChat Pay and Alibaba’s affiliate Alipay have long dominated digital payments in China, but they have always faced new challengers. The latest entrant in online payments is Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese version.”

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