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TikTok-Instagram-Addiction-Nudge-Users-thefutureparty

TikTok and Instagram try to curb user addiction

TikTok-Instagram-Addiction-Nudge-Users-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

TikTok and Instagram try to curb user addiction

 

The Future. Both TikTok and Instagram are rolling out features to help address users’ well-being, hoping to break a cycle of addiction on their platforms — even if the content they’re looking at isn’t necessarily harmful. If the new features prove successful, it may lead to the platforms seeing a decline in usage but boost user satisfaction enough to repair their poor mental-health reputations.

Detox notification
TikTok and Instagram are exploring ways to interrupt your endless scroll.

TikTok

  • The platform is rolling out two new features — a daily screen-time limiter that prompts users to take a break and a screen-time dashboard so users can see a detailed breakdown of their day on the app.
  • Users can set the daily limit themselves, but those between the ages 13 and 17 will automatically receive a notification if they’ve used the app for more than 100 minutes in a single day.

Instagram

  • The platform is rolling out a feature that “nudges” users away from content on the Explore page they’ve looked at for too long, offering a selection of different themes that the user can “choose to explore next.”
  • Instagram will send the nudges even if users aren’t fixating on something considered harmful — it just wants users to break the cycle.
  • The platform is also testing a “Take a Break” feature to get users off the app… if even for a little bit.

In announcing the new features yesterday, both TikTok and Instagram were strangely in-sync on their reasons for the rollouts. In a blog post, TikTok said that a recent study with the online-safety group Internet Matters found that users (especially teenagers) have a better experience if they feel in control of their online behavior.

Meanwhile, Instagram pointed to a study that found that 58.2% of users felt nudges made their app experience better “by helping them become more mindful of their time on-platform.” Again, it’s all about the feeling that they’re controlling their experience, not the app controlling them.

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Federal-Data-Privacy-Laws-Bill-Congress-thefutureparty

Congress may finally see eye-to-eye on data privacy

Federal-Data-Privacy-Laws-Bill-Congress-thefutureparty

Congress may finally see eye-to-eye on data privacy

 

The Future. Congress is getting closer to formally introducing federal data-privacy legislation, with a bipartisan bill moving through committee. It would supersede the piecemeal state approach that has left companies scratching their heads. With strict user-data privacy inevitable, expect companies to start rolling out more direct, transparent forms of data collection in order to know their customers.

Copy, paste, delete
According to The Verge, user data may finally get some federal protection.

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee held its first hearing on a bipartisan bill called American Data Privacy and Protection Act yesterday.
  • It would allow Americans to “access, correct, and request deletion of any personal data companies have collected on them.”
  • The bill would force the Federal Trade Commission to define what personal data is actually necessary for companies to collect.
  • It would also ban companies from targeting anyone under 16 for advertising and force platforms to conduct annual algorithm reviews.
  • Additionally, Americans could sue platforms if their rights have been violated.

Privacy is the new black
It looks like this bill has the best chance in years to break the partisan logjam (Republicans aren’t fans of state privacy protections, while Democrats have hammered for a private right of action), with committee chair Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) saying, “This proposal is the first serious, bipartisan, bicameral, comprehensive national privacy bill that directly confronts the sticking points which derailed earlier efforts.”

And the bill couldn’t come at a better time. The White House has put data privacy high on its priority list, the desire to protect American users from foreign companies is forcing real change, and even the biggest tech CEOs (such as Apple’s Tim Cook) are all itching for the government to rip off the Band-Aid already and pass something.

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Apple scores decade-long major league soccer deal

Apple-Major-League-Soccer-MLS-Games-thefutureparty
Apple soccer // Illustration by Kate Walker

Apple scores decade-long major league soccer deal

 

The Future. Apple has wrapped up a deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) to broadcast its games for the next ten years. It marks the first time a major sports league has given exclusive rights to any platform… let alone a streaming service. With streamers jockeying aggressively to make sports deals to attract new subscribers, expect the Apple-MLS one to be a blueprint for negotiations moving forward.

Global play
After dipping its toes in live sports with a deal for the MLB’s Friday Night Baseball, Apple has inked a much larger one in the world of soccer.

  • THR reports that Apple will exclusively broadcast all MLS games globally for the next ten years, starting in 2023.
  • All the games will stream on Apple TV+, with some available for free.
  • Highlight packages will also be available on the Apple News app.
  • Reports say the deal will cost Apple $250 million per year.

All of the games will stream in both English and Spanish, with Canadian games also available in French.

Streaming World Cup
The deal is a big win for Apple TV+. Not only is the tech giant getting exclusive rights to one of the fastest-growing leagues in all sports, but it’s also securing one of the streaming war’s biggest gets. In general, locking up sports rights is becoming a go-to move to win subscribers, with Amazon (football), Peacock (the Olympics), Disney (cricket in India), and Paramount+ (basketball and golf) each throwing their hat into the ring.

But Apple may have changed the game — the MLS deal represents the first time that any major league has signed over all broadcast rights to a single platform. However, MLS commissioner Don Garber said that MLS might be able to simulcast games to linear broadcast networks during the first couple of years. Call it a slow fade to streaming.

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Influencers leached onto Depp vs. Heard for engagement

Influencers-Depp-Heard-trial-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

Influencers leached onto Depp vs. Heard for engagement

 

The Future. TikTok, Twitch, Instagram, and YouTube influencers jumped on the Depp vs. Heard case, offering a mix of breakdowns, analysis, and memes to boost engagement and take advantage of an algorithm propping up the content. The shift in content has been a financial boon for creators. Even though the ethics are dubious, the success may lead to more influencers jumping into the “breaking news” space — as has already happened with Ukraine and the Supreme Court leak — to grow their followings.

Court of opinion
The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial was the first major celebrity-driven court case of the social-media era… and it may have shown the world what they can expect from the internet, reports The Washington Post.

  • YouTuber Alyte Mazeika pivoted from her usual content to talking about the trial, netting her $5,000 in one week.
  • Another YouTuber, ThatUmbrellaGuy, turned his channel into a pro-Depp sounding board — a tactic that earned him a whopping $80,000 last month.
  • Instagrammer Christopher Orec, who has more than 1.4 million followers, walked away with $5,400 in bonus payments from content created for Reels.

Influencing optics
No matter your opinion on the case, most influencers seemingly chose a pro-Depp position because it played better with their audience — which led to higher revenue. Content creator Rowan Winch said, “Johnny content performed a lot better… A lot of major content creators probably don’t even care about it that much — they just care about the views that it gets.”

And that’s a phenomenon that Depp’s lawyer took advantage of, admitting that he had phone calls with several “Internet journalists” to inform them about the case. That sent a shiver down the spine of many journalists, including NBC News reporter Kat Tebarge, who warned that instead of being held to typical journalistic standards, influencers are “incentivized to break them, to fit the narrative and make money.”

That grassroots, financially-driven bias could shift the public perception of high-profile cases moving forward.

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Top Gun: Maverick director races Apple-backed Formula One film to theaters

Top-Gun-Maverick-Director-Apple-Formula-One-thefutureparty
Top Gun: Maverick // Illustration by Kate Walker

Top Gun: Maverick director races Apple-backed Formula One film to theaters

 

The Future.  Joseph Kosinski, director of the hit Top Gun: Maverick, inked a deal with Apple to bring his high-flying film style to the world of Formula One. The deal breaks new ground in the world of distribution — it’s getting a blockbuster theatrical rollout followed by a debut on streaming. And the project’s lead creatives are getting paid for every step along the way. If the blueprint proves successful, streamers may experiment with offering a higher-priced tier that gives subscribers access to their films on the big (and small) screen.

Best of both worlds
THR reports that Joseph Kosinki’s next film will compete for eyeballs on the big screen and then the small screen… and get paid for pit stops along the way.

  • The film: Currently untitled, the movie will feature key players from the Top Gun team (director Joseph Kosinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and co-writer Ehren Kruger), along with Brad Pitt and his Plan B banner as well as seven-time racing champion Lewis Hamilton.
  • The rollout: Apple will release the film worldwide in theaters for an exclusive run of at least 30 days (and as high as 60) before going on AppleTV+. Apple will look for a theatrical-distribution partner.
  • The deal: The creative team will get paid in three different ways: upfront fees, backend buyout deals, and a theatrical backend (which an insider pegs will be a 50-50 split between Apple and the key players).

While a backend buyout deal is commonplace in streaming and a theatrical backend is normal for big-screen releases (not that many people see that money anyway), this may be the first case of a creative team getting both for the same film. And it’s a rich deal: Kosinski, Bruckheimer, and Pitt will all possibly make tens of millions of dollars.

Theaters and streamers, sitting in a tree…
This isn’t the first time Apple has put movies in theaters — Wolfwakers and The Tragedy of Macbeth were released in a small number of theaters to help pump up their awards prospects. But their F1 project is different — it’s a bonafide blockbuster play and, succinctly put by Bory Kit at THR, “a model for future deals that acknowledge that both theatrical and streaming are here to stay for the duration.”

Apple’s mega-deal is further evidence that something’s in the water in Hollywood — a realization that streamers need theatrical to woo top talent, boost revenue, and build buzz for a movie before it arrives on a service. Netflix signaled as much when reports surfaced that it’s toying with releasing big films, like the upcoming sequel to Knives Out, exclusively in theaters for 45 days.

And there’s evidence to back all this up. Warner Bros.’ The Batman racked up $750 million worldwide before landing on HBO Max… where it proceeded to break viewership records

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tv-shows-companion-podcasts-deal-thefutureparty

TV shows and companion podcasts become a package deal

tv-shows-companion-podcasts-deal-thefutureparty
Illustration by Kate Walker

TV shows and companion podcasts become a package deal

 

The Future. Companion podcasts to TV shows are becoming a widespread trend, offering more time with beloved characters and giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at how the shows are made. By tapping into their fan bases after the credits roll (or even when the show is finished), many of these podcasts may be directly responsible for curbing subscriber-churn or convincing old fans to sign up for a service again.

Creator commentary
You know your TV show is in the zeitgeist if you also have a behind-the-scenes podcast to go with it.

  • According to The Verge, in just the past month, HacksThe Staircase, and RuPaul’s Drag Race introduced a companion podcast, with many TV-adjacent podcasts hitting the top 100 charts on both Spotify and Apple.
  • While most feature interviews with the cast and crew, others take a more novel approach, such as the Succession podcast interviewing moguls like Mark Cuban and the For All Mankind podcast interviewing astronauts.
  • Some of the podcasts are even more popular than the shows, such as Apple’s The Problem With Jon Stewart. While the show has failed to get much love, the podcast debuted at the top of the Apple charts.

DVD extras 2.0
Behind-the-scenes interviews used to be a dime a dozen in the DVD age, but when VOD and streaming crashed that market, that content disappeared. By going the podcast route (an already-popular medium), not only are the bonus features back, but according to HBO’s director of podcasts, Michael Gluckstadt, they’re much cheaper and easier to produce.

In fact, they’re so cheap that they don’t even have to directly make money. HBO’s retrospective The Wire at 20 podcast is number 87 on Apple Podcasts and features zero ads. Why not capitalize on that popularity? Because per an HBO Max survey, 85% felt “more connected” to the show after listening… a phenomenon that At Will Media founder Will Malnati calls “fanbase ROI.”

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eBay will lock your valuable trading-card collection in the Vault

trading-cards-bought-sold-ebay-vault-thefutureparty
eBay Vault // Illustration by Kate Walker

eBay will lock your valuable trading-card collection in the Vault

 

The Future. eBay is pulling back the curtain on eBay Vault — a literal vault where higher-priced trading cards can be stored for safekeeping and sold at auction without the hassle of shopping. The Vault coincides with cards rising to the status of bonafide asset class, and they could become so expensive and in-demand that eBay may even introduce fractional ownership (like Rares is doing with sneakers) — a move that would transform the company from a marketplace to an investment platform.

Complimentary security
After you buy a sports card from eBay, the best place to keep it may be… at eBay.

  • Fast Company reports that the e-resale company is introducing eBay Vault — a 31,000 square-foot, climate-controlled facility in Delaware where customers can store their cards.
  • Any cards sold on eBay for $750 (or more) can be stored in the Vault for free, where they are authenticated, insured, and digitally imaged, so you can see them whenever you want.

With just a few clicks, card owners can sell the cards on eBay while they’re stored at the facility… where the new owners can continue storing them (think of it as StockX’s VaultNFTs for trading cards), eliminating the need for unnecessary shipping.

Million-dollar rookie (card)
While stocks were taken for a ride during the pandemic, alternative investments like sports cards and memorabilia have surged in popularity. That boom has been driven by the rise in NFTs, giving something as old-school as trading cards an upgrade and minting a new generation of collectors… and investors.

Some high-net-worth customers are already getting invited to store their collections in the Vault. Millionaire collector Rick Probstein (probstein123 on eBay) says his cards were transferred by eBay via an armored vehicle.

That leaves us with one pressing question: could the next great heist be for sports cards?

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Amazon opens the piggy bank for live-shopping influencers

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Amazon live // Illustration by Kate Walker

Amazon opens the piggy bank for live-shopping influencers

 

Future. Amazon Live (the e-commerce giant’s version of QVC) is offering thousands of dollars in guaranteed money to influencers who will leave TikTok or YouTube to work exclusively for the service. But with many influencers turning the gig down because of Amazon’s lack of a social media incentive to do the livestreams, Amazon Live may consider integrating Twitch (which Amazon owns) into the feature to solve the problem.

Viral QVC

Amazon wants stars, not just for its Prime Originals but also for its Amazon Live service. Per Input, Amazon has been offering top dollar to woo influencers.

  • TikTokers with roughly 100,000 followers were offered up to $9,000 per month if they livestreamed for at least 300 minutes over five sessions and generated more than $22,000 in revenue.
  • The same deal was offered to a YouTube influencer, but they had a million subscribers.
  • On the lower end of the spectrum, some influencers were offered $4,000 for four hour-long livestreams (or $2,100 for an hour and a half).
  • These deals were on top of the 1%-10% commission rate the influencers would receive on sales.

While the upfront money is nice, many influencers have been turning down the deal for one key reason: there’s no social aspect or incentive to the live-streamed content. On TikTok and YouTube, the popularity of livestreams has the potential to grow their followings… which could lead to even more money down the road.

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Invader turns traveling into an art-installation quest

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Flashinvader // Courtesy of Invader

Invader turns traveling into an art-installation quest

 

Future. Invader, an anonymous street artist, has been installing tiled-renderings of little aliens for over twenty years… and is now scoring a new legion of fans through an app that gamifies people going outside to find them. Even though Invader’s goal was to get people off of their screens, his success could actually be great news for the AR industry — here’s proof that tying tech to the physical world can bring out the best in both.

OG AR

Who needs the digital art of AR to gamify your life when Invader has been creating the real thing for the past 24 years.

  • The artist has been tiling mosaics of the classic arcade game Space Invaders on buildings, bridges, and other structures throughout Europe, North America, and beyond.
  • But how many aliens are we talking about here? According to Bloomberg, 4,056 mosaics (and counting) across 80 cities.
  • While his art has been a hit with travelers for decades, he minted a new following with the release of his app FlashInvader. In it, users are awarded points for finding his pieces.
  • Since the app’s launch in 2014, it has signed up 223,000 players (adding 1,000 new players per week) who have “flashed” over 14 million total invaders.

Invader has started to branch out his artwork, building characters from Pac-Man, Mario Brothers, and Q*Bert.

Tech tonic

While Invader has used an app to supercharge his popularity, the ethos behind his mosaics is still about getting people off their phones and out into the real world — what Bloomberg’s Sophie Stuber calls a “street-art revolt against tech.” Most of his works are installed without permission, but none of the building’s owners seem too upset. France’s justice ministry even admitted that “some works become real popular attractions, leading to specific tourism via routes in certain municipalities.”

In his home base of Paris, the invaders can be found in bookstores, bars, and museums. The artist said he hopes his pieces take people “to parts of the world they would otherwise never visit, and on a more local level, to neighborhoods or back streets where no one usually goes.”

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The updated American Dream may be fractional home-ownership

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Fractional ownership // Illustration by Kate Walker

The new American Dream may be fractional home-ownership

 

Future. A handful of startups hope to make your (fractional) home-ownership dreams come true by making down payments actually affordable. While that may sound amazing to some, getting people to buy in and adopt this idea may be easier said than done. It might require a culture shift in primary residence living where people are okay sharing a roof with strangers.

Half bedroom, half bath

According to The Information, a handful of startups are making it possible for people to buy part of a home.

  • Pacaso, Alt Casa, and Kocomo sell fractional shares of homes — into as many as eight pieces — where owners are granted access to the property during certain times of the year.
  • Arrived Homes and Here sell even more shares of a home, treating properties as investable assets for as little as $100 — what Arrived CEO Ryan Frazier calls “a house IPO.”

In the case of Pacaso and Kocomo, owners can book their time at the property through an app. The companies even switch family photographs between each stay.

Real estate 3.0

Zoe Bernard at The Information believes these startups are bringing about the “Real Estate 3.0” era, which as Pete Flint at venture firm NFX explains, is companies solving the problem of “affordability and accessibility.” I mean, it’s no news to anyone that home prices are currently astronomical.

While they’re currently used for secondary or vacation homes (think of it as a step up from an extended Airbnb stay) these startups believe it could usher in a new type of primary home ownership. But how that would actually work sounds… complicated. The people who own the home would cohabit it with different families, each living in a different area of the house depending on its design. If a home isn’t built for that specific type of living, common spaces (living room, kitchen, etc.) may need to be reserved by owners for use. Like we said, complicated.

In what could be a savior to your savings or a call to action to nip this whole idea in the bud, Alt Casa founder Kelle Snow summed up the thinking with: “Two kids, a white picket fence, and [a] quarter of a house… sounds dreamy.”

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