June 3, 2020

(This is from today’s newsletter. Subscribe here.)

Hi everyone – FYI as a correction from yesterday, Czech console/PC gaming company Bohemia Interactive is disputing a widely cited report by The Information that Tencent is acquiring a majority stake in it.

Update on violence against media in the US
Bellingcat investigative reporter Nick Waters is tracking verified incidents of arrests/assaults on journalists by police at protests in the US, currently at 138 incidents. (Track it here.)

The Freedom of Press Foundation is maintaining a public spreadsheet tracking the details of arrests and assaults on journalists by police or protesters in the US. Its count is now at 233 incidents. (Track it here.)

Interesting Deals, Stats, & Product Updates

Digestible Media


  • AMC Entertainment: “…substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time.” (Read more)
  • Orca Studios opened a 600 sq meter sound stage with LED walls for virtual production of film/TV using game engines. The Spanish company built the studio in the Canary Islands. (Read more)


  • The Athletic and the Bleacher Report (both sports-focused news publishers) are reportedly exploring partnerships with sports betting sites. (Read more)
    • The Information reports that The Action Network — a publisher focused on sports betting content that was incubated by The Chernin Group — gets affiliate fees of $250-400 per person (or up to a 30% rev share) for users it refers to 11 betting sites it has partnered with.


  • Warner Music Group listed on Nasdaq this morning under the ticker WMG. It priced shares at $25.00, opened at $27.00 (a $13.77B market cap), and closed at $29.92. (Read more)
  • Facebook signed a global licensing deal with Indian music label Saregama India, permitting Facebook and Instagram users to include 100,000 of the labels songs in their posts. (Read more)
  • JioSaavn, the popular music stream app in India that’s owned by Reliance Jio, released a full app redesign, including the ability for artists to add 15-second looping videos to accompany their songs. (Read more)


  • Apple is beta testing audio versions of news stories within its Apple News+ app. (Read more)

Interactive Media


  • Playtika is prepping for an IPO with goals of raising $1B at a $10B valuation, according to the NYT. The Israeli mobile games giant with 27M MAUs recently acquired Seriously and is owned a group of Chinese investors that includes Netmarble, Jack Ma and Hony Capital. Morgan Stanley is underwriting. (Read more)
  • DoubleDown Interactive, a Korea- and Seattle-based publisher of social casino games, filed for a $100M IPO on Nasdaq. Its 2019 revenue was $273m with $36m in net income. JP Morgan is underwriting. (Read more | F-1 Filing)
  • Nexon, the South Korean game publisher with over 60 games worldwide, announced it plans to invest $1.5B in other publicly-listed entertainment companies. (Read more)
    • Nexon shares are up 60% thus far this year. It had $770M in Q1 revenue.
  • Paradox Interactive, the Stockholm-based maker of grand strategy PC games, signed a collective bargaining agreement following employees’ unionization efforts. (Read more)


  • Oculus added hand-tracking compatibility for developers using Unreal Engine. Since Oculus released hand-tracking (using your hands rather than a controller to move and click things in VR) in late 2019, it’s only been added to the Unity integration. (Read more)


  • Zigazoo, a new app for parents and young kids in which kids respond to short video-based exercises, surpassed 100,000 video uploads in its first month. (Read more)
  • TikTok issues an apology to black creators who have been accusing the social video app of “shadow banning” posts related to protests and Black Lives Matter so they don’t appear in other users’ feeds. TikTok says it was a technical glitch that affected a lot fo different hashtags. (Read more)
    • Last year, investigations by The Guardian found TikTok systematically hides content related to Hong Kong, LGBT advocacy, and criticism of certain governments.
  • Google pulled the app Remove China Apps from its Play Store. The app, which informs users about which apps on their phone are created by Chinese companies, has been blowing up in India with 5+ million downloads in 2 weeks amid India-China political tensions. (Read more)