Starz-Comcast contract dispute draws Department of Justice informal inquiry

Brian Roberts, Chairman & CEO of Comcast
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The Department of Justice has contacted Comcast & Lions Gate, the owner of Starz, in the midst of what seems to be an informal inquiry into the two companies’ contract negotiations. The root of the issues seems to be that TV providers (ie, Comcast) may be abusing their market position in negotiations concerning content licenses.

Comcast accounts for a large portion of Starz’s 24 million subscribers. However, Lions Gate supposedly told Comcast Xfinity customers that they may no longer have access to Starz amid the contract dispute. In the case that the two companies do not come to terms over a new contract, Comcast has planned to replace Starzchannels with Epix channels in its Xfinity TV bundle.

According to the article on CNBC, Lions Gate shares have plummeted 49% this year, since Comcast customers were informed of the potential cutoff last month. As pressures build on each side of the equation, Comcast faces the growing competition from a la carte streaming apps and the rise of cord-cutters. Starz, on the other hand is fighting to stay afloat as carriers begin to rethink just how much they are willing to pay amid the hundreds of other content options.


“OK Fox TV!”

‘How you doing fellow kids?’ ... the OK boomer putdown is set to become a TV show.
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If you’ve used any sort of social media app in the last month or so, you’re more than likely familiar with the new, go-to insult for anyone over the age of 55; “OK Boomer!”

That’s it. Thats the whole insult. Videos have surfaced of older men and women dumbing things down to millenials, gen x-ers, and pretty much anyone younger than them. This condescending clap-back is spreading just like any hilarious meme does, and major media companies are picking up on it. The executives at FOX television are working on trademarking the phrase for entertainment purposes.

The show would supposedly feature reality competitions, comedy, and game shows. The Guardian raises a good point however, that Fox hasn’t really given a clear idea as to what this show would be about, or what kind of television show it would even be. A game show and a comedy show? Another good point raised, “TV shows based on internet fads have a habit of not really enjoying all that much longevity.” And that makes sense, because of course it is a fad. People will get tired of the joke and move on to the next meme that they scroll past on their buzzing twitter feed.

Is Facebook Spying on Users?

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“Multiple people have found and reported that their iPhone cameras were turned on in the background while they were looking at their feed.” This is the alarming introduction to an article detailing how Facebook may be running your camera application while you browse through your everyday feed.

The reports claimed that after watching a Facebook video in fullscreen, returning to normal would cause Facebook’s interface to shift a bit to the right and in the open space on the left, you could see your camera activated in back. Yikes!

Facebook officials have released statements on Twitter saying this was obviously a glitch in the system and the company is currently looking into the matter. However, in the meantime I would have to say that staying off Facebook seems like a pretty good resolution.

The company also told users that there is no evidence of any photos or videos being uploaded, but individuals are still wary of the privacy breach. As they should be.

This article is surprising to me because such a massive company like Facebook shouldn’t be experiencing bugs and glitches. Especially bugs and glitches that cause users to fear their information os being compromised. It seems Facebook really hasn’t learned anything from its past mistakes. As a media company in this digital day and age, professionals should know that data privacy is of the utmost importance to its millions of users. This raises questions and fears in the minds of what I imagine to be its entire population.

Nike Wins Emmy for “Dream Crazy” Campaign starring Colin Kaepernick

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In September of last year, Nike released an advert titled “Dream Crazy.” The ad featured famous athletes like the former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. His catch phrase in the clip, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It.” was obviously in reference to his own protesting the national anthem by taking a knee which eventually resulted in him leaving the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.

This campaign was ultimately deemed a success. However, it didn’t get by without its fair share of backlash. Donald Trump, among other ridiculed Nike for spreading such a “terrible message” that “shouldn’t be sent.” Videos on Twitter and Instagram showed people burning their Nike products and swearing to never give them their business again.

However, these critics can say what they want because the ad won an award for outstanding commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys.

I think this article ties in the progressive way media can be used to inspire change and spread messages. But, also the fact that critics were so enraged shows that not all the emotions being evoked are positive. Nike and Kaepernick received horrible backlash for the campaign but ultimately continued to push their vision. I’d say it paid off.

Spotify is Giving Away Google Home Speakers to Premium Subscribers…But Whats the Catch?

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So, Spotify is giving away Google Home Mini speakers…for free…absolutely no charge. If this doesn’t sound too good to be true, then you may want to rethink exactly what it is that these speakers are capable of.

This offer lasts until mid-November, according to This is only available to premium users- or those who have an actual subscription to Spotify, rather than the free version with ads. However, if your subscription is through a partner, or if for some reason you do not have a US Spotify account, you are not eligible for this offer.

After further research, I found that the Google Home Mini speakers are part of Google and Spotify’s partnership of sorts. Basically, users will be able to sink Spotify accounts to their Google device (enter the “free” Google Home Mini Speaker!!) and even use it as their default streaming service.

This article sparked two different thoughts. One, I wasn’t aware of this blossoming partnership between Spotify and Google. I guess with the powerhouse that is Amazon’s Alexa, competitors have to make do with their own services in order to remain in the running. The second thought was what kind of invasive data mining will be going in with these free speakers. Because we all know that while their primary function is to act as a speaker and play music etc, they also listen to us right back.

Fortnite is Back, and Better Than Ever

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Writing from the point of view of someone who has never played the game, but has only watched bits and pieces of their brothers scream at the screen in frustration I acknowledge the fact that I will probably butcher some of these terms and phrases about the game- so bare with me.

Tuesday morning, players returned to their game after a meteor struck the island, ending in a gaping black hole that apparently “sucked up the map,” and left what I assume was the majority of all pre-teen and teenage boys quaking in their basements staring at a blank screen. The “relaunch” featured a completely different island and doubled as the release of the next season, titled: Fortnite Chapter 2. The update basically features new challenges, an updated interface and slight changes to gameplay in general. In the words of many, “Fortnite is exciting again.”

This stunt is considered one of the “most groundbreaking” events from Epic Games thus far. With numbers dropping even after what seemed like a successful e-sports tournament and more, this move by Epic easily placed the game back on top where it will hopefully stay.

The article points out that Fortnite was losing favor with players and streamers before the launch of this new season. This was due to a lack of updates, especially on the map and perhaps just the interface in general. The gaming and live-streaming industries are booming. E-sports is huge, Twitch is huge, and I do not see this trend dying out anytime soon. While this is a good thing for companies like Epic Games, it also brings the heat. The pressure is on for game designers to release cutting edge updates and new games.

The Dark Side of Amazon Twitch

“A shooter outside a synagogue in Germany on Wednesday used Amazon Twitch to broadcast the killings on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews.” ( This was the opening sentence for an absolutely horrifying article on Media Post’s website. The live video was 35 minutes long and streamed the killing of two people.

Twitch issued a statement offering condolences to families, witnesses, and others involved. Obviously, they have a policy against hateful conduct but the fact is that an app was used to broadcast an incident so terrible it can most likely never be forgotten by those who saw it. In addition to the statement, Twitch said that they were working hard to remove any accounts that could be associated with any hateful or terrorist content.

Twitch is mostly a home for gamers but essentially is a live-streaming app. In fact, in September, the company released a brand new advertising campaign emphasizing that Twitch is an “all-purpose live-streaming platform,” which moves away from the focus on a video gaming platform.

Facebook experienced a similar incident in 2019 when the massacre in New Zealand was streamed. These incidents are pretty much unable to be prevented. Streaming systems are designed to stream any sort of content. Unless there is some way for the content to be evaluated live time, there is no way for the stream to be shut down in action.

“The Irishman” A Martin Scorsese (And Netflix) Film

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A film by Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman” will premiere this Friday at the New York Film Festival. However, the film may have Netflix to thank for making the dream a reality. Scorsese claims he has tried for years to find the funding for the film until Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos saved the day. Netflix funded and backed the entire film. They allowed Scorcese to keep his creative rights and did not interfere in the directing or producing of the film. 

The film includes an all-star cast of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and many more. It also rounded out to be Scorsese’s most expensive production yet at a total of $150 million.

Netflix has recently enjoyed multiple Oscars with films like “Roma” and record-breaking views on “Bird Box.” However, both Scorsese and Sarandos have hopes for “The Irishman” as an Oscar success and a hit among Netflix viewers. While the future of this film is important to Scorsese and his team, it could also be a crucial moment for Netflix. With streaming services from Apple and Disney releasing soon, Netflix needs a power move to help stay on top of competition. 

The film will open in theaters on November 1 and on Netflix on November 27. Scorsese obviously pushed for a larger theatrical release, but Netflix surely pushed back. The change in viewing habits has caused strain between theater owners and streaming services such as Netflix. “The Irishman” opening in both shows both sides to the conversation. 

A theatrical release allows the director to release commercials, measure ticket and box office sales and a Netflix release draws viewers to the platform and hopefully keeps them there

This article highlights the struggle that popular streaming services will soon face. With the rise of competition in what was once a slim industry, companies will have to create and release the best content in order to get to the top and stay there.

New “Joker” Movie Faces Heavy Criticism

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I chose to discuss this article for many reasons, but primarily because of my love for Joaquin Phoenix even though I truly believe no one will ever live up to the role Heath Ledger played as the 2008 joker. I also feel like this movie has gotten an overwhelming amount of attention- mostly for good reasons, until now. 

In a letter to Warner Bros studios, families of some of the victims of a 2012 mass shooting that took place in a movie theater in Colorado, expressed concerns that perhaps this film may provide “encouragement” to someone who is on the edge and not at peace with themselves. Twelve people were killed and many more suffered serious injury in Colorado during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight,” another movie that depicts the joker, by a gunman who is now serving multiple life sentences in prison. 

The ultimate concerns by these families is that the movie is in a way promoting feeling sympathetic for Joaquin Phoenix’s character because of his origin story and his concerning mental health. Phoenix and “Joker” director, Todd Phillips, came to the defense of their movie saying that this depiction is something everyone is aware of, and therefore should not be so taboo. “I don’t think that we can be afraid to talk about it,” said Phoenix in an interview with IGN. 

While I believe the issue with mass shootings in the United States is a growing and serious matter, I do not believe that writing a letter to Warner Bros is the best way to see any sort of serious action taken. Plenty of movies display this same character profile: a mentally disturbed young man or woman who takes to violence to fill a void of some sort that can never really be filled. This article prompts the question, should major television studios like Warner Bros walk on eggshells when depicting touchy social issues? The answer may not be so black and white, but perhaps is one that should be discussed by the industry at large.

NBA and NFL Turn to Tech to Draw in Fans

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At a recent conference in Sun Valley, the heads of top sports league gathered and discussed the potential ways they could use innovative technologies to draw more fans and excite their current supporters.

The issue at hand is that streaming services are becoming so largely popular, and these sports networks such as NFL are not included with all these packages offered. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told CNBC that the forces they are competing with include every other activity a fan could be doing other than watching the game: being outside in nice weather, work, school, and so many other options. The solution is to make the fan experience more interactive and “more of a lean-in experience” as Silverman coined it. Some ways this is possible include a virtual reality experience which the NBA is experimenting with currently.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says tech will be crucial for getting the fans into the stadiums- maintaining ticket sales, fan experience, and even offering WiFi while in the stadium could bring this ordeal to a new level.

I found this article interesting because I’ve always been a sports fan, especially of the NFL. I grew up watching Sunday Night Football and I continue to do so as I cheer on the Ravens each week. However, I also found it interesting to see how the intersection between sports and tech. This article shows me that we are at a point in our society where the use of evolving technology can no longer be avoided. If you chose not to innovate your experience, you will be left behind.