ViacomCBS announces partnership with Wattpad and Webtoon to adapt several original series

image via Wattpad WEBTOON studios

Following successes like The Kissing Booth or After franchise, ViacomCBS is partnering with Wattpad WEBTOON studios to adapt original online content for the screen.

Webtoon is a virtual publishing website where users can write and publish their written work. Many authors get their start on the site and gain popularity from online readers, eventually landing them a publishing deal. This was the case for the authors of The Kissing Booth and After. There are millions of stories published on the site along with sister site, Webtoon, that published comics and illustrated stories rather than just text. Wattpad and Webtoon became Wattpad Webtoon studios when Wattpad was purchased by Naver, Webtoon’s parent company, for over $600 million USD in June 2021.

With the studio, ViacomCBS plans to develop original content for several of its networks and properties, one of which being Paramount+. This partnership and plan show that ViacomCBS is working on rolling out more content specifically catered to a millennial and Gen Z audience.

“Wattpad WEBTOON Studios is home to some of the most exciting new voices in comics and literature,” “Between our massive global IP catalogue with built-in fandoms, and a roster of superstar comic artists and indie authors, we’re fueling a new era of data-backed entertainment. We’re thrilled to work with ViacomCBS International Studios,  a company that shares our vision to transform entertainment by elevating the creativity and fandoms of a new generation of storytellers. Working together with ViacomCBS International Studios, we’ll bring more diverse, original voices to screens all over the world.” 

Aron Levitz, President of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios

As media professionals, this partnership is meaningful because it shows a liaison between big, traditional media and new media. Like “youtube creator” or “tiktok creator” becoming new and relevant jobs in the field, a digital author is one as well. Anyone can get their start on Wattpad or Webtoon if they make an account. Now, hopping on your laptop and writing fanfiction for fun might land you a steaming series deal with media giant ViacomCBS.

Keck, Katie. “ViacomCBS announces partnership with Wattpad to adapt originals” 8, December 2021. The Verge.


Snapchat Makes Licensing Deal With Sony

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Snapchat has made a licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment, permitting the use of the record company’s artists’ music on the app. This will grant Snapchat access to music from Sony’s three major labels Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Snapchat’s existing music partners include MERLIN Members, major publishers Sony Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner Chappell, Kobalt, BMG, NMPA, and DistroKid. Ben Schwerin, Head of Content and Partnerships at Snapchat commented, “Our new deal with Sony Music marks a major milestone as Snap now has partnerships with all the major labels, in addition to networks of independent labels and emerging artists.”

All music from these labels will be available in the music catalogue of Snapchat’s Sound Feature. This feature permits its 200 million users to add music to their Snapchats. Since the feature has been added in 2020, it has been used nearly 1.2 billion times. 

Following the partnership with Sony, Snapchat also announced it will be releasing a two new features, ‘Sound Lenses’ and ‘Cameo Sound Lenses’.  Described by Snapchat as “a Lens that transforms pictures of anyone to appear as if they are singing a song”, and “apply visual effects to put you and a friend as the stars of your own animated music video”.

The social media platform says these new features will create a more immersive experience for its users as well as provide another platform for artists to their share music. Dennis Krooker from Sony Music Entertainment shared, “We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Snap to develop new commercial opportunities for our artists around short form video and augmented reality experiences.”  

Spotify Partners With Shopify

Photo Via Spotify

On Wednesday Spotify announced its partnership with Shopify, the e-commerce platform for online stores and retail. Artists will now be able to list merchandise and apparel for fans directly on their Spotify profiles. Global artists were already able to feature a link to their Shopify account to their Spotify profile but now users are able to view featured products directly on the streaming platform. According to Spotify, he new feature is currently still in its “beta” phase and only Spotify users in the the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K will able to view and purchase merchandise on the platform.

Spotify is offering several packages for artists linking their Shopify accounts to profiles. Packages range form $29/month for a basic package, to $299/month for the most advanced package which includes enhanced marketing reports. Spotify is offering a free 90 day trial for all artists linking their accounts for the first time.

Camille Hearst, head of Spotify for Artists, explained in a statement, “For many fans, Spotify is the primary way they interact with an artists’ music, and we are excited to give artists a new way to capitalize on that moment. The integration of Shopify’s powerful backend for powering commerce presents a significant step forward in our efforts to help artists maximize additional revenue streams and give them agency over their careers.”

The new Shopify feature offers inventory management technologies including automatically removing out-of-stock items from artists’ profile, instantly adding new products, offering print-on-demand services, and connecting artists with merchandise-fulfillment partners. The integration could offer additional revenue for artists without an establish merchandise website as well as encourage artists to create Shopify accounts.

Sports Broadcasting Services and their Providers; What happens?

One would think because of the Coronavirus pandemic, people would more likely be inside spending time watching T.V.  Although this seems logical, because many of these people are becoming unemployed, they are more likely to cut cable to save extra money.  The FCC has already issued warnings to distributors and local T.V. stations about renewed contracts. 

As this crisis ensues, cable operators and programmers have called a temporary truce to set aside questions regarding refunds on undelivered programming, such as the NBA, NHL, Olympics, and many other big television marketing programs.

Distributors agreed to pay programmers a certain amount of money based on the shows the are supposed to deliver.  Many sports media channels are the reason consumers pay big bucks too, so a resolution must be brought up.

“CBS is not going to pay for this season and have no financial recourse at all,” Pilson said. “The networks are not paying for games that aren’t delivered. They may have a formula where certain monies change hands and eventually they’ll get credit for that.”

AS the NCAA basketball tournament has been cancelled, the effect chain goes further than professional sports.  The colleges that had a contract with programmers that are now diminished as well with the fees. 

Professional sports on the other hand, may have a more difficult time with the contracts they had with distributors.  Professional sports like, NBA and MLB don’t have clear provisions on how to demand refunds in case of a unavoidable cause.  While there are mentions of natural causes such as tornados, hurricanes, or what have you, there is no specifications for pandemics. 

NFL is working on renewing TV rights with their partnerships, like ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Disney and Fox.  While they are most likely to stick with these distributors until 2022, there are programmers who are on the fringe of stealing a partnership.  Companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon are likely competitors.    

These distributors payed a lot of money for these games to be broadcasted.  NFL and MLB hold a lot of weight, in being able to not refund the broadcasters fully for what they have paid.  Streaming service DAZN has informed leagues that it will not pay rights fees for any games that have been suspended.  CBS, ESPN, and NBC all have not demanded refunds or threatened to withhold payment for games yet.

Netflix acquires Nickelodeon deal to compete with Disney+

As the war for streams starts to become more crowded, Netflix decides to change the game with a production deal, valued at 200$ Million dollars, with Nickelodeon. According to the New York Times, Netflix announced its partnership with Nickelodeon a day after the release of Disney+; a very strategic move to stir conversation and try to shift focus. Children’s media has always been a huge market for media companies, and now that Disney has their own streaming service, the ante is raised to a new level.

Disney owns the rights to the content that millions of children, young and old, grew up loving and watching. Many consider Disneyworld to be the place where dreams come true and often referred to in moments of celebration. How can a streaming service compete with that? Netflix responded with a network that is just as important in the lives of young children; Nickelodeon. Its genius because they can now produce shows with characters like Spongebob Squarepants, Danny Phantom, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jimmy Neutron and Timmy Turner, etc. which is huge for many people because these some of these shows still air today and there is still the sentimental aspect of these shows that lives within multiple generations. Since these shows aired in the late ’90s to early 2000s, the ages that can connect to these shows will vary between children, teens, and young adults. According to the article, Brian Robbins, Nickelodeon’s president said, “Nickelodeon’s next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal”.

It’s interesting that Viacom, the company that owns Nickelodeon, decided not to create their own streaming service. They certainly have enough shows given that they also own MTV and BET. However, this is a good choice because it allows Nickelodeon to test the waters, so to speak and Netflix is already an established streaming service, which is less work for them as opposed to starting a new streaming platform in the midst of a bunch of other streaming services releasing. Netflix will continue to create and produce original animated feature films and television series based on Nickelodeon’s mass library of characters, with the opportunity to create new characters. I am excited to see the adventures that Spongebob and Timmy Turner will go on now that they have a new company writing their stories.

Temple University Partners With Head-space App To Provide Better Mental Health To Student-Athletes, But Is This Partnership Really Worth Praising?

On Sept. 23, Temple Athletics Department announced a new partnership with Headspace, a popular self-guided meditation app, that will provide more than 500 student-athletes free accessibility to the app. The app subscription typically costs $12.99 a month but offers a $9.99 annual student discount rate.

HeadSpace has more than 50 million users in 190 countries, and can reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, fatigue, sadness and irritability, as well as increase concentration, endurance, wellbeing and better decision-making.

However, there are a handful of students who feel as though Temple’s partnership with head space is inconsiderate to vast majority students who struggle with mental health issues on Temple’s campus, where many of them are unable to book an appointment, or find it difficult to book an appointment at Tuttleman’s counseling services.

Of course, athletics is a time-consuming activity, and it’s understandable how this can be straining to one’s mental health. However, many students in general don’t have the time to seek out mental services due to school and work obligations, and so having app like Headspace made free to them would be extremely immensely.

Temple responded to the aforementioned tweets to say that students can actually use the app for free in a certain location on campus.

Even so, I understand why other students quite irritated by the special treatment they believe athletes are receiving and this is why I think it’s good that students are taking to Twitter to voice their concerns on the matter. However, there are many platforms that can teach students how to better meditate if they are seriously interested that is similar to the content Headspace provides to it’s users.

The Teens Who Hacked Microsoft’s Xbox Empire – And Went Too Far

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This article tells the story of a young man named David Pokora, a student at the University of Toronto who had a fascination for the inner workings of videogames, and mostly for the Xbox. Throughout his elementary school years, Pokora mastered the world of gaming and started to learn coding, which enabled him to do high level hacking at a very young age and pulling him into online hacking communities that were redefining what game consoles could do. He even managed to buy a development motherboard from a Wells Fargo tech manager in California, which allowed him to continue hacking Xbox systems as developers got rid of security flaws present in previous generations of consoles.

As Pokora and his circle of friends in Canada grew stronger in their hacking skills, they started stealing beta versions of unreleased software, angering the pros behind game development from who they started receiving messages of both anger and praise. Pokora’s actions, in his own perspective, were all in good will and just for fun. They involved tweaking codes here and there in order to modify small things one can do inside a game, like making characters jump into the clouds, fire different projectiles, and turn blue skies into rain. When he started selling hacks to gamers on Xbox live around 2009, he forgot about his commitment to fairness and started making thousands of dollars by providing gamers with hacks that could, for example, make Call of Duty soldiers fly, walk through walls, and sprint at abnormal speeds. With around $8,000 flowing in from paying customers on a busy night of gaming, Pokora had to hire employees to administer the madness of selling hacks.

Things started to get a more intense as Pokora partnered with another Australian gamer who lured him into invading the most private data of Epic, a North Carolina game development company. While reading Epic’s emails, they found out about an FBI investigation that was being launched on how their security had been breached and game software stolen. The investigation, however, quickly died down and the hackers thought they had gotten away with their first encounter with the law.

After other situations involving crimes such as breaking into the Microsoft headquarters and counterfeiting an Xbox prototype, Pokora and his friends ended up waist deep in secret investigations involving their names, which they did not know about until officials arrested them.

Pokora, after spending the entire winter of 2014 on his usual routine of hacking Xbox games, decided to take a trip down to Delaware to pick up a bumper he’d ordered online for his car. He brought his father to take turns behind the wheel as they did not plan to pay for any lodging in the U.S. and wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible. “There is a chance I might get arrested,” Pokora jokingly told his father as they left Toronto. As they crossed the border, he was detained and held in a private prison in Ohio until his court date, and was later sentenced to 18 months in prison for wire fraud, identity theft, and conspiracy to steal trade secrets. The people who worked with him over the span of five years also got their share legal predicaments. Nathan Leroux, the high school kid from Indiana who helped Pokora build the counterfeit prototype, faced 23 months in prison and escaped his house-arrest in the United States while awaiting trial, paying a friend to smuggle him into Canada. When officials surrounded him while trying to run across the bridge into Canadian soil, he pulled out a knife and stabbed himself multiple times.

All the people involved in these hacking cases have now left prison and returned to normal life at various levels of success. Pokora re enrolled at the University of Toronto upon his return to Canada. “Pokora still struggles to understand how his love for programming warped into an obsession that knocked his moral compass so far askew. “As much as I consciously made the decisions I did, I never meant for it to get as bad as it did,” he says. “I mean, I wanted access to companies to read some source code, I wanted to learn, I wanted to see how far it could go—that was it. It was really just intellectual curiosity. I didn’t want money—if I wanted money, I would’ve taken all the money that was there. But, I mean, I get it—what it turned into, it’s regrettable.””

Spidey is Back in the MCU

On Friday, two media giants reached a peace deal that pleased fans around the world. Representatives from Sony and Disney reached a deal that allowed Spiderman, played by Tom Holland, to appear in a few more Marvel Universe movies. This is important to many fans because the Marvel Avengers movies have been doing great in box offices around the world. These movies are creating history by telling these comic stories with popular actors with great budgets. According to Forbes, Disney will put up 25% of the budget for the third Spider-Man movie in exchange for 25% of the profits received from the movie. Kevin Feige will join the team as a producer (alongside Sony’s Amy Pascal) for the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far from Home, a film which will be part of the MCU. The last Spiderman movie came out earlier this year entitled, Spiderman: Far From Home, has made $1.13 billion so far in 2019. This is a huge return on investment, given that the film was made on a $160 million budget. Considering that Spiderman has only really been actively involved in 2 Avengers movies, I think that it was a good idea for these companies to reach a deal. We have seen Spiderman/Marvel movies from Sony and they did a great job for the time; creating movies like X -Men (Hugh Jackmen, Halle Berry) and Spiderman 1-3 (Tobey Maguire). However, now that Disney has created a cinematic universe, revitalizing Marvel’s comic content into movies, the fans are ready to see the scope of all their favorite characters on the big screen. Hopefully, as more movies are made and as they continue to break records in the box office, the companies will realize that their partnership is not only what’s best for the fans, and the franchise but it is what’s best for their pockets.


“Disney is mining nostalgia to make Disney+ a success”.

Disney+ Showcase Presentation At D23 Expo Friday, August 23Article and Image:

This article is written by Edgar Alvarez of Endgadget. The article discusses the content available on Disney’s new streaming service and how they’re gathering a very large following of people who would use their platform. Alvarez discusses how Disney is sealing the deal to make their platform a huge success and lock in the views. He says Disney is doing this by ensuring all of their content is available to watch. They struck a deal with Pixar and will have every Pixar movie on Disney+ along with every Marvel movie and Lucasfilm productions. Alvarez quotes, “Never [has so much of] our content been previously available, whether you’re nostalgic for your childhood favorites or simply need Baby Groot”. By November 12th, Disney+ will offer over 500 feature films and more than 7,000 show episodes. The other way Disney is attracting even more audiences by rebooting their old TV shows, they rebooted That’s So Raven and just released the promotional clips for their new show Lizzie McGuire, a reboot of their show by the same title from 2001.

I found this article interesting because Disney has a very interesting marketing scheme. They understand the power they have and how much they can produce and their expansive library. By rebooting these d-comm classic shows, they are appealing to millennial’s and gen-z’s. Along with having all their movies from the past and their classic Disney princess films. While reading this article I even found myself thinking, “that’s a really good deal”, because they have so much content that their competitors won’t. They are successfully using nostalgia to sell their new platform because baby boomers will appreciate their nostalgia for Steamboat Willie and other classics, while Gen X, Y, Millenial’s, and Gen Z will appreciate the 90s classic films and the shows they grew up with. They have successfully created a platform every age group will enjoy, which is mind-boggling. It brings up the concern about any competitors although. How will independent artists get found? Will every show and filmmaker have to go through Disney to get their content out to the masses? It’s really interesting to see how competitive these platforms are going to get to ensure they have the most viewers. It also brings a fear about how limited entertainment will get with this much consolidation.

I’ve talked about Disney+ on this blog before but hearing more and more about how Disney+ will be the only streaming service a person needs and that is their goal, is very interesting. Alvarez also mentioned about how Disney might run into huge problems because the sheer scale of their content library might overwhelm their site. I too am curious to see how Disney+ will change Disney and streaming services since if one is to compete with Disney+, they probably have to own their own channel/content conglomerate.

Sony & Marvel Split Over Spider Man

spidermanSpider Man will always be one of the world’s favorite super heroes but it might be a while before we see him in movies again. According to WION, the Sony-Marvel relationship has split due failing to reach an agreement over co-financing. Marvel, which is a part of the Disney family has produced the previous two Spider Man movies and after last year’s successful release of the movie, Disney wanted to share co-financing on the future films and Sony preferred to keep the agreement the way it was for the other movies.

Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios president states “Unless a deal is reached, Holland will not appear in any future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies and no Marvel characters will appear in Holland’s solo films”. The relationship between Sony and Marvel several years ago when Marvel made the decision to help produce Sony’s Spider Man movies and it also opened the door for the new Sony Spider Man character to appear in Marvel movies.

Even though Marvel produced the Sony Spider Man movie, Sony owns the film rights. Who is right in this situation? It is unfortunate that the relationship between these two media giants has come to an end because the Sony Spider Man character has captured the hearts of the new Marvel generation but Anthony Russo, director of Sony spider Man said it best “it’s complicated.