Road Trip Movie ‘Zola’ Arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 14

Lionsgate will release the road trip comedy Zola on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Sept. 14.

Based on the viral 148-tweet Twitter thread from Detroit waitress A’Ziah “Zola” King about her wild road trip to Florida, Zola stars Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Ari’el Stachel and Colman Domingo.

Seduced into a weekend of partying in Florida, Zola’s trip turns into a wild saga involving a pimp, an idiot boyfriend and Tampa’s finest strip clubs.

Extras include audio commentary with writer-director Janicza Bravo and editor Joi McMillon; deleted scenes with optional commentary; and a “Y’all Wanna Hear a Story: Making Zola” featurette.

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NFL, Twitter Expand Social Media Distribution

The National Football League (NFL) and Twitter have announced a multiyear partnership extension, which will include expanded engagement formats and a full-season commitment to produce exclusive content on Twitter Spaces, Twitter’s new live-audio feature. Twitter will also continue to be a home for the games’ biggest moments — all the touchdowns, leaping catches, incredible runs, and celebrations after they happen, from season Kickoff to Super Bowl.

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The NFL is the first sports league to partner with Twitter to offer sponsored Twitter Spaces, giving both brands and fans new opportunities to connect and engage with live NFL audio. The NFL’s Twitter Spaces will be available throughout the season, as well as in conjunction with NFL tentpole events including Kickoff, Super Bowl, the NFL Draft and more. The Spaces will include participation from current NFL players and other NFL talent to discuss season matchups and insights.

The partnership will continue to engage fans each week of the season through:

  • New Highlight Offerings — Curated videos featuring recaps of the best touchdowns, highlights and Tweets each week of the season with first-of-its-kind opportunities for brands.
  • Expanded NFL Twitter Votes — Fans will be invited to vote each week on the hottest topics and takes burning through the NFL Twittersphere in an expanded set of Twitter Polls.
  • Providing Fans the Best Moments From Every Game — The NFL and its Clubs will bring the best moments from every game to the #NFLTwitter community through highlights, and on-field coverage and Twitter Moments.

 

“The commitment to Twitter Spaces represents another innovative step forward in the longstanding partnership between the NFL and Twitter,” Blake Stuchin, VP of digital media business development for the NFL, said in a statement.

Since announcing their first partnership agreement in 2013, the NFL has developed live programming and distributed on-demand content that takes advantage of Twitter’s unique features to appeal to its highly engaged audience.

Solved: The Case of the Mysterious HBO Max Email

It’s been an eventful week for WarnerMedia’s subscription streaming video platform HBO Max. The service June 18 reported downed service for about an hour throughout parts of the country.

“We’re aware some customers may be experiencing issues streaming #HBOMax and appreciate your patience as we work to resolve this as quickly as possible,” Max’s customer service tweeted.

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While streaming service interruptions are not uncommon and not unique to HBO Max, considering the labyrinth system of networks, routers and related third-party connections required to stream video into user homes, one particular issue stands out.

On June 17, many Max subscribers received a series of emails with the headline: “HBO Max Integration Test #1.” The body of the email read: “This template is used by integration tests only.”

Apparently enough subscribers received the strange email that Max responded via social media — with an explanation: The intern did it.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, as the jokes pile in, yes, it was the intern. No, really. And we’re helping them through it,” @HBOMaxHelp tweeted later — suggesting there may have been more than one culprit.

Regardless, social media embraced the snafu as either a great publicity stunt or predictable event in the information age. The tweet generated 156,000 “likes” and retweeted 10,900 times.

Numerous respondents shared similar tales of workplace embarrassment caused by personal blunders, including @Caissie, who remembered using a company-wide calendar to record personal information.

Another, @postcards4usa, posted the time they interned at the White House and tried to stop the VP from entering a Cabinet meeting.

“I once didn’t recognize then-VP George HW Bush and almost didn’t let him into a meeting … in the Cabinet Room. Of The White House. Where he worked. Woman shrugging He was actually as gracious as HBO Max Help appears to be being … you’ll be fine.”

 

 

Nielsen to Begin Tracking Twitter Users for Video Marketers

Nielsen and Twitter April 8 announced the integration of Nielsen’s audience measurement onto Twitter’s video ad platform. The pact includes new access to Nielsen Media Impact and Nielsen Ad Intel and expanded access to Nielsen Total Ad Ratings. Together, these tools will enable Twitter to help video advertisers plan, maximize ad inventory and understand cross-media faster.

Social media giant Twitter features audio and video tweets limited to 140 seconds. In 2012, more than 100 million users posted 340 million tweets a day on the platform, and the service handled an average of 1.6 billion search queries per day.

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Nielsen Media Impact is a cross-media planning software incorporating TV ratings and digital content ratings, among other data metrics. It helps advertisers find insights into their target audiences, their lifestyle and media preferences so they can create connections with those audiences.

As media consumption evolves alongside consumer demand and digital-first strategies drive greater desire for comparable metrics, the need for a single, cross-media currency is increasing.

“Nielsen’s cross-media suite will make it easier to augment our client’s video strategy and planning with premium video inventory and optimize audience reach and frequency alongside other top video platforms,” Doug Brodman, director of North America agency and platform solutions, said in a statement. “Ultimately, this expanded partnership brings increased transparency, clarity and value to Twitter’s video solutions for our agency partners and advertisers.”

Twitter will also use Nielsen’s legacy TV Ratings data for added insights of ad campaigns across platforms, including Twitter Amplify, a video ad platform that gives marketers pre-roll and sponsorship opportunities for premium video content.

“To compete in a fragmented ecosystem, publishers require tools that help them plan their cross-media media strategies efficiently as well as provide deeper analysis and more robust insights of an advertiser’s campaign across screens,” said Jay Nielsen, SVP of planning products for Nielsen. “Twitter’s use of [Nielsen software] levels the playing field and ensures they have the same metrics and tools as agencies and advertisers, facilitating alignment on a common goal and plan.”

NBCUniversal Expands Social Media Content Partnership With New Twitter Deal

NBCUniversal and Twitter Jan. 25 announced an agreement that would expand original content across the social media platform worldwide.

NBCUniversal offers trending news and video from myriad high-profile events such as “The Golden Globes,” “The People’s Choice Awards,” “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” and Telemundo’s “Latin American Music Awards”; news on Noticias Telemundo;  and events on NBC Sports, Telemundo Deportes, Sky Sports and the Golf Channel developed and distributed on Twitter.

“By joining forces with Twitter on this new global partnership, we’re bringing NBCUniversal’s premium content directly to audiences around the world, and we’re leveraging Twitter’s platform capabilities to create even more engaging and interactive experiences,” Joe Cady, SVP of development at NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

Since 2015, NBCUniversal has invested heavily in digital platforms, including partnerships with Snap, Vox and BuzzFeed, among others. The media giant last year launched Peacock, its first branded SVOD/AVOD platform. The new deal with Twitter seeks to further involve NBCU’s brands on social media platforms.

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“NBCU represents one of Twitter’s largest and deepest content partnerships in the U.S.,” Jen Prince, VP and global head of content partnerships for Twitter, said in a statement. “This agreement expands not only their content publishing output in the U.S., but will position international markets for growth as well.”

Report: Pandemic Fuels Social Media Entertainment

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be boost for more than subscription and ad-supported VOD as millions of people stayed home for weeks or months entertained by social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

A new report from eMarketer found that in 2020 there were nearly 150 million more social network users worldwide than previously projected. Social media users topped 3.23 billion this year as nearly 81% of Internet users worldwide were classified as social network users.

China reportedly is home to the world’s largest population of social network users — about 889.5 million people and 97.3% of all Internet users. That’s up 7% compared with 2019. eMarketer had projected 4.8% growth in 2020, which it said translates to more than 58 million new social network users in China in 2020.

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Among social networking platforms, eMarketer said Facebook would continue to dominate globally through the end of 2024. It remains the only platform used by more than half (59%) of the world’s social networking population. The pandemic has helped to revitalize a relatively sluggish platform, which will post 8.7% growth in global user numbers in 2020. Facebook’s total user numbers will surpass 1.90 billion — about 100 million more than eMarketer projected. Interestingly, Facebook is losing users in Germany and Japan.

Facebook-owned Instagram saw the biggest percentage increase of any platform worldwide, increasing its user base by 22.9%. The total number of users exceeded 1 billion for the first time in 2020.

Snapchat saw its global user base increase by 16.1%, which eMarketer attributed to ongoing issues surrounding social video competitor TikTok — the latter now banned in India.

While a mainstay in the U.S. and for President Trump, Twitter is used much less than Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, according to eMarketer. The research firm pegs 8.4% growth for Twitter in 2020, contending growth is largely due to to the platform’s “starring role” as a source for up-to-the-minute, bite-sized news and opinions in a year that has been “highly volatile politically, socially and economically.”

Report: Netflix a Global Influencer on Twitter

Move over, President Trump. You’ve got company as a significant influencer on social media platform Twitter. That’s according to new intel from analytics company GlobalData, which found SVOD pioneer Netflix has dominated online chatter during the past 90 days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Twitter-related discussions to Netflix spiked more than 60% from March through May compared with the previous-year period due in large part to people being forced to stay at home due to COVID-19. The subscription streaming video behemoth has more than 8.2 million followers on Twitter.

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In April, Twitter chatter about Netflix skyrocketed when the company announced it had added an eye-popping 15.8 million new subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) due to home restrictions, and reported quarterly revenue of $5.77 billion against an estimated $5.76 billion. In fact, unlike many companies, the COVID-19 crisis has had a positive impact on the company’s stock price as it is up by almost 14% since the beginning of the year.

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“Due to COVID-19, people are streaming more content online as they spend more time at home, bringing companies like Netflix to a bright spot in the entertainment sector, with significant growth in new subscribers and higher viewing time,” Prashant Saxena, influencer expert at GlobalData, said in a statement.

In March, there was another spike in chatter when the streamer agreed with the European Union to slow down the speed of its streaming service for 30 days to reduce traffic across Europe by 25% and ensure that broadband networks perform adequately with millions of people confined to their homes.

“As the world starts easing lockdown restrictions and slowly reopening restaurants and other recreational destinations, it is expected that the viewership and membership numbers for Netflix will likely be impacted, including [driving up social media banter], Saxena said.

FandangoNow to Host ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Live Watch Party Today

FandangoNow, the transactional video on-demand service from Fandango, at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET is hosting a live watch party of Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

The watch party will feature a live Twitter commentary from the film’s stars, Ben Schwartz (Sonic) and Lee Majdoub (Agent Stone) along with the film’s director, Jeff Fowler, exclusively on Fandango’s Twitter page, with the hashtag #SonicWatchParty.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” debuted on FandangoNow on March 31 and already ranks as one of the top-selling family titles on the service, according to FandangoNow.

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Fans can submit questions for Schwartz and Fowler at #SonicWatchParty.

Sonic is currently available to purchase on FandangoNow  at $19.99 in HD and SD and in 4K ULTRA HD at $24.99 here.

Netflix Offering Free Content to Non-Subscribers

While it could be news that there are non-Netflix subscribers in the United States, the SVOD pioneer has begun targeting them with free content.

Netflix through March 9 is streaming teen romance To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before to anyone in the U.S. and select markets worldwide with Internet access regardless of subscriber status.

The service disclosed the teaser in a Feb. 11 post on its Twitter account in advance of the movie sequel, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You, which began streaming Feb. 12. Netflix said more than 80 million households streamed the original movie in 2018.

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A third installment of the franchise, To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean, is in post-production.

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Netflix Back Online Following Tech Issues

Netflix has apologized on social media for unexplained technical issues on Nov. 21 that caused outage issues for several hours to select subscribers around the world.

“We’re sorry some of our members were unable to use Netflix for a couple of hours today. The issue is now fixed. Apologies for the inconvenience,” Netflix tweeted.

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The glitches reportedly involved streaming on portable devices, a distribution channel Netflix is targeting, notably in emerging markets in India and Asia. The website DownDetector.com reported the outages were affecting subs around the world.

Netflix responded to individual users complaining on the social media platform.

“At the moment we are experiencing technical problems, we are busy rectifying this as quickly as possible,” Netflix tweeted to a Dutch sub. “[We] recommend trying Netflix again at a later date. Sorry for the inconvenience.”