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HBO Max won’t have its own Baby Yoda phenom

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the-not-too-late-show-with-elmo-22

HBO Max’s puppet in the spotlight is a little different than the one that went viral from Disney Plus.


WarnerMedia

HBO Max, live Wednesday in the US after months of hype, marks the arrival of yet another major-league streaming service. It has a huge catalog of blockbuster movies and TV hits to watch — superheroes included. It’s trying to entice you with big-budget, exclusive originals. And one of those shows wants to tug at your heartstrings with an adorkable puppet. 

Sound familiar? 

HBO Max, from AT&T‘s WarnerMedia, is one of the final entrants in the streaming wars, a seven-month window when media giants and tech titans are releasing a raft of new streaming services to take on Netflix. These competitive battles — pitting rookies like HBO Max, Disney Plus and NBCUniversal’s Peacock against heavyweights like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — have spurred huge corporations to pour billions of dollars into the hope of shaping the future of television. 

The rivalries also affect you: They’ll influence how many services you’ll need to pay for, and how much you’ll have to fork over to stream your favorite shows and movies, especially as more of that programming gets locked up by different players. 

yoda

The streaming wars have already elevated one pint-sized puppet to iconic status. 


Disney/Lucasfilm

HBO Max arrived Wednesday after Disney Plus slayed its entrance into the arena. Armed with a catalog of box-office juggernaut movies and a surprise phenomenon in Baby Yoda from its big-budget original The Mandalorian, Disney Plus set a gold standard. One media analyst called it “one of the greatest product launches of all time.” Even Netflix’s CEO tipped his hat, calling the launch of Disney Plus “stunning.” 

“Over 20 years of watching different businesses incumbents, like Blockbuster and Walmart and all these companies, I have never seen such a good execution of the incumbent learning the new way and mastering it,” Reed Hastings said last month. “My hat’s off to them.”

That’s a tough act for HBO Max to follow. But big differences between HBO Max and Disney Plus mean they have starkly different challenges and strengths at launch. 

Adding to the difficulty level is the service launching in the middle of a pandemic, which has already upended norms around the globe. 

A built-in customer base

In little more than one day after its Nov. 12 rollout, Disney Plus registered more than 10 million sign-ups. Within six months, its number of subscribers had ballooned to more than 50 million. 

But unlike Disney Plus, HBO Max isn’t starting at zero. Max enters the game with some big stats already on its side: For roughly 10 million current HBO subscribers who are billed by AT&T, WarnerMedia or HBO directly, HBO Max is available to them at no added cost. And HBO Max has deals for millions more HBO subscribers to get the same no-cost upgrade through deals with pay-TV providers and other platforms. 

And any of them streaming with HBO Now, the company’s existing standalone service, will see their HBO Now app automatically switch to the HBO Max app through a software update Wednesday morning. 

With those factors combined, HBO Max could meet or beat Disney Plus’ milestone signing up 10 million accounts out of the gate. That immediate influx of Max members won’t change the net number of HBO customers, but they’ll represent millions of people trying the service and, potentially, starting to stoke word-of-mouth interest.

For context, Netflix — the market leader — has more than 182 million subscribers worldwide. 

The ballooning number of services raises the specter of subscription fatigue. HBO Max’s launch follows that of Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, a limited version of NBC’s Peacock and Quibi. The vast majority of people subscribe to just one to three paid streaming services, according to a Nielsen study earlier this year. Each new service creates another competitor for one of those coveted spots. Still, as streaming-service options expand, people aren’t showing signs of pulling back: 93% say they’ll either increase or keep their existing streaming subscriptions.

That study, however, didn’t account for how people would feel after the US workforce shed nearly 40 million jobs over the past month. 

Puppeteering a hit

Neither Disney nor HBO Max could tout a Netflix-like level of original programming at launch. HBO Max will have six original titles on day one, including a comedy series called Love Life starring Anna Kendrick and a play on the late-night talk show format with Sesame Street’s 3-year-old red monster Elmo. The first episode of the Not Too Late Show with Elmo is already free to watch on YouTube to drum up interest. 

love-life-1

Love Life, starring Anna Kendrick, is one of HBO Max’s original shows at launch. 


HBO Max

Disney Plus didn’t have many more originals at launch than HBO Max will — it had about eight. But chief among them was The Mandalorian, the highly anticipated Star Wars spinoff series. The Mandalorian ticked a lot of boxes — it has a mega-budget production, with costs per episode in the same realm as Game of Thrones. It was also the first time the Star Wars universe was brought to a live-action series. 

But its secret weapon was truly a secret. The Child, the pint-sized puppet known to the world as Baby Yoda, was kept so tightly under wraps, Disney decided to forego goldmine toy and plushy sales and shielded the character from all marketing materials and a merchandise production pipeline. All to preserve Baby Yoda’s big reveal. 

It worked. Baby Yoda became a pop-culture phenom, and The Mandalorian became one of the most buzzed-about shows.

It’s always possible for HBO Max to unleash an original-programming surprise that captivates attention at launch. But based on early reviews of its originals, released in advance to critics, the HBO Max launch slate as we know it today doesn’t appear to have a cultural bombshell waiting to go off. 

The free first episode of Elmo’s The Not-Too-Late Show had 153,000 views since it was posted on YouTube five days ago. The Mandalorian’s trailer alone, however, had 7.5 million views on YouTube in the first five days after it posted. The trailer for HBO Max’s Love Life on YouTube has reached about half that number — but it took more than a month. 

Coronavirus complications

Of course, Disney Plus also benefited from an eye-popping marketing machine. Virtually every arm of Disney’s vast apparatus was plugging Disney Plus in the weeks leading up to launch, going so far as putting promo materials in Disney resort hotel rooms. 

HBO and WarnerMedia aren’t slouches when it comes to marketing, either. And HBO Max certainly has the benefit of popular franchises with built-in fandoms: DC, Game of Thrones and Friends, to name a few. 

But HBO Max is coming when many of the typical promotional levers — fancy red carpet premieres, huge billboards, buzzy fan activations — have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and global lockdowns intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease the virus causes. 

With people across the country stuck entertaining themselves at home without live sports, new blockbuster movies or any kind of theater or concert mass gathering to entertain them, coronavirus lockdown has put streaming services in even greater demand

But these lockdowns have not only complicated how HBO Max rallies interest in the service leading up to launch, they’ve also disrupted the pipeline of programming. The day that people searched Google for HBO Max the most was Feb. 22. Why? That’s when HBO Max announced a Friends reunion special. 

That special is on indefinite hold now. It can’t be shot when social distancing is still the rule. 

Disney Plus, on the other hand, was Google’s top trending search term last year. And though the search interest in Disney Plus peaked (by a lot) on its launch day Nov. 12, the days prior to Disney Plus’ launch still returned much higher search interest than HBO Max has been generating leading up to the rollout. 

The graph above shows US search interest for HBO Max in blue and Disney Plus in red, dating four weeks before Disney Plus’ launch up through Sunday, which was the latest date that Google Trends provided this kind of historical search data as of publication time.

The huge red spike? That’s Disney Plus’ launch day, and it sets the high-water mark that the rest of the search interest is measured by here. That nearly flat blue line stuck at the bottom? That’s interest in HBO Max by comparison. It’s not the prettiest picture. To compare, at three days before launch, HBO Max’s search interest is about half that of Disney Plus’ at the same stage before its own launch, relative to that massive spike. 

Still, the most crucial data about HBO Max’s search popularity may come today, launch day. But before those details come in, you can get a sense of the relative interest in HBO Max versus that of Disney Plus is by comparing them to Netflix. As the world’s dominant streaming service for years, Netflix search interest is a popularity yardstick for competitors. 


CNET/Data from Google Trends

One day before launch, search interest in Disney Plus was within spitting distance of matching Netflix’s popularity, at 77% of Netflix total search demand. The day before HBO Max’s launch, however, its search interest at its peak was just 16% of Netflix’s. 

And that’s math even a 3-year-old red monster can understand. 


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Fauci says U.S. needs to ‘hunker down’ for fall and winter

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As the U.S. makes its way to the flu season, the citizens can’t go easy in their fight against this ongoing pandemic, mentioned Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday. Even though the total number of latest daily cases for the COVID-19 disease in the United States has been slowly yet steadily declining in the past two weeks straight, the numbers are still fairly close to 200,000 deaths pertaining to COVID-19 along with 6 million+ cases of confirmed infections.

Fauci also mentioned that we have to be cautious & work through the winter and fall season. This is because things are in no way going to be survivable with a plethora of other diseases lurking in the background.

Fauci is the director for the National Institute of Allergies & Infectious Diseases who spoke regarding the vaccine trials for COVID-19 as well as the chances of surges deemed to happen after Labor Day. He went on to note that when the United States manages to control the disease in a certain region, another one emerges as a hot spot.

This spike in the number inevitably appears whenever the states happen to lift their restrictions related to social distancing. As per Fauci, this transition from a controlled area to a hot spot is actually a depressing sight, given the fact that we already know what is responsible for the same.

One among the leading researchers for AIDS since the year 1980s, Fauci, also happened to warn about how dangerous it could be when people start undermining this virus. He also went on to compare this new pandemic to that of the initial days of the HIV virus that started with some gay men & decades later; there were 70 million+ infected individuals with millions dead of the disease.

He mentioned that the people have been through a pandemic of this intensity before, and underestimating its potential would only bring disastrous consequences. Fauci’s comments related to the requirement for scientists and doctors to approach this disease with complete seriousness came just after the President was heard saying that the pandemic seriousness has been minimized as per Sports Grind Entertainment.

President Donald Trump has been highly criticized for the response made by him with regard to this virus. According to the President, he was playing down the scenario, given the fact that there was no need to create panic.

Although Fauci didn’t actually mention these statements provided by the President, he surely reflected on the lessons learned from this mistake. He also added that we had no idea about the virus from the very first day. However, as we learn more about it, we need to be flexible and change the recommendations, policies, guidelines, as well as other mandates as per the information obtained.

Fauci also mentioned that these vaccine trials have been progressing particularly well. He repeated his caution and added it with optimism stating that a vaccine might be ready as we approach the end of 2020. However, he made no comment related to the vaccine trials being conducted at the University of Oxford that was paused for the week after one participant in the United Kingdom happened to develop an issue in the spinal cord area. When enquired about the possibility of a 2nd wave for the cases in the United States, Fauci mentioned that he isn’t debating about the 2nd surge given the fact that we haven’t yet overcome the first one. While the country is ridden with fear of the speculations of an influenza season that might start in the month of October, it might overwhelm the country’s health care protocol, which is overrun with COVID-19 patients.

Although there is some good news coming in from Australia, things are looking good for the United States. Australia experienced the lightest influenza cases due to the social distancing protocol in place for COVID-19 infection.

However, it isn’t clear whether the United States would experience a similar fate in this regard. To this, Fauci commented that he has no idea of the situation and its future, so he wouldn’t want to predict anything positive or negative related to the pandemic.

 

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IT ministry banned 118 more apps including PUBG: Here’s the full list

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The Indian government once again banned 118 Chinese applications. The name of PUBG is also included in these apps. 118 other mobile applications of China have been banned by the IT Ministry.

The Ministry of Information Technology had received several complaints from various sources, stating that users’ data is being stolen incorrectly through some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms. 

Here is the full list of apps banned by the government on September 2:

Other Apps which are banned by the Government are :

21.Tencent Weiyun

22.Pitu

23.WeChat Work

24.Cyber Hunter

25.Cyber Hunter Lite

26. Knives Out-No rules, just fight!

27.Super Mecha Champions

28.LifeAfter

29.Dawn of Isles

30.Ludo World-Ludo Superstar

31.Chess Rush

32.PUBG MOBILE Nordic Map: Livik

33.PUBG MOBILE LITE

34.Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade

35.Art of Conquest: Dark Horizon

36.Dank Tanks

37.Warpath

38.Game of Sultans

39.Gallery Vault – Hide Pictures And Videos

40.Smart AppLock (App Protect)

& 10 Bands Equalizer

 

61.Web Browser – Fast, Privacy & Light Web Explorer

62.Web Browser – Secure Explorer

63.Music Player – Audio Player

64.Video Player – All Format HD Video Player

65.Lamour Love All Over The World

66.Amour- video chat & call all over the world.

67.MV Master – Make Your Status Video & Community

68.MV Master – Best Video Maker & Photo Video Editor

69.APUS Message Center-Intelligent management

70.LivU Meet new people & Video chat with strangers

91.Murderous Pursuits

92.Tencent Watchlist (Tencent Technology

93.Learn Chinese AI-Super Chinese

94.HUYA LIVE – Game Live Stream

95.Little Q Album

96.Fighting Landlords – Free and happy Fighting Landlords

97.Hi Meitu

98.Mobile Legends: Pocket

99.VPN for TikTok

100.VPN for TikTok

101.Penguin E-sports Live assistant

102. Buy Cars-offer everything you need, special offers and low prices

103.iPick

104.Beauty Camera Plus – Sweet Camera & Face Selfie

105.Parallel Space Lite – Dual App

106.”Chief Almighty: First Thunder BC

107.MARVEL Super War NetEase Games

108.AFK Arena

109.Creative Destruction NetEase Games

110.Crusaders of Light NetEase Games

111.Mafia City Yotta Games

112.Onmyoji NetEase Games

113.Ride Out Heroes NetEase Games

114. Yimeng Jianghu-Chu Liuxiang has been fully upgraded

115.Legend: Rising Empire NetEase Games

116.Arena of Valor: 5v5 Arena Games

117.Soul Hunters

118.Rules of Survival

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Gaming

PUBG Banned In India : India’s Third Surgical Strike On Chinese Apps !!

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The Indian government banned PUBG 

A ban is imposed on PUBG as well as on 118 Chinese applications.

The Ministry of Information Technology had received several complaints from various sources, stating that users’ data is being stolen incorrectly through some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms. Let me tell you that even before that 57 applications of China were banned, including Tiktok’s name.

India’s 3rd Surgical Strike on Chinese Apps

The Indian government has conducted another digital strike against China. The Ministry of Information and Technology on Wednesday banned 118 mobile applications, including the mobile game PubG. This is India’s third digital strike on China’s mobile apps. Earlier, at the end of June, India had banned 47 apps from China including Tiktok, and then 59 Chinese apps at the end of July. The government has cited national security behind this decision.

Why PUBG is banned in India Now?

The statement said that the government has banned 118 such apps which are a threat to India’s sovereignty and integrity, defense of India, the security of the state, and peacekeeping. It said that the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) has received several complaints from various sources. The complaints also include reports of some mobile app users (users) on platforms such as Android and iOS being stolen and stored on servers outside the country.

It is said in the statement that such information is being compiled, analyzed, etc., which are a threat to national security and the defense of India. These ultimately pose a risk to India’s sovereignty and integrity. This is a very serious issue, which required quick action.

According to data analytics firm Senser Tower,

PUBG Mobile is the world’s highest-grossing gaming app. PUBG Mobile’s lifetime collection is about Rs 22,457 crore. 

PUBG VS Free Fire: Reasons Why Free Fire is Getting More Popular Than PUBG

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