Exploring the impact of digital release strategies on the industry’s major players.

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Movie releases are evolving by the day. The neat sequence of in-theater runs, video-on-demand rental, DVD sales, and TV licensing has been wholly upended by the lightspeed development of streaming. We’ve broken down the trends that put us here — including the COVID-19 pandemic and intense platform competition — and examined the successes and missteps of the latest blockbuster to premiere simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max.

It’s time to zoom out. Let’s take a look at the major players in today’s industry and explore how innovative…


Innovative release strategies intensify the battle between streamers and theatres.

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On Christmas Day, something weird happened. A mega-blockbuster movie with an A-list cast hit theatres, per usual, and also dropped simultaneously on a digital service that allowed viewers to watch it from the comfort of their homes. In a move that some called “bad for everyone,” Warner Bros. chose to release “Wonder Woman 1984” straight-to-consumers via HBO Max.

The controversial decision drew questions and comments from every region of the entertainment ecosystem. Is this just a temporary strategy to stave off the challenges of COVID-19? Or will we see more…


Results and analysis for key ballot measures and elections

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The national media outlets have finally pronounced Joseph R. Biden the president-elect. Kamala Harris will become both the first female and first black person to serve as Vice President. The headlines are inspiring… and the punditry is getting a little tiring. We all need a nap. To no one’s surprise, LA County voted overwhelming for Joe Biden: 71.2% compared to Trump’s 26.9% of the vote.

The top-level results, though, are just the beginning. A record number of Americans voted in local races that will have an immediate impact on their communities…


Results and insight from local votes in the 2020 Election

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Santa Monica is a typical Californian city: picturesque sunsets, breezy air, and a reliable crop of Democrats. The city cast a majority of its votes for Joe Biden… but the Presidential Election was far from the only item on the ballot. Santa Monicans voted on two municipal measures, five city council positions, and a smattering of board seats. Some results were exactly as expected. There were also a few surprises…

Worth noting: the city saw mediocre turnout: approximately 45,000 ballots out of the 72,000 registered voters. The following results are…


Context and recommendations for everything on your ballot.

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Welcome! This is a walk-through for the November 2020 Ballot in Santa Monica. Everything here is just about our neighborhood… but it doesn’t cover everything that you’ll see on your ballot. Here’s a handy guide to other things that’ll appear including county and statewide measures.

If you just want the picks — no context needed — check out the below graphic.


Context and recommendations for everything on your ballot.

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Welcome! This is a walk-through for the November 2020 Ballot in Los Angeles. I’ll be taking a look at every statewide proposition, the City Council and County Board of Supervisors, elections for LA’s judiciary and DA office, and explaining how to explore your U.S. House and CA Assembly/Senate races.

If you just want the picks — no context needed — check out the below graphic. Otherwise, let’s get started…


They gamed the system. It’s time for us to take back control.

Image Courtesy of MIT Technology Review

Most Americans don’t trust the media. That doesn’t stop us, however, from consuming more content than we ever have. We complain about being bombarded with meaningless updates… but we don’t stop using Twitter. We decry the partisanship of journalism… but our eyes remain glued to cable news. Despite every article telling us that we “WILL NEVER BELIEVE” it, we flip through the pages religiously.

The problem is misaligned incentives. We want our media to tell us about the world. We receive news constantly — through friends, social platforms…


What does an election look like in the middle of a pandemic?

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Not every American can make it to a polling booth on Election Day. Mail-in voting is an alternative. It’s a part of the voting process that protects parents, workers, and anyone else who isn’t available on a random Tuesday afternoon. It ensures that people don’t have their vote taken away from them due to inconvenience.

Mail-in voting comes in two flavors: absentee voting and mail-in voting. They’re… basically the same. Mail-in voting is exactly what it sounds like: voting through the mail. Absentee ballots are just a more specific version. …


City Council calls on community to explore a new vision of public safety.

On June 23rd, the Santa Monica City Council unanimously passed two budgets. The City’s FY 2020–21 budget is a $613 M operational package. The second budget is a Capital Improvement Program fund that’s passed bi-annually. Those dollars are spent maintaining and improving public infrastructure like parks, buses, and walkways. Don’t worry. This is the dry update. Here’s the interesting part:

LA continues to be the site of many vocal protests following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Santa Monica— which is not controlled by the…


How do the digital giants stack up against each other right now?

2020 continues to be a banner year for streaming platforms. Quibi, HBO Max, and NBC’s Peacock have all launched. Films like The King of Staten Island have opted for successful digital-only releases. And COVID-19, of course, has drastically increased the amount of time that people are spending indoors. But… who’s coming out on top?

Netflix: Gaining Customers, Losing Value

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Good news: The Streaming King announced that it added 10 M subscribers in 2Q 2020 for a grand total of 193 M global subs. …

Alec Winshel

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