Apple has released the first betas of its macOS Catalina 10.15.5 and tvOS 13.4.5. The new betas come one week after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.4 and tvOS 13.4 to the public.
The tvOS 13.4 beta is compatible with fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. The new beta can be downloaded to a compatible Apple TV that has the proper profile installed. A public beta of the new software should be available soon.
At the time of this article, it appears the new tvOS beta includes the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements. If we hear of any other new features, we’ll be sure to fill you in right here.
As usual, MacTrast and Apple both warn users to not install any betas on your daily driver Apple TV, instead only install betas on a device set aside for testing purposes.
macOS Catalina 10.15.5
The new developer build can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center by participants in the program, or as a software update for Macs that have the proper profile installed from the Developer Center.
So far, we don’t know what improvements the update carries, but it more than likely includes performance updates, security improvements, and bug fixes for issues that weren’t fixed in Catalina 10.15.4.
If anything new is discovered in the first beta of macOS Catalina 10.15.5 release, we’ll be sure to let you know in this space.
As usual, MacTrast and Apple both warn users to not install any betas on your daily driver Mac, instead only install betas on a device set aside for testing purposes.
Reese Witherspoon is the latest celebrity to join YouTube’s ongoing #WithMe campaign — a sitewide push that aims to highlight ways to keep busy (while watching videos, of course) and practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Academy and Emmy Award-winning actress is also the founder of media outfit Hello Sunshine, which is dedicated to female authorship across all storytelling platforms. Witherspoon’s latest YouTube endeavor has been dubbed #ShineOnAtHome, in which she will be joined by some of her favorite lifestyle experts in coming weeks. On the show, Witherspoon and guests — including experts in health, wellness, finance, food, and more — will share advice about how to persist through the pandemic and beyond.
In episode one (below), Witherspoon is joined by author Eve Rodsky to discuss her book, Fair Play, which explores how to divide domestic tasks based on a household’s needs. (Witherspoon also posted another #WithMe-marked video several days ago sharing relaxation techniques, though it’s unclear whether it’s a part of the new #ShineOnAtHome series or not).
In addition to sharing uplifting messages, Hello Sunshine is also raising funds for World Central Kitchen and its #ChefsForAmerica initiative, which is providing meals for the millions of Americans who will be out of work due to the coronavirus and struggling to put food on the table for their families. Witherspoon is using the YouTube Giving tools (by which the platform covers all transaction fees) so that viewers can tender donations by clicking on a button right next to Witherspoon’s videos. World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, has served over 4.8 million meals to victims of natural disasters to date.
YouTube launched its #WithMe campaign to highlight popular video genres — including ‘Cook With Me’, ‘Clean With Me’, and ‘Study With Me’ — that simultaneously promote social distancing and connectedness. In addition to Witherspoon’s new series, YouTube has also hosted a three-day live stream for Dude Perfect that raised over $85,000 for the American Red Cross and Feeding America; a listen-along with Dua Lipa to fete her new album; and content from medical professionals Dr. Mike and Kati Morton.
YouTube is continuing to do its part to declutter internet traffic, as more and more quarantined citizens stay at home surfing the web to stem the spread of coronavirus.
9To5Google reports that YouTube’s Android app has enacted a video streaming resolution limit of 480p across India. The decision reportedly coincides with a 21-day nationwide lockdown in India announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 25.
While YouTube — and other video platforms — have undertaken efforts to cut down on bandwidth usage, this is the first market in which YouTube appears to have eliminated high-res streaming options altogether. YouTube offers several resolution options, and previously announced that it was making its default max resolution 480p globally (after taking similar action in the EU and U.K.) — though users can still manually select higher-res options (720p and above). Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, and Disney have taken similar amid surging traffic.
9To5Google notes that the 480p limit in India is only applicable to the Android app — though the limit applies to both YouTube Premium subscribers in India as well as those using both mobile data and Wi-Fi networks. That said, higher resolution still appears to be optional on desktop devices. It remains to be seen whether the hard limit will roll out to other countries in the future.
After ongoing speculation, the International April Fool’s Committee (IAF) held a conference call overnight with key international pranksters and agreed to postpone April Fool’s Day to 2021.
In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO’s On First, they concluded that April Fool’s Day should be rescheduled to 2021 to safeguard the health and safety of pranksters everywhere.
Pranksters and media who have been preparing fake news around Whoopee Cushions, IKEA, Netflix, the Logie Awards, Vegemite, Google Maps, and (especially) Toilet Rolls have been instructed to kindly reassemble in 2021.
It was also agreed to keep the name April Fool’s Day 2020.
Locke & Key has been renewed for a second season by Netflix.
The supernatural horror is based on the comic book franchise of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.
It revolves around three siblings, Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones) and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott), who, after the gruesome murder of their father, move to their ancestral home in Massachusetts only to find the house has magical keys that give them a vast array of powers and abilities.
“We are thrilled to be continuing the journey of Locke & Key alongside all of our amazing collaborators,” said Co-showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill in a statement.
“We are grateful to Netflix for all their support, especially at this difficult time, and look forward to bringing you the exciting next chapter of our story.”
We’re not quite in one of those apocalypses we’ve seen in zillions of Hollywood catastrophe shows, but it’s safe to say the COVID-19pandemic is pushing the entertainment industry even faster into its future, accelerating the existing transformation driven by mergers, new platforms, and new consumer relationships.
“You ever think this is the end of TV,” Jimmy Kimmel asked last week when he joined Bill Simmons‘ podcast. Kimmel and Simmons were discussing the sudden shift in viewer expectations of quality programming as networks suddenly began broadcasting huge swathes of their shows from makeshift studios in stars’ homes. “I just think this is the way things are going to go.”
Simmons’ response: “Guess what? It’s fine.”
And it will be fine for a lot of entertainers who can command an audience no matter where they are, or how they’re doing it. That starts with online influencers, who’ve been working with modest production budgets and free distribution tools for their entire careers. But we’re seeing it with a lot of stars from traditional media now, too, from Kimmel to Gayle King to John Oliver to Oprah Winfrey, who are among the many taking to makeshift studios to ply their trade. They’re creating pandemic-forced media versions of the tech world’s concept of minimum viable product, or MVP.
The difference in output quality for an online influencer streaming from her back bedroom versus what’s done on a million-dollar set in 30 Rockefeller Center or Burbank had already been shrinking. Now, the difference just doesn’t seem to matter much to audiences starved for distraction by way of familiar faces.
Trevor Noah‘s online-only little show got so much love that Comedy Centraldecided to bring it to TV. Oliver’sLast Week Tonight, already a spartan production (by HBO standards) with a live audience and the occasional appearance of someone in a giant furry animal costume, became even more so, stripped down to a white backdrop in his own home.
Meanwhile, the networks’ traditional pilot season usually means dozens of prospective shows are shooting across Hollywood and beyond. This year, only one of 56 pilots that networks had ordered was completed before the pandemic shut down production.
The networks normally use those pilots to help decide whether to greenlight more episodes or even an entire season, and then pitch it to advertisers during the Upfronts in May. Now, just like NFL teams that didn’t get to see some players work out in person before the still-scheduled league draft this month, the networks must make multimillion-dollar decisions with far less information than they’d typically expect.
Pilot season is gone, as is any thought of what a traditional network schedule, the new fall season, or billions of dollars in advance advertising sales will look like for a 70-year-old business already under huge stress. It’s way too soon to speculate about whether they’ll come back, but it’s easy to guess anything that does will look a lot different.
Awards season for the Emmys, normally kicking into gear about now, will instead be up for a significant rewrite to figure out what’s going to qualify this year. I’m guessing the Oscars will too, as the Motion Picture Academy ponders how it defines what qualifies as a “movie” when a quarter of the year’s releasing schedule is shut down.
Meanwhile, the launches of several new streaming services seem likely to be even more complicated, birthing not only into intense competition from incumbent powerhouses, but also losing some of their best marketing opportunities.
Quibi, for instance, is still set to launch next weekend. My sources anecdotally tell me that the mobile service focused on episodic shorts is doubling down on its aggressive marketing campaign. It’s possible that a lot of new, quick-hit content is just what bored quarantinos are looking for as shelter-at-home orders are stretched for at least another month, but I always thought Quibi faced a lot of challenges. Now we’ll find out if the new ones prove to be lethal to the moonshot media startup.
Also complicated is the launch of Comcast‘s Peacock. The freemium streaming service will roll out to Comcast’s existing cable customers this month. But the big push to the broader public was supposed to come in mid-July, just before corporate cousin NBCUniversal began broadcasting endless hours of TokyoOlympics coverage–and cross-promoting Peacock to millions of viewers. Peacock planned to feature hundreds of hours of exclusive Olympics coverage, including thrice-daily update segments. With the Olympics pushed back a year, Peacock may not fly any higher than the bird it’s named after.
Meanwhile, Google and Facebook, because they are such a big part of the online ad ecosystem, are vulnerable when online ad dollars drop amid what might be a $4 trillion blow to the world economy in April, according to Laura Martin, a Needham Securities equities analyst speaking on an Advertising Research Foundation town hall last week.
Even companies that are well positioned to thrive, like free online streaming services, may have to deal with shrinking ad revenue as the economy pinches hard. On the first Let’s DEW Lunchonline discussion on Monday, Pluto.TV chief business officer Jeff Shultz said his company hasn’t seen that hit yet, though the Internet Advertising Bureau is reporting the trend more generally.
“Offsetting dynamics” may help Pluto, Shultz said. The company’s ad-supported free service, coupled with its access to key portions of owner ViacomCBS‘s library of shows, will help it attract and keep advertisers as well as audiences, especially on what he called “true connected TV.”
“It may be that we’re the last dollars that are cut,” Shultz said. “And there are $2 billion in sports [ad] dollars needing a home. Pluto is one of the hyper-growth and high-value places to put those dollars.”
“Bananas” Growth (And Pivots) For Some Digital Businesses
I’ve talked in the past week with several digital companies making substantial adaptations to the changed world.
One is AT&T digital production and talent-management unit Fullscreen, whose Beau Bryant told me live-streaming in particular “is really having a moment now. The front page of Twitch is just bananas. Six different games have more than 100,000 concurrents [watching] right now.”
“Independently of the COVID stuff, there’s definitely been significant growth in mainstream talent starting to embrace not just an occasional post but social video,” said Bryant, who is general manager of Fullscreen’s creator group.
The company has used the moment to spot new talent it can sign, while helping its existing client base–including some traditional stars–deal with the moment’s new demands.
“It’s hard to say what’s going to change with COVID, but we’re all trying to be there with our client base,” Bryant said. “If you’re talent, here’s what’s trending, here’s what’s working, here’s what’s not working.”
Sports networks, especially those dependent on expensive, long-term contracts for live sports programming, have been forced to repurpose their back catalog to create new kinds of programming for a difficult time.
“People have learned some things about working on a shoestring,” Bryant said. “People have had to be nimble.”
Influencers should continue to be in good shape, as audiences spend more time there, and brands keep putting money into the sector because influencer marketing works, Bryant said. Plenty of experiments will continue, but for all the epochal shifts affecting Hollywood, the dramatic changes all around us will lead to some positive outcomes too.
“This is creating the virtual town square,” Bryant said. “You’re really seeing it play out now with COVID. There’s some silver linings I see. If this had happened 20 years ago, it would have been a completely different experience.”
BroadbandTV, the digital media giant whose network of YouTube channels has garnered 587 million unique viewers, has launched a coronavirus-combatting initiative dubbed #FunIndoors.
The initiative will support Doctors Without Borders, a nonprofit that has provided emergency humanitarian medical care to tens of millions of people since its founding in 1971. Doctors Without Borders is currently setting up temporary hospitals the world over — and providing technical support to existing facilities — to treat and slow the spread of coronavirus.
BBTV’s #FunIndoors Movement will seek to raise funds for the organization via a dedicated GoFundMe campaign, as well as encourage people to make the most of their time indoors by posting videos with the aforementioned hashtag on Instagram or Twitter — while simultaneously tagging friends to donate and participate, too. BBTV also said it would work with its creator network to promote the initiative, while also challenging notable business figures to participate.
“The world is in need of unity right now, and that means drawing inspiration from each other to take charge of our situation,” BBTV founder and CEO Shahrzad Rafati said in a statement. “Simple acts of solidarity, whether we’re donating to amazing causes like Doctors Without Borders or sharing how we’re making the most of our time at home, are powerful measures we can take to make an impact in our global community.”
Thus far, BBTV has raised $32,116 of a $200,000 goal for Doctors Without Borders. You can add to that tally right here.
Netflix has renewed its hit horror series Locke and Key for a second season.
The supernatural show dropped earlier this year and quickly rose to the top of most-watched lists for its gripping and suspense-ridden episodes.
And now creators have revealed that the show will be returning for a second season.
“More keys, more demons, more aloha,” Locke & Key wrote in a Twitter post. “Locke & Key is officially returning for season two!!”
The series follows the Locke family as mum Nina (Darby Stanchfield) moves to her late husband’s childhood home with children Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones) and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) as the family end up embroiled in the historic house’s deadly secrets.
And fans are sure to be ecstatic at the news after the end of the first series left viewers with a jaw-dropping cliff-hanger.
While all of the season’s questions, mysteries and dramas seemed to be wrapped up and finished off with a tidy little bow during the season one finale, creators left viewers with a taste of what the second series could be about with the very last scene.
Showing that it wasn’t quite as easy as it had previously seemed, the last scene followed seemingly unimportant character Gabe (Griffin Gluck) as a major plot twist was revealed and he was unveiled as the show’s highly-sought after villain.
The hit show was adapted from the graphic novel series, however was hit with a number of major changes.
Responding to criticism over the changes, writer Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez said, “It has to work as a TV show. It has to succeed in the possibilities and limitations of its own particular form.
“When we worked on the comic, we were always eager to make it successful as a comic, and there were things we could do that you couldn’t do in any other form. We made a comic that worked and thrived as a comic.
“It was the job of Carlton [Cuse, co-showrunner], Meredith [Averill], the cast, and the production team to make something that would succeed on its own terms as a TV show.”
If the quarantine is making your days gloomy, then Netflix might be able to brighten things up with Outer Banks.
Outer Banks is a coming of age story that follows a tight-knit group of local teens (the “Pogues”) in the beach vacation destination of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
When a hurricane kills the power for the summer season, it sets off a chain of illicit events that force the friends to make life-altering decisions.
The search for their ringleader’s missing father, forbidden romances, a high-stakes treasure hunt, and the escalating conflict between the Pogues and their rivals turn their summer into one filled with mystery and adventure they’ll never forget.
The cast includes Chase Stokes as John B, Rudy Pankow as J.J., Jonathan Daviss as Pope, Madison Bailey as Kiara, Madelyn Cline as Sarah Cameron, Charles Esten as Ward Cameron, Austin North as Topper, and Drew Starkey as Rafe Cameron.
This marks Esten’s first regular TV role since the lights went down on Nashville in 2018, and any show with him as part of the cast is good, so we believe Outer Banks is going to be fun.
Co-created and executive produced by Jonas and Josh Pate and Shannon Burke, the 10-episode drama is set to premiere on Netflix on April 15.
The series is launching at a time in which many Netflix scripted originals are not making it to second seasons, meaning that the streamer might find it difficult to get eyes on the series.
V Wars, October Faction, Messiah, Spinning Out, AJ and the Queen, and Soundtrack are the most recent cancellations at the streamer.
Will you tune into the series or have the recent cancellations made you be wary of new Netflix shows?