Report: 2 million Australians watch Disney+

  • Post Category:Netflix

Over 2 million Australians are now viewing Disney+ after only four months, according to new research by Roy Morgan.

By comparison it took Netflix six months from launching in Australia in March 2015 to attract over 2 million viewers.

Overall Netflix has extended its lead as by far the nation’s most watched subscription television service in the March quarter 2020, with 12.59 million Australians having access, an increase of 1,068,000 on a year ago. It is followed by Foxtel (including Kayo Sports) on 4.87 million (+63,000) and Stan on 3.72 million (+953,000).

The small increase in viewership for Foxtel is entirely due to the strong performance of their sports-centric streaming service Kayo Sports which attracted 704,000 viewers by March 2020, up by 530,000 on a year ago.

Disney Plus, which only entered the Australian market in late November 2019, now has over 2 million viewers, placing it in fourth position ahead of Amazon Prime Video on 1.6 million (+1,017,000) and YouTube Premium on 1.47 million (+161,000).

When it comes to multiple subscription television services, Netflix plus Stan is the most popular combination with over 3.4 million Australians having access to both just ahead of Netflix plus Foxtel (3.1 million).

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January-March 2019, n= 12,339. January-March 2020, n= 10,852.
Base: Australians aged 14+

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says, “The growth of subscription television services in Australia sped up in March as the nation entered a period of lockdown. In the year to March 2020 an additional 1.05 million Australians gained access to a subscription television service in their household. This is a larger annual increase than we reported a month ago. In the year to February 2020 the annual increase had been 893,000 (See more detail here).

“The increasing growth in the overall market has been predicted by many as Australians have been confined to their homes over the last two months and these results are the first to back up that prediction.

“Another facet to this growth in viewership is that different members of the same household are able to have their own subscriptions to different services which they can then share with other householders. As Australians have been ‘locked down’ the ability to share multiple services has increased viewership for different services within the market.

“The immediate success of Disney Plus provides an example of how new entrants to the market can gain a large share of existing viewers as well as contributing to a growth in the overall market at the same time. Of Disney Plus’ 2 million viewers a large majority of 1.67 million (83%) are already viewers of Netflix and 897,000 (45%) already watch Stan.

“The latest results show there are millions of Australian households with two, or three, or even more subscription television services. Foxtel’s launch next week of a new cut-price streaming service to go head-to-head against Netflix, Stan and Disney Plus does raise the risk of ‘cannibalising’ Foxtel’s existing revenue streams, but also sets Foxtel up take a share of the growing market of consumers increasingly gravitating towards low-cost services that offer extensive and deep catalogues.”

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January – March 2020, n= 10,852.
Base: Australians aged 14+.

Margin of Error
The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on
which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Source: tvtonight.com.au

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How Social Media Usage Of Popular DIY Hashtags Has Changed

  • Post Category:Other

One prominent–and useful–application of social video into today’s world is in the do-it-yourself arena. With just a quick search on YouTube or Instagram, one can uncover multitudes of videos explaining how to do everything from changing the oil in your car to cutting your own hair. And while many videos are informative, some are just plain fun to watch. Yeah, you may never actually attempt to make those lotus dumplings, but there’s something soothing about seeing them get made.

Influencer marketing platform CreatorIQ, which was recently recognized as a leader in the latest Forrester New Wave: Influencer Marketing Solutions report, looked at 12 of the most popular DIY hashtags used by Instagram creators with 50,000 or more followers to uncover trends: #diy, #handmade, #doityourself, #homedecor, #craft, #woodworking, #crafts, #decor, #homemade, #diycrafts, #diyhomedecor, and #maker.  

While you may assume that engagement around DIY content skyrocketed as people were quarantined at home during the coronavirus pandemic, that isn’t the case for all of the top hashtags.

The hashtags with consistent year-over-year-growth

Four hashtags had year-over-year increases across the board from January through May 20 compared to the same date range in 2019: #doityourself, #crafts, #diycrafts, and #diyhomedecor. 

Some specifics: #doityourself and #crafts saw their biggest year-over-year increases in May–45.10% and 19.07%, respectively–while both #diycrafts and #diyhomedecor saw their biggest increases in January (160.24% and 46.54%, respectively). 

In general, #diycrafts has been the breakout hashtag for 2020, with consistently large year-over-year increases each month so far this year, the biggest being the aforementioned 160.24% in January. Top accounts by engagement with this hashtag include @diyglaze, @selectdiyss, @usefuldiyss, @klyndiys, and @foodytap.

Looking at recent top #diycrafts videos by engagement, three of them come from @diyglaze:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_5b6zQF0OU/

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_PIyhfF4RF/

Another top video came from @selectdiyss: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_-tg5_lpjM/

The hashtags that grew during #StayAtHome

Both the #homemade and #diy hashtags had year-over-year decreases in January and February this year, but both saw increases in March (when stay-at-home orders began to be issued due to the coronavirus pandemic) through May. 

For the #diy hashtag, starting in March it trended up with a 1.23% year-over-year increase in use. Then, in April, it saw a 15.12% year-over-year increase, and in May, a 23.50% year-over-year increase (as measured May 1-20). The top creators by engagements for #diy included @5.min.crafts, @diyselected, @fasttipsvideos, @diycraftsvideos and @diyglaze

Recent top #diy videos by engagements include: 

A clever tutorial on how to accurately draw a face: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-AbiGGpTXt/

A food-themed video: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_d-4VPHVIS/

Resin crafts: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-FXPEKBOYI/

For #homemade, the biggest increase was in April (a 73.55% increase compared to April 2019), with a 13.25% increase year-over-year in March and a 60.67% year-over-year increase in May. The top creators by engagements for #homemade include @arts.hub, @akis_petretzikis, @globalcreatived, @wiltoncakes, and @fixer_upper_before_and_after

Two of the top posts by engagement: 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_asav8gK6h/

https://www.instagram.com/p/CACEMTTlo5M/

Which hashtags aren’t as popular this year

Three hashtags actually saw year-over-year decreases in engagement from January to May: #maker, #decor, and #woodworking. Two others, #handmade and #homedecor, had increases in January (15.67% and 17.70%, respectively) and February (3.37% and 8.43%), but declines from March to May. 

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Last-Click Coupons Have Dominated Affiliate Marketing For Years. Now, Brands Are Restrategizing With Influencers.

  • Post Category:Other

Ad revenue slowdown caused by the pandemic has sparked a period of hyperspeed evolution for influencer marketing, says Brian Nickerson.

He would know–he’s the cofounder and CEO of MagicLinks, a marketing company that works with 19,000-plus creators and 3,000-plus brands. Its main business is providing influencers and companies with affiliate product links, but it also offers something it says is becoming increasingly crucial: accurate performance data for those links.

Affiliate links are, at their most basic, a tool to measure how much traffic a sponsored creator is driving to a brand. For example, a beauty guru may partner with a cosmetics company, and in his branded video, tell viewers to use his unique link if they want to check out the brand’s website. In some cases, affiliate links will earn creators cuts of sales based on how much product they move. But the links’ core purpose is to let brands know if their influencer investments paid off.

However, that’s not always as easy as it sounds.

“Basically, an influencer sends people to a brand, and then two-thirds of those people go look for a coupon right before they buy,” Nickerson says. It’s understandable that consumers–especially right now–would want to get a few bucks off any purchase they can, but entering a coupon code erases the connection between sale and creator. So that influencer, despite actually driving the purchase, loses credit for it to the discount or cashback site that provided the coupon.


A sponsored video from one of the influencers in MagicLinks’ network.

Although people may not automatically link creators and coupons, both are part of the affiliate marketing space.

Influencers are a first-click marketing strategy: they’re often the first point of contact between a consumer and a brand, and generate sales that probably wouldn’t have happened without them. Coupons, on the other hand, are a last-click strategy–as in, generally a consumer already knows about a brand and has already decided to make a purchase, and at the last minute goes looking for a discount.

Last-click strategies are the affiliate marketing space’s longstanding model; influencer marketing is the nascent entrant that’s struggled to catch on with brands used to allocating their budget to that last-click, Nickerson says. He estimates 85% of brands’ affiliate spend still goes toward last-click marketing (often in the form of cash kickbacks for coupon sites) and only 15% goes to influencers.

A significant part of influencer marketing’s struggle has been those last-click solutions, he adds. Because so much of influencers’ traffic is disrupted by things like coupons, affiliate link reporting tends to wildly overinflate the amount of sales truly driven by last-click marketing, and underrepresent the impact of influencers. MagicLinks has technology that allows it to integrate with brand partners’ sites and attribute affiliate sales to influencers even if buyers use a coupon–but that kind of accuracy isn’t common across the industry, it says. In 90% of campaigns it tracks, basic data shows the number of sales driven by influencers is “undercounted by a large amount,” Nickerson says.

Which means that brands simply aren’t seeing what influencers truly bring to partnerships.

“Brands institutionalized last-click partners before influencers existed, which has caused the industry to broadly overlook first-click value drivers like influencers,” Nickeson says. “Today, last-click sites mostly decrease margins. And the argument that, well, they helped close the sale…They’re not driving new people to the brand. They’re just sitting there right before someone checks out.”

Brands are pausing last-click spend—and increasing influencer investment

But now that the pandemic has steeply dropped ad revenues across all marketing industries and simultaneously driven more eyeballs than ever to online content, brands are reevaluating the importance of digital influencers.

“We’re living in a new world, and the disruption that actually started five years ago is now being accelerated as brands are forced to say, ‘Where do we get the most value and how do we measure and track that information? Who should we reward as we do that?’” Nickerson explains. “They’re having to decide between, ‘Okay, do we want to invest more in influencers or do we want to keep other affiliates?’ And I think it has progressed a lot faster, they’re realizing the influencers are who bring people to their site.”

That realization has driven changes for the brands and creators working with MagicLinks. In March and April, its network of influencers collectively saw a 110% growth in the number of sales they drove, the company says. On April 17, they collectively drove a combined dollar figure amount that was 26% higher than MagicLinks’ previous record sales day–Black Friday 2019.

Meanwhile, more than 400 of its partner brands have decreased or paused the amount they spend on last-click marketing. The company has also seen a 30% increase in brands tapping its influencer network for campaigns, MagicLinks says.

Sponsored content from another MagicLinks influencer.

With all of that in mind, it’s important to note influencer marketing is not immune to the economic effects of COVID-19. MagicLinks has seen some of its partner brands extend their payment periods—meaning they’ll take longer to pay influencers–and creators have previously told us they’re being offered fewer sponsorships. (Also, a bunch of YouTubers recently revealed just how far their CPMs have dropped.)

Still, Nickerson hopes that the crunch brands are dealing with now will prompt them to move forward with an increased willingness to invest in creators.

“Brands are recognizing influencers as the single most powerful source to bring consumers to their brand,” he says. “They’re making an investment into the marketing value of influencers who are helping drive brand recognition, loyalty, and repeat purchases.”

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Amid YouTube’s Pivot Away From Scripted Originals, Axed ‘Step Up’ Series Dances On At Starz

  • Post Category:Other

Step Up: High Water, one of the first and biggest original series to herald YouTube’s original programming ambitions, has moved to Starz. The move comes as YouTube has largely pivoted away from high-budget scripted shows in favor of unscripted programming that takes an educational or musical bent, or that highlights native creators.

Step Up, a dance-themed series inspired by the hit film franchise starring Ne-Yo and Naya Rivera centered around a performing arts school in Atlanta, is owned by Starz’s corporate parent, Lionsgate, making for a synergistic move, notes The Hollywood Reporter.

The Reporter reports that Step Up (which ran for two seasons on YouTube) is the second project to find a new home after being cancelled by the Google-owned video giant. The Kirsten Dunst-starring feature On Becoming a God in Central Florida was also revived at pay channel Showtime. While a premiere date for the third season of Step Up has yet to be announced — which will add Tricia Helfer to the cast, and will see ‘High Water’ dropped from the title — the network will make the first two seasons of Step Up available in the meantime.

“The latest installment of Step Up not only reimagines the entire franchise but is filled with high energy, lots of heart, and electrifying dance moves, and we’re very excited to reunite the talented cast and creative teams for another great season,” Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs told the Reporter in a statement.

YouTube is now home to just two scripted originals, according to the Reporter, both of which are set to debut their third seasons: Cobra Kai, a sequel series to the famed Karate Kid film franchise, and Liza On Demand, a sitcom starring native YouTube star Liza Koshy.

The move away from scripted content arrived in tandem YouTube’s decision to place all original programming in front of its YouTube Premium paywall. In March, for instance, YouTube scrapped Impulse, a thriller about a 16-year-old girl from a small town grappling with sexual assault trauma who discovers she has the ability to teleport. The video giant has also axed Champaign ILL, Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes On Television, Sideswiped, Do You Want To See A Dead Body, Origin, and Overthinking With Kat & June.

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TIDAL rolling out Dolby Atmos Music support for Apple TV 4K and more

  • Post Category:Apple TV+

Latest update brings more immersive music to the home theater.

What you need to know

  • TIDAL has announced a new update that brings Dolby Atmos to compatible home theater devices.
  • Update for TIDAL apps will begin rolling out over the next few days, and includes Apple TV 4K.
  • Subscription to TIDAL HiFi streaming service is required, and compatible music and devices will play Atmos content automatically.

TIDAL has announced that it has begun rolling out support for Dolby Atmos Music through compatible home theater devices. The addition of Dolby Atmos Music brings a more immersive listening experience when connected through the TIDAL Music app on devices such as the Apple TV 4K.

Dolby Atmos Music allows people to connect with their favorite music in a whole new way, pulling listeners into a song and revealing what was lost with stereo recordings. Listeners can discover hidden details and subtleties with unparalleled clarity. Whether it’s a complex harmony of instruments placed around a listener, a legendary guitar solo that fills a room, a massive bass drop that washes over the audience, or the subtle breath a singer takes between lyrics, Dolby Atmos gives music more space and the freedom to unleash every detail and emotion as the artist intended.

To enable the latest feature, users must have an active TIDAL HiFi subscription, Dolby Atmos compatible audio hardware, and the latest version of the TIDAL Music app on select streaming devices and TVs. TIDAL HiFi subscriptions start at $19.99 a month for a single user, and a family plan is available for $29.99 for 6 users.

By default, Dolby Atmos Music will be selected automatically through the TIDAL HiFi service, and users can browse all of the available content in the Explore section of the mobile app. Example Dolby Atmos Music content available now includes albums and songs from artists such as Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, and Shawn Mendes.

In addition to the Apple TV 4K, the update will be available soon on other popular streaming devices including Android TV and select versions of Amazon’s Fire TV. Here’s the complete list:

  • Apple TV 4K (running tvOS 13 or above)
  • Fire TV (Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Stick 2016, Fire TV Gen 3 2017, Fire TV Cube 1st Gen or 2nd Gen)
  • Nvidia Shield TV and Shield TV Pro (2019 and newer models)
  • Philips Android TVs: OLED (all), Philips LCD: 8804, 7504, 7304 “The One”, 6814, 6704, 6754
  • Sony Android TVs: A9G, AG9, Z9G XG95, X850G

If you are interested in taking Dolby Atmos Music for a spin, TIDAL is currently offering a free 60 day trial for new users. Additional information about Dolby Atmos Music can be found by visiting TIDAL.com and Dolby.com.

Source: imore.com

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Marques Brownlee, Jake Roper, Michael Stevens Help YouTube Nab 5 Daytime Emmy Noms

  • Post Category:Other

YouTube Originals has received some encouraging validation today in the form of five Daytime Emmy Award nominations.

In the ‘Outstanding Educational Or Informational Series’ category, YouTube was recognized for Jake Roper’s Could You Survive The Movies, which puts fictional movie concepts to the scientific test, and Glad You Asked, in which Vox journalists ventured to answer some of YouTube’s most-searched-for questions.

Marques Brownlee’s Retro Tech — exploring the greatest vintage tech-driven products — was nominated in the ‘Outstanding Special Class Series’ category; Mind Field: What Is the Scariest Thing? — a special episode of the larger Mind Field franchise exploring where fear comes from — was nominated for ‘Outstanding Writing For A Special Class Special’; and Stonewall Riots documentary Stonewall Outloud was nominated for ‘Outstanding Directing Special Class’.

The 47th Daytime Emmy Awards, hosted by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), will air on CBS on June 26 at 8 pm ET. In the meantime, YouTube has also updated its dedicated ‘For Your Consideration’ channel to promote nominated series for prospective Emmy voters.

“We are beyond thrilled to see our original content be recognized by Academy members, particularly among a highly competitive pool of new programming,” Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, said in a statement. “This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the creators, actors, writers, producers, and directors who passionately brought these truly fantastic series and specials to life.”

Though the Daytime Emmys are far less prestigious than their Primetime counterparts, these aren’t YouTube’s first Daytime nominations. In 2018, since-renamed YouTube Red received six nods, including three for Roman Atwood’s Day Dreams, and one apiece for Colin Furze‘s Furze World Wonders, VSauce‘s Mind Field, and Fruit Ninja Frenzy Force.

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Continue Reading Marques Brownlee, Jake Roper, Michael Stevens Help YouTube Nab 5 Daytime Emmy Noms

Marques Brownlee, Jake Roper, Michael Stevens Help YouTube Nab 5 Daytime Emmy Noms

  • Post Category:Other

YouTube Originals has received some encouraging validation today in the form of five Daytime Emmy Award nominations.

In the ‘Outstanding Educational Or Informational Series’ category, YouTube was recognized for Jake Roper’s Could You Survive The Movies, which puts fictional movie concepts to the scientific test, and Glad You Asked, in which Vox journalists ventured to answer some of YouTube’s most-searched-for questions.

Marques Brownlee’s Retro Tech — exploring the greatest vintage tech-driven products — was nominated in the ‘Outstanding Special Class Series’ category; Mind Field: What Is the Scariest Thing? — a special episode of the larger Mind Field franchise exploring where fear comes from — was nominated for ‘Outstanding Writing For A Special Class Special’; and Stonewall Riots documentary Stonewall Outloud was nominated for ‘Outstanding Directing Special Class’.

The 47th Daytime Emmy Awards, hosted by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), will air on CBS on June 26 at 8 pm ET. In the meantime, YouTube has also updated its dedicated ‘For Your Consideration’ channel to promote nominated series for prospective Emmy voters.

“We are beyond thrilled to see our original content be recognized by Academy members, particularly among a highly competitive pool of new programming,” Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s global head of original content, said in a statement. “This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the creators, actors, writers, producers, and directors who passionately brought these truly fantastic series and specials to life.”

Though the Daytime Emmys are far less prestigious than their Primetime counterparts, these aren’t YouTube’s first Daytime nominations. In 2018, since-renamed YouTube Red received six nods, including three for Roman Atwood’s Day Dreams, and one apiece for Colin Furze‘s Furze World Wonders, VSauce‘s Mind Field, and Fruit Ninja Frenzy Force.

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TikTok Taps Bill Nye, Lilly Singh, Tyra Banks For $50 Million Educational Content Initiative

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Over the past month, TikTok has parceled out its $50 million Creative Learning Fund–formed during the coronavirus pandemic–into grants for 800 U.S.-based public figures, media and educational organizations, and professional experts in a variety of fields.

Recipients, including Bill Nye, Lilly Singh, and Tyra Banks, all have two things in common, the company says: they’ve been affected by COVID-19, and they’ve agreed to use the grants to make “creative, informational, and useful learning material” on TikTok.

“Our community has been drawn to videos that highlight unique science experiments, useful life hacks, creative math tricks, easy DIY projects, and motivational messages and advice,” Bryan Thoensen, TikTok’s head of content partnerships in the U.S., wrote in an official blog post. “With our Creative Learning Fund, we’re continuing to nurture creators and partnerships that support this type of content on the platform.”

It appears many of the grant recipients will make content on their own, but a handful of experts and organizations will work directly with TikTok to produce videos for a new initiative called #LearnOnTikTok. Science guy Nye, YouTuber and late-night host Singh, and model/TV mogul Banks are all part of the initiative, as are culinarian José Andrés and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

@billnye♬ original sound – billnye

“I love to tell stories that have the potential to inspire audiences and make people feel seen and connected, especially in this climate,” Singh, who has 15 million subscribers on YouTube and 16.7K on her as-yet-unused TikTok account, said in a statement. “TikTok is such an original place on the internet and I’m excited to create content that makes a positive impact, encourages people to learn something new, and just as importantly, I know we could all use some comic relief right now too.”

According to Thoensen, TikTok’s educational initiative also involves the development of a forthcoming learning portal that’ll give creators “insights, tools, and best practices on how to create quality content on TikTok.”

The company did not offer a timeline for when #LearnOnTikTok content will debut, but did highlight independent content made by other grant recipients, such as this video about giant sea bass from Aquarium of the Pacific, this look at life on the range from farmer Page Pardo, tips on dental school from hygienist-in-training Tyler Brown, and poetry performances from Lebanese author/poet Najwa Zebian.

TikTok’s Creative Learning Fund is one part of its overall $250 million COVID-19 relief package, through which it’s also pledged to give $150 million toward medical staffing and hardship relief for healthcare workers and $40 million in critical health and economic relief for especially affected communities. In addition to the package, TikTok is offering $125 million in ad credits—$100 million to small businesses, and $25 million to nonprofits and other organizations working to deliver public health information.

TikTok is not the only platform to zero in on instructional content during the pandemic. In March, YouTube launched a hub full of videos from education-focused creators like Hank and John Green’s CrashCourse, PhysicsGirl, and Sesame Street, as well as lesson plans and daily schedules to help keep kids learning while classrooms are closed.

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TikTok Taps Bill Nye, Lilly Singh, Tyra Banks For $50 Million Educational Content Initiative

  • Post Category:Other

Over the past month, TikTok has parceled out its $50 million Creative Learning Fund–formed during the coronavirus pandemic–into grants for 800 U.S.-based public figures, media and educational organizations, and professional experts in a variety of fields.

Recipients, including Bill Nye, Lilly Singh, and Tyra Banks, all have two things in common, the company says: they’ve been affected by COVID-19, and they’ve agreed to use the grants to make “creative, informational, and useful learning material” on TikTok.

“Our community has been drawn to videos that highlight unique science experiments, useful life hacks, creative math tricks, easy DIY projects, and motivational messages and advice,” Bryan Thoensen, TikTok’s head of content partnerships in the U.S., wrote in an official blog post. “With our Creative Learning Fund, we’re continuing to nurture creators and partnerships that support this type of content on the platform.”

It appears many of the grant recipients will make content on their own, but a handful of experts and organizations will work directly with TikTok to produce videos for a new initiative called #LearnOnTikTok. Science guy Nye, YouTuber and late-night host Singh, and model/TV mogul Banks are all part of the initiative, as are culinarian José Andrés and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

@billnye♬ original sound – billnye

“I love to tell stories that have the potential to inspire audiences and make people feel seen and connected, especially in this climate,” Singh, who has 15 million subscribers on YouTube and 16.7K on her as-yet-unused TikTok account, said in a statement. “TikTok is such an original place on the internet and I’m excited to create content that makes a positive impact, encourages people to learn something new, and just as importantly, I know we could all use some comic relief right now too.”

According to Thoensen, TikTok’s educational initiative also involves the development of a forthcoming learning portal that’ll give creators “insights, tools, and best practices on how to create quality content on TikTok.”

The company did not offer a timeline for when #LearnOnTikTok content will debut, but did highlight independent content made by other grant recipients, such as this video about giant sea bass from Aquarium of the Pacific, this look at life on the range from farmer Page Pardo, tips on dental school from hygienist-in-training Tyler Brown, and poetry performances from Lebanese author/poet Najwa Zebian.

TikTok’s Creative Learning Fund is one part of its overall $250 million COVID-19 relief package, through which it’s also pledged to give $150 million toward medical staffing and hardship relief for healthcare workers and $40 million in critical health and economic relief for especially affected communities. In addition to the package, TikTok is offering $125 million in ad credits—$100 million to small businesses, and $25 million to nonprofits and other organizations working to deliver public health information.

TikTok is not the only platform to zero in on instructional content during the pandemic. In March, YouTube launched a hub full of videos from education-focused creators like Hank and John Green’s CrashCourse, PhysicsGirl, and Sesame Street, as well as lesson plans and daily schedules to help keep kids learning while classrooms are closed.

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Outer Banks: Top Notch Waves and Intrigue

  • Post Category:Netflix

As I mentioned in my review a couple of weeks ago of the first episode of Hightown, I’m always up for a TV series or movie that takes place in a sea town on the East Coast of the United States.  But with the lockdown keeping me and family from going up to Cape Cod, it’s especially good to see those Atlantic waves splashing around a narrative.

So, I would’ve likely liked Outer Banks, which takes place on the string of islands off the North Carolina coast, in any case.  But by the time the 10-episode first season of the series concluded on Netflix, which my wife and I binged the past two nights, I found myself riveted to the screen and loving it.

Outer Banks actually starts off just ok, not great, a mildly diverting story of teenage shenanigans, rivalries, and romance on one of those islands.  But there’s a dark undercurrent from the beginning – the father of one the lead players, John B, has been missing for months – which soon turns into a powerful story of parent-child relationships and edge-of-your-seat pursuit of lost treasure with all manner of plausible, sharply focused heroes and villains.

The acting was also surprisingly excellent – surprising, because I didn’t know most of the actors.  I did know and liked Charles Esten from Nashville, and he brings to Outer Banks an unexpected range.  Chase Stokes was excellent as John B, as was Madelyn Cline as his girlfriend Sarah.  The two were very impressive in portraying a relationship that progressed from dissing to flirting to running for their lives.  The supporting cast was also top-notch, with especially notable performances by Jonathan Daviss, Rudy Pankow, and Madison Bailey.  But everyone in this vibrant cast made an impression on me, and I’ll be looking for them from now on when I coast through Netflix and Prime Video.

I won’t say anything more about the plot – because I don’t want to give anything away – except that you can always distinguish a well-written narrative from the others in that surprises in the well-written narrative seem thoroughly plausible when you think of them in retrospect.  Outer Banks has a lot of large and small moving pieces, which are brought together perfectly in the end.  Hey, it’s not as good as jumping in the cool waves off Cape Cod Bay, but I’ll take it.

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