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Entertainment/Character

Entertainment in Experiential & Social

Sanrio joins forces with Snapchat to bring over 30 character stickers to the app, including Hello Kitty, My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Chococat, and Keroppi. The month-long partnership coincides with Sanrio Character Ranking 2017, an annual competition where fans get the chance to vote for their favorite Sanrio character. Each sticker used will count as a vote for the chosen character. It’s not clear if this is a sponsored ad (Sanrio paid for the stickers), a licensing deal (Snap is paying royalties—this is not likely, but it’s the first time Snap is doing this kind of partnership), some mix of both, or none of the above. In the past, Snap has had two lenses for Sanrio (one for Hello Kitty, and one for Little Twin Stars).

Snap’s Q1 financial results revealed poorer-than-expected revenue and user growth, causing its stock to fall over 20% the next day (making its net losses for the quarter drop down to $2.2 million). To attract more advertising dollars, it began allowing users to make their posts survive beyond the usual 10 seconds—in other words, a complete re-invention of the way the social media network works.

YouTube has its own font now, courtesy of brand consultancy firm Saffron. “Youtube Sans” will be featured across YouTubeTV and includes a glyph of YT’s logo; the font is “quirky and expressive, yet simple and bold.”

This is a small move, but one that indicates a shift in YT’s greater strategy. The drastic decline in ad revenue for individual creators (#Adpocalypse) is not going away, and the primary avenue available to digital brands today is a TV-like model—one supported by advertisers, who get the last say on what airs. This means that the new digital distribution model looks more like traditional TV than ever; giants like YT, Facebook, and Twitter are partnering with giants like Disney, Time Warner, and Viacom.

But consumers are still seeking out homegrown, original content (and having their posts expire in 10 seconds)—and that means we’ll be seeing no lack of new digital platforms cropping up over the next couple of years.

Theme Parks, Video Games & Touring Shows

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort unveils a $1.4 billion expansion plan with new themed areas, attractions, and entertainment that will launch almost every year at the park from 2018 through 2023, including:

  • A transformed castle with new daytime and nighttime spectaculars;
  • A Frozen-themed area;
  • A Marvel-themed area with attractions including the new Iron Man Experience ride, which opened last January;
  • An entertainment venue, Moana’s Village Festival in Adventureland, which will feature an all-new stage show.

The LEGO Group launches a three-day U.S. interactive experience tour in the form of the LEGO World of Creativity Tour. The tour will feature a variety of build and play experiences such as The Big City (where families can build custom LEGO vehicles and test them down race ramps), The Ocean (sand castles on a LEGO brick beach), and Outer Space (where customized LEGO creations are put to the gravity test).

Cartoon Network continues to partner with the LEGO Group, this time on TV series Unikitty!, a spinoff series produced by Warner Bros. Animation, starring the main character from global blockbuster The Lego Movie. The leader of her kingdom, Princess Unikitty uses her energy and creativity to make sure everyone is happy—but she morphs into Angry Kitty when displeased.

Cartoon Network EMEA will release a new original comedy, The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivanhoe, across the region later this year. Produced in partnership with Copenhagen’s Sun Creature Studio, the 10 x three-minute series will be released in conjunction with an online interactive game. As players advance through the game, they unlock new episodes of the show—a first in this type of multi-platform release for Cartoon Network.

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