Agenda 5/27/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

FACT OF THE WEEK

You may know WhatsApp as the messaging platform you download to keep in touch with friends or family who are abroad, but for marketers, it’s becoming a big deal. Inc. reports, “Remember when Facebook spent a whopping $19 billion on messaging platform WhatsApp? It turns out, that investment might just pay off. Not only does WhatsApp have 1.5 billion monthly users (and counting), but it’s also the second largest story-sharing product Facebook has after Instagram (sorry, Snapchat). Marketers are getting the message, too, and are using WhatsApp to connect with millennials and Gen Z. The great news? Mobile messaging app users are really open to it: according to a recent Nielsen Facebook Messaging Survey, 67 percent said they expect to use chat more for communicating with businesses over the next two years, and 53 percent are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly.”

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IN THE MEDIA

Variety reports, “Netflix is sharply steering its new content spending toward original projects, with around 85% of new spending going to original TV shows, films and other productions, according to chief content officer Ted Sarandos. … Meanwhile, Netflix also sees an opportunity to bulk up unscripted content. As much as 40% of viewing on U.S. television is unscripted programming, versus around 7% on Netflix.”

But don’t look for live sports or news on Netflix quite yet. When asked about it, Sarandos said, “‘When it’s the next best use of $10 billion, that’s when we’ll do a big sports deal,’ he said, adding that there ‘are a lot of good alternatives’ to news programming.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg adds, “Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg [think The Little Mermaid and Shrek] has secured about $800 million in financing for his video startup NewTV, which the company will use to fund high-end TV series that have YouTube-length episodes, according to people with knowledge of the matter. … NewTV will use the money to finance shows that are roughly the duration of a typical YouTube clip, but at a cost more on a par with a Netflix Inc. series. Each NewTV series will cost about $5 million to $6 million per hour, the people said, but individual episodes won’t run much longer than 15 minutes. ‘Jeffrey wants to take what Apple and Netflix and HBO are doing, and translate it into 10-minute-or-less shows,’ said Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG LLC.”

IN THE ADMINISTRATION

The administration is still working toward a June summit with North Korea as the advance team heads to Singapore today to begin preparations. Politico reports, “President Donald Trump on Saturday said that the plan for a June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore ‘hasn’t changed’ and is ‘moving along very nicely.’”

ON THE HILL

Congress is out this week with members home in their states and districts.

Monday (May 28): Memorial Day;

Tuesday (May 29): Senate Finance Subcommittee field hearing to examine efforts to prevent opioid misuse in Medicare and Medicaid, to be held in Bensalem, PA;

Wednesday (May 30): House Homeland Security Subcommittee field hearing on the border and the opioid crisis, to be held in Phoenix, AZ, with a panel including Gov. Doug Ducey;

Thursday (May 31): House Science, Space & Technology Committee field hearing on reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, to be held in Huntington Beach, CA;

Friday (June 1): House Natural Resources Committee field hearing to examine natural gas and oil shale opportunities in Western Colorado, to be held in Grand Junction, CO.

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