NBCU’s Peacock Still Missing Key Carriage Deals; TikTok Parent Scrambles Under Pressure

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Fighting Up Streams

NBCUniversal will likely launch the streaming subscription service Peacock next week without Roku or Amazon Fire TV distribution deals, CNBC reports. That’s a tough pill to swallow, considering the two platforms own about 70% of the connected TV market. NBCU’s disputes with Roku and Fire TV underline their differing approaches to streaming video strategy. With Roku, the issue is inventory control: Roku wants the right to sell more of Peacock’s ad space than NBCU is willing to give up. Amazon is less greedy for impressions, but insists that Peacock list on Amazon Channels – giving Amazon a cut of subscriptions in perpetuity and disintermediating the direct relationship with subscribers. Disney Plus managed to sign a Fire TV distribution deal without listing on Channels, so there is precedent for horsetrading.

Chinese Wall

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, is reevaluating its corporate structure as concerns mount about possible national security regulation by the US government. The company might create a new management board for TikTok and establish a headquarters outside of China, Bloomberg reports. TikTok shares an HQ with ByteDance, but its five largest offices are in LA, New York, London, Dublin and Singapore. In addition to national security pressure, the app faces scrutiny from the FTC and child privacy advocates in the United States because of how it handles minors’ data. TikTok, which has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally, is making moves to distance itself from its Chinese roots, most recently with the high-profile hire of ex-Disney exec Kevin Mayer as CEO.

The New Window Shopping

In China, livestreaming has become the new retail accelerant, The Wall Street Journal reports. Owners and store associates at boutiques and small cosmetic or retail chains are modeling their own products in livestreams on WeChat, the big Chinese social media app. Some of those streams are now popular shows. Global brands such as Gap and Louis Vuitton are fast followers of the trend, with celebrities hosting streams. “Lynn, good evening,” said Fu Chenyuan, owner of a clothing boutique in Shanghai, when a regular joined a recent livestream. “Today we have all kinds of shoes, a lot of them are your size – 37.”

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