Entertainment Platforms Pivoting as Pandemic Halts New Production

The Cartoon Boom

Cartoons for kids and adults alike are having a major moment. Hollywood studios are hitching their wagons to animated content while the coronavirus pandemic has shut down the rest of the industry.

The animation arm of Walt Disney Co.’s (DIS) 20th Century Fox Television is moving forward with its production schedule, according to Executive Vice President of Animation Marci Proietto. In fact, it’s seen development deals surge by 25% since March.

Since everything from artwork to voice acting can be done from employees’ homes, animation is an attractive option for studios right now. The cartoon boom means animation studios are also one of the few industries hiring at the moment.

The combination of pandemic-induced live-action production delays and children stuck at home points to a continued boon for animated content. Studios are working to figure out how they’ll produce live-action entertainment with the challenges coronavirus has presented—but in the meantime, they are leaning heavily on their animation departments.

Apple Adds to TV+ Catalogue

Streaming giants are also figuring out how to pivot. Apple (AAPL) TV+ is betting on its strategy of snapping up older TV shows and movies to cater to viewers’ nostalgia, and compete with rivals Netflix (NFLX), Hulu, and Disney+.

TV+’s model was previously built on a few dozen original programs, with subscription offers for premium channels like HBO built in. Though Apple CEO Tim Cook won’t reveal how much money TV+ has brought in for the company, it has been part of a successful expansion of Apple’s services segment, which generated 23% of the company’s revenue last quarter.

Spotify Snatches Up the Joe Rogan Experience

Other streaming platforms are following Apple’s lead. Spotify (SPOT) will acquire Joe Rogan’s podcast as a Spotify exclusive starting September 1.

Spotify announced the deal May 19, saying that Rogan’s podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, leads Spotify’s podcast search queries, although it’s never been available on the platform. The podcast’s corresponding video, which is currently available on YouTube (GOOGL), will also be available in-app.

Spotify didn’t reveal how much the deal cost, but the Wall Street Journal reported that the licensing agreement was worth $100 million. Along with acquiring the exclusive rights to the live episodes, Spotify will also upload Rogan’s full library to its platform, which is composed of over a decade of content. The announcement lifted Spotify shares on Wednesday by over 8%.

Zooming out, the trend is clear: Tech-giants are paying up for past content to win over future customers and market share.

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