Disney is taking its content and saying goodbye to Netflix, with a plan to start its own streaming service in 2019. The plan is to end its distribution deal with Netflix in 2019 (specifically for its movies) and use its new controlling stake in MLB streaming spin-out BAMTech to build something it owns entirely.
There's obviously lots of Disney content available to stock such a service. The big questions will be whether Netflix can supplement with its own original content in the meantime, and whether streaming subscribers will have patience for a growing number of new proprietary streaming offerings with closed buckets. I'm already feeling pulled in too many directions, tbh.
Meanwhile, Netflix has been hyping up its own future content, including with its acquisition of comics publisher Millarworld, and now with a new six-episode show with David Letterman. It could be great, or it could be another ill-advised attempt to profit from nostalgia like Bill Nye Saves the World. We'll see.
Chinese bike-sharing giant Ofo is going to bring its service to Japan with the help of SoftBank. These will launch in Tokyo and Osaka beginning in September. This should be an interesting market for the model, since it's somewhere where bike ownership and use per capita is very high.
SoftBank Vision Fund continues its spending spree, this time with $1.1 billion poured into Roivant, a drug company that makes independent companies out of abandoned drug candidates whose development is dropped by larger pharma firms.
Hyundai will be fielding autonomous cars with Level 4 self-driving capabilities at the Winter Olympics in South Korea in 2018, and it's going to use its own HD maps of the region to ensure things go smoothly, regardless of snow, road conditions and other obstacles that can impede sensor performance.
Anker now makes an Echo Dot that's cheaper than the on-brand version for $35, with Alexa built-in. Sounds great as long as it works at least close to the original, as well, which people will be able to find out on August 16 when it starts to ship.
Essential confirms that it has raised a fresh $300 million in funding, from big league investors including Tencent and Amazon's Alexa Fund. We don't yet know when it'll actually ship, however – long after that original "late June" window came and went.