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Los Angeles-based Quibi markets itself as a mobile-first video-streaming platform, with shows clocking in at 10 minutes or less. CTV News and TSN will both produce daily shows for the service, which is set to launch in Canada on April 6 at a monthly price of $6.99, or $9.99 without ads. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Quibi already has a star-studded marquee, with series in the works from Chrissy Teigen, Kendall Jenner, Steph Curry and Idris Elba. Earlier this week, the company closed its second round of funding worth US$750 million, bringing total investment in the firm to US$1.75 billion. Although hardly anyone has seen the product, the reputation of its founder, Jeffrey Katzenberg, seems to inspire confidence: he’s a Hollywood veteran who ran Disney’s movie studio in the 1980s and ‘90s and co-founded DreamWorks Animation. And Katzenberg doesn’t plan to compete in the streaming wars in which companies like Netflix and Disney Plus are engaged. He sees his platform as more in line with Instagram, YouTube or TikTok—apps where users can pass the time, or where you can “amuse yourself until you’re dead,” as The New York Times Magazine rather bleakly put it.

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The social media giant is looking to buy gaming studios and has signed deals for the virtual reality versions of Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, according to sources familiar with the deal. The investment is expected to be less than US$1 billion. (The Information)

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Talking point: The move is an effort to boost sales of the company’s Oculus VR headsets by attaching the product to blockbuster games. It also helps Facebook grow in an area of its business that lawmakers aren’t scrutinizing for antitrust concerns, since the company controls a relatively small portion of the gaming market. At the same time, it gives Facebook the chance to compete with other Big Tech players. Google, Apple and Amazon are all wading into the game-streaming space, which could be a boon to Facebook if it has rights to the games those platforms will offer. Google is the only one of the tech giants to announce concrete plans for a game-streaming platform so far. It hasn’t announced any VR games.

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The tech giant will instead develop programs that are inclusive for the whole family—just not child-exclusive—as well as mature animated content targeting young adults. The shift comes after the departure of Tara Sorensen, its head of kids programming, in 2017; her successor, Melissa Wolfe, has since changed her title to head of animation and family programming. (Los Angeles Times)

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Talking point: Despite competitors Netflix, Apple and forthcoming Disney Plus all investing heavily into children’s content, Amazon has been questioning the value of doing so. According to The L.A. Times’ sources, for Amazon specifically, trying to create titles similar to Game of Thrones would be more effective at driving subscription than investing in content for children. Many parents already have Amazon Prime subscriptions for quick shipping on child-care items like diapers; that gives Amazon leeway to focus less on kids’ content to get those subscriptions. And, streaming services are all bracing for the November release of Disney Plus, which will have exclusive, mainly children’s content, as well as that of its subsidiaries, like Marvel and Star Wars. In Amazon’s case, it appears to be leaving the space almost entirely.

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Luge Capital, Panache Ventures and Intact Ventures also invested in Flinks, which is looking to open a U.S. office with the funds and double its 65-person staff in the next few months. (Betakit)

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Talking point: Flinks is also planning to use the funds for a new wealth management product. That’s a crowded, but lucrative, area of focus for a number of Canadian fintechs. In January, The Logic reported that Toronto fintech d1g1t was expanding to the U.S. after passing $50 billion in assets under management in part by partnering with large financial institutions. Flinks is taking a similar approach, and has relationships with several members of the Big Five banks in addition to projects it’s working on with National Bank. Flinks’s raise is the latest example of how fintechs continue to attract investors despite the pandemic. In London, for example, 39 per cent of all tech investment in 2020 so far went to fintechs.

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The move follows China’s enactment of its national security law in the region, where social media platforms aren’t encumbered by the country’s Great Firewall. “We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” Facebook said in a statement. Encrypted- messaging service Telegram will also reportedly pause its cooperation with Hong Kong authorities. (The Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong Free Press)

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Talking point: By reproaching the Chinese government, the platforms are forced to balance the risk of drawing Beijing’s wrath with the principles of free speech they claim to hold dear. Unlike their mainland brethren, Hong Kongers have long taken to social media to air their grievances with the Chinese government. Facebook has 4.5 million users in the region—and received 241 data requests from the government on users there in the last six months of 2019.

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The Kitchener, Ont.-based wearables company returned $9.85 million to the federal government on June 30, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada spokesperson Christopher Génier said in response to questions from The Logic(The Logic)

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Talking point: As The Logic first reported, North had received $9.5 million of a $24-million award from the Strategic Innovation Fund by the time it breached its contribution agreement by laying off staff in February 2019. The funding was to pay for facility expansion and hiring, as well as to “support the company’s next-generation product development.” On Tuesday, North announced it was being acquired by Google, and would not release that latest version of its Focals glasses. The Globe and Mail previously reported the deal was worth US$180 million; Génier said the repayment that day “covers the amount provided to the company plus an internal rate of return consistent with the terms of the agreement.”

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Google’s parent company snatched up the smart-glasses maker in a deal worth a reported US$180 million. The company has “built a strong technology foundation, and we’re excited to have North join us in our broader efforts to build helpful devices and services,” said Google senior vice-president Rick Osterloh, adding that the North will stay put in Kitchener-Waterloo. The Globe and Mail was first to report Alphabet’s interest last week. (The Globe and Mail, The Logic)

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Talking point: Named the fastest-growing Canadian tech firm in 2019, North nevertheless struggled to capitalize on its hype. Focals by North, which paired a user’s smartphone to give a head-up information display in its right lens, were cumbersome, buggy and had little appeal to customers, according to an internal memo obtained by The Logic. Last year, North was beset by staff layoffs and the halting of a $24-million job-creation investment. Google’s purchase means North won’t ship its Focals 2.0 as earlier planned.