Zegler, who will make her feature film debut in December in the long-awaited Steven Spielberg-directed “West Side Story,” has been cast to play iconic Disney princess Snow White in an upcoming live-action reimagining of the story, Disney confirmed to CNN. “Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts. Her strength, intelligence and optimism will become an integral part of rediscovering the joy in this classic Disney fairytale,” director Marc Webb said in a statement.Webb, whose other films include “(500) Days of Summer” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” has been signed on to direct the new take on Snow since May 2019.Production is anticipated to begin in 2022.
Latin Artists React to Johnny Ventura’s Death: ‘You Are a Great Defender of Merengue Music’
“The irreparable loss of Johnny Ventura for me and my work team, led by my Manager Pedro Núñez Del Risco, is totally tragic and difficult to assimilate,” Quezada, who has collaborated with Ventura multiple times, expressed on Instagram.Dominican bachata crooner Prince Royce said: “Your music will always be part of the soundtrack of our lives…
“The irreparable loss of Johnny Ventura for me and my work team, led by my Manager Pedro Núñez Del Risco, is totally tragic and difficult to assimilate,” Quezada, who has collaborated with Ventura multiple times, expressed on Instagram.Dominican bachata crooner Prince Royce said: “Your music will always be part of the soundtrack of our lives and your legacy will be a source of pride for our country and our people.”Reggaeton superstar Daddy Yankee noted that the “owner of merengue” will always be a “great inspiration.”“My admiration for you always,” Puerto Rican merengue artist Olga Tañon also wrote. “You always treated me with so much affection and respect! I made my dream of recording with you a reality! You are a great defender of merengue music for the whole world!”Born in La Vega, Dominican Republic, Ventura kicked off his career in the early ‘60s. Some of his biggest titles include tropical hits such as “Patacon Pisao,” “¿Pitaste?,” and “Merenguero Hasta la Tambora,” all of which have become a staple in any Latin household.Ventura’s timeless music has entered various Billboard charts, including Hot Latin Songs, Top Latin Albums, Tropical Airplay, and Tropical Albums.A number funeral services will take place from Thursday, July 29, to Saturday, July 31, in The Dominican Republic. See below for more information and artists’ reactions.Daddy Yankee
The Good and Bad of Spotify’s Q2 2021 Earnings: Analysis
Not that the quarter’s MAU tally was a surprise. Spotify pointedly stated in its Q4 2020 earnings that 2021 guidance would be hard to pin down because of “substantial uncertainty.” Investors didn’t like to hear that, either: Spotify’s share price fell 9% that day. It goes to show you can’t please everybody.The essence of Q2 2021 earnings can be boiled…
Not that the quarter’s MAU tally was a surprise. Spotify pointedly stated in its Q4 2020 earnings that 2021 guidance would be hard to pin down because of “substantial uncertainty.” Investors didn’t like to hear that, either: Spotify’s share price fell 9% that day. It goes to show you can’t please everybody.The essence of Q2 2021 earnings can be boiled down to these six topics.MAUsThe standout metric in Spotify’s Q2 earnings was monthly average users, which grew 9 million from 356 to 365 million — with 7 million of those coming from new subscribers. Though paid subs were on the high end of guidance, ad-supported listeners were below expectations — and the same thing happened in the first quarter. This can be interpreted in a couple ways. On one hand, free listeners are worth a fraction of subscribers and so a high ratio of subscribers to MAUs is desirable. On the other hand, fewer free listeners today could mean Spotify has fewer listeners to convert to paying subscribers in the future. MAU growth was also weak in Q1, suggesting investors tend to have the second interpretation. MAU shortfalls in India, Brazil and parts of Southeast Asia and slower adoption rates in some newly launched markets. “All of these regions were hard hit by COVID,” said CEO Daniel Ek, and Spotify “lost about a quarter of growth between Q1 and Q2.”Engagement!Ek said Spotify’s strategy “is really focused on increasing engagement.” More engagement equals more subscribers that stay with the service longer (resulting in lower churn). Unfortunately, Spotify doesn’t release metrics for engagement such as listening hours per user or time spent listening per session. But Ek provides some evidence that engagement is increasing. Ek said Spotify released “more than 20 significant new features over the last few months,” from collaborative listening to Greenroom, Spotify’s answer to Clubhouse. Spotify also wants to create engagement between listeners and creators by launching tools that increase the number of creators from 8 million to 50 million and build bonds between them. Ek added that engagement with podcasts (which number 2.9 million, up from 2.6 million in Q1) was up 95% y/y and up 30% on a per-user basis. One has to wonder how long Spotify can keep up this engagement arms race with a dizzying pace of new feature launches, investments in podcasts and acquisitions.Raising PricesSpotify’s price hikes in 42 markets were a hot topic in the Q1 earnings call and Ek addressed the topic again on Wednesday. The increases were modest at $1 in the U.S. family plan, for example, and a similar amount for three discount plans in the United Kingdom. The company is comfortable raising prices in 42 markets because engagement has remained high and signals a “very loyal customer base,” said Ek, and explains “why subscriber growth has been so strong as well.” That suggests Spotify could hesitate to raise prices again if engagement slips. So, again, engagement is crucial.MarginsEven though Spotify focuses on engagement and listener growth, it doesn’t overlook key financial metrics such as gross margin. Q2’s improvement in gross margin was mostly a mirage but still noteworthy. Gross margin shows how much revenue is left over after paying royalties and other cost of sales. Spotify had on its books accrued publishing royalties but in Q2 determined to reverse some of the accruals, thus reducing royalties and increasing revenue in the quarter. With the help of that one-time event, gross margin improved from 25.5% in Q1 to 28.4% in Q2. Removing the one-time release of accrued royalties, gross margin would have been 26.5% — lower but still ahead of the 23.6 to 25.6% guidance. (Gross margin was also 26.5% in Q4 2020 and had averaged 25.6% over the previous 8 quarters.) Spotify said Q2 margins were also boosted by podcast revenue and the two-sided marketplace.ARPU and ChurnARPU and churn usually move in opposite directions — and can produce positive results. As Billboard wrote in June, falling churn improves a subscriber’s lifetime value even if ARPU falls. It’s notable that both moved in the same direction in Q2. ARPU has fallen 11.7% from 4.86 euros in Q2 2019 to 4.12 euros in Q1. But in Q2, ARPU rose to 4.29 euros, the highest mark since 4.41 euros in Q2 2020. This happened because Spotify claims to have successfully raised prices in 40 markets in Q1 without hurting churn or engagement. Also, new, sticky product features and family plans helped reduce churn by 23 basis points (0.23 percentage points y/y and “down modestly” from Q1).The Long GameRather than focus on Spotify’s growth in any one- or two-quarter span, consider whether where it’s headed in the next two or three years. Year-over-year growth in 2021 is misleading because Spotify exceeded expectations during the first year of the pandemic, Ek said. “We’re still on track to outpacing the average growth from the past two years in this year. We’re just comparing it to an exceptional 2020.” That said, Spotify’s goal of becoming the leading audio platform — music and podcasts — is increasingly pressured by major players such as Apple Music, Amazon, iHeartRadio and SiriusXM. Ek’s goal of reaching 2 billion users won’t be easy.
Bob Odenkirk’s Is ‘OK’ After Being Hospitalized for ‘Heart-Related’ Incident
Things are looking up. Bob Odenkirk’s son, Nick Odenkirk, confirmed that the actor is on the mend after collapsing on set and being rushed to the hospital on Tuesday, July 27. “He’s going to be okay,” Nick, 22, wrote via his Instagram Story on Wednesday, July 28. The Fargo alum’s rep also confirmed the good…
Things are looking up. Bob Odenkirk’s son, Nick Odenkirk, confirmed that the actor is on the mend after collapsing on set and being rushed to the hospital on Tuesday, July 27.
“He’s going to be okay,” Nick, 22, wrote via his Instagram Story on Wednesday, July 28.
The Fargo alum’s rep also confirmed the good news, telling Us Weekly in a statement on Wednesday that the star and his family “would like to express gratitude for the incredible doctors and nurses looking after him, as well as his cast, crew and producers who have stayed by his side.”
Bob Odenkirk. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/ShutterstockBob’s rep revealed that the Emmy winner was hospitalized due to a “heart-related incident,” adding that he is now “in stable condition” at an Albuquerque, New Mexico, hospital.
The statement concluded: “The Odenkirks would also like to thank everyone for the outpouring of well wishes and ask for their privacy at this time as Bob works on his recovery.”
The Birthday Boys writer and producer, who shares Nate and daughter Erin, 20, with wife Naomi Odenkirk, was sent to the hospital on Tuesday after he collapsed on the set of Better Call Saul. Crew members immediately called an ambulance after his fall, according to Variety.
After news broke of Bob’s health scare, fans and actors alike took to social media to send well-wishes his way in hopes of a speedy recovery.
“Today I woke up to news that has made me anxious all morning,” Bryan Cranston, who starred alongside Bob on Breaking Bad, wrote via Instagram. “My friend, Bob Odenkirk collapsed last night on the set of Better Call Saul. He is in the hospital in Albuquerque and receiving the medical attention he needs but his condition is not known to the public as yet. Please take a moment in your day today to think about him and send positive thoughts and prayers his way, thank you.”
Aaron Paul, who also acted with Cranston, 65, and Bob on the AMC drama, wrote, “I love you my friend,” via his Instagram account.
Mr. Show With Bob and David cocreator David Cross reassured his fans that Bob “will get through this,” via Twitter, calling the Nobody star “one of the strongest people I know both physically and spiritually.
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