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Coronavirus Roundup: White House Messaging, Studios Stream ‘Box Office’ Films, and Broadband Speeds

David Jelke



President Donald Trump announced a major partnership with the Ad Council, major media networks, and digital platforms to communicate accurate and timely information directly to the American people, according to a White House press release on Wednesday.

The partnership is another component of the "all-of-America" response to the coronavirus disease and will benefit high-risk populations and the general public with public service announcements (PSAs) around social distancing, personal hygiene, and mental health.

As a result of this announcement, the following products are created as a result of this partnership:

  • First Lady of the United States Melania Trump, Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx, and other administration officials will appear in national broadcast PSAs that communicate the most important ways Americans can protect themselves and those most at risk.
  • NBCUniversal will create a series of videos and graphics, available in both English and Spanish, to inform high-risk populations about the steps they can take to protect themselves and to inform the public how to help stop of the spread of coronavirus.
  • ViacomCBS is leveraging its portfolio of brands to deliver multi-channel, multi-platform PSA campaigns that educate audiences around public health imperatives related to COVID-19.
  • iHeartMedia will support messaging around social distancing and high-risk populations, among other important COVID-19-related topics, across their network of stations.
  • ABC/Walt Disney Television will promote priority messaging for parents and families for distribution across their channels and platforms.

The PSAs direct audiences to visit, a centralized resource that includes up-to-date information on the crisis

Major studio breaks with movie theaters to offer recent releases as in-home rentals

Universal Pictures is the first to break a 90-day exclusivity clause with movie theaters in order to offer its recent releases for at-home rental, Brookes Barnes and Nicole Sperling of The New York Times reports.

Movies that days ago were in theaters such as “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt,” and “Emma” will now be available to stream for a premium of $20.

This move breaks with the longstanding Hollywood tradition of offering movie theater chains such as Regal and AMC a 90-day exclusivity period before studios begin selling direct to consumer. The move is likely to anger movie theaters, which rely on the exclusivity period as their main source of income.

Facebook adds coronavirus updates from trusted sources to news feed

Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will soon add a “Coronavirus Information Center” Icon at the top of users’ News Feeds to aggregate information from trusted experts according to The New York Times. Facebook is hoping to have this feature launched within the next 12 hours in an effort to combat misinformation such as hoax assertions or false cures. Facebook will be pulling from organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization to source their content.

“The top priority and focus for us has been making sure people can get access to good authoritative information from trusted health sources,” said Zuckerberg on a conference call this Wednesday.

Mixed signals from major cities on broadband speed during quarantine

No apparent trend has been discovered yet between the quarantine caused by coronavirus and broadband performance according to a report by BroadbandNow. The key findings of the report, published on Tuesday by Tyler Cooper, are listed below:

  • Six of the top ten U.S. cities by population have seen little to no change in median speed test results from the past 11 weeks leading up to the week of March 9th.
  • Four cities have seen degradation in speed, including Houston, New York City, San Diego, and San Jose.
  • Seattle, now regarded as the epicenter for the current pandemic, has seen a median download speed increase as of March 9, 2020.



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