Netflix continues accessibility push with badges for audio and subtitle descriptions

Netflix is expanding its audio descriptions, subtitles and dubbing in dozens of languages, doubling down on an effort that has been both helpful and successful. Shows will now also feature badges so that users can easily see whether those options are available without drilling down into the options.

I chatted with Netflix’s director of accessibility, Heather Dowdy, about the company’s efforts to make its content more accessible.

“This work started long ago and will continue on. The impact is we’re more able to see just how many fans we have with disabilities,” she said, noting the company relies on member feedback to guide new features and content. “In the U.S. alone we have at least 500,000 hours of ‘Lucifer’ watched with audio descriptions. And over 40% of our members watch content with subtitles on — that’s more than just our members with disabilities — [so] we can extend these benefits to all our members.”

Dowdy, herself a child of deaf adults, said building these features makes sense for the business — but also, “It gives me a good feeling. It’s what drives me. I’m a CODA and I’ve seen technology evolve and seen how people are using it,” she said. “It’s definitely a collaboration with the disability community in terms of how it drives us on what to prioritize.”

The new badges are a small concession like that — reflecting a UI obstacle that many experienced where you had to start watching a show in order to turn on subtitles and search for audio descriptions and so on. Now there are icons, as you see in the image at top.

The volume of content is also increasing, with over 11,000 hours of audio description available now in more than 30 languages. Originally shows only had subtitles for deaf and hard of hearing (SDH) and other extra info available only in their own language, but the localization teams are working on expanding those so a deaf person in Poland can watch a Mexican blockbuster with Polish SDH.

Dowdy noted that she is especially proud of the “intentionality” of the scene descriptions Netflix is making, beyond simple narration of locations and objects. “I recommend you turn it on on ‘Bridgerton’ … it’s very steamy,” she said.

“At the end of the day we know we’ve set the bar in terms of quality, so whatever we consider going forward it’s in light of making sure we continue to deliver on that quality,” she added.

While the company is facing headwinds (like many others) after the pandemic boom in streaming services, it has indeed led from early days on some accessibility fronts and that shows no sign of slowing. As part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day Netflix has also collected some 50 shows and films from its catalog that feature people with disabilities and will be hosting accessible screenings across the country.

Eva Longoria and Chris Wallace CNN+ shows will move to HBO Max and CNN

Programming that was originally meant to live on the now-shuttered streamer CNN+ will now move over to CNN and HBO Max, Warner Bros. Discovery announced today at its first Upfront presentation for advertisers. Shows moving to the linear CNN network include “Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico” and “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Another title that had been meant for CNN+, “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” —starring former longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace — will move to both HBO Max and CNN in the fall.

It is unknown at this time where the rest of the CNN+ slate will end up, however, or if select CNN+ titles will later arrive on HBO Max further down the road.

Before the launch of CNN+, HBO Max was the streaming home of many CNN titles, including “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” HBO Max is a good place for these shows, as Warner Bros. Discovery shared with advertisers that HBO Max and discovery+ are enhancing the consumer experience with a light ad load, with less than four minutes of commercials per hour on average. Additionally, 80% of viewers watch HBO Max and discovery+ on their TV screens, and half are cord-cutters. According to the company, this extends the reach of advertisers into non-cable homes.

We aren’t sure what the combined streaming service will look like once HBO Max and discovery+ fully merge. However, the variety of content — including CNN titles — offered will certainly attract a diverse audience.

Also, at the company’s Upfront presentation, Chris Licht, chairman and CEO, CNN Worldwide, announced the launch of a topical, long-form news show as well as upcoming titles like “The Story of HQ Trivia,” “See It Loud: The History of Black Television,” “The 2010s,” “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” and “Little Richard: I Am Everything.”

The 2023 programming slate is an attempt made by CNN for a comeback as the recently launched streaming service. The short-lived streaming service, CNN+ reportedly saw under 10,000 viewers a day and was shut down at the end of April. It seems that CEO David Zaslav was not about to let this tarnish the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Zaslav said, “We looked at it, and we looked at the data, the number of users … They had spent an enormous amount of money trying to sell an independent product. The subscribers weren’t there. The users weren’t there … when we looked at the data, the business wasn’t there.”

Lasting nearly 30 days, the cable news network’s streaming service spent $250 million to launch the product and another $100 million to promote it. The New York Times reported CNN had planned to spend more than $1 billion on CNN+ over four years, according to sources familiar with the matter. Thus, Zaslav was (rightfully so) unwilling to invest any further into the platform.

But CNN itself isn’t going anywhere, and the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO is bullish on the brand. At the Upfront presentation, the company expressed its determination to reinforce CNN’s role as a top news organization. Licht boasted that CNN is “the number one digital property in the world.”

He added:

The next chapter of CNN is one where we aspire to be a beacon for the kind of journalism essential to a functioning democracy. The time when extremes are dominating cable news. We will seek to go a different way, reflecting the real lives of our viewers and elevating the way America and the world view this medium. We intend to challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news, delivering programming and commentary that questions the status quo, shatters groupthink, holds our leaders on both sides of the aisle accountable to facts and fights fearlessly to get to the truth.

IROKO co-founder Bastian Gotter raises $3.2M seed for new venture, Bamba

In 2010, Bastian Gotter invested up to $200,000 into IROKOtv, an African video-on-demand company Jason Njoku, his friend and co-founder, launched in Lagos, Nigeria.

For the next couple of years, Gotter, as CFO, was instrumental in turning IROKO — after raising over $30 million from VCs, including Tiger Global — into a household name in Nigeria’s entertainment and tech scenes.

Gotter left the media company in 2017, an exit that afforded him the chance to take up angel investing full-time and pursue new projects. Gotter has cut checks in Paystack, Flutterwave and betPawa and co-runs Spark, an investment vehicle he launched with Njoku.

In 2018, he started a pre-school chain based in the U.K. and South Africa. Two years later, he became part of the founding team of Kenyan-based fintech PawaPay, whose API connects up to 25 telecom operators’ mobile money systems and allows merchants from 10 countries to receive and send payments between mobile money accounts.

Gotter is an investor and board member in PawaPay, roles that can be active and passive depending on who’s involved. For Gotter, it was more of the latter, and so this January, he began to explore other opportunities in the mobile money payments space, specifically relating to small businesses. This led him to start Bamba, a mobile-based enterprise software for African micro-merchants, that has raised $3.2 million.

After spending some time in Kenya (where he was now used to paying via mobile money and rarely cash), he noticed that businesses relied heavily on manual bookkeeping and didn’t have software to record their cash and mobile money transactions.

“They also recorded stock components and had some form of customer relationship management on WhatsApp. It wasn’t a coherent picture and was just a big mess,” he said on a call to TechCrunch. “And that’s where we ultimately saw an opportunity to launch Bamba.”

Micro, small and medium-sized businesses make up 90% of all businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. And there are new upstarts that provide digital bookkeeping services for a minute number of them in West Africa, such as Sabi Cash, Bumpa, Kippa and OZÉ. Bamba is a matching solution for Kenya and surrounding East African markets, where these merchants accepted over $200 billion in mobile money payments last year.

The platform comprises an enterprise management software and an Android application that provides tools for micro-merchants to run their businesses. Its features include managing customers, recording stock levels and receiving and making payments.

“Merchants can record what cash and mobile money transactions they collect and their cash and mobile money payouts. And through that initial record keeping, we have an entry point into the business,” said Gotter, who also mentioned that Bamba wants to improve cash collection for merchants primarily done via USSD and M-Pesa pay bill numbers at point-of-sale. 

“We have the inventory management components that tie in with how many and which goods are sold. Then the payments bit ultimately resulting in a point of sale type devices like Square or Yoco that lets you get a clearer picture of your business and your activities.”

Lack of credit is a thorn in merchants’ flesh globally; this holds more true in sub-Sahara Africa, where the credit gap for small businesses stands at over $300 billion. This is one prominent area bookkeeping digitization proves its utmost importance for merchants. And despite launching with various entry points into the market, startups in this space converge at that singular point. For Bamba, its solution, intersecting inventory, CRM and payments will allow it to provide merchants with cash advances against their future cash flow.

“These are businesses that have previously not been lent to as their credit score was insufficient to get the appropriate loans. But since we have a pretty accurate picture of our customers in terms of its cash and mobile money receivables, we can make accurate lending decisions to them in a way not done before,” the CEO stated.

Bamba is currently in stealth mode and is yet to launch. Gotter said the five-month-old startup is testing its platform with 30 merchants. Its revenue will come from two streams: a small payment fee paid by merchants and interests from its lending/cash advance product.

“We’re very deep in the research phase and quick iteration cycle to figure out the initial product we want to launch at a greater scale in 12 markets,” said the CEO who founded Bamba with Martin Schramm in January.

This seed funding is integral to speeding up this process of acquiring more users and scaling the engineering team behind the product. Berlin and San Francisco-based 468 Capital led the round, while Presight Ventures and Jigsaw VC participated alongside angel investors such as Laurin Hainy of FairMoney and Leonard Stiegeler of Pulse.

Ludwig Ensthaler, a partner at 468 Capital, in a statement, highlighted why his firm backed the Kenyan-based startup. He said the investment opportunities in enterprise software focused on African small businesses are largely untapped, and Bamba “is well placed with a great product and a solid founder to build a category-defining company.”

Candle Media, the new media company co-backed by former Disney execs, acquires Gen Z-focused ATTN: for $100M

Candle Media, the new media company headed by former Disney execs, Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, has made another acquisition — this time with an eye on social storytelling and reaching a Gen Z to millennial audience. The company announced today it will become the new owner of ATTN:, a media company that uses entertainment to discuss topical issues that help explain the world to a younger audience — particularly those who consume content on social media.

Of note, ATTN: also launched its own TikTok studio last year to provide production services for brands that wanted to reach the TikTok user base. Clients on that effort have included big name brands like Google, Madewell, MTV and even TikTok itself, which partnered with ATTN: to manage its own “TikTok for Good” channel. That deal was recently renewed for a second year.

Candle explained its interest in ATTN: had to do with the company’s ability to effectively engage a social audience.

“ATTN: has a deep, digital-native understanding for how to cut through the noise and reach today’s audiences through engaging content on social media. We are excited for them to join Candle and provide the benefits of their talented team’s expertise across our brands and franchises,” read a statement by Candle co-CEOs, Mayer and Staggs.

Launched in 2014, ATTN: has created original series for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Twitch, in addition to networks ABC, NBC, CBS, MTV, Freeform and Discovery as well as for streaming services like Hulu and Apple TV. Its brand studio and agency have relationships with companies like Amazon, Ford, Google, Intel, Mattel, P&G, Target and T-Mobile.

The acquisition offers ATTN: scale, capital and expertise to accelerate its growth, Candle Media said in a press release. ATTN: co-founders Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno, along with the existing senior management team, will continue to oversee day-to-day operations, original content, production and studio work, the announcement said.

Variety reports the deal for ATTN: is around $100 million in both cash and stock but could be worth up to $150 million with additional earn-out provisions. Candle confirmed this figure to TechCrunch as well.

Blackstone-backed, L.A.-based Candle Media was founded with an eye on aggregating brands to build an independent media operation — a rarity at a time when most media companies are now running their own streaming services.

In an interview with Deadline, Mayer explained that Candle’s lack of a streamer was an important part of its strategy, as it believes demand for content itself is going to grow “extremely robustly” in the months ahead.

After coming onto the scene last year, the company has been making several high-profile acquisitions, including that of kids content company and “CoComelon” owner Moonbug for $3 billion; “Fauda” maker Faraway Road Productions for somewhere south of $50 million; and Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine for around $900 million.

This year, it also took a more than 10% stake in Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s media company, Westbrook, and was said to be in talks to acquire NFT company Notables.

Candle has also been hiring, having recently added former UTA and Disney execs as its chief development officer and CFO.

The company says it expects the deal for ATTN: to close in about 30 days.

Updated, 5/17/22, 5:06 PM ET with confirmation of deal price. 

Netflix lays off 150 staffers, citing slowing revenue growth

Netflix confirmed it’s laid off approximately 150 primarily U.S.-based staffers as it works to rein in costs as its top-line growth has slowed down.

A Netflix representative wrote in an emailed statement, “As we explained on earnings, our slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company. So sadly, we are letting around 150 employees go today, mostly U.S.-based. These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues. We’re working hard to support them through this very difficult transition.”

Deadline reported a significant number of those let go were in creative, including in original content. Reportedly, directors from the original series area, such as Sebastian Gibbs, Brooke Kessler, and Negin Salmasi, were among those let go. Some exclusive roles were also impacted, the report said.

Staff reductions had been expected, as the company said in its quarterly letter to shareholders, “Our revenue growth has slowed considerably as our results and forecast below show.” Netflix reported revenue of $7.87 billion for the first quarter of 2022 and a significant loss of 200,000 subscribers. Analysts had predicted $7.93 billion and 2.7 million subscribers. A belt-tightening was on the horizon as soon as those quarterly figures hit.

Netflix also recently cut a smaller group of some 25 people from its just-launched content marketing operation Tudum — an obvious place to begin, given it’s not mission-critical to Netflix’s core business. But these further layoffs indicate the streamer is making more strategic cuts to its operations as it looks to get a better handle on its costs in the increasingly competitive streaming-media landscape.

Cost-cutting measures were also addressed by Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann during the latest earnings call. He said, “…presumably, for the next 18, 24 months, call it the next two years, we’re kind of operating to roughly that operating margin, which does mean that we’re pulling back on some of our spend growth across both content and noncontent spend, but still growing our spend and still investing aggressively into that long-term opportunity. Neumann added, “We’re trying to be smart about it and prudent in terms of pulling back on some of that spending growth to reflect the realities of the revenue growth of the business.”

Netflix has been scrambling as of late, cracking down on password sharing and announcing a cheaper ad-supported tier in hopes of gaining new subscribers and driving further growth.

Additional reporting: Sarah Perez

Amazon’s free streaming service Freevee launches on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD

The free ad-supported streaming service (FAST), Amazon Freevee (formerly IMDb TV) announced that the Freevee app is now available through the App Store on Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

After recently undergoing a rebrand, Freevee has also been aggressive with new releases and promised a 70% year-over-year increase to its originals slate last month. New Freevee originals include “Hollywood Houselift with Jeff Lewis,” cooking contest “America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation,” family-oriented competition “Play-Doh Squished,” and more.

Also announced recently was a short-term film licensing agreement with Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, bringing Disney titles like “Logan,” “Deadpool,” and “Hidden Figures,” among others, to the FAST service.

In addition, Freevee offers Amazon Studios shows like the premiere of the crime drama “Bosch: Legacy” and “Pretty Hard Cases,” which just announced a second season pickup.

At its NewFronts presentation for advertisers in early May, Amazon announced that it is beta testing Virtual Product Placement in original shows. This will be an improved advertising method as more streaming services compete with ad-supported tiers.

The Freevee app is also available on iOS, Android, Roku, Samsung smart TVs (2017-2021 models), LG Smart TVs (2018-2021 models), Comcast’s Xfinity Flex, Xfinity X1, Chromecast with Google TV, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 consoles.

Aside from third-party devices, it is available as an app on Fire TV, Fire Tablets, and a free Channel within the Prime Video app across hundreds of devices.

 

Disney+ promises a light ad load and zero commercials for preschoolers on new ad-supported tier

The Walt Disney Company announced two months ago that it would be offering an ad-supported tier. While questions remain about the plan, such as pricing and launch date, we now know that Disney+ is keeping the number of ads to a minimum. Today, The Wall Street Journal reported that Disney+ promises to limit total ad load to an average of four minutes of commercials an hour. This was confirmed to TechCrunch by Disney.

Disney+ will have fewer ads than its sister service Hulu’s ad-supported tier, which shows ads for nearly twice as much time (approximately 7.4 ads). Peacock service has about five minutes of commercials an hour, and HBO Max doesn’t have more than four minutes of ads an hour. Consumers watching traditional TV will usually get 18 and 23 minutes of commercials an hour, per Kantar data. Hulu was once known as the go-to AVOD (advertising video on demand) service, however, is now the company with the highest number of ads per hour. Peacock and HBO Max have the lightest commercial loads, according to MediaRadar.

Also, preschool programming will not have any commercials whatsoever. Rita Ferro, Walt Disney Company’s President of Advertising Sales, said, “We’re never going to collect data on individual kids to target them.” Preschool children who use their own profile to watch the ad-supported Disney+ tier will not see any advertising. Disney+ has content that is considered brand-safe, which is very attractive to advertisers.

While we don’t yet know the cost of the ad-supported version of Disney+, we do know that Disney executives indicated during the company’s recent earnings call that there would most likely be a price increase to the ad-free tier, which currently stands at $7.99 a month, once the lower-priced, ad-supported option was made available to viewers.

Since the company will be launching its cheaper ad-supported subscription plan later this year, following Netflix’s rollout of its own ad-supported tier, the two platforms will be compared more than ever before. It will be interesting to see how many ads Netflix chooses to show and which brands will want to appear next to Netflix content, which is less “brand safe.” Netflix disclosed 221.6 million subscribers in its most recent quarterly report, while Disney+ had 137.7 million.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that ad buyers said Disney+ wants to charge advertisers approximately $50 to $60 CPM (cost per thousand). This price range is apparently in line with other major streamers, according to ad buyers. Wall Street Journal wrote that “Disney declined to comment on pricing.” Spending on TV advertising (streaming, national, and local TV) in the U.S. is expected to increase 6% to $74.2 billion in 2022, per GroupM estimates.

The report comes as Disney is preparing for its annual upfront event in New York City later this afternoon. According to Ferro, the event will be “unlike anything you’ve ever seen.” This is the company’s opportunity to reveal its advertising strategy for Disney+ as well as new programming coming to Hulu and ESPN+. There will most likely be news on ABC and ESPN at the upfront as well.

Virtual product placement ads are coming to Amazon Prime Video and Peacock

Announced at this month’s NewFronts, Amazon and Peacock demonstrated new ad formats that use similar virtual product placement (VPP) tools, a post-production technique for inserting a brand into a TV show or movie scene.

Amazon presented its new VPP tool, currently operating in beta, that lets advertisers place their branded products directly into streaming content after they have already been filmed and produced. Meanwhile, Peacock’s new “In-Scene” ads will identify key moments within a show and digitally insert a brand’s customized messaging or product post-production so the brand is showcased in the right TV show/movie and at the right time.

Product placement is nothing new and has long been a holy grail of the advertising industry. In 2019 alone, product placement in the U.S. garnered about $11.44 billion, per Statista data. That same year, approximately 49% of American viewers took action after seeing product placement in media.

Brands that use product placement in movies and TV shows capture target markets and promote products in a subtle way. Research by Sortlist revealed that, on average, customers are being sold 12.61 products per movie without even noticing.

However, the strategy is outdated, and products used in the content, for instance, a can of coke on a table, are decisions that are made months in advance.

Streaming services are rethinking this technology and using virtual product placement allows the platform to introduce new ads in the future and remonetize a piece of content over and over again.

In an illustrative video, Amazon demonstrated how its new VPP program enables brands to strategically insert products post-production into content streaming from Amazon Prime Video and the newly rebranded Amazon Freevee. The video shown at Newfronts had an M&Ms billboard (pictured above) that was digitally added way after the show had been filmed.

Colleen Aubrey, Senior Vice President, Advertising Products & Tech at Amazon, explained to the audience, “Working with content creators and using machine learning, we’re able to insert products and branded findings into a TV show or movie.” Billboards, signs, and screens in any chosen show can now have specific messaging on the streamer. Amazon will now be able to integrate different products into episodes at different moments and scenes.

She added that the M&M’s virtual product placement drove an almost 7% increase in brand favorability and almost a 15% increase in purchase intent. This gives advertisers the ability to bring their brands “in the content instead of just around,” she said, giving more flexibility and opportunity for customers to easily discover and engage with products. “Amazon ads are helping advertisers create long-term connections with customers in very everyday interactions,” Aubrey said.

The virtual product placement beta program has already been implemented in several Prime Video and Freevee original series such as “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “Bosch: Legacy,” and the overall Bosch franchise, “Reacher,” and “Leverage: Redemption.”

Henrik Bastin, Chief Executive of Fabel Entertainment and Executive Producer of “Bosch: Legacy,” said, “Virtual product placement is a game-changer. It creates the ability to film your series without thinking about all that is required with traditional placements during production. Instead, you can sit with the final cut and see where a product could be seamlessly and naturally integrated into the storytelling.”

Image Credits: Peacock

Peacock also announced their own digitally inserted ad strategy at NewFronts. The new In-Scene Ads are designed to strengthen commercial opportunities with marketing partners, seamlessly blending products and/or messaging with content during post-production to insert advertisements during scenes that are deemed relevant to customers.

John Jelley, SVP of Product and UX at Peacock, said, “The majority of Peacock customers are opting for our ad-supported experience,” he said, “and we remain focused on collaborating with our brand partners to develop innovative, personalized ad experiences that continue to enhance the customer experience.”

While maybe not as “mind-blowing” as people think, the possibility of customizing ads for different users is fascinating to think about.

The unique technology brought forth by Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, and Amazon Freevee has the potential to transform ad-supported streaming. The insertion of carefully curated, digitally implemented ads could become the new way streaming platforms and their marketing partners target audiences and increase ad revenue.

We’re curious to see how other streaming services improve their advertising methods. Especially now that ad-supported options have become more popular. Netflix and Disney+ are the latest to announce upcoming cheaper ad-supported tiers.

Apple TV+’s ‘For All Mankind’ season three trailer drops, teasing a space race to Mars

Apple TV+ released the trailer for season three of “For All Mankind,” which returns to the service on Friday, June 10, featuring ten weekly episodes. By altering historical events, the drama imagines a global space race occurring after the 1969 moon landing. In an epic pursuit for resources on the Red Planet, the third season jumps to the early 1990s, when the U.S. and Russia target Mars as their next mission.

As seen in the trailer, NASA seizes the historic opportunity to accomplish the first mission to Mars. However, when the astronauts land, they discover a serious lack of water could be detrimental to the crew’s survival…

The alternate-reality sci-fi series was created by Ronald D. Moore, Ben Nedivi, and Matt Wolpert, and stars Joel Kinnaman, Shantel VanSanten, Jodi Balfour, Sonya Walger, Krys Marshall, Cynthy Wu, Casey Johnson, Coral Peña and Wrenn Schmidt. Plus, a new series regular Edi Gathegi, will play Dev Ayesa this season, who wants to invest in the space race and believes private citizens should also have a stake.

Netflix subscribers may be getting a live streaming option for unscripted shows and stand-up specials

Netflix reportedly has plans to roll out live streaming– a capability that could bring an entirely new value for the streamer as it experiences a major slump in subscriber growth. This is in the early stages of development, however, it will apparently launch for its many unscripted shows and stand-specials.

Deadline first broke the news and shared that there is no timeline for when live streaming will come to the service since it is still early days. According to sources, a small team within the company is in the preliminary stages of developing the product.

We don’t know much else about the upcoming feature, and Netflix hasn’t yet responded to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Disney+ was the latest of Netflix’s rivals to test live streams. The streaming service aired its first-ever live stream in February, testing a live showing of the Academy Awards nominations. It also became the new home of “Dancing With the Stars,” the celebrity dance competition series set to debut later this year as a live series on the platform.

From mobile games to an ad-supported tier, Netflix has explored new offerings in recent months. If Netflix were to explore live streaming, it means the platform could use live voting for competition series such as “Dance 100” and reality TV programs like “The Circle.” Netflix also had its reunion special for season five of “Selling Sunset,” which would be another opportunity for a live showing.

Additionally, if Netflix Is a Joke festival decides to come back this year, the live comedy event could potentially air stand-up performances by Dave Chappelle, Larry David, and Pete Davidson, among other big names.

The biggest question is whether live streaming could be rolled out for sports, however, there has been no evidence of that ever happening.