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Photo: Cheddar

Cheddar, the streaming news service for millennials, and Magic Leap, a mixed reality company, are teaming up to put Cheddar's two live news networks on Magic Leap One augmented reality devices.

Why it matters: These will be the first live news channels made available in mixed reality to all Magic Leap One owners.

The big picture: The move is part of a bigger trend of media companies pushing to try new forms of distribution.

  • Cheddar's lead mobile engineer, Stephanie Lo, who built the beta version of the service, says the technology could be a smart way in the future to combine second-screen video viewing.
  • "Think about how many people are watching TV while also browsing something at the same time. I think this gives us a platform to potentially marry the two."

Yes, but: The idea is meant to be a seed project that's being built far ahead of commercial applicability, mostly for buzz and experimentation. Magic Leap is only available now via a very pricey developer version, so the audience for the news channels will be small at first.

  • "In my three years running the company, I've always been focusing on generating revenue and getting carriage on big systems. I wanted to do one R&D project," says Cheddar CEO and founder Jon Steinberg.
  • "I think a media company like us needs to have one long-term bet. A lot of other media companies can only see ahead to the next quarter. I'm trying to think a few years away."

The details: Magic Leap is licensing Cheddar's live business and headline news networks for its augmented reality headsets. The live video streams will exist as news panels that can be placed anywhere in the user’s room. (See video above.)

  • Users will be able to pin a hovering live Cheddar news screen while performing other work or entertainment activities in the Magic Leap environment.
  • The content itself will be the same the channels show outside of the mixed reality environment for now, says Steinberg, but the company might experiment with creating custom content specifically for Magic Leap in the future. The companies are working to make broadcasts available both on-demand and live.

Between the lines: Cheddar and Magic Leap share an investor in AT&T. Both companies focus on the future of content distribution — Cheddar through live digital TV and Magic Leap through augmented and virtual reality.

For Cheddar, the business strategy has always been to build an extensive distribution network to make sure their content is consumed as widely as possible, but until now that has meant mostly two avenues:

  1. Authenticated feeds that people have to pay for (Cheddar's app or its channel on digital TV bundles like YouTube TV or Dish's Sling) .
  2. Free clips that can lure new subscribers on social media, on college campus TVs or at gas station pumps.

By the numbers: Steinberg says Cheddar will bring in about $30 million in top-line revenue this year and will be profitable by the end of next year. "We'll lose $4 million roughly and as of today, after acquisitions, we have $30 million in bank, with a vast majority of that being in cash."

“We are basically Tesla, and CNBC and CNN are Ford and GM. Yes, they ship more cars in a week than we ship in a year, but you know what? We’re running on electric power, have much better software and our car drives itself.”
Steinberg

What's next? Steinberg says he'd like to build a volumetric camera studio (a studio that can capture video in 3D for augmented or virtual reality), so that in the future, the company can add custom 3D interviews to a variety of augmented reality experiences on Magic Leap devices.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - World

U.S. and UN express concern to Israel over Jerusalem violence

Israeli soldiers throw tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators during a protest near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, on Sunday. Photo: Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images

The United Nations called on Israel Sunday to show "maximum restraint and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly" and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed "serious concerns" about violence in Jerusalem.

Driving the news: Over 250 Palestinians and several Israeli police officers have been wounded since Friday during protests over planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the city's east — which Sullivan also expressed concern about, per a White House statement.

Emergency declaration issued in 17 states and D.C. over fuel pipeline cyberattack

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration said it's "working with" fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline to try and restart operations after a ransomware attack took it offline.

Why it matters: Friday night's cyberattack is "the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure" known to have occurred in the U.S., notes energy researcher Amy Myers Jaffe, per Politico. A regional emergency

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 4 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: GLAAD finds top social media sites "categorically unsafe"

The leading social media sites — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube — are all "categorically unsafe" for LGBTQ people, according to a new study from GLAAD, the results of which were revealed Sunday on "Axios on HBO."

The big picture: GLAAD had planned to give each of the sites a grade as part of its inaugural social media index, but opted not to give individual grades this year after determining all the leading sites would receive a failing grade.