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            In the first half of 2019 Amazon doubled its digital ad spending relative to its 2018 spending levels. Amazon also increased TV spending by 28% for Amazon Prime Video. Amazon Prime Video launched 13 new campaigns for original shows in the first half of 2019. Many other companies in the world of big media are making similar investments. Disney and Apple are planning to launch separate streaming services in the fall.

One of Amazon’s big advantages is its more than 100 million Amazon Prime members in the United States. Netflix’s subscriptions in the US fell from 60.2 million in the first quarter to 60.1 million in the second quarter. This might mean that Amazon has space to catch up to its competition.

Facebook is set to launch a new service this fall codenamed ‘Catalina’, which will serve as a larger version of their current Facebook Portal. Portal is like an iPad that primarily serves for making video calls and listening to music.

Catalina will essentially be a bigger version of Portal. It will connect with your television, enabling video calls on a massive scale. The device will come with a remote and will steam to other boxes within the household much like Apple TV.

Facebook has approached some of the big names in tech and entertainment – Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO – to discuss the prospect of having their services streamed across Catalina. Imagine video chatting with your friends while you are all watching the same movie.  FB is apparently not looking to create content, they seem happy to leave it to others in hopes that major streaming services sign on.  One notable exception is Google’s YouTube, which has apparently not been asked to join the party.  More specifics are expected as we approach this fall’s release date