Top Stories

FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

As expected, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to reverse the media cross-ownership ban. Now, an individual company will be permitted to own TV and radio stations and a newspaper in the same town. Changes to the rules, which were originally created to prevent individual entities from holding an unwanted amount of power over local news and information, also makes it possible to increase the number of TV stations that a single company can own in a given market. The deregulation was largely supported by broadband, cable and media companies, while opposed by consumer advocates concerned about the future of local news and diversity of expression. Read more

Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

On November 22, Disney-Pixar will release the animated feature “Coco,” which takes place during Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Pixar has also debuted its first VR experience, “Coco VR,” created in partnership with Oculus. “Coco VR” is available on Rift headsets, with a Gear VR version out next week. Pixar dubs the experience a “social adventure” where participants embody skeletal characters and explore the Land of the Dead and the holiday, to learn about the film, the festival and the traditions. Read more

AR and VR Groups Create the First Global Virtual Reality Day

Augmented and virtual reality have been evolving, but aren’t yet at the point of breaking into the mainstream. Now, a grassroots group of individuals and organizations is working to create the first worldwide Virtual Reality Day, on November 18, an event it hopes to make annual until AR and VR reach wide acceptance. The group has chosen the date as the last Saturday before Black Friday, with the hope that parents and children will explore AR/VR together. The New York VR meetup (NYVR) — with 5,300 members, the second largest in the world — will participate. Read more

Amazon Go Closer to Public Launch, Amazon Opens Pop-Ups

Amazon Go, an experimental convenience store in Seattle that relies on a mobile app instead of human cashiers, is moving into its next stage prior to a public opening. Amazon Go was originally slated to open early this year, but technical glitches led Amazon to postpone the launch. The technology is improving, and Amazon has shifted hiring from engineers and research scientists to construction managers and marketers. Shoppers will scan their smartphones upon entering; cameras and sensors will track the items removed. Read more

Consumer Groups Say Next Gen TV Standard Ignores Privacy

The FCC is scheduled to vote today on the long-awaited ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard. On the eve of the vote, privacy advocates have expressed concern that the standard allows broadcasters to harvest data about individual viewing habits so that advertisers can target their pitches, and there are no rules governing how broadcasters handle the data. In its 109-page proposal for the new rule, the FCC does not mention the issue of privacy. Broadcasters perceive the rule as a way to catch up to Facebook, YouTube, Amazon Prime and others. CTA president Gary Shapiro defends the standard and suggests the vote is being politicized due to the Sinclair-Tribune merger proposal. Read more

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