Facebook Sells Video Advertising for Third Party Sites, Apps

Facebook is now expanding its reach into video by selling video ads for other companies, getting an as-of-yet-undisclosed cut of the revenue. Facebook says it will sell and place both “in-stream” and “in-article” video ads on websites and apps, such as those run by Daily Mail, Mashable and USA Today Sports Media Group. Marketers are willing to pay higher prices for video ads than other forms of advertising, making this a compelling sector and one where Facebook can compete with Google for video ad dollars. Continue reading Facebook Sells Video Advertising for Third Party Sites, Apps

Niche Audiences, Binge Watching Impact Testing of TV Pilots

Television networks are in the midst of their annual process of testing new shows to decide which ones they’ll pick up. The typical test audience is made up of 50 people, recruited based on age, sex and race, and a network’s core demographic. The audience members watch the show, judging it via a handheld device that has a knob enabling them to express like and dislike. Not every media outlet embraces the concept of test audiences, and the testing services are modifying their criteria to better reflect today’s viewing behavior. Continue reading Niche Audiences, Binge Watching Impact Testing of TV Pilots

Advertising Spend at This Year’s Upfronts Predicted to Spike

The move to new technology has thrown a monkey wrench in a roughly $70 billion TV advertising industry that has endured without much change for decades. Since then, television and advertising executives have been trying to determine what the future will look like among a range of competing and confusing scenarios and how to monetize it. That all comes to bear as we approach this season’s upfronts, and some sources are predicting, perhaps counter-intuitively, that ad rates will spike this year for the first time in awhile. Continue reading Advertising Spend at This Year’s Upfronts Predicted to Spike

European Commission Poised to Issue Major Fine to Google

The European Commission in Brussels is at the end of its seven-year investigation of Google and preparing to issue a record-breaking fine, expected to be about 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion). To date, the toughest fine the Commission has issued was 1.1 billion euros, levied at Intel. Inside sources say the announcement will likely come before the summer break, possibly as early as next week, and that the final amount hasn’t been decided upon, with the maximum possible at around 6.6 billion euros, or a tenth of Google’s total annual sales. Continue reading European Commission Poised to Issue Major Fine to Google

Growth Slow for Skinny Bundles, Attracting Younger Demos

In-home video entertainment is expected to be a $381 billion global business by 2019, of which about $100 billion represents the North American market. That’s why TV conglomerates aren’t eager to offer skinny bundles, and Apple, for the meantime, has given up on it. In the U.S., video entertainment tends to be spread among five different apps on at least two different hardware platforms, costing between $120 and $14o a month, including a TV package of 200+ channels from providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Dish. Continue reading Growth Slow for Skinny Bundles, Attracting Younger Demos

Google Open Sources Language Tools for Virtual Assistants

Google is open-sourcing SyntaxNet, a neural network framework that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and Parsey McParseface, a computer program that helps machines understand written English. Offering the code for free lets anyone develop, modify and distribute it, furthering natural language and potentially making Google’s code the standard. Earlier, Google open-sourced its machine-learning code TensorFlow (which SyntaxNet runs on top of); other companies that have similarly open-sourced code include Amazon and Facebook.

Continue reading Google Open Sources Language Tools for Virtual Assistants

Google Develops Tango and 3D Mapping for VR, Advertising

Google’s Project Tango, which will be showcased at the company’s I/O developer conference May 18 to 20, consists of cameras, depth sensors and software in Android devices to gather images and depth information to recreate a space in 3D. Sources say that the company plans to put more resources into expanding the technology and using it for virtual reality applications. The ultimate goal is to become a ubiquitous source for the world’s buildings, similar to Google Maps, which is used by one billion people a day. Continue reading Google Develops Tango and 3D Mapping for VR, Advertising

Spotify Now Producing Original Music-Focused Video Content

Music streaming service Spotify, which boasts 75 million users, plans to debut 12 new original video programs around music themes. The new programs, which will feature performances, pop culture, musical storytelling, animation and videos about music culture, will be produced and streamed beginning this summer. Spotify had announced a year ago that it planned to move into video. The content will initially be available in four regions — the U.S., U.K., Germany and its home market Sweden — out of the company’s 59 markets. Continue reading Spotify Now Producing Original Music-Focused Video Content

Apple May or May Not Put an End to iTunes Music Downloads

Depending on who you believe, Apple is either ready to “completely terminate” iTunes music downloads in as little as two years — or has no plans at all to shut down this still-valuable source of revenue. Even as streaming gains dominance, music downloading still plays a lucrative role, say some. Sources deep inside Apple revealed discussions about the potential timetable for ending music download offerings, with a possibility of staggered shutdowns beginning in the U.S., U.K. and some European and Asian countries. Continue reading Apple May or May Not Put an End to iTunes Music Downloads

FBI iPhone Hack Could Impact the Future of Law Enforcement

Although the FBI was finally able to decrypt the iPhone belonging to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook by paying for a third party private hack, the issues around accessing content on a personal smartphone are not resolved. The FBI is figuring out how and if it can re-use the hack, but it’s not simply interested in what’s called “data at rest,” says FBI director James Comey. The FBI is also interested in “data in motion,” the emails, texts and other information in transit over the Internet as “hugely significant” for national security. Continue reading FBI iPhone Hack Could Impact the Future of Law Enforcement

Cannes Film Market to Feature 35 ‘Indie’ Virtual Reality Films

At this year’s Cannes film market, the digital program NEXT will include a slate of 35 virtual reality films from several countries as well as roundtable discussions and workshops, all to be presented on two VR Days, May 15 and 16. Michel Reilhac, former head of film at Arte, the Franco-German network, helped to curate the films and also directed the VR short, “Viens!” (“Come!”). Other French VR films to be shown are “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness,” and Pierre Zandrowicz’s “I, Philip,” about Philip K. Dick. Continue reading Cannes Film Market to Feature 35 ‘Indie’ Virtual Reality Films

Web Video is the New TV, But MCNs are Fading for Ad Buyers

Streaming video services, including Hulu and Crackle, are now defining themselves as TV networks to capture some of the $63 billion TV advertising market, still much more lucrative than Web video’s $10 billion in annual sales. Rather than differentiate themselves from cable and network TV by emphasizing their millennial viewers, these streaming video companies are focusing on the ways they are similar to traditional media outlets, even changing their events from “NewFronts” to “Upfronts,” the moniker used by TV outlets. Meanwhile, ad buyers are losing interest in MCNs. Continue reading Web Video is the New TV, But MCNs are Fading for Ad Buyers

News Outlets Stream Pre-Recorded Video via Facebook Live

Facebook Live doesn’t have to be strictly live video. News outlet NowThis, which exists solely on social platforms, tried this out in late April by streaming a 38-minute selection of most popular viral videos — and received over 20,000 views and 500 comments. Streaming pre-recorded content is similar to how TV networks have operated for decades, by which previously taped programs are aired on a linear schedule. Facebook confirms it has no policy that video on Facebook Live actually has to be live, but doesn’t recommend streaming pre-recorded video. Continue reading News Outlets Stream Pre-Recorded Video via Facebook Live

‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

The VOID (Vision of Infinite Dimensions), a virtual reality theme park in Utah, is launching a new VR experience in NYC’s Times Square in partnership with Sony Pictures, for the studio’s new “Ghostbusters” film. Opening up small-scale versions of its Utah park is part of the company’s business plan, along with creating its own content and immersive versions of films and video games. In Utah’s park, attendees wear a haptic suit that tracks their movements and a VR headset, powered by a supercomputer backpack that allows untethered walking. Continue reading ‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

Periscope Adds Drone Integration and Ability to Search Video

Twitter, which owns Periscope, is about to debut a way to search via title or topic through the app’s more than 100 years of live video, also offering a list of suggested topics to search. Having launched a year ago, Periscope has accumulated more than 200 million broadcasts — but no way to search them until now. The search function also gives users a list of live streams by people they follow, and allows users to follow videos from a given region. Also new are drone integration and an ability to save live streams. Continue reading Periscope Adds Drone Integration and Ability to Search Video