Hollywood to Target Older Audience with Large Format Films

Large-screen format theaters have typically played action-adventure blockbusters aimed at the younger crowd. This fall, however, Hollywood plans to release more adult-oriented stories on the bigger screens, and often in 3D. Proof of that trend can be found in the films chosen to open recent festivals, including the 3D “Everest” at the Venice Film Festival and Robert Zemeckis’ 3D “The Walk” at the New York Film Festival. Exhibitors and their partners are also wooing adults to watch 3D films, which peaked in 2013 with “Gravity.” Continue reading Hollywood to Target Older Audience with Large Format Films

Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

Earlier this summer, we reported that Industrial Light & Magic was launching its new ILMxLAB division to develop virtual reality and augmented reality experiences for movie fans. The experimental division has now shown off three of its VR and AR proof of concept projects. In addition, ILMxLAB houses a team from Walt Disney Imagineering that’s working on futuristic Disneyland attractions. None of it would be possible without ILM’s unique blend of creative staff, cutting edge technology and years of expertise. Continue reading Industrial Light & Magic Creates VR/AR Projects in ILMxLAB

Netflix Moves Operations to Cloud, Closes Last Data Center

Netflix will be the first large company to move its information technology to a public cloud, more specifically, Amazon Web Services, reporting its plans to shutter its last data center by the end of the summer. After a major hardware failure in 2008, Netflix started moving its operations to AWS in 2009, first shifting its jobs page and, later, its video player, iPhone-related technology, discovery and search, and accounts pages. As a streaming competitor with Amazon, however, Netflix runs its own content delivery network. Continue reading Netflix Moves Operations to Cloud, Closes Last Data Center

NBCUniversal Buys Into Publisher Vox Media With $200 Million

NBCUniversal just made a $200 million investment in digital publishing house Vox Media, as part of a strategy to collaborate on programming, advertising and technology. According to comScore, Vox, a hub for eight digital media brands, had 54 million unique U.S. visitors in June, about 41 percent of who are 18 to 34 years old. NBCUniversal also plans to invest another $200 million in BuzzFeed, valued at $1.5 billion. The two deals are more evidence of a trend of established media companies partnering with digital startups. Continue reading NBCUniversal Buys Into Publisher Vox Media With $200 Million

Apple Focuses on Business Computing as iPad Sales Decline

Sales of the once-popular iPads are tumbling, and Apple is taking a hard look at business computing as a way to offset the loss. To make the iPad a tool more compatible to the workplace, the Silicon Valley company has begun to collaborate with more than 40 technology companies to create the kinds of apps and tools that will make it appealing to businesses, a sector it has never seriously gone after. With an estimated $2 trillion spent every year on technology for the workplace, the stakes are big. Continue reading Apple Focuses on Business Computing as iPad Sales Decline

Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

Facebook is about to become a bigger competitor to Twitter-owned Periscope as it begins to offer wider access to the VIP-only Facebook app Mentions and Facebook Live. Up until now, Facebook Live — which allows a broadcaster to start a live video stream immediately, which users can watch in real-time and comment on — has only been available to a handful of high-profile individuals. Previously, Facebook has been circumspect when asked about when more people would have access to Live, which launched on August 4. Continue reading Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

New York Times’ New Algorithm Improves Recommendation Engine

The New York Times is in the process of tweaking its recommendation engine by integrating two previously used models. The Recommended for You section of NYT provides suggested content from over 300 articles, blog posts and interactive stories that are published every day. By personalizing the content that appears on apps and the website, readers are directed to stories that have the greatest interest and relevancy to them. NYT described its efforts to rebuild the engine for maximum efficiency and accuracy. Continue reading New York Times’ New Algorithm Improves Recommendation Engine

Studios Await Court Ruling on Blocking Digital Transmissions

A case before a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit between two companies that make dental braces will have an impact on Hollywood movie studios and Silicon Valley technology companies. Both groups have taken a vocal position on the issue, in which Align Technology, which makes Invisalign braces, accuses ClearCorrect of infringing its patents by sending digital files over the Internet. The question is whether the U.S. International Trade Commission has the power to block those files. Continue reading Studios Await Court Ruling on Blocking Digital Transmissions

FCC Says TV Spectrum Incentive Auction to Cost $226 Million

The Federal Communications Commission reports that the auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum in 2016 should cost about $226 million in administrative costs. The FCC finally released the rules relevant to the auction, after it postponed its vote on them in July. The auction will have two parts: first, the reverse auction, which enables broadcasters to accept opening bids if they want, and second, the forward auction in which wireless companies bid on TV spectrum that broadcasters release in the first auction. Continue reading FCC Says TV Spectrum Incentive Auction to Cost $226 Million

Ad-Blocking Results in $22B in Lost Ad Revenue, Says Report

Ad-blocking software has grown dramatically in usage; an estimated 200 million people worldwide now use ad-blocking software of which 45 million are in the U.S. That’s one of the findings of a report sponsored by Adobe and PageFair, two companies concerned about the implications of such software on the advertising industry. Ad-blocking is responsible for nearly $22 billion in lost revenue this year. The Dublin-based PageFair focuses on helping advertisers regain some of this lost revenue. Continue reading Ad-Blocking Results in $22B in Lost Ad Revenue, Says Report

NFL and Twitter Expand Partnership With More Video and Ads

The National Football League and Twitter already have a relationship, but in a new deal, Twitter users will be able to enjoy an increased amount of footage beginning with the start of pre-season football. The NFL has just signed a multi-year deal with the social network to add more game highlights from pre-season games through the 2016 Super Bowl, breaking news, analysis, game recaps, behind-the-scenes video and other footage of interest to football fans. The relationship between the two companies began in 2013. Continue reading NFL and Twitter Expand Partnership With More Video and Ads

SIGGRAPH: Faceware Unveils Live Capture for Gaming Engine

At SIGGRAPH 2015 in Los Angeles, Faceware Technologies, which creates markerless 3D facial motion capture solutions, demonstrated its Faceware Live plugin for Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4. With the plugin, developers for the UE4 will be able to capture facial movements with any video source and apply them immediately to digital characters. The Unreal Persona animation system displays the facial animation that takes place in real-time. The plugin was shown behind closed doors at SIGGRAPH. Continue reading SIGGRAPH: Faceware Unveils Live Capture for Gaming Engine

Japanese Glasses Guard Privacy by Disabling Face Recognition

While debates over privacy on and off the Internet rage, Japan has just come out with an ideal item for the privacy conscious: eyeglasses that block facial-recognition technology. The Privacy Visor, which was the brainchild of the government-affiliated National Institute of Informatics and an eyeglass manufacturer over the last two years. The Visor works by using patterns and angles on the lens that either reflect or absorb light, disrupting auto-focus to make faces undetectable. Continue reading Japanese Glasses Guard Privacy by Disabling Face Recognition

FX Networks Prez: 2015 or 2016 Will Be Peak TV in America

In 2014, there were more than 370 scripted TV series, including those that were delivered by streaming. This year, say the experts, that number could top 400. We’re living in a Golden Age of TV as viewers have a wealth of choices among all genres. But can this level of production be sustained? Are there enough viewers to keep numbers up for so many TV shows vying for dominance? Is there enough creative talent to keep writing and producing them? And is there a way for every show to make its mark in such a crowded environment? Continue reading FX Networks Prez: 2015 or 2016 Will Be Peak TV in America

BT Sport Ultra HD, Europe’s First 4K Channel, Broadcasts Live

On August 8, BT aired a live broadcast of a Premier League match on its newly launched BT Sport Ultra HD channel, the first such channel in Europe. The broadcast, which featured Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur, is the first of a series of live weekly broadcasts; future live broadcasts include UEFA Champions League, Aviva Premiership Rugby and MotoGP. BT’s TV Entertainment Ultra HD package, which costs subscribers about $23 a month, relies on a 4K-capable TV and BT’s 4K-capable 1TB Ultra HD YouView+ set-top box. Continue reading BT Sport Ultra HD, Europe’s First 4K Channel, Broadcasts Live