MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

The disruptive movie subscription company MoviePass plans to build a recommendation engine to rival Rotten Tomatoes, which, say its executives, is too general and too critical for its client base. MoviePass subscribers pay a flat monthly fee to see one showing per day in participating theaters. According to MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe, subscribers want to be able to review movies on its site and say they would prefer to read reviews by fellow subscribers. MoviePass is also buying Moviefone from its owner, Verizon Communications’ Oath. Continue reading MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

The recently developed Playa Vista neighborhood on Los Angeles’ Westside near Marina del Rey is now home to numerous technology companies including Electronic Arts, Facebook, IMAX, Microsoft, Yahoo and YouTube. In fall 2018, Alphabet’s Google will move into a 319,000-square foot office space, adjacent to 12 acres of land the company bought in 2014. Playa Vista is also adjacent to the 600-acre Ballona Wetlands, home to hundreds of bird species, and against the Westchester Bluffs. Currently 5,000 to 6,000 people work there. Continue reading Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

Silicon Valley Pioneers Question Today’s Dysfunctional Internet

Testifying before Congress, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg listed all the ways his company has erred, from fake news to hate speech and data privacy — and then apologized for not taking “a broad enough view of our responsibility.” He isn’t the only Silicon Valley leader to take stock of the state of the Internet and worry about its future. Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, has warned about what social media is “doing to our children’s brains,” calling it a “dangerous form of psychological manipulation.” Continue reading Silicon Valley Pioneers Question Today’s Dysfunctional Internet

NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

In a keynote address at NAB in Las Vegas, ETC data & analytics project director Yves Bergquist described how the changing economics of media audiences require new measurement methods and metrics. For the first time, he said, the media and entertainment industry can leverage behavioral psychology, computational neuroscience and machine learning to understand the deep cognitive relationship between audiences and content. He pointed to director Alfred Hitchcock’s prescient statement that, “Creation is based on an exact science of audience reactions.” Continue reading NAB 2018: ETC Keynote on the Audience Genomics Revolution

JPEG Debuts Streaming Video Format for 5G, Wi-Fi Networks

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), known for its photo standard, released a new video compression standard, JPEG XS, designed to work on next-gen 5G cellular or Wi-Fi networks. The new standard, says JPEG, will work on current computers via a software upgrade and is aimed at streaming lossless video, VR content and games over wireless networks, with lower latency and better energy efficiency. Devices smaller than computers, however, will require a hardware upgrade to support JPEG XS. Continue reading JPEG Debuts Streaming Video Format for 5G, Wi-Fi Networks

Spotify Readies New Free Version, Acquires Licensing Platform

According to sources, Spotify is working on a version of its free music service that would be easier to use on mobile phones. The rationale is likely that, after just going public, the Stockholm-based company now needs to grow its user base. The free service is also a springboard for the company’s paid service, which, although services less than half of its user base, generated 90 percent of last year’s 4.09 billion euro revenue. By the end of 2017, Spotify had 157 million users, of which 71 million were paid subscribers. Continue reading Spotify Readies New Free Version, Acquires Licensing Platform

NAB 2018: Immersive Leisure With AR, Gamification, and VR

During a Destination NXT presentation at NAB Show, Media Sherpa managing director John Canning moderated a panel on “redesigning the consumer experience” with “AR Adventures, Gamified Gatherings and VR Vacations.” Canning asked the panelists what drew them to creating immersive media. Fulldome.pro chief operating officer Stephen Powers sees this “new media as having the unique power” to “lift the human spirit.” For Vari Parks chief executive Louisa Spring, it’s her love of VR and desire to bring the experience to more people. Continue reading NAB 2018: Immersive Leisure With AR, Gamification, and VR

NAB 2018: Analytics Scientists Look at Social Media and Bots

Fabric Media chief executive/founder Jason Damata led a discussion at NAB with two experts in the field of social media intelligence. Dr. Indraneel Mukherjee founded LiftIgniter, which is “a machine learning personalization, recommendation and discovery engine” for websites and apps to have one-on-one conversations with users. Dr. John Kelly is chief executive at Graphika, which turns “network relationships into dynamic maps of social influence, enabling precision targeting and action to drive business results.” Continue reading NAB 2018: Analytics Scientists Look at Social Media and Bots

NAB 2018: IBM Watson on Refining AI for Closed Captioning

Closed captioning isn’t just for the hard-of-hearing anymore. According to Digiday, 85 percent of Facebook video is viewed without sound. That signals a trend of viewers who prefer to watch closed captioning, putting the heat on solutions providers to come up with compliant systems that are also accurate and speedy. With artificial intelligence, says IBM Watson Media senior offering manager David Kulczar, closed captioning can be enhanced to go beyond transcription, and automatically identify background audio descriptions. Continue reading NAB 2018: IBM Watson on Refining AI for Closed Captioning

NAB 2018: ETC, Google Examine Cloud Innovation, Solutions

A panel discussion co-produced by ETC@USC and Google and moderated by ETC director of adaptive production Seth Levenson examined the latest innovations and solutions in the cloud for M&E companies. Google Cloud technical director Jeff Kember opened the discussion by stressing the importance of collaborating with content creation and audiences. “We have products and services to connect the two,” he said. “We run Tier 1 content on our cloud from the studios. Think of Google as a partner in the ecosystem.” Continue reading NAB 2018: ETC, Google Examine Cloud Innovation, Solutions

NAB 2018: Machine Intelligence Toolsets in Video Workflows

Although using AI and machine learning tools in production may remain a lofty goal for some, such tools are already in use in some video workflows, from dailies through mastering. Moderated by Netflix coordinator, production technologies Kylee Peña, a panel discussion described the tools available and how they’re being used in real world applications. Google senior cloud solutions architect Adrian Graham described his company’s now-open sourced TensorFlow technology, and how it’s being used by the M&E industry. Continue reading NAB 2018: Machine Intelligence Toolsets in Video Workflows

NAB 2018: Artificial Intelligence Tools for Animation and VFX

Tools powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning can also be used in animation and visual effects. Nvidia senior solutions architect Rick Grandy noted that the benefit of such tools is that artists don’t have to replicate their own work. That includes deep learning used for realistic character motion created in real-time via game engines and AI, as well as a phase-functioned neural network for character control, whereby the network can be trained by motion capture or animation. Continue reading NAB 2018: Artificial Intelligence Tools for Animation and VFX

NAB 2018: Potential Impact of AI on Storytelling, Moviemaking

Do Androids dream of making movies? That was the provocative question posed in a conversation at the Future of Cinema conference track at NAB. Universal Pictures head of creative technologies Annie Chang led a discussion with ETC@USC data scientist Yves Bergquist, who is also chief executive of the AI firm Novamente, and IBM Watson Media senior product manager David Kulczar. Bergquist began with the definition of AI: “the design of optimal behavior of agents in known or unknown computable environments.” Continue reading NAB 2018: Potential Impact of AI on Storytelling, Moviemaking

NAB 2018: AWS Machine-Learning Tools for Content Creation

At a conference track on machine learning during the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Amazon Web Services M&E worldwide technical leader Usman Shakeel described his company’s toolsets. Shakeel addressed up front the question of whether machine learning can replace human creativity. “Can content ever create itself?” he asked. He emphasized that, in today’s world, machine-learning (ML) tools are being used to create efficient workflows, and curate and extract massive amounts of metadata. Continue reading NAB 2018: AWS Machine-Learning Tools for Content Creation

NAB 2018: Machine-Learning Tools to Become Vital for Editing

USC School of Cinematic Arts professor and editor Norman Hollyn spoke at a conference on machine learning about ML tools available today and those that are imminent for editing film/TV content. Underlying the growing importance of ML-powered tools for editors, Hollyn pointed out that editors who resisted the advent of digital nonlinear editing in the 1990s exited the industry. “AI is bringing things into the post production world and if we don’t start to look at and embrace them, we’ll be ex-editors,” he said. Continue reading NAB 2018: Machine-Learning Tools to Become Vital for Editing

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