Innovators Discuss Immersive Entertainment at LAVA Event

Several AR/VR entrepreneurs — ARwall chief executive Rene Amador, VNTANA chief marketing officer Natascha French, Fulldome.pro chief operating officer Stephen Powers, Flipside chief executive Lesley Klassen, and Talespin chief executive Kyle Jackson — gathered at a LAVA (Los Angeles Venture Association) panel discussion led by Interactive TV Alliance chief executive Allison Dollar. They described their companies’ use cases, defined “immersive entertainment,” and outlined the challenges in growing their businesses. Continue reading Innovators Discuss Immersive Entertainment at LAVA Event

Supreme Court Lets States Collect Sales Tax From E-Tailers

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that states have the authority to collect sales taxes from online retailers, even if they don’t have a physical presence in the state. In doing so, the justices closed a loophole that helped Internet sales to grow and also overturned 50 years of its own precedents that banned states from collecting sales tax from companies without such physical presence. The decision did not follow typical ideological decisions, with liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joining conservative justices. Continue reading Supreme Court Lets States Collect Sales Tax From E-Tailers

AT&T Looks to Attract Cord Cutters With New Video Service

AT&T launched WatchTV, a “skinny bundle” video service aimed at luring cord cutters. The package offers a select number of TV channels for as little as $15 per month and gives free access to subscribers on unlimited data plans. For now, the service will be free with the company’s two top-tier wireless plans; the $15 per month plan will launch later. Among the channels to be included are AMC Networks and Discovery; Viacom’s Comedy Central and MTV2 will be added after launch. AT&T just acquired Time Warner for $81 billion. Continue reading AT&T Looks to Attract Cord Cutters With New Video Service

AMC Debuts Subscription Service That Will Rival MoviePass

AMC Entertainment just announced AMC Stubs A-List, a subscription service that will allow customers to watch up to three movies a week at any AMC theaters in the U.S. for $19.95 per month. AMC Stubs A-List offers features not available with the offering of its rival MoviePass, including the ability to book tickets days in advance, to see 3D or IMAX movies at no extra cost and to book tickets in an app without a special debit card. In contrast, MoviePass costs $9.95 per month, works at 91 percent of U.S. theaters and can be used once a day. Continue reading AMC Debuts Subscription Service That Will Rival MoviePass

Facebook’s Instagram Launches IGTV for Hour-Long Videos

Instagram is launching IGTV, a standalone app that allows users to post vertically shot videos up to an hour long. The move puts the Facebook-owned platform in direct competition with Google-owned YouTube and its own parent company. Instagram has allowed one-minute videos to be posted since 2012, when Facebook acquired it for $1 billion. Instagram also aped Snapshot with disappearing posts dubbed Stories. The company says it now has one billion monthly users, compared to YouTube’s 1.9 billion and Facebook’s 2.2 billion. Continue reading Facebook’s Instagram Launches IGTV for Hour-Long Videos

Apple Inks Deal With Sesame Workshop for Three Programs

Apple ordered two shows, one live-action and the other animated, from Sesame Workshop, the home of “Sesame Street,” and also put a puppet-centric show into development there. With this order, Apple now has 15 original content series in development and said it will begin streaming them in 2019. The crime series “Are You Sleeping” — a production of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine company starring Octavia Spencer — will start production on Monday, the first Apple show to do so. Other Apple shows have experienced glitches. Continue reading Apple Inks Deal With Sesame Workshop for Three Programs

Critics Argue GDPR’s Article 13 Threatens Future of Internet

A European Parliament committee just voted on Article 13, a controversial provision in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that wasn’t in the final draft but was re-introduced on May 25, the day it went into effect. Article 13 requires Internet platforms to vet uploads such as news articles and music videos for copyright infringement. Such filters could encourage platforms to block more content and place an undue burden on smaller platforms, argue the critics. Worse, they continue, filters could be modified to block content critical of governments. Continue reading Critics Argue GDPR’s Article 13 Threatens Future of Internet

Google Aims to Promote Diverse Voices With Podcasts App

Google hasn’t had its own podcast app since it discontinued Google Listen in 2012. Now, it is unveiling Google Podcasts, an Android app that includes a “For You” section that keeps track of podcasts the user is subscribed to, and includes recommendations of top and trending podcasts and categories such as comedy, society & culture, news & politics, sports, religion & spirituality and the arts. Clicking on any podcast, the app will recommend related podcasts. It also offers an option to add the podcast to the user’s home screen. Continue reading Google Aims to Promote Diverse Voices With Podcasts App

Facebook Launches New Toolset for Live Interactive Games

Facebook has decided to take a page from the book of HQ Trivia, an app hosted by “quiz daddy” and comedian Scott Rogowsky that focuses on live-streamed multiple choice questions and other gimmicks. The Silicon Valley company launched tools aimed at Facebook Live content creators that will let users interact with shows rather than simply passively viewing them. The new Interactive Show Experiences will let publishers and content developers add polls, multiple choice options, cash prizes and player eliminations to their videos. Continue reading Facebook Launches New Toolset for Live Interactive Games

Roku to Offer Subscription Video Market Similar to Amazon’s

According to sources, Roku will debut a marketplace similar to Amazon Channels, allowing consumers to sign up for video subscription services without downloading separate apps on Roku devices. Roku already offers access to HBO Now, CBS All Access and other subscription services via its channel store, but, up until now, consumers have needed to download a dedicated app (which Roku calls a “channel”) onto their device and then sign up for the service. The new marketplace is expected to make it much easier to access such services. Continue reading Roku to Offer Subscription Video Market Similar to Amazon’s

New YouTube Premium and Music Services Go International

On Monday, YouTube increased international distribution of YouTube Premium, with its streaming hit “Cobra Kai” and other original content — and YouTube Music, with the Beatles’ album catalog. Both services have been available in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea, and the move represents a major push into international territories. YouTube Music, which is offered as an ad-supported free service or as the subscription-based Music Premium, is now available in both forms in the U.K. Continue reading New YouTube Premium and Music Services Go International

Tron Founder Sun Purchases File-Sharing Pioneer BitTorrent

Justin Sun, founder of Tron and its TRX cryptocurrency, just purchased BitTorrent, a pioneering file-sharing company. TorrentFreak first reported rumors of the acquisition last month, saying that Sun was pursuing the company. After starting talks with BitTorrent in September last year, Sun signed a letter of intent to purchase the company in January. Meanwhile, BitTorrent began speaking with other suitors, leading Sun to file a temporary restraining order, asserting that BitTorrent agreed not to pursue other offers. Continue reading Tron Founder Sun Purchases File-Sharing Pioneer BitTorrent

Apple Inks Original Program Partnership with Oprah Winfrey

Apple and Oprah Winfrey just inked a production partnership for the former’s subscription video service, although neither gave specifics of the kind of programming they intend to create. As competition heats up in the media content space, traditional media companies find themselves vying with Silicon Valley firms for the talent needed to create blockbuster programming; in fact, Amazon also was in talks with Winfrey. Netflix, meanwhile, has signed Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, and Warner Bros. retained Greg Berlanti. Continue reading Apple Inks Original Program Partnership with Oprah Winfrey

The World Cup Is Finally Available in 4K HDR in Your Home

For the first time, the FIFA World Cup is available in 4K HDR in your living room. Those interested in viewing the world’s single biggest sporting event this way have several choices. Via the Fox Sports World Cup app, cable subscribers can view 4K HDR streams on Hisense’s H6E, H8E or Laser models. Dish is offering 56 of the 64 games live in 4K HDR, and DirecTV is broadcasting all the games that way. Layer3 TV/Altice is also broadcasting in 4K and Comcast Xfinity X1 subscribers can watch 4K HDR on demand the next day. Continue reading The World Cup Is Finally Available in 4K HDR in Your Home

Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

Brands need an app strategy, say the experts. Shoppers, especially millennials, are increasingly purchasing goods through their smartphones. Forrester Analytics reports that smartphone purchases in 2018 will reach $118 billion, up from $13.4 billion in 2013. But to be successful with an app, the brand needs to ensure that its performance is superior, as users will quickly rid themselves of apps that are slow, push too many notifications, do not offer exclusive sales or promotions or have a confusing layout. Continue reading Brand Strategy for Mobile Apps Is Crucial, Tricky to Manage

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