Facebook Adjusts Video Strategy to Favor Long-Form Content

Facebook raised the requirements for inserting advertisements in videos posted on its site and is tweaking its News Feed algorithm to favor pages whose videos draw regular viewers. In doing so, Facebook is buoying the value of longer videos and strengthening its Watch service, but both moves are also potentially frustrating for video publishers already concerned with poor financial returns. Producers’ short videos perform well in the News Feed and longer form videos will require them to expend more resources. Continue reading Facebook Adjusts Video Strategy to Favor Long-Form Content

Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Redbox, known for its red kiosks where users can rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, has unveiled a new on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows. The new service is not subscription-based but, similar to iTunes or Google Play, allows the user to pay for each movie or show that they rent or buy; the on-demand service, currently in public beta, will offer the same kind of new release movies and shows available in the kiosks. The privately held company offers content from every studio except Disney. Continue reading Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Pandora Hopes to Convert Users with Free On-Demand Music

Pandora Media is launching free on-demand music with 15-second ads, in an effort to boost declining revenue and users. In doing so, it inches closer to rival Spotify’s model. According to one source, the user will be able to queue up 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour of specific songs for every ad watched; the company is still testing models that mix music and ads. By offering free songs in exchange for ads, Pandora hopes to entice listeners to sign up for its $9.99 per month Premium on-demand tier, which was introduced in March. Continue reading Pandora Hopes to Convert Users with Free On-Demand Music

Facebook Builds Watch Audience with WWE and Vice Series

Facebook is building audiences for its new Watch video platform with a strategic series of deals and productions. The social media platform nabbed exclusive rights to “Mixed Match Challenge,” a 12-episode 20-minute live weekly show from WWE that it will begin streaming on January 16 in the U.S. only. The ad-free series is an elimination, tag-team tournament that matches male and female stars from “Raw” and “SmackDown Live.” Facebook also ordered three original weekly series from Vice Media, all of them unscripted. Continue reading Facebook Builds Watch Audience with WWE and Vice Series

T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

T-Mobile US is buying Layer3 TV, a streaming pay-TV distributor, to launch its own pay-TV streaming service. In doing so, T-Mobile, the third largest wireless carrier (by subscribers) in the U.S., joins a growing host of other companies, such as Sony, Dish and YouTube, that aim to lure cord-cutters to their streaming services. Some of those efforts have been successful; AT&T, for example, now has one million subscribers to its DirecTV Now streaming service, which debuted last year and is priced as little as $35 per month. Continue reading T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

Twitch Signs Pact With NBA to Stream Minor League Games

Amazon-owned Twitch, the destination for eSports broadcasts, inked a deal with the NBA to stream up to six minor league games per week this season, beginning Friday, December 15. The NBA G League games on Twitch will feature interactive statistics overlays and a co-streaming option for some Twitch personalities to provide commentary, as well as a fan loyalty program. The G League games, which will have in-stream ads, will also offer subscriptions for viewers to receive custom emotes for group chat and other perks. Continue reading Twitch Signs Pact With NBA to Stream Minor League Games

Twitter Displays View Counts to Encourage More Video Posts

Twitter will begin to post how many views each video receives, a policy already enacted by Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. View counts will include videos that brands post organically and also run as ads, but not pre-roll ads. In 2014, when Facebook began publicly displaying view counts, brands and publishers saw that their videos had millions of views and thus increased the number of videos and video ads they ran. Twitter hopes for a similar response if their view counts are comparable. Continue reading Twitter Displays View Counts to Encourage More Video Posts

Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Amazon and Samsung have partnered to begin streaming videos in the high dynamic range format HDR10+ on the latter’s premium QLED and UHD TVs. Reported by Yonhap News, Samsung said it will be the first time that HDR10+ content will be available via a streaming service. Samsung and Amazon first announced their intent to rely on the HDR10+ open standard in April. Netflix also just announced that it is considering adding support of the HDR10+ standard. Netflix currently supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR standards. Continue reading Samsung and Amazon Join Forces to Stream HDR10+ Video

Apple Invests $390M into Depth/Proximity Chip Maker Finisar

Apple just revealed that it is investing $390 million in Finisar, the company that manufactures the chips used in Apple’s products for depth and proximity sensing. Apple has made use of the chip’s capabilities in some of its new features, including Face ID, Animoji and ARKit, the software development kit for augmented reality. The investment comes from Apple’s $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund. The Sunnyvale, California-based Finisar will use the money to re-open a plant in Texas that will create 500 jobs. Continue reading Apple Invests $390M into Depth/Proximity Chip Maker Finisar

Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

After testing out AR face masks with selected outside developers, Facebook is now rolling out its Camera Effects Platform to any outside developer to build AR features for its in-app camera. HBO used it to build masks for “Game of Thrones” fans to become the Night King, and Lucasfilm used it so “Star Wars” fans could become Kylo Ren. With the wide introduction, we’re likely to see all kinds of AR face masks and effects. Facebook AR Studio, its AR platform, debuts this week and will be live to all in a couple of days. Continue reading Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

In its 17th annual Technology, Media & Telecommunications Report, Deloitte released nine predictions regarding trends for the tech industry in 2018, covering everything from ad blocking and augmented reality to livestreaming programming. Deloitte vice president Paul Sallomi reports that, “we have reached the tipping point where adoption of machine learning in the enterprise is poised to accelerate, and will drive improved business operations, better decision making and provide enhanced or entirely new products and services.” Continue reading Deloitte Predicts 2018 Trends in AR, eSports, Phones and TV

Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

Verizon Communications inked a deal valued at more than $2 billion with the National Football League, to show NFL football games on its mobile network, Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90 mobile platforms. The telecommunications giant will make Monday, Thursday and Sunday night national games available on its smartphone apps regardless of carrier, as well as playoffs and Sunday afternoon games from a user’s home market. National games, except Sunday afternoon games, will also be available on tablets. Continue reading Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

SoftBank Invests $500M More in Broadband Provider OneWeb

According to a knowledgeable source, Japan’s SoftBank Group plans to invest about $500 million more in satellite broadband provider OneWeb. That brings SoftBank’s total investment in the company to about $1.5 billion. OneWeb is a U.S. startup focused on providing Internet connectivity worldwide that is faster than current space-based or terrestrial systems. OneWeb founder/executive chairman Greg Wyler reports that the company is currently designing and looking for suppliers for its next-generation satellites. Continue reading SoftBank Invests $500M More in Broadband Provider OneWeb

Qualcomm, Machinima Partner to Produce VR Reality Series

Qualcomm recently launched a reality TV show competition for its new virtual reality platform, using the Snapdragon 835 VR developer kit. “VR Developer Challenge” matches game developers with YouTube celebrities to create VR experiences. The series goes behind the scenes, showing how producers create the programs. So far, the series features Sam Maliszewski, Jordan Mann and E McNeill, three VR developers chosen by Warner Bros.-owned Machinima. Qualcomm co-produced the series with Machinima. Continue reading Qualcomm, Machinima Partner to Produce VR Reality Series

Apple to Purchase Music Recognition App Shazam for $400M

Apple is purchasing Shazam Entertainment Ltd. for a reported $400 million. Shazam’s music recognition app, which lets users identify songs that are playing nearby, skyrocketed in popularity when it debuted in 2009, and has been downloaded more than one billion times. If the transaction is successful, Apple could integrate the Shazam feature into its iPhones, thereby helping the company gain an edge over the latest phones from Google and Samsung. Google already has a similar feature in its Pixel 2 smartphone. Continue reading Apple to Purchase Music Recognition App Shazam for $400M

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