HBO Now Reaches 800,000 Paid Subs, Expects Future Growth

HBO’s standalone streaming service HBO Now, which launched in April 2015 exclusively for Apple TV, currently has about 800,000 paid subscribers, the cable network announced this week. Since it is now available across a variety of devices and does not require a traditional TV subscription, the $15-per-month service is primarily targeting cord cutters and cord nevers, who are willing to pay for Internet connectivity but not necessarily a cable or satellite service. HBO’s goal is to reach half of the 10 million U.S. homes that have Web access but no TV subs. Continue reading HBO Now Reaches 800,000 Paid Subs, Expects Future Growth

Unity Warns VR Forecasters “Wrong,” Sets Course Correction

John Riccitiello, CEO of game engine company Unity, set a course correction for virtual reality adoption in his keynote address at the Vision VR/AR Summit conference in Hollywood this week. Riccitiello warned, without equivocation, that analyst prognostications suggesting VR will become a $100 billion industry by 2020 “are wrong.” He assured the audience of 1,500 plus developers that VR is a transformative platform that will reap financial rewards in the long run and give birth to great “century companies” like Netflix and Disney. Continue reading Unity Warns VR Forecasters “Wrong,” Sets Course Correction

Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

Although CBS has yet to release official figures, the network claims yesterday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers drew a record number of viewers who streamed the game. NBC broke streaming records last year with 800,000 viewers per minute on average and about 1.3 million concurrent users. Eclipsing the previous year’s numbers should come as no surprise since today’s consumers are more comfortable with streaming, and CBS made the game easy to access for free via OTT devices including Apple TV, Roku and Xbox One. Continue reading Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

USC: Evolution of Entertainment Conference to Focus on VR

The student-run Business of Entertainment Association (BEA) at the USC Marshall School of Business is producing a day-long conference on virtual reality. The E2 Conference will focus on the business of VR entertainment, highlighting many of the tech innovations related to VR, while addressing the practical applications of VR in studio entertainment. This will be a great opportunity to network with business students exploring careers in media. Warner Bros. is a sponsor, and ETC@USC’s Phil Lelyveld is moderating a panel. Go to the E2 Conference site for more information and to register. E2 is scheduled for Friday, February 19. Continue reading USC: Evolution of Entertainment Conference to Focus on VR

Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

Award-winning filmmakers and video reporters Nonny de la Peña, Sandy Smolan and Ben Solomon, along with ABC News Digital executive Dan Silver, took part in a wide-ranging discussion about immersive journalism at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival this past week. Among the ideas expressed were the importance of choosing the right stories for the virtual reality medium, of telling them with filmic finesse to maintain audience interest, and of designing the role of the on-screen reporter. Noted as on the near horizon for immersive reportage were real-time streaming, interactivity, and live action capture with the aid of videogrammetry. Continue reading Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

Facebook Makes Decision to Shutter Services Platform Parse

Facebook announced yesterday that it plans to shutter Parse, its toolkit and support platform for mobile developers the company hoped would serve the Internet of Things and lead to a cloud business that could compete with Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Parse provides developers with support and tools that enable programmers to write code rather than spend valuable time maintaining the back end. Users of the platform include developers at productivity app Quip and Expedia’s travel website Orbitz. The social giant paid a reported $85 million to acquire Parse in 2013. Continue reading Facebook Makes Decision to Shutter Services Platform Parse

Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Google is testing an app downloading shortcut that bypasses its Google Play app as part of an experiment to make using Google’s search app more convenient. The company is currently testing the shortcut with a subset of Android users, a typical approach by Google when developing new products. The test is limited to the search app for now and does not include using Google.com via browsers. While a spokesperson explains the company is committed to “finding the content you need as easy as possible,” Google has not announced whether the shortcut would become a permanent feature. Continue reading Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

USC: Evolution of Entertainment Conference to Focus on VR

The student-run Business of Entertainment Association (BEA) at the USC Marshall School of Business is producing a day-long conference on virtual reality. The E2 Conference will focus on the business of VR entertainment, highlighting many of the tech innovations related to VR, while addressing the practical applications of VR in studio entertainment. This will be a great opportunity to network with business students exploring careers in media. Warner Bros. is a sponsor, and ETC@USC’s Phil Lelyveld is moderating a panel. Go to the E2 Conference site for more information and to register. E2 is scheduled for Friday, February 19. Continue reading USC: Evolution of Entertainment Conference to Focus on VR

CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

According to CES producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), this year’s confab drew more than 170,000 industry professionals to Las Vegas. The show featured 3,800+ exhibitors covering 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space. Attendees represented over 150 nations and 100 delegations, including the first Cuban delegation. More than 6,000 media members attended this time around. The #CES2016 hashtag generated nearly 1.28 million mentions and CTA claims there were 15.2 billion potential social media impressions during CES week. Continue reading CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

Amazon, Streaming Services Dominate 73rd Golden Globes

Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony delivered a number of surprises that have since sparked commentary from traditional and social media outlets. Aside from the surprise wins and snubs, memorable or disappointing speeches, and debate over the most appropriate category for “The Martian,” it’s worth noting that streaming services — especially Amazon — scored major wins this year. In another sign of how our entertainment media delivery and consumption is shifting, Netflix beat out broadcast and cable powerhouses in nominations, while Amazon scored a number of major wins. Continue reading Amazon, Streaming Services Dominate 73rd Golden Globes

Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

During CES in Las Vegas, Motorola Mobility chief operating officer Rick Osterloh suggested that Lenovo has plans to phase out the Motorola brand. In the wake of news media and analyst confusion resulting from Osterloh’s comments, the company issued a statement to provide clarification, noting that the Motorola name or organization is not being dismantled, but is instead looking to “evolve” under parent company Lenovo. As part of that initiative, the company is looking to “streamline” its products under two brands — Moto and Vibe. Lenovo acquired Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Continue reading Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook Sweeps Top Awards at CES

Now that the CES dust has settled on Las Vegas — analysts, journalists and tech bloggers can’t seem to say enough about the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, which is generating an impressive number of awards from “Best PC” and “Best of CES” to “People’s Choice Award.” Engadget, Mashable, TechRadar and SlashGear are just a few of the numerous publications that are praising the $999 Razer Blade Stealth. The gaming laptop runs Windows 10 and touts a 12.5-inch multi-touch display with IGZO 16:9 aspect ratio. The Razer Core, an external graphics docking station, is also on its way. Continue reading Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook Sweeps Top Awards at CES

YouTube Announces HDR Video Support, GoPro Partnership

YouTube announced that it would join Netflix and Amazon in supporting high dynamic range technology for its video content. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer was on stage during CES with GoPro CEO Nick Woodman and Vrse CEO Chris Milk discussing 360-degree video when he mentioned the HDR news. YouTube also plans a partnership with GoPro to deliver more 360-degree content to its online platform. LG, Panasonic and Sony were among the manufacturers in Las Vegas promoting new HDR-compatible TVs. Continue reading YouTube Announces HDR Video Support, GoPro Partnership

CES 2016: Google and Lenovo to Bring 3D Mapping to Mobile

On Thursday during CES, Google and Lenovo announced their plans to bring 3D mapping to smartphones. Lenovo will manufacture and sell the first phone designed to implement the ambitious goals of Google’s Project Tango, which aims “to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.” Qualcomm will provide the Snapdragon processor chips. Google and its partners have been busy developing cameras, sensors and software specifically designed for real-time 3D mapping. The currently unnamed handset is slated to launch this summer for under $500. Continue reading CES 2016: Google and Lenovo to Bring 3D Mapping to Mobile

Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

During the Sony keynote at CES, CEO Kazuo Hirai announced that the PlayStation 4 console system — which he suggests, “sets the benchmark in collaboration, artistry, imagery and design” — sold more than 5.7 million units over the holidays for a total of 35.9 million units since the console’s launch. PlayStation VR goggles will ship the first half of 2016, reportedly in the $300 range. Sony Electronics president and COO Mike Fasulo took the stage to announce “Ultra,” the company’s new video app that enables users to purchase and stream 4K movies on Sony’s Android TVs. Sony also unveiled a range of new cameras, 4K TVs, audio products and more. Continue reading Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

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