NBC News’ Daily Show Tops 29 Million Viewers on Snapchat

NBCUniversal reports that its first NBC News daily show for Snapchat already has more than 29 million unique viewers after one month on air. “Stay Tuned,” which broadcasts twice daily, launched July 18. While the figure tops viewership for some of NBC News’ top-rated television offerings, a direct comparison is not necessarily realistic since a Snapchat view starts as soon as a video is opened — and content created for mobile users is distilled into smaller need-to-know bits as compared to traditional TV news. However, the early success marks a major first step for NBC on the social platform. Continue reading NBC News’ Daily Show Tops 29 Million Viewers on Snapchat

In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking are among those that have raised concerns regarding our pursuit of artificial intelligence, while Musk has recently gone so far to suggest that AI presents “more risk than North Korea” and should be regulated, like “everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc.) that’s a danger to the public.” Our colleague Yves Bergquist, director of ETC’s Data & Analytics Project, published a compelling rebuttal on Medium this week, in which he clearly defines “narrow AI” and “artificial general intelligence” in order to provide additional context regarding the evolution of AI applications and their numerous possibilities. Continue reading In Response to Elon Musk and His Concerns About AI Safety

Pinterest Updates its Visual Search, Adds New Zoom Feature

Following last month’s updates making search and Lens functions more easily accessible via the home feed of Pinterest’s app, the popular photo-sharing and discovery platform has now added the ability to zoom inside Pins for a closer look at images and GIFs. The new feature (presently available for iOS and coming soon to Android) is one of the app’s most user-requested features. It is also joined by an updated visual search for finding specific objects. Interestingly, the same image search is available starting this week without a Pinterest account, via the Chrome browser extension. Continue reading Pinterest Updates its Visual Search, Adds New Zoom Feature

Nielsen Includes Facebook, Hulu, YouTube in Digital Ratings

Nielsen will expand its Digital Content Ratings to credit video distributed via Facebook, Hulu and YouTube. According to Jessica Hogue, SVP of product leadership at Nielsen, “These are three of the biggest and most meaningful platforms for media companies and advertisers.” The move “will allow TV network and digital publishers to capture incremental viewing of video on the three digital outlets,” reports Variety, and extends the measurement firm’s push into new media viewership. “Nielsen’s announcement comes as more digital companies are placing new emphasis and added resources on creating video content, rather than pieces of simple text.” Continue reading Nielsen Includes Facebook, Hulu, YouTube in Digital Ratings

Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Oy, maker of the “Angry Birds” mobile games and movie, is said to be planning an IPO valued at $2 billion as early as September. “A listing would test investors’ appetite for entertainment software, a group whose shares have declined an average of 18 percent from their offer prices following IPOs this year,” reports Bloomberg, citing social gamer King Digital Entertainment (creator of “Candy Crush”) and South Korean publisher Netmarble Games (maker of “Lineage” and “Stone Age”) as examples. A successful IPO for Rovio could help finance “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” slated for a 2019 release. Continue reading Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

AWS, Microsoft to Pay $350K Annually for CNCF Board Seats

Amazon Web Services (AWS) officially joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) last week, two weeks after Microsoft did the same. According to Business Insider, “With Amazon’s membership, CNCF now has the support of all five of the top cloud service providers, which is good news for Kubernetes, a CNCF-managed container project.” Google created Kubernetes, a key tech in its own cloud platform, but offered it up as an open source project in 2014. With growing industry support, the tech could become the standard in container management software, to help facilitate writing apps for the cloud. Continue reading AWS, Microsoft to Pay $350K Annually for CNCF Board Seats

E-Commerce Giant Amazon Looking to Offer Event Ticketing

According to multiple sources, Amazon is currently looking to team with venue owners to sell event tickets online in a move that would provide consumers with more options and potentially loosen Ticketmaster’s hold on the lucrative business sector. The move could also generate more Amazon Prime members for the world’s largest online retailer, while introducing new merchandising opportunities for its partners. “The Seattle-based company sees the U.S. ticketing market as ripe for attack,” reports TechCrunch. “Consumers dislike ticket fees, and venue owners, sports leagues and teams want more distributors for their tickets as they seek to boost sales.” Continue reading E-Commerce Giant Amazon Looking to Offer Event Ticketing

Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

As part of an industry shift that began in Europe, an increasing number of cable operators in the U.S. have been forming agreements with Netflix. Charter Communications is expected to join more than a dozen pay TV providers, including Comcast, in making the streaming service available through its set-top boxes. “Some U.S. providers could start selling the streaming service as part of their Internet and video packages,” reports VentureBeat. “Altice NV is trying that approach in France, and the company aims to extend the deal to the United States.” Continue reading Cable Providers Make Course Correction and Support Netflix

Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Game developer Enhance Games announced the availability of “Rez Infinite” for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets, now accessible via Steam and the Oculus store. The VR version of the popular game debuted on PlayStation VR late last year and was quickly the top-rated VR title on Metacritic. “The game has collected more than 40 awards, including Best VR Game Winner at The Game Awards 2016,” reports VentureBeat. Enhance commissioned indie studios Monstars and Resonair to make the new VR versions of the game. Continue reading Enhance Games Brings ‘Rez Infinite’ to HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

Chinese Developers Accuse Apple of ‘Monopolistic Behavior’

A group of 28 developers in China have hired a local law firm to file a complaint against Apple that claims the company engaged in “monopolistic behavior” after it removed apps from the App Store in China “without detailed explanation” and charged “excessive fees for in-app purchases,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “The complaint also alleges Apple doesn’t give details on why apps are removed and puts local developers at a disadvantage by not responding to queries in Chinese.” Continue reading Chinese Developers Accuse Apple of ‘Monopolistic Behavior’

Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

In a significant departure from its traditional business model, Disney announced it plans to pull its movies from Netflix and roll out two of its own online streaming services. Early next year the company will introduce an ESPN streaming service that is expected to cover 10,000 events each year, including MLB, NHL and MLS content. The company also plans to launch a Disney-branded streaming platform in 2019 that will offer its movies and TV programming as well as original content exclusive to the service. Following the news, Netflix stock dropped 7 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Road to VR is featuring a guest article this week by Alvin Wang Graylin, China president of Vive at HTC, who sings the praises of Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel Ready Player One. The story depicts an existence in which “VR is intertwined into every aspect of our daily lives,” writes Graylin. He believes there are positive lessons to be learned from such a “VR-First future.” The book details tech “that has the potential to create truly transformative impact on our future lives, culture, and world,” which is why he makes sure every member of his China Vive team has a copy. In his article, Graylin outlines what he sees as the 16 key takeaways from Ready Player One.

Continue reading HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

‘Despacito’ Has Become the Most-Viewed Video on YouTube

Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and rapper Daddy Yankee have achieved a notable milestone; the music video for their summer hit single “Despacito” is now the most-watched YouTube video in history. The song reached #1 in May — the first Spanish-language song to do so since “Macarena” in 1996 — and has been atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks. Universal Music Latin posted the video in January, which has since been viewed more than 3 billion times, and has surpassed the previous record held by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth for “See You Again” (from the “Furious 7” soundtrack). Continue reading ‘Despacito’ Has Become the Most-Viewed Video on YouTube

Senate Confirms Rosenworcel, Carr as FCC Commissioners

The Senate voted yesterday to confirm Democratic nominee Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican nominee Brendan Carr as new FCC commissioners. The confirmations return the agency to its full strength of five commissioners, following a seven-month gap. The new commissioners will take office as FCC chair Ajit Pai prepares to roll back the net neutrality rules that were passed by the Democratic majority in 2015. The Senate opted to postpone Pai’s reconfirmation; Rosenworcel and Carr were confirmed via voice vote yesterday, and there will be a recorded vote for Pai later this fall. Continue reading Senate Confirms Rosenworcel, Carr as FCC Commissioners

Growing Number of Viewers Are Using Antennas for Free TV

The Consumer Technology Association projects that antenna sales in the U.S. will jump 7 percent to about 8 million units, driven largely by consumers who are accessing HBO, Hulu, Netflix and other services online. While today’s antennas “can be hidden behind a flat TV or hung like a picture frame,” notes The Wall Street Journal, a June survey by the National Association of Broadcasters found that 29 percent of Americans are not aware that television content is available for free. The confusion may linger from the 2009 HD transition, despite the FCC’s efforts to educate the public. While today’s consumer may not think of the older tech as a practical means of saving money, WSJ cites examples of viewers using antennas to watch free local programming. Continue reading Growing Number of Viewers Are Using Antennas for Free TV

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