ETCentric Begins CES Coverage with Advance Sector Reports

ETC@USC’s coverage of CES 2018 (formerly the International Consumer Electronics Show) is underway as ETCentric begins its series of preview stories. Between now and the start of CES on January 9 in Las Vegas, our team will explore emerging trends and technologies with a focus on how these innovations may impact or influence media and entertainment. Even with more than 3,900 companies filling 2.5 million square feet with new products, services and technologies that span every industry, we’ve identified three broad segments that will help us organize our coverage: Input, Throughput and Output. Continue reading ETCentric Begins CES Coverage with Advance Sector Reports

Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

For the first time, advertisers have invested more in digital ads than they did in traditional television spots. Magna, the research arm of IPG Mediabrands, reports that 2017 digital ad spending ($209 billion) represents 41 percent of the global market, while spending for TV ($178 billion) represents 35 percent. Magna predicts digital ads will reach 50 percent by 2020. According to Recode, “big TV advertisers have yet to move much of their budget over to digital, even though Facebook and Google are working hard to make that happen.” Magna expects digital spending to increase 13 percent next year, “while TV ads will grow 2.5 percent… thanks in part to one-off events like the Olympics and the U.S. mid-term elections.” Continue reading Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

New Technology Is a Clear Focal Point of 2017 LA Auto Show

Cars are still the obvious centerpiece of the LA Auto Show (December 1-10), but, increasingly, the hackers are starting to outnumber the gearheads. At AutoMobility LA, a four-day preview event for industry insiders and press preceding the consumer-focused show, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence were talked about with the same frequency as horsepower and mpg. Show organizers stressed the importance of bringing together “the entire new mobility ecosystem” and showcased a number of startups with vehicle debuts mixed in. Additionally, the event featured the first ever hackathon at an auto show. Continue reading New Technology Is a Clear Focal Point of 2017 LA Auto Show

SingularityNET: Where Artificial Intelligence Meets Blockchain

Two things you may be tired of hearing about by now: AI and blockchain. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a unique and ambitious project marrying the two to challenge the power of the giants of the AI Age. SingularityNET is a blockchain-powered “Internet of AI” where AI and machine learning applications can be created, combined, and “rented” to solve problems as part of a decentralized marketplace powered by blockchain. This blog post from one of the founders of SingularityNET digs deeper, but it’s a BYOGS (“bring your own grain of salt”) kind of party. Continue reading SingularityNET: Where Artificial Intelligence Meets Blockchain

Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

During this week’s LA Auto Show, Intel and Warner Bros. announced a partnership to develop in-cabin, immersive experiences for autonomous vehicles. The companies are creating the AV Entertainment Experience, which Intel chief Brian Krzanich describes as “a first-of-its-kind proof-of-concept car to demonstrate what entertainment in the vehicle could look like in the future.” Since Americans spend an average of 300 hours per year driving, there is a wealth of possibilities for using that time differently when automobiles become self-driving. The collaboration is looking beyond movies and TV programming to more immersive experiences. Continue reading Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

Facebook Creator App Offers Tools to Fine-Tune Social Video

In an effort to foster growth of video communities, Facebook recently rolled out its Facebook Creator app, providing social influencers with tools for creating feature-rich content. Available to all on iOS (and soon on Android), the product is an update and rebrand of the Facebook Mentions app, originally only offered to verified public figures. The new app includes enhanced fan engagement tools to help influencers add intros and outros to their streaming video broadcasts, cross-posting to Instagram and Twitter, and a central inbox for Facebook, Instagam and Messenger. Creator also features expansive analytics. Continue reading Facebook Creator App Offers Tools to Fine-Tune Social Video

AWS Debuts Amazon Sumerian to Build VR, AR and 3D Apps

Amazon Web Services announced a new service called Amazon Sumerian during the kick-off event for its AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The service was created for developers to quickly and easily build virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D applications with minimal coding for a range of platforms including browsers, head-mounted displays, mobile devices and digital signs. Initially, Sumerian-built apps will run on any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR rendering, which includes Google’s Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and iOS devices. Continue reading AWS Debuts Amazon Sumerian to Build VR, AR and 3D Apps

HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Against the backdrop of eroding live TV viewership and the expansion of video games and Web video, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “The Knick”) has directed “Mosaic,” an interactive series with branching narratives. Co-developed by Soderbergh and former Universal Pictures head Casey Silver with screenwriter Ed Solomon, “Mosaic” is a multi-episodic mystery that allows audiences to choose the story threads they experience. The series is now available for free download from Android and Apple stores and for viewing with Apple TV. Continue reading HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Meredith Expands its National Reach with Time Inc. Purchase

Over the weekend, the Meredith Corporation agreed to an acquisition of New York-based Time Inc. in an all-cash deal worth $2.8 billion. The deal includes a $650 million infusion from the private equity arm of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Through its National Media division, Iowa-based Meredith owns popular magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, Living and Shape. The purchase will add notable publications including People, Sports Illustrated and Time to the Meredith line-up. The company’s Local Media division owns a collection of TV stations. Continue reading Meredith Expands its National Reach with Time Inc. Purchase

Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

The Venture Reality Fund has released its H2 2017 VR Industry Landscape map and report. The organization has generously posted the map, along with maps of the 1H 2017 European Landscape and Q2 2017 AR Industry Landscape. The VR Fund’s latest report highlights more than 450 companies developing infrastructure, tools, platforms, and applications for the VR/AR ecosystem. An interactive table, which VR Fund co-founder Tipatat Chennavasin began building in 2014, provides details of the companies.  Continue reading Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

Amazon’s new AR addition to its iOS app, called “AR View,” allows customers the ability to visualize products in their own home. Thousands of products are viewable across a range of categories for both the office and home. By utilizing Apple’s ARKit, the experience unfolds in real-time, allowing the customer to rotate both the object and change its perspective. By introducing the new feature, Amazon joins other retailers such as Target and IKEA that have all recently introduced augmented shopping experiences to their mobile platforms. Continue reading Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

As expected, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to reverse the media cross-ownership ban. Now, an individual company will be permitted to own TV and radio stations and a newspaper in the same town. Changes to the rules, which were originally created to prevent individual entities from holding an unwanted amount of power over local news and information, also makes it possible to increase the number of TV stations that a single company can own in a given market. The deregulation was largely supported by broadband, cable and media companies, while opposed by consumer advocates concerned about the future of local news and diversity of expression. Continue reading FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Amazon has decided to cancel its plans to create an online streaming service that would have bundled broadcast and cable TV networks. The decision was reportedly based on the challenges involving how to generate a profit from the proposed service. The e-commerce giant has also experienced difficulties drawing interest from networks for its Amazon Channels a la carte TV platform. The company has been looking to leverage more television content, especially to attract younger cord cutters who are increasingly viewing media on mobile devices. Continue reading Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

YouTube Now Offers Concert Information, Ticketmaster Links

Google-owned YouTube has announced a new partnership with Ticketmaster that steers music fans to concert tickets and tour info via the YouTube video pages of musical acts. Upcoming North America tour dates and nearest shows for hundreds of artists are now available in the description section of the acts’ posted videos. By clicking on the related “tickets” button for a specific show, YouTube users will be directed to the Ticketmaster site for purchase options. The new feature is available on both web and mobile versions. YouTube is planning international expansion and additional artist-to-fan connections. Continue reading YouTube Now Offers Concert Information, Ticketmaster Links

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