Facebook Messenger Tests ‘Watch Videos Together’ Feature

Whether it involves movies, sports events or in-the-moment activities — sharing the experience with friends can make it more enjoyable. This is what Facebook is reportedly testing with its “Watch Videos Together” feature. This feature includes the ability to watch a video within a Messenger group chat while simultaneously commenting, discussing and joking about it. Earlier this year, Facebook launched its Watch Party. Facebook is now potentially expanding its concept of the Watch Party to Messenger, the popular instant messaging app and platform. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Tests ‘Watch Videos Together’ Feature

Social Media Tops Newspapers as Preferred Source of News

In a new first, social media platforms have surpassed traditional print newspapers as the preferred news source for adults in the United States. According to a new Pew Research Center report, American adults turn to social media more than newspapers, but not more than they prefer other news sources such as television and radio. While the percentages of those who preferred social media were about equal to those who opted for newspapers last year, Pew found that 20 percent of U.S. adults now get their news from social platforms, compared to 16 percent who prefer newspapers. Continue reading Social Media Tops Newspapers as Preferred Source of News

CES: The Next Wave of Immersive Media Tech and Markets

For a long time, we have posited that the future of immersive media will be 10 percent virtual reality and 90 percent augmented reality. In the coming year the VR and AR technologies and markets will continue to advance, but in different directions and for different reasons. VR is moving into niche markets, location-based entertainment (LBE), business applications and eSports. Meanwhile, we expect AR to focus on innovation across numerous fronts, including high-end niche business and professional applications, low-end consumer experiences and new glasses with limited feature sets. Continue reading CES: The Next Wave of Immersive Media Tech and Markets

Sprint Plans 2019 5G Hotspot Launch With HTC, Qualcomm

Sprint, the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S., plans to deploy a 5G mobile smart hub in the first half of 2019 developed with HTC and Qualcomm Technologies. Sprint says the “device will deliver multimedia and connected data capabilities in a compact and portable design,” featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X50 modem for 5G in addition to Gigabit LTE capabilities. The Kansas-based telecom will introduce its mobile 5G network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Additional markets, the device name and feature specs will be announced at a later date. Continue reading Sprint Plans 2019 5G Hotspot Launch With HTC, Qualcomm

Smartphones and Wearables Experience Growth in Q3 2018

Research firm Gartner published a Q3 report indicating that global smartphone shipments are continuing a slow but steady growth pattern. Handset sales only increased 1.4 percent to 389 million units overall. However, Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi are doing much better (Huawei recorded a 43 percent jump). Meanwhile, IDC reports a more dramatic uptick in the international wearables market. Xiaomi experienced a 90.9 percent year-over-year increase in shipments for Q3, overtaking Apple for the world’s top spot. According to IDC, Fitbit is holding strong in third place. Continue reading Smartphones and Wearables Experience Growth in Q3 2018

Audi, Disney to Demo Media for Autonomous Vehicles at CES

A future untapped market for media and entertainment is the time gained in our days thanks to the freedom provided by self-driving cars. As the world’s population increases, travel times also continue to grow. When we no longer have to focus on the road while in our vehicles, all that time becomes a perfect opportunity to provide content. Audi and Disney have partnered to create what the German automaker is calling a “new type of media” to fill that time. The fruits of this partnership are scheduled to be revealed at January’s CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading Audi, Disney to Demo Media for Autonomous Vehicles at CES

AT&T to Roll Out Three Tiers of Streaming Service Next Year

AT&T announced it plans to introduce three tiers of a new streaming video service to launch in beta by the fourth quarter of 2019, although pricing and details have yet to be revealed. The WarnerMedia service, intended to take on Netflix and other streaming competitors, will offer movies and TV shows from Warner Bros., Turner and HBO. In the future, the unnamed service is expected to feature licensed content from additional media companies. The venture is part of AT&T’s larger plans to pursue areas outside of its core businesses following the company’s acquisition of Time Warner. Continue reading AT&T to Roll Out Three Tiers of Streaming Service Next Year

Digital Viewing Steadily Increases Across Multiple Age Groups

Digital viewing is growing across age groups as traditional TV viewing declines, according to eMarketer. The researcher estimates that 64.8 million millennials will watch digital video this year at least once a month, a projection expected to reach 66.8 million by 2022. Meanwhile, 59 million millennials are expected to watch traditional TV in 2018, a figure projected to decline in coming years. The trend is growing with Gen X in the U.S. as well; eMarketer projects that 51.8 million (representing more than three-quarters of the Gen X population) will watch digital video at least once a month. And kids 11 and younger? Not surprisingly, 24.2 million with turn to digital viewing this year. Continue reading Digital Viewing Steadily Increases Across Multiple Age Groups

YouTube Plans to Offer Free, Ad-Supported Originals in 2019

In a strategy shift, Google-owned YouTube plans to make much of its original video programming available for free starting next year. YouTube Originals will be offered as free, ad-supported content, rather than exclusively available via the $11.99-per-month YouTube Premium subscription service (formerly called YouTube Red). YouTube will continue to greenlight scripted productions, but plans to scale back in order to focus on more mainstream celebrity-driven and creator-based reality offerings. YouTube refers to the new strategy of combining ad-supported and SVOD programming as “Single Slate.” Continue reading YouTube Plans to Offer Free, Ad-Supported Originals in 2019

Snapchat Intros Native Shopping With E-Commerce Channel

Snapchat’s Discover section now features a new channel called “Shop & Cop” that offers an e-commerce experience powered by Shopify. The new channel allows consumers to shop without having to leave the app. It is curated by Snapchat, but features Shopify merchants selling their products. Black Friday and Cyber Monday served as the launching pad for rolling out the feature while offering special bargains. Coco and Breezy, Gymshark, Kylie Cosmetics and Drake’s merchandise shop TourLife are among the 20 brands that have already signed on. Continue reading Snapchat Intros Native Shopping With E-Commerce Channel

Federal Government Takes Additional Steps to Block Huawei

The U.S. government is reportedly pushing for foreign allies to stop using hardware from China-based Huawei Technologies Co. According to people familiar with the initiative, the government is aiming to convince wireless and Internet service providers to avoid telecom equipment that comes from Huawei in an effort to increase security. Washington officials are particularly concerned about countries that host military bases. The U.S. and Australia already have bans in place to curb the risk of cyberattacks. Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications provider. Continue reading Federal Government Takes Additional Steps to Block Huawei

LG to Debut Google Assistant Smart Display on Black Friday

LG is introducing its first Google Assistant-powered smart display this week. The XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9, which runs the Android Things operating system for IoT devices, will be offered for a $200 promotional price during Black Friday (it is expected to run $100 more beyond the sale). The smart device was first teased at CES in January. The XBOOM AI features an 8-inch HD touch-screen display, Bluetooth streaming, a built-in 5MP camera for video calls, Google Assistant-powered AI features, and easy access to apps such as Google Maps, Google Photos and YouTube via the Android Things platform. Continue reading LG to Debut Google Assistant Smart Display on Black Friday

Criterion Collection Reveals Plans for New Streaming Service

Following the news that WarnerMedia would shutter its streaming service FilmStruck at the end of this month, The Criterion Collection announced that it plans to offer selections from its library of classic Hollywood, foreign language and notable art-house films via its own standalone streaming service to launch in spring 2019 (FilmStruck had an exclusive licensing deal to stream movies from the Criterion library). The announcement further revealed that The Criterion Channel would also be made available via “WarnerMedia’s new consumer platform when it launches late next year.” Continue reading Criterion Collection Reveals Plans for New Streaming Service

Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

New standalone VR headsets continue to ramp up competition in the emerging tech sector. HTC has introduced its Vive Focus (starting at $599) to additional markets beyond China — including Europe and the U.S. — while launching an SDK and encouraging developers to experiment with its 6DoF controller add-on. This week, it also unveiled an enterprise version of the Vive Focus. Meanwhile, the all-in-one $399 Oculus Quest headset is scheduled to launch by spring of next year. And new to the scene is Shadow Creator’s $399 Shadow VR, which recently launched globally and is the latest of 15 partners to leverage HTC’s Vive Wave platform. Continue reading Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

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