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

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

Snapchat Users Can Now Create World Lenses with AR Tool

Snapchat launched its Lens Studio AR developer tool for desktop that enables users to build augmented reality experiences for the platform. Anyone can now create World Lenses for adding interactive 3D objects to photos and video content. “But brands, news publishers and developers will have to promote their own Lenses by marketing their QR Snapcodes that users scan to unlock an AR effect for 24 hours,” reports TechCrunch. “That’s because Snapchat won’t display these Community Lenses in its camera unless businesses pay a partnered creative agency to build them a special effect and then buy Sponsored Lens ads from Snap.” Continue reading Snapchat Users Can Now Create World Lenses with AR Tool

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

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

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

Smartwatches, Fitness Bands Still Dominate Wearables Sector

At last year’s CES, wearables were a viable category but had lost a bit of the luster of previous years, as consumers were deluged with competing fitness bands, smartwatches and even smart fabrics and jewelry. Although many of the entrants were intriguing, nothing popped out as revealing the path forward. CES 2018 promises to be similar, with some notable exceptions. Shipments in the wearables market are at an all-time high, but few manufacturers think wearables will have a significant impact on their bottom line in 2018. Continue reading Smartwatches, Fitness Bands Still Dominate Wearables Sector

Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

Facebook has resisted the practice of pre-roll ads. Now, according to knowledgeable advertisers, in a major shift the company says it plans to test such ads for Watch shows. The ban on pre-roll ads came directly from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who stressed that users came to the site to look at a feed, not watch one specific piece of content. This year, however, Facebook debuted Watch, where TV studios, publishers and celebrities can try to sell advertising against their shows, an ideal format for pre-roll ads. Continue reading Facebook Lifts Ban on Pre-Roll Ads, in Beta Tests for Watch

YouTube Ups its Social Profile with the Debut of Reels Feature

YouTube has debuted Reels, a video feature similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Users will find Reels on a new tab in creators’ channels and will be able to adorn videos with filters, text and stickers. Unlike Snapchat and Instagram Stories, a single creator can make many Reels on different topics and the videos will not disappear after 24 hours. With Reels, Google hopes to make YouTube a more social environment and keep users glued to the platform. Google reportedly bid $30 billion to buy Snap last year. Continue reading YouTube Ups its Social Profile with the Debut of Reels Feature

Google Removes YouTube From Amazon Fire TV, Echo Show

Google is pulling YouTube from Amazon’s smart speaker Echo Show, saying it is doing so because Amazon won’t sell Google products including its Home speaker, Chromecast streaming device and some Alphabet Nest products. Google also states that Amazon won’t make its Prime Video shows available for Chromecast. The move escalates an ongoing battle between the two behemoths whose business interests now overlap. In addition to Echo Show, Google plans to block YouTube on Amazon Fire TV’s media streaming device beginning January 1. Continue reading Google Removes YouTube From Amazon Fire TV, Echo Show

Experts Voice Concern About Facebook’s Social App for Kids

Facebook has introduced Messenger Kids, a new messaging app for children aged 6 to 12, in response to safety concerns from parents about Messenger. Some experts, however, are dubious that children that young should have any social media access at all. Messenger Kids is a standalone chat and messaging app that lets children send texts, messages and videos to contacts that have been approved by parents, who download the app on a child’s tablet or smartphone and control it from their own Facebook accounts. Continue reading Experts Voice Concern About Facebook’s Social App for Kids

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

Comcast, Charter Reportedly In Talks to Ink Deals With Hulu

Comcast and Charter Communications are reportedly in talks with Hulu to offer its on-demand content via their set-top boxes. Currently, Comcast offers Dish Network’s Sling TV, Netflix and YouTube with its X1 service, which offers voice-activated search for movies and TV shows. Comcast’s goal is to become a “one-stop shop” for digital video services, says company executive vice president Matt Strauss. Sources say that Charter is also on track to add Netflix via a new user interface for web video. Continue reading Comcast, Charter Reportedly In Talks to Ink Deals With Hulu

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