Friends Can Share, Watch Videos Together via iMessage App

For friends who want to share and watch YouTube or Twitch videos together, a new Apple iMessage app, called Let’s Watch It!, is the answer. Group chat in the iMessage App Store has proven to be a hit, with video chat app Fam raising $1.8 million and plans to expand to game-playing, interactive live masks, filters and watching videos with friends. But Let’s Watch It!, which debuted in March, may be beating Fam at its game, adding support for turning on the front-facing camera and microphone, making it even more social. Continue reading Friends Can Share, Watch Videos Together via iMessage App

Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

In a first for Yahoo-owned Tumblr, the blogging platform is launching a group video chat app it has named Cabana. The new app — available now on iOS and coming to Android next month — enables video chat for up to six users who can also stream YouTube video content while chatting. Blogging remains the company’s primary focus, but Cabana represents the first communication app it has developed. Tumblr is “not pivoting, but definitely exploring a new direction here,” said founder/CEO David Karp. “The idea is similar to Houseparty, the app from the company behind former live-streaming darling Meerkat,” notes Recode, and “similar to Airtime, Sean Parker’s chat startup that was revived a year ago.” Continue reading Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

Snap Widens Snap to Store, Serving User Data to Advertisers

Snap is opening up Snap to Store, letting advertisers make the best use of Snapchat’s database to determine how well their ads are working. Snap has been testing Snap to Store since 2016, with Paramount Pictures and 7-Eleven among a handful of others who would like to know if their campaigns are actually driving viewers to movie theaters, stores and other venues. Now, Snap is rolling out Snap to Store to more brands, in retail, fast food, movie and automotive, as well as providing more data and a proprietary digital dashboard. Continue reading Snap Widens Snap to Store, Serving User Data to Advertisers

Facebook’s 5 Million Advertisers Get New, More Robust Tools

Facebook now counts more than 5 million active advertisers, of which 1 million — 75 percent outside the U.S. — signed on in the last seven months. E-commerce, media and entertainment, and retail are the most popular verticals. To make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to advertise, Facebook introduced a new suite of tools. Within Ad Manager, one-click will reinstate high-performing ads. A new “studio” allows businesses to build ads via a mobile device, and Facebook also expanded its small business council. Continue reading Facebook’s 5 Million Advertisers Get New, More Robust Tools

YouTube TV Aims to Convert Cord-Nevers to New Subscribers

YouTube TV has premiered in several cities with 40+ channels of entertainment, news and sports at $35/month. The aim is to entice so-called cord-nevers — millennials who have never paid for cable — to subscribe, to watch on-demand on any device. YouTube has already reached one billion viewers, so if even a tiny fraction signs up, it could be a win for advertisers and YouTube owner Google. Among its competition in the Internet TV market are Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Sony PlayStation Vue. Continue reading YouTube TV Aims to Convert Cord-Nevers to New Subscribers

Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Facebook’s Workplace is a social networking tool designed for the enterprise, enabling an efficient chat and collaboration platform for employees. It is similar to the Facebook used by friends and family members, but instead is meant to foster interaction between co-workers. Now, Facebook is introducing a free version intended for smaller businesses that are not as interested in the administrative and analytical features offered to subscribers. (It is still being tested, so the release is limited.) The new version will be named “Workplace Standard,” and the paid version will go by “Workplace Premium.” Continue reading Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Snapchat Introduces Search Tool Based on Machine Learning

In a few cities last week, Snapchat introduced a new search tool that relies on machine learning to collect text and visual metadata, enabling users to find content, even from users they do not follow. Previously, users only saw Stories from others they followed or that Snapchat served up. This is Snap Inc.’s first major change to its Snapchat software since the company went public in early March; in January, Snap added a search function allowing users to search for friends and publisher content. Continue reading Snapchat Introduces Search Tool Based on Machine Learning

Intel Introduces Virtual Reality to March Madness with TrueVR

March Madness is now a virtual reality event, thanks to Intel’s TrueVR platform. Moving the games to VR has been a major effort for the company, which has been live-streaming the NCAA Basketball tournament that way since the start of the Sweet 16 round and was just named the official VR provider of college sports for NCAA, Turner Sports and CBS Sports. For the Final Four, Intel will place seven VR rigs, each of which is outfitted with 12 cameras, in the stadium, enabling it to broadcast a spherical view of the action. Continue reading Intel Introduces Virtual Reality to March Madness with TrueVR

Spotify Purchases Content Recommendation Startup MightyTV

Streaming music service Spotify has acquired New York-based startup MightyTV, which created an app that uses artificial intelligence to provide video recommendations based on individual personal preferences and aggregated user ratings. The acquisition will provide Spotify with technology that could be used to target ads. The company is looking to ramp up ad revenue, since most of its millions of users opt for the free ad-supported version of its service. MightyTV has already shuttered its video app, and plans to integrate the technology into Spotify. The deal will also bring MightyTV founder and CEO Brian Adams to Spotify as VP of technology. Continue reading Spotify Purchases Content Recommendation Startup MightyTV

Vudu’s Mobile App Converts DVDs, Blu-rays into Digital Copies

Vudu will now let people convert their DVD and Blu-ray Disc content into digital copies for use on various Internet-connected devices by simply scanning the UPC barcode via their smartphones. One caveat, however, is that the Vudu Mobile Disc-to-Digital feature requires the user to be physically located at their home billing address. That requirement is an anti-fraud measure put in place by Walmart, which bought the premium video-streaming service in 2010. The feature is also limited to transfer 100 titles per year per account. Continue reading Vudu’s Mobile App Converts DVDs, Blu-rays into Digital Copies

AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

According to inside sources, AMC Networks plans to target millennials with its own ad-free, online streaming service. However, distinguishing itself from today’s collection of standalone options, AMC’s offering will reportedly be made available exclusively for cable subscribers, a move meant to support the pay TV industry as it faces a growing number of cord cutters. “AMC is discussing featuring digital-only spinoff shows of its existing programs like ‘The Walking Dead’ and is considering pricing between $4.99 to $6.99 a month,” reports Reuters. “Packaging the service as an add-on to existing cable bills allows AMC to curry favor with cable and satellite companies.” Continue reading AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

Pinterest, Targeting $500 in Revenue, Could Be Prepping IPO

Pinterest, now in its third full year earning selling ads, is targeting more than $500 million in revenue this year. The company earned $100 million in revenue in 2015 and $300 million last year. Some close to Pinterest say the company is gearing up for an eventual IPO. “The company hired its first CFO, Todd Morgenfeld, from Twitter back in October, and has Facebook’s former monetization director, Tim Kendall, overseeing all of Pinterest’s revenue efforts, among other things,” reports Recode. Those close to the company suggest that if Snap “can fetch a valuation north of $20 billion on the public markets, Pinterest is in good shape to do something similar.” Continue reading Pinterest, Targeting $500 in Revenue, Could Be Prepping IPO

Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

As Twitter readies its first original content presentation for the Digital NewFronts in May, the company is reportedly launching a live video API today designed to help media publishers post live video broadcasts via the social platform. Twitter’s offering is expected to be similar to the Facebook Live API launched last year. “The API will let companies hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to Twitter with more powerful integrations than Twitter’s existing Periscope Producer feature,” explains TechCrunch. “Telestream, Wirecast, and Livestream Switcher are amongst the API partners that will help publishers use the API.” Continue reading Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

Native Video and Live Streaming Crucial to Facebook Strategy

Since 25 percent of U.S. Internet users adopted ad blockers in 2016, native video is becoming increasingly important to marketers and brands. Native video is also one of the primary reasons that a new wave of user-generated content and influencer marketing has become so relevant. According to a new study from social analytics firm Quintly, native videos are dominating Facebook, and doing so by design. The social network is becoming a major player in the video realm by downplaying other platforms and introducing auto plays in feeds as a default. The company is also starting its pursuit of live streaming professional broadcasts, including sports. Continue reading Native Video and Live Streaming Crucial to Facebook Strategy

Vice Media Has Plans to Produce Original Shows for Snapchat

Vice Media will join other media companies in producing exclusive short-form content for Snapchat. The first Vice show to appear via the social and messaging app will be the eight-episode dating series “Hungry Hearts with Action Bronson,” to debut later this year. “The new show is the first of several Vice has planned for Snapchat,” reports TechCrunch. “Vice had already worked with Snapchat in the past, having been a global launch partner for Snapchat Discover back in 2015.” Snapchat already has deals with ABC, BBC, Discovery, NBC, Time and others to add original content to the platform. Notable content is currently provided by “Saturday Night Live,” “The Bachelor,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “The Voice.” Continue reading Vice Media Has Plans to Produce Original Shows for Snapchat

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