Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

Popular streaming music service Spotify plans to take on radio and podcasts from Apple and others by introducing news and political coverage to its content offerings. Spotify’s new Spotlight feature will include programming from partners such as BuzzFeed and Refinery29. BuzzFeed, for example, will provide daily newscasts that run four to seven minutes in duration. Spotify’s 70 million users already have access to music and new video and podcast offerings; Spotlight will add news, politics, pop culture and sports coverage. The strategy could position Spotify as a competitor to YouTube and Apple. Continue reading Spotify Adds Content to Compete With Radio, YouTube, Apple

Industry Leaders Discuss Audience Engagement at CES 2018

C Space and the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES focused attention on media companies and the quest for attention from a fragmented and easily distracted audience. Six executives on the “Let’s Get Connected: Titans of Audience Engagement” panel represented a cross-section of audience segments from PBS and Pinterest to Vice and WWE. Each revealed layers beyond the sheer numbers of viewers or video streams to show the value of knowing and then engaging with your audience. Moderator Gayle Fuguitt of Foursquare framed the discussion as “better channels for connecting brands and audiences.” Continue reading Industry Leaders Discuss Audience Engagement at CES 2018

At CES 2018, Fox Innovation Lab Highlights Movies Anywhere

During CES 2018, the Fox Innovation Lab unveiled a VR experience tied to director Wes Anderson’s upcoming “Isle of Dogs” and discussed the newly launched Movies Anywhere. The VR experience, which features the voices of actors Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson and Jeff Goldblum, will be unveiled later this month tied to the Sundance Film Festival and initially for Google Daydream VR headsets. At CES, some of the executives for the Disney-owned Movies Anywhere were available to discuss the digital locker service. Continue reading At CES 2018, Fox Innovation Lab Highlights Movies Anywhere

Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

Amazon and Netflix have joined major studios including Disney and Warner Bros. in suing Dragon Box, claiming that the company’s $350 streaming device makes it easy for consumers to access illegal streams of TV shows and movies. The lawsuit alleges that some of the titles, such as Disney’s “Coco,” are still in theaters. Variety reports: “Dragon Box has advertised the product as a means to avoid paying for authorized subscription services, the complaint alleges, quoting marketing material that encourages users to ‘Get rid of your premium channels … [and] Stop paying for Netflix and Hulu.’” Continue reading Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

Artificial Intelligence Front But Not Center at CES Trade Show

CES 2018 is out the gates, and, as expected, artificial intelligence is still very much present in products, conversations and conference panels. Still in its quest to become synonymous with AI, Nvidia did not disappoint at its press event Sunday and its “Autonomous Machines” keynote Tuesday morning. From doubling down on autonomous vehicles to AI-composed music (in partnership with Disney), to a technically impressive foray into intelligent video analytics to power smart cities, the CES darling is still — by far — the biggest AI enthusiast at the show. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence Front But Not Center at CES Trade Show

CES: Nvidia Stakes Claim to Automotive and Entertainment AI

In a roving two-hour presentation, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang unveiled a raft of products, partnerships and performance achievements at CES 2018. Focusing mostly on the automotive industry, Huang showed off the GPU giant’s new autonomous driving software stack powered by Xavier, a system-on-chip (SoC) for artificial intelligence-empowered car platforms, and touted partnerships with more than 320 car and truck companies. Huang also showcased a large HDR display for giant-screen, PC gaming and streamed an AI-generated motion picture theme composed in the style of “Star Wars” by John Williams. Continue reading CES: Nvidia Stakes Claim to Automotive and Entertainment AI

Dreamscape Immersive Raises $30M More for VR Attractions

Dreamscape Immersive, a location-based VR startup, is joining forces with Nickelodeon to produce a new intellectual property aimed at children and families. The company, which is headed by former Disney and DreamWorks veterans, just raised $30 million in its Series B round of funding, led by AMC Entertainment with investments from Nickelodeon, 21st Century Fox and Warner Bros. as well as Majid Al Futtaim, VRSense Solutions, and Image Nation Abu Dhabi. Bold Capital Partners, a Series A investor, also joined the second round. Continue reading Dreamscape Immersive Raises $30M More for VR Attractions

Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Redbox, known for its red kiosks where users can rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, has unveiled a new on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows. The new service is not subscription-based but, similar to iTunes or Google Play, allows the user to pay for each movie or show that they rent or buy; the on-demand service, currently in public beta, will offer the same kind of new release movies and shows available in the kiosks. The privately held company offers content from every studio except Disney. Continue reading Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

T-Mobile US is buying Layer3 TV, a streaming pay-TV distributor, to launch its own pay-TV streaming service. In doing so, T-Mobile, the third largest wireless carrier (by subscribers) in the U.S., joins a growing host of other companies, such as Sony, Dish and YouTube, that aim to lure cord-cutters to their streaming services. Some of those efforts have been successful; AT&T, for example, now has one million subscribers to its DirecTV Now streaming service, which debuted last year and is priced as little as $35 per month. Continue reading T-Mobile Buys Layer3, Prepares to Debut Streaming Service

AWS Expands Cloud Efforts with New Machine-Learning Tools

To compete in the profitable cloud-computing arena, Amazon Web Services debuted 20 new machine-learning tools this week at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Tools include speech recognition and algorithms to automate decisions. The move helps Amazon compete better with Google and Microsoft, both of which are using their expertise in AI and machine learning to cut into its market share. Machine learning will also help potential developers that can’t create these capabilities on their own. Analysts estimate that Amazon dominates the cloud with a 44 percent market share. Continue reading AWS Expands Cloud Efforts with New Machine-Learning Tools

Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

On November 22, Disney-Pixar will release the animated feature “Coco,” which takes place during Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Pixar has also debuted its first VR experience, “Coco VR,” created in partnership with Oculus. “Coco VR” is available on Rift headsets, with a Gear VR version out next week. Pixar dubs the experience a “social adventure” where participants embody skeletal characters and explore the Land of the Dead and the holiday, to learn about the film, the festival and the traditions. Continue reading Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Philo, the latest streaming TV service to hit the market, has eliminated sports from its line-up of three-dozen cable TV networks. The service will deliver programming to the user’s phone, laptop or connected TV. Because of the lack of sports, the base package will cost $16 per month, compared with YouTube TV’s $35 per month subscription or Hulu’s $40 per month fee. Participating cable networks include A&E, Scripps, Discovery, AMC and Viacom. Venture capital companies have invested $25 million in the new service. Continue reading Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

The Walt Disney Company has revealed some of the details regarding its upcoming streaming service, slated for launch in the second half of 2019. Debuting on the new service will be television series based on “Star Wars,” “Monsters Inc.,” “High School Musical” and Marvel, currently under development. Disney chief executive Bob Iger also disclosed that the service will be priced substantially less than Netflix, in part because it will have less content at its introduction. However, Iger noted that the price could increase as Disney adds more content. Continue reading Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

Amazon is introducing a new feature to its subscription children’s service this week that enables users to download and watch FreeTime Unlimited content without an Internet connection. The new Offline Mode will roll out for free as an over-the-air software update for Fire and Fire Kids Edition tablets. Parents can create Kindle Fire profiles for their kids through FreeTime and specify age, gender, time limits, filters and appropriate content. FreeTime Unlimited features a range of children’s offerings from the likes of Amazon Originals for Kids, DC Comics, Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS. Continue reading Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

Disney, with Lenovo, just released a new augmented reality kit for “Star Wars: Jedi Challenges,” which retails for $200 and includes the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, AR-powered lightsaber controller and LED puck for motion tracking. The headset relies on a phone for graphics rendering and can work with the most recent Android and Apple iOS phones. The phone is placed above the user’s field of view, and the image then mirrored on a transparent plane, allowing her to see the environment combined with “Star Wars” games. Continue reading Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

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