FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of TV airwaves, nearing its end, has brought in about $18.2 billion in bids. That figure is far less than the last sale of government licenses, due, say analysts, to a lack of interest in low-frequency television airwaves. The spectrum auction enabled TV stations to sell their airwaves, which would be repurposed for use by the mobile industry. But potential buyers are apparently more interested in airwaves that “can carry more data over short distances.” Continue reading FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

Streaming Services Top Chart of Apps Earning Most Revenue

When examining top apps based on revenue (outside of games), streaming services dominated 2016. Sensor Tower lists Spotify as the top earner, generating the most revenue across platforms, including Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Android chat app LINE took the second spot, followed by Netflix, Tinder, Pandora and HBO Now. Hulu ranked No. 7 on the App Store and No. 9 in overall revenue. “The list indicates that the trend toward cord cutting … is still going strong, as is the growth of subscription-based streaming of music,” reports TechCrunch. However, translating app success into profits remains a challenge for some (Pandora is laying off 7 percent of its workforce, despite touting more than 4.3 million subscribers). Continue reading Streaming Services Top Chart of Apps Earning Most Revenue

Facebook Journalism Project Aims to Improve Ties with Media

Facebook’s Journalism Project is creating stronger connections to media companies, the result of the company’s unwelcomed limelight regarding fake news, and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s reluctant admission that the company is, at least in part, a media company. Facebook is also reaching out to support local news and making more efforts to educate users about hoaxes. Facebook plans to offer training for journalists and keep media updated on its efforts. This is the latest chapter in a historically complicated relationship. Continue reading Facebook Journalism Project Aims to Improve Ties with Media

Digital Assistants Grab Spotlight at CES, Alexa Leads the Pack

Virtual assistants that serve as a new voice-activated hub to the connected smart home and our ecosystem of personal electronics have grabbed the spotlight at this year’s CES. Aided by advances in artificial intelligence software that enable improved speech interaction with devices, tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others are battling for dominance in the digital assistant space. These companies are looking beyond smartphones and PCs toward a world in which voice-based systems become a standard feature in TVs, cable boxes, home appliances and connected vehicles. If the headlines are any indication, it seems that Amazon’s Alexa has taken an early lead in this race. Continue reading Digital Assistants Grab Spotlight at CES, Alexa Leads the Pack

HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

The HTC Vive, a room-scale virtual reality headset, is expanding its feature set to include wireless functionality and peripheral devices. The company has announced that the TPCast adapter will grant the Vive fully wireless capabilities without introducing noticeable latency or degraded image quality. Developed internally and produced by TPCast, the device promises up to two hours of battery life, with the possibility of upgrading to an “XL” battery providing up to five hours. The included transmitter sends an uncompressed signal directly to a receiver mounted on top of the strap that holds the Vive to the user’s head, and the battery pack fits easily in a pocket. The TPCast will ship in Q2 of this year, and will cost $249. Continue reading HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

Facebook to Show Video Ads, Share Revenue with Publishers

Facebook is planning tests of a new mid-roll ad format that would enable participating video publishers to insert ads at least 20 seconds into video clips on the social platform. To start, Facebook plans to sell the ads and share 55 percent of revenue with publishers (the same deal offered by online video ad leader YouTube). According to Facebook, its users watch 100 million hours of video per day. However, publishers have seen little or no revenue from their clips since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not allowed pre-roll video ads. Continue reading Facebook to Show Video Ads, Share Revenue with Publishers

$499 Kodak-Branded 360-Degree Camera Adds Second Lens

The original Kodak Pixpro 360 and Pixpro SP360 4K cameras were largely well received, but garnered some criticism regarding image quality. To address the limitations of a single lens and sensor system, the upgraded Kodak-branded 360-degree camera now features a more efficient dual-lens setup. The new Kodak Pixpro Orbit360 4K VR was unveiled at Photokina last fall by JK Imaging Ltd., the company licensing Kodak’s name, while pricing and availability details were revealed this week at CES. The new 360-degree camera will run $499 when it hits shelves later during Q1 2017. Continue reading $499 Kodak-Branded 360-Degree Camera Adds Second Lens

Leaders Discuss Multi-Screen Experience and Future of OTT

A Digital Hollywood panel on the “multi-screen OTT experience” took a look at the entire ecosystem in a conversation led by Altman Vilandrie & Company director Jonathan Hurd. “A year ago, the multi-screen experience would have meant something different than today,” he said. “This year, we’ve had a big disruption with the Virtual MVPD (Multichannel Video Programming Distributor) model, including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and, soon, the introduction of a similar service from Hulu. Where are the pain points for consumers?” Continue reading Leaders Discuss Multi-Screen Experience and Future of OTT

Industry Vets Discuss Goals of Producing Immersive Content

Niko Chauls, director of emerging technology for the USA Today Network, and David Hamlin, executive producer of the “VRtually There” series, sat with ETC’s Phil Lelyveld for a one-hour conversation at CES. USA Today Network has the largest newsgathering force in the U.S., comprised of 109 local properties plus USA Today. Chauls has a near-term goal of delivering 360-degree segments reliably on a weekly basis. He sees a reliable flow of quality 360-degree content as the key to both growing the audience and attracting advertising sponsors. Hamlin would like to gear his team up to deliver three stories per week. He reiterated that it is good storytelling that builds the audience and attracts advertisers. Continue reading Industry Vets Discuss Goals of Producing Immersive Content

Snap Preps for IPO Roadshow, Touting Spiegel as a Visionary

This year Snap Inc. will go on a roadshow to market its expected IPO, and founder Evan Spiegel is expected to play an out-sized role, with the company’s IPO bankers and executives depicting him as a Steve Jobs-like visionary for millennial products. The goal is to portray Snap as a company that will become a media/content behemoth that can meet and exceed its hoped-for $20 billion to $25 billion IPO valuation, in a class with Apple and Facebook, rather than Twitter, which has deflated since its 2013 IPO. Continue reading Snap Preps for IPO Roadshow, Touting Spiegel as a Visionary

CES 2017: Conference Sessions Explore Products and Trends

Beyond the sights and spectacle of CES, almost 2.5 million square feet of exhibits, 3,800 exhibiting companies, and 175,000 attendees, are oases of insight and information to be found among more than 300 conference sessions. CES conferences leverage the attendance of senior executives, experts, and policymakers to populate panels that cover the spectrum of product categories, tech trends, and consumer interests represented throughout the show. Eight SuperSessions feature senior leaders grappling with their experiences in emerging sectors, while 44 different tracks explore a wide range of timely topics. Continue reading CES 2017: Conference Sessions Explore Products and Trends

Zuckerberg Says Facebook ‘Not a Traditional Media Company’

Using Facebook Live for a year-end video chat, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg discussed fake news and the company’s identity. Although Zuckerberg has steadfastly held that Facebook is not a media company, he changed the message just a bit: “Facebook is a new kind of platform,” he clarified. “It’s not a traditional technology company, it’s not a traditional media company. You know, we build technology and we feel responsible for how it’s used.” Continue reading Zuckerberg Says Facebook ‘Not a Traditional Media Company’

Twitter Debuts Live Video From Mobile Apps, Pares Down Vine

With tighter integration between Twitter and Periscope, updated iOS and Android Twitter apps now feature a “LIVE” button on the screen that activates the camera and starts live video. Since Twitter acquired Periscope early last year, it enabled Periscope broadcasts within the Twitter stream, introduced a way to alert a Twitter user when someone you followed began live streaming, and debuted high-end tools for streaming to Twitter from professional cameras and VR headsets. The company is also introducing a pared down version of its previously shuttered Vine. Continue reading Twitter Debuts Live Video From Mobile Apps, Pares Down Vine

AT&T Unveils Atticus Chatbot to Answer Questions About TV

AT&T just unveiled its new Facebook Messenger chatbot, dubbed Atticus, that’s full of interesting trivia about a range of broadcast television programs, including “Modern Family,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “American Horror Story,” “Pretty Little Liars,” and “The Office.” Described by AT&T as a “goofball,” Atticus has been known to say, “If the Dunphy family is looking for another kid, I’d be happy to join them. I’d be no trouble. Especially since I don’t physically exist. We’d be a real ‘Modern Family’.” Continue reading AT&T Unveils Atticus Chatbot to Answer Questions About TV

Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Facebook’s Live Audio, a complement to its Facebook Live video streaming, launched with a handful of publishers and authors testing out the ability to deliver news radio, podcasts and other audio-based services. BBC World Service, British talk radio LBC, publisher HarperCollins, and authors Adam Grant and Britt Bennett are the first to use the service, followed next year, says Facebook, by more “publishers and people.” Broadcasters have a limit of four hours, which will allow a wide range of content. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

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