Apple Makes an Original Content Play to Beef Up Apple Music

Apple plans to focus on a new business in original TV shows and movies, say sources. The content would be available to subscribers of Apple Music, the company’s $10/month streaming music service, which continues to be an underdog to Spotify. In the wake of slowing iPhone and iPad sales, Apple has been casting about for a new source of revenue; recently, it has been in discussions with Hollywood producers to buy the rights to scripted TV programs and is trying to hire studio/network marketers to promote the content. Continue reading Apple Makes an Original Content Play to Beef Up Apple Music

Twitter Shifts Gears, Describes Itself as a Place to Get News

After years of struggling to effectively define its purpose, Twitter CMO Leslie Berland told a CES audience that the company has overcome that challenge. According to Berland, the platform no longer views itself as a social network, but rather a place to go for the latest news and world events as they unfold. “The beauty of Twitter is that you can see all sides of any conversation that is happening at any moment in time,” she said, placing an emphasis on neutrality. Instead of denying the many terms and clichés used to describe Twitter in the past, she embraces them. “We were a platform, a product, a service, a water cooler, a time square, a microphone, and we are every single one of those things,” she said. Continue reading Twitter Shifts Gears, Describes Itself as a Place to Get News

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

Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

If you look hard enough, CES is often the place to discover smaller, less publicized technologies and products that could become the seeds for something practical and useful to the ETC member companies. This year I came across several that fit this description, including a technology called SynTouch that could prove beneficial to haptic feedback R&D and physical product quality control, a simple and elegant method from ManoMotion to use hand gestures as a user interface, an OLED necklace that could lead to the launch of a social e-collectible marketplace, and a tiny chip from Chirp Microsystems that could provide a compelling motion capture solution. Continue reading Beyond the Headlines: This Year’s Outliers of Interest at CES

Marketers and Movie Producers Try Out New VR Experiences

When “Assassin’s Creed” opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 21, moviegoers will get a chance to experience the cinematic version of a role-playing game via virtual reality. At select AMC theaters, the moviegoer can put on an Oculus Rift VR headset and become a passive character in an action scene with star Michael Fassbender. To create this challenging VR experience, the movie’s producers teamed with chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which provided graphics expertise in exchange for being associated with the popular franchise. Continue reading Marketers and Movie Producers Try Out New VR Experiences

Nielsen and Foursquare Ink Partnership for In-Store Visit Info

Although Nielsen already offers tools to help track when consumers buy products in-store after seeing online ads, the measurements company has inked an agreement with Foursquare to create an improved product. Location data company Foursquare will offer information which, combined with Nielsen’s marketing tools, will offer a more complete picture of consumer activity. The new capabilities will come at a price. Nielsen digital measurement clients will be required to buy into the version with Foursquare data included. Continue reading Nielsen and Foursquare Ink Partnership for In-Store Visit Info

Warner Bros. Acquires Machinima for Digital Networks Division

Warner Bros. announced its plan to purchase the rest of gamer-centric YouTube network Machinima, which the studio first invested in two years ago. The digital media company will join the recently created Warner Bros. Digital Networks arm to help the studio develop new digital and over-the-top offerings. “With Machinima now wholly under its control, Warner Bros. hopes to tap deeper into the network’s loyal audience of young consumers who devour video game-related programming — especially content related to Warner’s own franchises including DC,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Machinima also “provides video programming for services including Playstation Vue, Amazon Prime and the CW network.” Continue reading Warner Bros. Acquires Machinima for Digital Networks Division

Amazon Readies Launch of Prime Video in 120 More Countries

Amazon is expected to debut its streaming Amazon Prime Video in about 200 countries and territories, say sources close to the matter. Although a launch in India was already announced, Prime is currently only available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan. The news was leaked by Jeremy Clarkson, star of the upcoming Amazon automotive show “The Grand Tour,” who tweeted that “Amazon has gone global,” with the show to be available in 200 territories. With a global reach, Amazon will be in direct competition with Netflix. Continue reading Amazon Readies Launch of Prime Video in 120 More Countries

Facebook Moves to Fix Metrics Bugs and Assuage Advertisers

In the wake of admitting it had overstated how long users spend watching videos on its site, Facebook is taking steps to regain credibility among advertisers and publishers. The company, which apologized in September, will now rely more on third-party measurement services — including comScore, Moat, Nielsen and Integral Ad Science — to ensure accurate metrics on display and video ads. Other moves include the formation of a “measurement council,” composed of ad agency execs and marketers, to develop more relevant metrics. Continue reading Facebook Moves to Fix Metrics Bugs and Assuage Advertisers

Fox Releases Immersive Project: ‘The Martian VR Experience’

At CES in January, Fox Innovation Lab showed its first cut of “The Martian VR Experience.” Now, 11 months later, 20th Century Fox’s Lab has just released the finished product, directed by Robert Stromberg and executive produced by Ridley Scott, for use with HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. “The Martian VR Experience,” which is available to consumers for $19, takes viewers into the world of the 2015 Fox movie “The Martian,” directed by Scott, where astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) was abandoned on Mars. Continue reading Fox Releases Immersive Project: ‘The Martian VR Experience’

Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs

In a new first, Internet monitoring firm StatCounter reports that more consumers are accessing the Internet from their mobile and tablet devices (51.2 percent) than from their desktop PCs (48.7 percent). According to TechCrunch, “this means going forward, companies that haven’t yet decided to focus on a mobile-first approach to their Internet services and Web properties really should, as the trend line is unlikely to reverse.” Mobile platforms are by far the method of choice for accessing the Internet in emerging markets such as India, while the gap is narrower in more mature markets like the U.S. and U.K. As of May, Google noted that more searches conducted through its engine originated from mobile platforms than desktop. Continue reading Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs

Warner Bros. and Google Team Up for Unique Film Promotion

Google and Warner Bros. Pictures have partnered to promote “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the prequel to the “Harry Potter” franchise, via integrations with Daydream View VR, Google Allo, YouTube and more. Among the features are a series of spells that users can cast by speaking to Google’s voice assistant: “Lumos” will turn on the phone’s flashlight and “Nox” will turn it off; “Silencio” will disable the ringer and notifications. Another feature of the partnership is integrating real-life locations in Google Street View and letting fans visit 1926 New York City. Continue reading Warner Bros. and Google Team Up for Unique Film Promotion

Instagram Introduces a Test Version of E-Commerce Feature

In May, Instagram designers, engineers and product managers brainstormed ideas on how to make shopping work in the app. Now, six months later, they’re introducing the winning idea: Brands can tag products in their photos, much the way users tag friends. A single tap will reveal more information about the product, and another tap will send you to the retailer’s site to buy the product. After the launch, Instagram will gather data from how consumers use the new feature to improve it. Continue reading Instagram Introduces a Test Version of E-Commerce Feature

Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Facebook just announced that its PC gaming platform, Gameroom (formerly dubbed Facebook Games Arcade), is now open for all developers. The app is also available to users, for Windows 7 and up. Developers using the upcoming Unity 5.6 game engine will be able to export their games directly to the Gameroom platform. The new platform most closely resembles Valve’s Steam, which boasts 125 million active users. But Facebook is counting on its 1.71 billion monthly active users to intrigue developers and gamers alike. Continue reading Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Pandora’s Promotional Tools Help Artists Market New Songs

Digital music services have a problem introducing new songs: Fans prefer music they’ve heard before, and can easily skip a song they don’t know. A radio station can promote a new song by repeatedly playing it, but up until now digital services haven’t had many tools to boost new song popularity. Now, Pandora has debuted a toolset that lets an artist introduce a new song with an audio message to fans. It worked for R&B singer Jill Scott, who was able to boost the popularity of a new song by 30 percent that way. Continue reading Pandora’s Promotional Tools Help Artists Market New Songs

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