Pandora Introduces Its Own Voice Assistant for Mobile Apps

Streaming music service Pandora is the latest to announce an in-app voice assistant. Users of the iOS or Android app can simply say “Hey Pandora” and make a request to play specific podcasts or music based on artists, albums, radio stations or playlists. According to Pandora, the creation of its own “Voice Mode” feature was inspired by the millions of users who have been activating the service via smart speakers such as Amazon Echo devices. “Voice is just an expected new way that you engage with any app,” said Pandora chief product officer Chris Phillips. Continue reading Pandora Introduces Its Own Voice Assistant for Mobile Apps

CES Panel: CMOs Discuss Top Priorities, Trends and Change

Growth priorities, game-changing technology, engaging customers, building brands, and the trends and challenges that keep marketing execs awake at night were among the topics discussed by three of Forbes Top 50 CMOs during a C Space panel at CES, moderated by editor of the CMO Network at Forbes, Jenny Rooney. Aimée Lapic of Pandora, Susan Vobejda of The Trade Desk, and Deborah Wahl of Cadillac work in different markets but face similar challenges as they break through old models, explore new ways of reaching and engaging audiences, and balance the potential of personalization with privacy. Continue reading CES Panel: CMOs Discuss Top Priorities, Trends and Change

CES Session: Predicting the Future of Mobility & Connectivity

In a session on the future of mobility/transportation, speakers from several companies described the tipping point of the impact of technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Deloitte’s Allan Cook spoke about how AR/VR can be used to appeal to a younger generation loathe to enter a car dealership. “The AR/VR glasses are here now and they’re affordable,” he said. “It really helps your customers visualize what they’re seeing and give them an immersive experience.” Continue reading CES Session: Predicting the Future of Mobility & Connectivity

CES 2019: Yet Another Transformation Waiting in the Wings?

The ETC@USC team is heading to Las Vegas this weekend to deliver daily news and analysis from CTA’s annual CES trade show. Yesterday, ETC’s Don Levy pointed out that “the transformative potential of 5G … will likely emerge as the hot underlying topic of CES” and ETCentric will be covering the “show with particular interest in how developments can impact or disrupt media, entertainment and technology companies.” We’ve been watching for signs of a next transformational change that’s been growing in the background since Ericsson started testing 5G in 2015. At CES, we’ll be looking for supplementary trends to see how close we are to a sea change in distribution and personalization. Continue reading CES 2019: Yet Another Transformation Waiting in the Wings?

CES 2019: Is This the Beginning of the Age of Personalization?

The transformative potential of 5G technologies progresses from promise to first products and will likely emerge as the hot underlying topic of CES 2019, which opens Sunday, January 6 in Las Vegas. ETC@USC will cover the trade show with particular interest in how developments can impact or disrupt media, entertainment, and technology companies and their business models. Artificial intelligence, mixed reality, IoT, cloud systems, media and marketing, and blockchain are six other topics that together with 5G suggest personalization to be an overarching theme. Continue reading CES 2019: Is This the Beginning of the Age of Personalization?

PwC Research Reveals Media Execs’ Reluctance to Adopt AI

Media companies continue to adopt a variety of digital technologies, but have proven to be more reluctant than other industry sectors to embrace artificial intelligence. That’s the finding of PwC, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. executives for its “2019 AI Predictions” report. Covering many industry sectors, the research revealed that 20 percent of these companies plan to deploy AI next year. But media companies are still in the very early stages of enabling AI, and only a few with an AI business case. Continue reading PwC Research Reveals Media Execs’ Reluctance to Adopt AI

EA Announces New AI-Powered, Cloud-Native Gaming Tech

Electronic Arts unveiled Project Atlas, its “cloud-native gaming” technology, via a Medium blog post by chief technology officer Ken Moss. Although he did not say when it would be fully deployed and functional, Moss described Project Atlas as designed to “harness the massive power of cloud computing and artificial intelligence and putting it into the hands of game makers in a powerful, easy to use, one-stop experience.” The game engine combines rendering, game logic, physics, animation, audio, and more. Continue reading EA Announces New AI-Powered, Cloud-Native Gaming Tech

Finding the Ideal TV Guide for Multiple Services and Devices

As the number of options for watching great content has grown, the ability to search and find that content has lagged behind. An ideal TV guide, from a single remote control (or smartphone), would offer search, sorting and personalization, and suggest the next program we might want to watch. One such possibility is the $100 Caavo Control Center, which enables up to four devices to be plugged in to a single remote control. A second is the Reelgood smartphone-based streaming guide that tracks over 50 streaming services. Continue reading Finding the Ideal TV Guide for Multiple Services and Devices

Netflix Is Testing Promotional Videos That Play During Binges

While Netflix bingers may be accustomed to the occasional “Are you still watching?” interruption, some subscribers are now experiencing 10- to 20-second promotional videos, and complaints have suggested that the videos cannot be skipped or muted. Similar to traditional commercials, the videos appear between episodes, reminding users about various series available on the streaming service. The company explained on Sunday that it is merely testing the promotional videos and they can actually be skipped. Netflix did not indicate how many of its more than 100 million subscribers are experiencing the tests. Continue reading Netflix Is Testing Promotional Videos That Play During Binges

Viewers Not Warming to Recommendations by Video Services

According to research from UserTesting, the personalized viewing recommendations offered by video streaming services are failing to gain traction with most consumers. While results varied across services, only 29 percent of participants indicated that they watch content recommended to them. In addition to relevant recommendations, the study rated services based on metrics such as speed, availability of content, episode scanning, and overall ease-of-use. With a total score of 89.5, Netflix led the field, followed by Hulu (86.8), Amazon Prime (85) and YouTube TV (80.7). Continue reading Viewers Not Warming to Recommendations by Video Services

Spotify Expands Free Offerings, Looks to Extend Market Lead

Spotify is offering more free music in an effort to ultimately increase its number of paid subscribers. The popular streaming service has introduced an updated version of its free mobile app that offers non-paying users more on-demand tracks from 15 pre-populated playlists. Some of the playlists — such as “Discover Weekly” — are personalized for individual users. Spotify, already the world’s largest paid music service (and now a public company), is expanding its freemium model with the goal of one day reaching billions of users, while maintaining its lead over #2 subscription service Apple Music and other competitors. Continue reading Spotify Expands Free Offerings, Looks to Extend Market Lead

NAB 2018: Analytics Scientists Look at Social Media and Bots

Fabric Media chief executive/founder Jason Damata led a discussion at NAB with two experts in the field of social media intelligence. Dr. Indraneel Mukherjee founded LiftIgniter, which is “a machine learning personalization, recommendation and discovery engine” for websites and apps to have one-on-one conversations with users. Dr. John Kelly is chief executive at Graphika, which turns “network relationships into dynamic maps of social influence, enabling precision targeting and action to drive business results.” Continue reading NAB 2018: Analytics Scientists Look at Social Media and Bots

Pandora Takes On Spotify With Debut of Personalized Playlists

Pandora believes it can out-playlist Spotify. The music streaming service has released new personalized playlist options for users, catering to moods, activities and genres. The feature is powered by Pandora’s Music Genome, an information database that “has been in development for over a decade and is capable of classifying music at the song level across 450 different attributes — ‘genes’ that can be as specific as what types of strings are on the guitar,” reports TechCrunch. Pandora’s new feature arrives on the eve of Spotify’s public debut, slated for early April (as a direct listing rather than IPO).

Continue reading Pandora Takes On Spotify With Debut of Personalized Playlists

IBM’s New Watson Assistant Helps Develop Virtual Assistants

With the launch of Watson Assistant, IBM is offering a new service that helps companies build their own voice-activated virtual assistants (like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri). The new service aims to help companies that want to build these for their own products, using their own datasets. IBM’s pitch includes a belief that companies should want Watson Assistant rather than a competitor because it allows for heightened personalization and privacy. According to IBM, Watson Assistant keeps the data to itself, differentiating it from other virtual assistants.

Continue reading IBM’s New Watson Assistant Helps Develop Virtual Assistants

TV Time Adds Personalized Recommendations to its Features

The TV Time app, which boasts a million daily users, now offers filterable, personalized recommendations to help organize your viewing selections. With programming spread across multiple services, it is often a challenge to keep up with what’s out there, what’s new, and what you might enjoy. Based on a user’s viewing habits and behaviors across multiple services (such as Netflix, Hulu and cable), the app makes recommendations and helps users track what they’re watching while connecting with other fans after episodes.

Continue reading TV Time Adds Personalized Recommendations to its Features

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