How AI & Machine Learning Tools Could Benefit Filmmaking

Before an NAB 2019 panel discussion on machine learning and artificial intelligence in filmmaking began, Corto chief executive Yves Bergquist wanted to make one thing clear. “AI and machine learning are used interchangeably,” said Bergquist, who also leads research in AI and neurosciences at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center. “But they are not. Machine learning is a property of AI. The ML app will have opinions about the data, but AI will use ML to have agency over that data and take action.” Bergquist asked the panel how filmmakers can leverage ML and AI to create optimization and efficiencies as well as better artistic content. Continue reading How AI & Machine Learning Tools Could Benefit Filmmaking

McDonald’s Uses Machine Learning to Modernize its Menus

McDonald’s is buying Dynamic Yield, an Israeli startup decision-logic technology company, for $300+ million with the aim of better personalizing its menus. The technology will let restaurants vary their electronic menu displays depending on the weather, time of day or regional preferences — and suggest meal add-ons. McDonald’s serves about 68 million customers every day, the majority of whom use the drive-thru window. Chief executive Steve Easterbrook has pushed technology to drive sales and lift the company’s profile. Continue reading McDonald’s Uses Machine Learning to Modernize its Menus

Netflix Focuses on Worldwide Content as Model for Growth

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has publicly declared that streaming services from Apple and Disney are certain to feature some “great shows.” But he also stressed that he expects his company will do its “best job” facing such stiff competition. At the company’s Labs Day event, the media had a chance to “peek behind the scenes” to get an idea of what Netflix has in store for the future. As a hint, Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters noted that only 5 percent of the global population are native English speakers. Continue reading Netflix Focuses on Worldwide Content as Model for Growth

Facebook Launches Dedicated Gaming Tab on Updated App

With an eye to the 700 million worldwide users it says play video games on its site, Facebook is updating its mobile app to feature a dedicated Gaming tab. The tab will be located in the main navigation bar, so that users can go directly to news, streams, gaming groups and other related content. The tab also points users to instant games they can play with friends, eSports organizations, videos from popular streamers, and game publishers. The new tab is built on Fb.gg, the gaming destination Facebook debuted last year. Continue reading Facebook Launches Dedicated Gaming Tab on Updated App

Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

To better combat online trolls who have recently been waging campaigns to affect audience ratings for certain movies, Fandango-owned Rotten Tomatoes is making a significant change to its review submission model. Since the influential website relies upon credible ratings, “review bombing” that adversely impacts audience ratings is seen as a major issue. In order to minimize such a potential flood of negative reviews, users will no longer be permitted to post any audience reviews until the film in question appears in theaters. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

HPA Tech Retreat: Take a Tour of the Netflix Media Database

In a Wednesday morning session at the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, Netflix’s Rohit Puri, engineering manager of the Cloud Media Systems team took attendees on a tour of the Netflix Media Database. The Netflix service experience, he explained, is made up of a seamless user interface, personalized content recommendation, efficient media streaming and curated content catalog. Other assets that “go a long way in helping users find content,” added Puri, include promotional artwork and video. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Take a Tour of the Netflix Media Database

Snap Maintains User Numbers, Aims for Profitability in 2019

The number of Snapchat app users will remain the same this quarter, news that was a relief to investors and helped propel Snap shares up 22 percent, to $8.62 in after hours trading. Since it went public in March 2017, Snapchat has competed with Facebook’s Instagram, which adopted many Snapchat features. Snap also redesigned the app, to the dismay of some advertisers and users. In Q4, Snap, with 186 million daily active users, was on a par with the previous quarter, although down one million from the same period a year ago. Continue reading Snap Maintains User Numbers, Aims for Profitability in 2019

How Personalization May Drive Netflix’s Interactive Content

In 2017, Netflix launched its first experiments in interactive content with moments in “Puss in Boots” and “Buddy Thunderstruck” where viewers picked the action. With the “Bandersnatch” episode of sci-fi series “Black Mirror,” the company made its first serious push into interactive content for adults. The episode tells the story of a video game designer trying to adapt an interactive novel that drove its author insane. Netflix vice president of product Todd Yellin has said the company will try again in this “rich vein.” Continue reading How Personalization May Drive Netflix’s Interactive Content

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

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