Facebook to Include Breaking News Section in Watch Platform

As part of Facebook’s broader news strategy, company exec Campbell Brown announced at the Code Media conference that the social platform plans to introduce a breaking news feature to its video streaming platform Facebook Watch. The company launched Watch in August to compete in the original video space across mobile, TV apps and desktop. Content partners earn 55 percent of ad revenue and Facebook gets 45 percent. Watch is different than Facebook’s video tab in that it offers exclusive content, personalized recommendations, subscription options and more. Continue reading Facebook to Include Breaking News Section in Watch Platform

MoviePass Sells $128M in Tickets for Oscar-Nominated Films

Startup MoviePass, which charges subscribers $10 per month for the option to watch one film per day in a participating theater, said it has passed 2 million subscribers. The company also reported that it was responsible for $128.7 million of the domestic box office for this year’s Oscar nominated films. MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe has described the math behind the company’s claim. He also has an explanation for how the company will survive its biggest economic challenge: that it loses money on any customers who sees at least two movies a month. Continue reading MoviePass Sells $128M in Tickets for Oscar-Nominated Films

Amazon Takes Control of Delivery, Cutting Out UPS and FedEx

Amazon’s quick delivery of groceries, cleaning supplies and other products is now expanding into a trial whereby consumers buy directly from merchants, with Amazon providing the latter with lower delivery costs, warehouse inspections, logistics software and recommendations. By doing so, Amazon shifts the burden from its own warehouses. In the process, however, it cuts out United Parcel Service and FedEx, both of which would have picked up the parcels from merchants’ warehouses and delivered them to customers. Continue reading Amazon Takes Control of Delivery, Cutting Out UPS and FedEx

Alexa, Cortana, Watson Execs Discuss Today’s AI Limitations

In what might have been the most popular panel at CES 2018, the executives responsible for three major AI-enabled applications — IBM Watson, Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa — met to dig deep into artificial intelligence today and tomorrow. In a conversation led by Tom’s Guide editorial director Avram Piltch, the three executives stressed that machine learning and AI is nothing new, but, in fact, has been the technology behind long-established activities from recommendations to warehouse robots. Continue reading Alexa, Cortana, Watson Execs Discuss Today’s AI Limitations

Alexa, Cortana and IBM Executives Envision the Future of AI

Amazon vice president of Alexa Engine software Al Lindsay, IBM general manager of Watson’s Content and IoT platform Cameron Clayton, formerly chief exec of The Weather Channel, and Microsoft AI and Research Group corporate vice president Andrew Shuman were prompted by moderator Avram Piltch, Tom’s Guide editorial director, during a CES panel to depict what artificial intelligence will look like in 2023. Clayton summed it up best. “It’s going to be ubiquitous,” he said. “All connected systems will have AI integrated into them somehow someway.” Continue reading Alexa, Cortana and IBM Executives Envision the Future of AI

TiVo Next-Gen Platform Integrates Cable, Streaming and DVR

TiVo has launched Next-Gen Platform, its new streaming service that gives consumers a unified way to access content they’ve recorded from cable providers and other streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Altice and other operators can integrate TiVo’s technology on other devices and screens to provide “hyper-personalization, recommendations and voice-control,” says the company. TiVo first mentioned the Next-Gen Platform a year ago, and now touts it as an integration of linear, OTT, on-demand and DVR platforms. Continue reading TiVo Next-Gen Platform Integrates Cable, Streaming and DVR

Reelgood Buys Netflix Roulette for Picking Shows at Random

Streaming hub Reelgood, which offers viewers a guide for tracking content across more than 300 streaming video services, recently acquired Netflix Roulette, a service that randomly selects Netflix titles for its users. As part of Reelgood, the Netflix Roulette tech will be used as a feature to randomly select titles from a wide range of streaming services such as Amazon, HBO, Hulu, Showtime and Starz. This could appeal to viewers who are overwhelmed by choices or simply tired of switching between services looking for content. Continue reading Reelgood Buys Netflix Roulette for Picking Shows at Random

Amazon Acquires 3D Body-Scanning Tech Startup Body Labs

Amazon has acquired 3D body-model startup Body Labs for a reported $50-$70 million, although some sources say the figure could exceed $100 million. New York-based Body Labs specializes in true-to-life 3D models that are ideal for B2B software applications, including the creation of photorealistic avatars for gaming and virtual approaches for consumers to try on clothing. The latter should be of particular interest to e-commerce giant Amazon. The online retailer could use the scanning and modeling tech to help shoppers select fashion purchases ideal for their body types. Continue reading Amazon Acquires 3D Body-Scanning Tech Startup Body Labs

Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

Best Buy and Amazon are both betting on salespeople who make visits to homes as one potential model for selling more consumer electronics. Best Buy is already testing that theory by hiring hundreds of salespeople in several cities to do just that. The free service is slated to roll out in the U.S. this fall. For Best Buy, getting salespeople in the home is another way to sell more TVs and CE gadgets while increasing business for its Geek Squad, which offers tech installation and repair services for a fee. Likewise, Amazon is expanding its free “smart home consultations” to help promote interest in its smart speakers and related products. Continue reading Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

Amazon Creates AI-Based Tools for Spotting Fashion Trends

Amazon is developing systems based on artificial intelligence algorithms that are aimed at spotting fashion trends and, eventually, shaping them. The effort could boost Amazon’s sales in clothing, perhaps even gaining a dominant position in fashion. The e-commerce giant isn’t alone in making recommendations based on products appearing in social media, and highlighting the resulting trends; Instagram and Pinterest also pinpoint trends and react quickly to them, as does startup subscription service Stitch Fix. Continue reading Amazon Creates AI-Based Tools for Spotting Fashion Trends

Google Looks to Personalize Music with New Release Radio

Google just announced that New Release Radio is now opened up to all users. The new feature uses machine learning to analyze the user’s taste in music and then suggests new music based on those tastes. The feature will introduce both albums and singles that have debuted in the last two weeks; Google promotes it as “a really quick way to check out all-new music that’s tailored just for you.” Samsung Galaxy S8 users have had early access to New Release Radio since June, as a result of Google’s global partnership with the electronics giant. Continue reading Google Looks to Personalize Music with New Release Radio

Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Now out of beta, Amazon launched a new social feature in the U.S. yesterday that is designed to return social activity surrounding products back to the Amazon site while hopefully improving product discovery for its users. Similar to the approach of Instagram’s shoppable photos, Amazon Spark allows users to post images, new ideas and related posts regarding products they find interesting. To foster social interaction, other users can respond with their own comments and “smiles” — Amazon’s take on “favorite” and “like” buttons. Continue reading Amazon Spark: New Social Feed of Product Images, Stories

Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Reelgood is a new site that offers a single interface for tracking content across 250 streaming services, essentially providing a contemporary TV guide for the streaming era. The service, which started as a social iPhone app centered on movies and evolved into a tool for content discovery, exited beta yesterday. The idea behind Reelgood is to provide viewers with an effective, customizable central hub to navigate the offerings of multiple services, including subscription video on demand and cable TV, without having to deal with a variety of different apps and interfaces. Continue reading Reelgood Helps TV Fans Discover, Track Streaming Content

Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

Hulu’s Live TV has rolled out in beta, offering more than 50 channels for just under $40 per month. What makes Hulu stand out from competing services is that it now offers a combination of streaming video plus live television. Among its live content, Hulu offers the four major broadcast networks, ESPN, HGTV and an array of news and animation content. Original content includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the service also boasts day-after TV shows and B-list movies, all melded into a single library. Continue reading Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

Amazon Rolls Out Social Influencer Program to Market Goods

Amazon hopes that YouTube celebs and Instagram stars can help market brands and recommend products found on the popular e-commerce site. The company has quietly launched a beta test of its Amazon Influencer Program, which allows social media influencers to apply to participate in the initiative and earn commissions on products sold. The new program is designed to work with influencers who have significant followings and regularly post content related to shoppable content across “all tiers and categories,” according to Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Rolls Out Social Influencer Program to Market Goods

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