Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

In November 2016, Blizzard announced it was creating the Overwatch League, the first-ever eSports venture to model itself after professional North American sports, with franchised teams in major cities, salaried athletes and live spectator events. This was in the early days of “Overwatch,” a first-person shooter, team-based game, which had already accrued die-hard fans when it was in beta. The game, an “optimistic” battle between heroes and AI robots, has become a huge hit, with more than 35 million players and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Continue reading Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

For the first time, advertisers have invested more in digital ads than they did in traditional television spots. Magna, the research arm of IPG Mediabrands, reports that 2017 digital ad spending ($209 billion) represents 41 percent of the global market, while spending for TV ($178 billion) represents 35 percent. Magna predicts digital ads will reach 50 percent by 2020. According to Recode, “big TV advertisers have yet to move much of their budget over to digital, even though Facebook and Google are working hard to make that happen.” Magna expects digital spending to increase 13 percent next year, “while TV ads will grow 2.5 percent… thanks in part to one-off events like the Olympics and the U.S. mid-term elections.” Continue reading Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

Snapchat Redesign Aims to Curb Fake News, Boost Revenue

Snap Inc. just unveiled a remake of Snapchat that, thus far, has been identifiable for its posts that disappear after 24 hours, smaller social circles and human editing and curation. In its new incarnation, Snapchat separates the social and media into two parts. On the left side of the app, users will see chats and stories shared with friends. On the right side, they’ll find content from DIY creators, publishers, celebrities and Snap-curated content. Part of the reason for the redo is Snap’s disappointing user and revenue numbers. Continue reading Snapchat Redesign Aims to Curb Fake News, Boost Revenue

Newzoo Global Games Report Notes Big Uptick in Revenues

Newzoo revealed that the global game market is on track to reach $116 billion in revenues this year, up 10.7 percent from the previous year and more than $7.1 billion than Newzoo’s previous estimate. Mobile gaming revenue is responsible for some of the unexpected increase, revised from $46.1 billion to $50.4 billion. Revenue figures from China and Japan are another bright spot. ESports is another sector showing strength, with total revenues possibly reaching $2.5 billion by 2020, $1 billion more than originally anticipated. Continue reading Newzoo Global Games Report Notes Big Uptick in Revenues

Google Fends Off Facebook Threat with Local Search Feature

Although Google+ might be considered a failed experiment in creating a social network, it still came in No. 1 in the 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index, meaning some people still find it useful. Most brands have moved from Google+ to other social media platforms with bigger audiences, but Google didn’t give up, introducing Google My Business in 2014. The service, which allows businesses to manage how information about them appears in a search, is poised to go big with Google Posts. It could also help fend off Facebook as a competitor in search and advertising revenue. Continue reading Google Fends Off Facebook Threat with Local Search Feature

Facebook Plans to Buy Content Outright, Strikes Sports Deal

Facebook, which launched its video tab Watch three months ago, is mulling over changing how it works with the media companies that bring new shows. Sources say that Facebook will switch to buying projects outright — dubbed “hero” shows — rather than partially funding their production. The goal is to provide more funding for the shows crucial to Watch’s success. Among the so-called hero shows are teen drama “Five Points” produced by Kerry Washington, Simon Fuller’s “Skam” and some short-form and mid-form series. And in a new deal, Facebook also plans to stream more live college sports. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Buy Content Outright, Strikes Sports Deal

Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Philo, the latest streaming TV service to hit the market, has eliminated sports from its line-up of three-dozen cable TV networks. The service will deliver programming to the user’s phone, laptop or connected TV. Because of the lack of sports, the base package will cost $16 per month, compared with YouTube TV’s $35 per month subscription or Hulu’s $40 per month fee. Participating cable networks include A&E, Scripps, Discovery, AMC and Viacom. Venture capital companies have invested $25 million in the new service. Continue reading Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

ESPN Delivers Twice-Daily ‘SportsCenter’ Show on Snapchat

Following new shows from CNN and NBC News debuting on Snapchat, ESPN will introduce its first episode of “SportsCenter” on the social platform at 5:00 pm Eastern today, hosted by Katie Nolan (formerly of Fox Sports). Starting tomorrow, three- to five-minute episodes of the popular ESPN show will air at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays and 5:00 am on weekends. Additional episodes will be reserved for breaking news. The Snapchat version of the show will be hosted by Nolan, sports anchor Elle Duncan, NBA commentator Cassidy Hubbarth, ESPN Radio’s Jason Fitz, reporter Jac Collinsworth and comedian Cy Amundson. Continue reading ESPN Delivers Twice-Daily ‘SportsCenter’ Show on Snapchat

Intel Selects 2018 Winter Olympics to Showcase 5G Network

Intel will use the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea to showcase new wireless networking technologies and super-fast data transfer speeds based on the pending 5G standard. The new wireless standard is expected to mark a new era for Internet connectivity and disrupt wired services such as cable TV, modems and phone lines. “As mobility evolves beyond the smartphone, 5G is becoming one of the most impactful technology transformations we are likely to see in our lifetimes,” wrote Intel exec Sandra Rivera in a blog post. Continue reading Intel Selects 2018 Winter Olympics to Showcase 5G Network

Fox to Air Six-Second Ads During Thanksgiving Day Football

On Thanksgiving Day, sports fans watching football on Fox Sports will be treated to six-second commercials, which will take over the screen between plays, leaving the game in a small box on the side. Fox Networks Group first tested the six-second spot in August and, more recently, has aired them during the Major League Baseball World Series. The National Football League is embracing the six-second ad model as a way to cut down on time spent on commercials as well as make them less disruptive. Continue reading Fox to Air Six-Second Ads During Thanksgiving Day Football

Digital Domain Partnering With Qualcomm on VR Ecosystem

Digital Domain Holdings, head of the biggest global indie VFX facility, and Qualcomm have partnered to create what Digital Domain chair Peter Chou calls “a new ecosystem for virtual reality.” This deal follows on the heels of Digital Domain’s partnership with Deutsche Telekom on a virtual reality mobile app. According to Chou, who co-founded smartphone manufacturer HTC, these deals are in preparation for the rollout of 5G mobile services expected to take place in the next few years. HTC is also maker of the Vive VR headset. Continue reading Digital Domain Partnering With Qualcomm on VR Ecosystem

Tech Demand for AI Talent Generates Major League Salaries

As tech companies continue to bet on artificial intelligence powering next generation smartphones, autonomous vehicles, virtual assistants, smart home gadgets and much more, the demand for top AI talent is also on the rise. “Typical AI specialists, including both PhDs fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock,” reports The New York Times. Leading names in AI are often earning in the millions from tech titans and negotiating for new contracts in a time frame that rivals professional athletes. In fact, some in Silicon Valley have joked of creating an NFL-like salary cap. Continue reading Tech Demand for AI Talent Generates Major League Salaries

Amazon Builds New Ad Goals on Thursday Night NFL Games

With its NFL stream, Amazon hopes for more digital advertising. Advertisers considering the platform see at least two things they like: Amazon’s promised “attribution,” which shows how ads led to brand awareness or online store sales (including on Amazon), data that advertisers haven’t gotten reliably on TV; and Amazon’s viewers, all $99 per year Prime subscribers, which makes them more likely to make online purchases. Sling TV, Showtime, Gillette, Pepsi and Hyundai are the first to buy an Amazon NFL ad package. Continue reading Amazon Builds New Ad Goals on Thursday Night NFL Games

TCG Forms Subscription-Based Company for Fantasy Sports

The Chernin Group (TCG), headed by Peter Chernin, has created the Action Network, a subscription-based sports analysis and media company for gamblers and fantasy-sports players. The Action Network melds three TCG-acquired companies: Mark Cuban-backed FantasyLabs, Sports Insights and Sports Action. Employees of those three companies will join the Action Network, and their founders will also be involved in key positions. Former ESPN executive Chad Millman is the new group’s head of media. TCG is the new firm’s primary investor, although it declined to state a dollar figure. Continue reading TCG Forms Subscription-Based Company for Fantasy Sports

Amazon’s First ‘Thursday Night Football’ Game Tops Twitter’s

The numbers are in for Amazon’s first live-stream of NFL “Thursday Night Football,” the September 28 match between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Amazon topped Twitter’s 2016 numbers with regard to average audience size and time spent viewing, with 1.6 million global viewers tuning in to the Amazon Prime stream. Prime Video views are just 2.5 percent of the total audience for the game, almost all of which came from TV. The game was broadcast by CBS and also streamed on the NFL Network. Continue reading Amazon’s First ‘Thursday Night Football’ Game Tops Twitter’s

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