Facebook Strikes Significant Deals With MLB, Warner Music

Facebook and Major League Baseball have agreed to an exclusive deal through which Facebook now has rights to stream 25 afternoon MLB games live on its social media platform. This marks the first time a major sports league in the U.S. has agreed to broadcast regular season games exclusively on Facebook — and the decision was unanimous among MLB owners. Though neither party disclosed financial details, people close to the matter say it is valued between $30-$35 million. Facebook also signed a major licensing deal with Warner Music Group. Continue reading Facebook Strikes Significant Deals With MLB, Warner Music

Today’s Podcasts Are Finally Proving They Can Turn a Profit

Podcasts have the potential to be intimate, captivating and entertaining. The recent podcasting boom began in 2014 with “Serial,” a true crime drama that changed perceptions of how big podcasting could be. But it wasn’t profitable right away and took millions of downloads over time to get there. The question became: could podcasts similar to “Serial” be replicated on a commercial basis? It seems that they now have the potential. For example, news sources such as The New York Times and Vox are proving that there can be big money in daily news podcasting.

Continue reading Today’s Podcasts Are Finally Proving They Can Turn a Profit

Netflix Has No Plans to Offer Live TV Such as News or Sports

From Netflix’s 280,000-square foot studio in Hollywood, chief executive Reed Hastings revealed that the company has no plans to enter the live TV market in news or sports, as its rivals Hulu and Amazon Video have done. Instead, the company is investing $8 billion in original content this year, part of its larger strategy to fend off competition from these popular services and a growing list of emerging competitors. Hastings also explained that Netflix has no plans to introduce advertising. Continue reading Netflix Has No Plans to Offer Live TV Such as News or Sports

Nearly 20 Percent of Adults Have Access to a Smart Speaker

Nearly one in five U.S. adults — 47.3 million, or 20 percent of the country’s adult population — has access to a smart speaker, according to Voicebot.ai research. In this case, “access to a smart speaker” means having a smart speaker in the home, even if the adult is not the primary user. Unlike smartphones and other personal technologies, not every person in the home is likely to have one. Thus, it’s likely most apt to compare smart speakers to TVs, which took 13 years to reach the 50 million mark versus just two years for smart speakers.

Continue reading Nearly 20 Percent of Adults Have Access to a Smart Speaker

Facebook, Google Improve Transparency After P&G Cuts Ads

Last year, Procter & Gamble cut its digital advertising by more than $200 million, after its call for transparency wasn’t satisfactorily answered. The company, whose brands include Crest, Pampers and Tide, believed that much of the spending on digital ads was not effective and that it could find more productive means of reaching consumers. The company cut $100 million in last year’s June quarter, for $100 million, with $100 million more from July through December, and included “several big digital players.” Continue reading Facebook, Google Improve Transparency After P&G Cuts Ads

Google Plans to Maintain Current Spending on YouTube Red

Google plans to maintain its current level of spending on the YouTube Red streaming service for the next two years, unlike Amazon and Netflix, both of which continue to up their investments. After switching its video strategy more than once, YouTube is currently approaching entertainment in three ways: its YouTube Red on-demand streaming service, live video service YouTube TV, and a new music streaming product. YouTube Originals are a “driving force” on YouTube Red, says the company’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl. Continue reading Google Plans to Maintain Current Spending on YouTube Red

Epix to Offer 4K Support, Explores New Subscription Service

Epix is scheduled to roll out support for 4K Ultra HD video on its apps this year. The cable network is also exploring the creation of a direct-to-consumer subscription service. “Direct-to-consumer is very important,” Epix VP and GM Monty Sahran told Variety. “We will be in that space.” While he didn’t specify a launch date or pricing, he confirmed the network’s plans. “It’s on our roadmap and we are working towards it,” he explained. Epix would join a growing field of such offerings from premium networks; HBO, Showtime and Starz currently offer their own standalone streaming services. Continue reading Epix to Offer 4K Support, Explores New Subscription Service

CBS Brings Sports News and Analysis to Connected Devices

CBS launched its streaming CBS Sports HQ network this week, designed to complement programming from CBS Sports. The free, 24-hour streaming network will feature live reporting, news, previews, highlights and analysis. The offering — a collaborative effort between CBS Sports and CBS Interactive — is available on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku, in addition to the CBS Sports app (iOS and Android), news streaming network CBSN and the CBS All Access subscription service. Later this spring, ESPN is expected to launch its standalone streaming service, ESPN Plus. Continue reading CBS Brings Sports News and Analysis to Connected Devices

HPA 2018: Updates on ACES 1.0, The Evolution to ACESnext

ACES (the Academy Color Encoding System), which makes certain that the color decisions made early on in production are preserved through to the finished master, has evolved since it first launched in December 2014. At the HPA Tech Retreat, NBCUniversal vice president of creative technologies Annie Chang reported that, in 2015, 15 titles were done in ACES, compared to today’s 49+ titles. “We’ve seen the growth not just in feature and episodic, but in the gaming community and corporate clients like IKEA,” she added. Continue reading HPA 2018: Updates on ACES 1.0, The Evolution to ACESnext

HPA 2018: Efforts to Ensure That TVs Display Creative Intent

With the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), filmmakers have been assured that the color decisions on set are carried through production and post, all the way to archives. But there’s a missing piece: the TV sets, mobile phones and other devices that display what consumers use to watch it. During a panel at the HPA Tech Retreat, led by the International Cinematographers Guild advanced production technology specialist Michael Chambliss, several industry figures discussed how to make sure that consumers see the images as intended. Continue reading HPA 2018: Efforts to Ensure That TVs Display Creative Intent

HPA 2018: Real Networks Explores the Future of T-Commerce

T-Commerce, which allows consumers to buy items they see on TV shows directly from their set, is not new. Predicted since the 1980s, it’s appeared as Enhanced TV, T-Commerce and Shopification. The idea that a viewer could simply click on a sweater worn by her favorite sitcom character and purchase it is heady, but the difficulty of making items clickable frame-by-frame was (and is) a massive stumbling block. At the HPA Tech Retreat, RealNetworks described its T-Commerce solution, powered by computer vision. Continue reading HPA 2018: Real Networks Explores the Future of T-Commerce

HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR

In the ongoing journey to integrate high dynamic range (HDR) into U.S. movie theaters and homes, a panel at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, California explored the topic from several angles. Everyone knows that HDR is much more than a single format: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG (hybrid log gamma) all compete in the marketplace. But Pat Griffis, Dolby Laboratories vice president technology in the office of the CTO and a SMPTE fellow, wanted to clarify the basic definition of HDR as more accurately seen as color volume. Continue reading HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR

HPA 2018: Washington Update on the Future of Net Neutrality

In his annual HPA Tech Retreat address covering all the events in Washington, DC related to copyright law and other entertainment-related issues, Thompson Coburn attorney Jim Burger gave a tutorial on copyright basics he dubbed Copyright 101, and provided an overview on some of the issues related to the Library of Congress and the Music Modernization Act. But the majority of his focus was on the brouhaha over net neutrality and its recent repeal by the Republican-dominated (and chaired) FCC. Continue reading HPA 2018: Washington Update on the Future of Net Neutrality

HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

IMF (Interoperable Master Format) came of age, and two hours at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat were devoted to progress made and reasons for its adoption. Led by NABA (North American Broadcasters Association) chair of the working group on file formats Clyde Smith, a senior vice president at Fox Network engineering and operations, the block of speakers covered the business benefits of IMF and how Hollywood, broadcast and OTT would benefit from adopting it. Other topics focused on integrating IMF into the production pipeline. Continue reading HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

Sling TV Takes the Lead in the Internet-Based Live TV Market

Sling TV announced that it reached 2.212 million subscribers at the end of Q4 2017, a year-over-year growth of 47 percent. The Dish-owned streaming TV service, one of the first OTT streaming options for ESPN, now leads competitors in this space such as DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and newcomers YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV. However, it was also the first live TV streaming service to launch, giving it the most time to accumulate subscribers, and is facing an increasing number of rival streaming options. Meanwhile, DirecTV Now picked up more than 1 million subscribers last year.  Continue reading Sling TV Takes the Lead in the Internet-Based Live TV Market

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