Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Big spending digital players Netflix and Amazon are shaking up traditional TV stalwarts. Netflix is expected to spend $6 billion on original and acquired programming this year, up $1 billion from last year. That figure is five times more than what cable outlets FX (owned by 21st Century Fox) and Showtime (owned by CBS Corp.) spend and more than twice that spent by Time Warner’s premium channel HBO. TV actors are demanding $250,000 an episode, twice their previous rate, and there’s a feeding frenzy for A-list below-the-line crews. Continue reading Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

Comcast is planning a third quarter launch for its expanded streaming video service called Xfinity Instant TV. The $15-$40 per month service, targeting broadband subscribers looking to opt out of traditional cable bundles, “will include major broadcast networks as well as add-on options for sports channels like ESPN and Spanish language channels such as Telemundo and Univision,” reports Reuters. The company hopes customers will later upgrade to the X1 platform. Xfinity Instant TV is a new version of its Stream service that was tested earlier in Boston and Chicago. Dish and AT&T are already targeting cord cutters, but “Comcast’s service is different in that it is limited to its territories and to its own broadband subscribers.” Continue reading Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Virtual reality startup Nomadic is integrating real-world physical objects, such as a flashlight, into its VR experiences. Among the other physical objects are leaky pipes that let off real hot air, a file cabinet that has to be opened to retrieve a real gun replica, and a virtual door with a real doorknob. The idea, according to Nomadic chief executive Doug Griffin, is that such real objects can add a feeling of magic to virtual reality. The company demonstrates these capabilities with an Oculus Rift VR headset. Continue reading Bringing Modular Sets and Physical Objects to VR Experiences

Adobe’s AI-Enabled System Could Replace Greenscreen Tech

The traditional bluescreen/greenscreen method of extracting foreground content from the background for film and video production may be on its way out. That’s due to research that Adobe is doing in collaboration with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, to develop a new system that relies on deep convolutional neural networks. A recent paper, “Deep Image Matting,” reports that the new method uses a dataset of 49,300 training images to teach the algorithm how to distinguish and eliminate backgrounds. Continue reading Adobe’s AI-Enabled System Could Replace Greenscreen Tech

AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

According to inside sources, AMC Networks plans to target millennials with its own ad-free, online streaming service. However, distinguishing itself from today’s collection of standalone options, AMC’s offering will reportedly be made available exclusively for cable subscribers, a move meant to support the pay TV industry as it faces a growing number of cord cutters. “AMC is discussing featuring digital-only spinoff shows of its existing programs like ‘The Walking Dead’ and is considering pricing between $4.99 to $6.99 a month,” reports Reuters. “Packaging the service as an add-on to existing cable bills allows AMC to curry favor with cable and satellite companies.” Continue reading AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

MGM Television Is the First Major Studio to Ink Deal with Snap

MGM Television became the first major studio to ink a deal with Snap Inc. to create original short-form programming for its Discover platform; there were no details on the exact nature of the upcoming shows or when they would premiere. The deal marks the latest in Snap’s many media partnerships, which include ABC, NBC, ESPN, the NFL, Turner, the BBC, Vice Media, A+E Networks and Discovery Communications. MGM also recently made a co-production pact with Jukin Media to produce competition shows using user-generated content. Continue reading MGM Television Is the First Major Studio to Ink Deal with Snap

Facebook Takes its Next Step in Becoming Broadcast Platform

Facebook is taking on Amazon’s Twitch and the growing list of video competitors with new expanded live streaming features. “Users can go Live directly from Facebook’s desktop website via their webcam, stream through professional equipment and software hooked up to a desktop and broadcast gameplay from their computer,” reports TechCrunch. While mobile remains a focus for Facebook, desktop users can now broadcast straight to News Feeds and include graphics, titles and other overlays. “Opening up on desktop takes Facebook Live beyond Twitter and Periscope’s options, and brings it into competition with longer-running services like YouTube, Ustream and Livestream.” Continue reading Facebook Takes its Next Step in Becoming Broadcast Platform

Google Unveils Next-Gen Android O, Featuring Battery Savings

Google unveiled the first developer preview of its next-generation mobile operating system, Android O, a year after its first preview of Android Nougat. Unlike the Android N version, which was available to all comers, Google is not making the O preview available in the Android Beta channel. For Android O, only developers who own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C device (or want to use the emulator) will be able to manually download and flash their devices. Among the new features, background limits are expected to conserve battery life. Continue reading Google Unveils Next-Gen Android O, Featuring Battery Savings

Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

Deloitte’s 11th annual “Digital Democracy Survey” found that 73 percent of U.S. consumers have binge-watched video, up from 68 percent two years ago. Binge-watching TV is more common with younger audiences — 90 percent of millennials (ages 20-33) and 87 percent of Gen Z (ages 14-19) — who are increasingly watching on mobile devices. While televisions are losing popularity among younger audiences for marathon-viewing, older demographics — 60 percent of Gen X (ages 34-50) and 80 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) — still prefer TV. Nearly 40 percent of younger viewers binge-watch TV on a weekly basis, averaging about five hours of content per session. Continue reading Survey Finds Binge-Watching by Younger Viewers on Upswing

Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

As Twitter readies its first original content presentation for the Digital NewFronts in May, the company is reportedly launching a live video API today designed to help media publishers post live video broadcasts via the social platform. Twitter’s offering is expected to be similar to the Facebook Live API launched last year. “The API will let companies hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to Twitter with more powerful integrations than Twitter’s existing Periscope Producer feature,” explains TechCrunch. “Telestream, Wirecast, and Livestream Switcher are amongst the API partners that will help publishers use the API.” Continue reading Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

Dolby Uses Biosensors to Research Media’s Impact on Viewers

Dolby Laboratories, known for its proprietary high-dynamic range technology, is conducting research on how media impacts human beings. The biophysical lab, run by chief scientist Poppy Crum, was established in 2015, growing out of research begun in 2012 to better understand human reactions to audio and video. In addition to aiming thermal cameras at them, the subjects wear a 64-channel EEG cap measuring electrical activity in the brain, heart rate and galvanic skin response trackers and a pulse oximeter. Continue reading Dolby Uses Biosensors to Research Media’s Impact on Viewers

Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

In response to pressure from advertisers unhappy with placement of their commercials before extremist group videos on YouTube, Google apologized and explained it would simplify the tools that help advertisers control where online ads appear. The British unit of French advertising firm Havas, the U.K. government, and Marks & Spencer Group are among those that suspended their ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network. Matt Brittin, Google’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, “said he would step up enforcement and review policies to make sure ads don’t inadvertently appear near inappropriate videos,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “He said Google wanted to be careful with how it did so because some advertisers, such as news organizations, might want to place ads alongside controversial content.” Continue reading Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Journalists were recently invited to the Silicon Valley offices of Netflix for a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s distribution efforts for its latest Marvel series, “Iron Fist.” Through a series of talks that emphasized how the streaming service is essentially becoming a global Internet-based television network for more than 93 million subscribers, the “Netflix Lab Days” event addressed the tech and business considerations involved with programming for an international audience, creating “taste communities” for recommendations and personalization, initiating deals with TV operators and ISPs around the world, language translations for original content, and translating the Netflix apps and catalog into multiple languages. Continue reading Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Hulu’s upcoming live TV service will compete for cord cutters with offerings such as Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV. While details of the new service have been limited, the company’s marketing site (where it’s currently taking sign-up requests) has teased a few tidbits. The service will likely offer a combination of Hulu’s on-demand content with the option of live TV for a monthly fee below $40. It will also feature a DVR option; a new interface with user profiles, guest profiles, and recommendations; the ability to pause a live TV show for later viewing; real-time custom alerts for events and programs; and support for multiple, simultaneous streams on live TV. Continue reading Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Google Share of Search Ad Market to Hit 80 Percent by 2018

According to a new eMarketer report, Google’s share of the online search advertising market could exceed 80 percent by 2019, as it outpaces other search companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Yelp and AOL. Last year, Google’s share of the ad market reached 75.8 percent ($24.6 billion in revenue). The company’s share is expected to reach 80 percent by 2018 and 80.2 percent the following year. The eMarketer projections include advertising on desktop and laptop PCs, mobile phones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices. Continue reading Google Share of Search Ad Market to Hit 80 Percent by 2018

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