Facebook, Google Debut Advertising, Online Tracking Tools

Facebook is testing Audience Direct, a self-service tool to help publishers sell video ads across websites and apps. Publishers list available video ad inventory, with prices, and marketers then log into the system and buy ad space, with Facebook’s massive database allowing them to choose the types of users they hope to reach. Meanwhile, Google is launching a new tool that will help advertisers track online views more closely, and learn if such views led to a retail store visit. Continue reading Facebook, Google Debut Advertising, Online Tracking Tools

Google Demos Android-Powered Vehicle Infotainment System

Google is demonstrating an Android-powered touchscreen car console and infotainment system, offering Google Maps and Spotify as well as controlling seat positioning and temperature. For the first time, Google Assistant is integrated in the system, allowing users to ask for directions and make phone calls. The Android operating system will be demonstrated running on the Audi Q8 and Volvo V90 SUVs at this week’s Google I/O developers conference. Earlier this year, Google showed the software on a Chrysler vehicle. Continue reading Google Demos Android-Powered Vehicle Infotainment System

Majority of Consumers Have Access to Internet Video via TV

The latest eMarketer forecast suggests that adults in the U.S. will interact with media over 12 hours per day this year, due to increases in digital usage and media multitasking. However, while 56 percent of Americans now have the ability to view online video via their TV sets, most are still watching traditional TV the majority of the time. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), there has been a 20 percent jump since 2015 in the number of consumers who can access Internet video directly through their TV or a device like Chromecast, but 39 percent of the time people are watching broadcast TV compared to 24 percent of the time when they are streaming content. Continue reading Majority of Consumers Have Access to Internet Video via TV

Electronic Arts Scores Record Year With Games-As-Services

Electronic Arts is apparently doing a better job at engaging players over a longer period of time. That’s the conclusion of the company’s chief executive Andrew Wilson, who said that its record-breaking fiscal year is due to live operations of games that run as services, rather than one-time purchases. The goal, he says, is to increase gamers’ engagement, thus growing an audience over time and preventing them from defecting to rival products. Proof that the strategy is working is in the numbers, he adds. Continue reading Electronic Arts Scores Record Year With Games-As-Services

Facebook Likely to Launch Its TV-Like Programs in Mid-June

Facebook plans to debut two-dozen TV-like programs in mid-June. A few shows will be big-budget longer shows that cleave most closely to TV content; the rest will be lower-budget shows of five to 10 minutes that will refresh every 24 hours. According to sources, the social media company has already greenlit several shows. With scripted, high-quality programs, Facebook hopes to garner younger viewers. The move also puts it in competition with Amazon, YouTube and Snap among other platforms hoping to attract advertising dollars. Continue reading Facebook Likely to Launch Its TV-Like Programs in Mid-June

YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

YouTube plans to produce new original series to be available for free on its site. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart, talk-show host and producer Ellen DeGeneres and Internet comedy duo Rhett & Link are producing unscripted series to roll out in 2017. The Google-owned company will also invest more in its paid video and music streaming service YouTube Red, which launched in October 2015. YouTube will fund more than 40 original shows and movies in the next year. By devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to programming with high-profile stars, YouTube hopes to attract more advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

Warner Renews its Music and Publishing Deals With YouTube

Warner Music Group has renewed its music and publishing deals with YouTube following “months of tough negotiations,” according to WMG CEO Stephen Cooper. The renewal includes Warner Music record labels and the Warner/Chappell Music publishing division. Music labels have been limited by safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that “allow digital services leeway in hosting and taking down unlicensed content,” reports Billboard. “Neither of Warner’s major competitors, Universal Music Group or Sony Music Entertainment, have reached new deals with YouTube and are still operating on a month-to-month basis, sources say.” Continue reading Warner Renews its Music and Publishing Deals With YouTube

Facebook Benefits From Expanded Video Content, Digital Ads

Facebook reports that its Q1 profit leaped 76 percent to $3.06 billion, putting to rest concerns that video-ad performance or graphic content stymied growth. Alphabet enjoyed 29 percent growth in net profit in the same quarter, apparently undamaged by brands finding their content advertised against objectionable YouTube videos. The two tech titans currently account for 99 percent of the online ad industry’s revenue growth, says Pivotal Research, even as marketers express growing concern over fake news and live video issues. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to push new video content. Continue reading Facebook Benefits From Expanded Video Content, Digital Ads

Amazon Bows Android App for Kid-Friendly FreeTime Service

Amazon rolled out a new Android app for its FreeTime service, which provides curated children’s content and parental controls similar to those found on Amazon’s Fire tablets. The FreeTime Web browser has vetted over 40,000 YouTube videos and websites as kid-friendly. FreeTime Unlimited offers more kid-centric content, including 10,000 books and videos from Disney, Nickelodoen, Amazon Studios, PBS Kids, Harper Collins, Sesame Street, Simon & Schuster and others, priced at $2.99 per month for Prime members and $4.99 for others. Continue reading Amazon Bows Android App for Kid-Friendly FreeTime Service

With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

Hulu just inked a deal with NBCUniversal that will bring live coverage of NBC and Telemundo-owned stations to its live streaming service. The deal is a coup for Hulu, which, when it unveils its new service later this month, will offer the top four broadcast TV channels. Hulu previously made deals with CBS, Disney-ABC and Fox as well as USA, Syfy, Bravo, E!, MSNBC, CNBC, NBCSN, Sprout and others, for a total of 50 live TV channels. The new deal also allows Hulu to license NBC and Telemundo broadcast affiliates. Continue reading With NBCU Deal, Hulu Will Stream All Top Four Broadcasters

NAB 2017: Telestream Offers OTT Solutions for Broadcasters

At last week’s NAB show in Las Vegas, numerous manufacturers offered tools related to streaming on various OTT platforms and social media. Telestream, which has provided file-based video transcoding and high-quality media exchange over IP networks since the late 1990s, has doubled down on such products for broadcasters. Although broadcasters have availed themselves of Telestream tools for some time, the upcoming ATSC 3.0 TV standard adds urgency to broadcasters’ need to adapt to the technologies behind IP networks and OTT platforms. Continue reading NAB 2017: Telestream Offers OTT Solutions for Broadcasters

NAB 2017: Thought Leaders Gather to Discuss Cloud Potential

As part of the Next Generation Media Technologies program at NAB, in partnership with ETC@USC, Walden Pond chief executive Wendy Aylsworth moderated a panel on “Thought Leadership for Key Players in the Industry.” Leaders from cloud initiatives at Microsoft, Google, Adobe and Avid Technology detailed their experiences in evolving cloud offerings, as well as the challenges in making these services a reality. Because the cloud is capable of multiple workflows, each leader had a different take on its benefits. Continue reading NAB 2017: Thought Leaders Gather to Discuss Cloud Potential

NAB 2017: Sling Announces New Hardware Plus AirTV Promo

Sling Media announced its $999 SlingStudio hardware this week, intended as a cost effective and easy-to-use alternative for video creators who plan to share live video streams via Facebook Live or YouTube. Sling TV is also offering a significant discount on its AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter for customers who prepay for at least three months of service. Introduced at CES in January, AirTV is an OTA/OTT box that runs on Android TV. According to Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch, a recent study found that four out of five pay TV subscribers are interested in a la carte TV. Continue reading NAB 2017: Sling Announces New Hardware Plus AirTV Promo

Friends Can Share, Watch Videos Together via iMessage App

For friends who want to share and watch YouTube or Twitch videos together, a new Apple iMessage app, called Let’s Watch It!, is the answer. Group chat in the iMessage App Store has proven to be a hit, with video chat app Fam raising $1.8 million and plans to expand to game-playing, interactive live masks, filters and watching videos with friends. But Let’s Watch It!, which debuted in March, may be beating Fam at its game, adding support for turning on the front-facing camera and microphone, making it even more social. Continue reading Friends Can Share, Watch Videos Together via iMessage App

Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

In a first for Yahoo-owned Tumblr, the blogging platform is launching a group video chat app it has named Cabana. The new app — available now on iOS and coming to Android next month — enables video chat for up to six users who can also stream YouTube video content while chatting. Blogging remains the company’s primary focus, but Cabana represents the first communication app it has developed. Tumblr is “not pivoting, but definitely exploring a new direction here,” said founder/CEO David Karp. “The idea is similar to Houseparty, the app from the company behind former live-streaming darling Meerkat,” notes Recode, and “similar to Airtime, Sean Parker’s chat startup that was revived a year ago.” Continue reading Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

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