YouTube Democratizes VR, Stays a Step Ahead of Competition

YouTube is introducing 360-degree VR videos as well as a virtual movie theater for all YouTube videos. Anyone with a Google Cardboard headset and the Android app can begin viewing the ten or so VR videos that YouTube produced; the iOS app is coming soon. YouTube’s VR features come just before The New York Times ships 1.3 million Google Cardboard sets and its own VR documentary, “The Displaced.” YouTube’s assertive move into VR is widely seen as a way to stay a step ahead of the competition, Facebook in particular. Continue reading YouTube Democratizes VR, Stays a Step Ahead of Competition

Facebook Unveils Plan to Share Revenue with Video Creators

Facebook, which just achieved a milestone of more than a billion daily users, has announced plans to share revenue with Facebook video content owners and launch a news app. The moves are aimed at keeping users on the platform as long as possible, and its competitors have the same goal in mind: Apple has its newsreader Apple News, partnering with The New York Times; Twitter Moments links tweets in a traditional story format; and Snapchat Discover app showcases stories from publishers including CNN, Vice, People and National Geographic. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Plan to Share Revenue with Video Creators

Big Data Summit: “Data Is a Tidal Wave” Overwhelming Experts

On the first day of Variety’s Big Data Summit, the main takeaway was that data — from online, set-top boxes, smartphones and even retail sales — has become a tidal wave that threatens to overwhelm even data experts. The industry needs data scientists capable of searching through the mass of data to find nuggets of insight and actionable data, making them highly sought-after, or, as AOL Publisher Platforms global head Tim Mahlman said, “rock stars.” “You can get lost (in data) if you’re not smart about it,” he said. Continue reading Big Data Summit: “Data Is a Tidal Wave” Overwhelming Experts

Report Shows YouTube Views Rise as Social TV Gains Traction

The third edition of the Social TV Index Report, from digital services company Ring Digital, reveals that YouTube is quickly increasing as a platform where “consumers vote, post, share or comment about something on TV.” The Social TV Index Report states that 37 percent of adults aged 18 to 24 have engaged in social TV, and 29 percent of the overall U.S. Internet population, up 5 percent from last year. Among those social TV users, 14.5 percent posted TV-related comments to YouTube, more than twice last year’s 6.3 percent. Continue reading Report Shows YouTube Views Rise as Social TV Gains Traction

Networks Turn to Neuroscience, Biometrics to Study TV Viewing

Up until now, the methodology to find out what TV viewers like — based largely on written surveys and machines with dials to indicate their degree of enjoyment — has been fairly primitive and, most likely, not very reliable. Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Viacom are now both trying to dig deeper using biometrics, including eye movements, facial reactions, skin sensors, heart monitors, and EEGs to monitor brain waves. Viewing measurement company Nielsen even bought a neuroscience firm, Innerscope Resesarch, to add these skillsets to its lab. Continue reading Networks Turn to Neuroscience, Biometrics to Study TV Viewing

Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

At The New York Times’ DealBook conference, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings pointed to a broad, sustained growth of consumer spending on entertainment as proof that there is not enough television content currently available. Great content, he said, will find viewers. The bar for quality is rising, he noted further, and said Netflix is maintaining its high standards by working with other production companies. As an example, he pointed to “Narcos,” which was produced with French company Gaumont. Continue reading Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

Intel Debuts Low Cost, Low Power Chips for Internet of Things

Intel has made a strong move to compete in the Internet of Things, by announcing Quark, a new line of low-power, less expensive microcontroller chips. The new Quark chips draw 27 milliwatts, one-thousandths of a watt, compared to Intel’s standard chips that draw approximately 15 watts, and will be priced at $2 to $3. The new chips do not adhere to the Intel’s x86 chip design, which the company has used since the 1980s. With microcontroller chips, Intel faces new competition from Freescale Semiconductor and Atmel. Continue reading Intel Debuts Low Cost, Low Power Chips for Internet of Things

Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

Viacom is introducing a new strategy involving the use of big data to optimize the placement of ads. Initially known as Project Gemini (after an early NASA human spaceflight program), and now called Vantage, Viacom’s new big data capabilities were created by data scientists and other technologists hired away from Microsoft and elsewhere. As Viacom leverages Silicon Valley technology in an effort to capture Madison Avenue dollars, competitors are ramping up similar big data strategies. Continue reading Viacom Marries Madison Ave. and Silicon Valley for Better Ads

Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Vice Media has generated more buzz, media partnerships and revenue than most new media companies. Traditional media companies following young male viewers fleeing TV find the coveted demographic at home at Vice, making it a particularly attractive target for investments, partnerships and, potentially, acquisition. One recent blip, however, is an accounting snafu: whereas Vice says company revenue will hit nearly $1 billion this year, others have said that number is much closer to $500 million. Continue reading Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Lionsgate and Fox to Mold Movies into Theme Park Attractions

“Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “Twilight” are Lions Gate Entertainment hits now morphing into theme park attractions in the U.S., U.K., China and the United Arab Emirates. Two theme parks near Atlanta and Macau, built by different companies, will host a “Hunger Games” stage show already slated to be performed in London and as part of a Lionsgate zone in a $3 billion entertainment complex being built in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox announced yesterday that it plans to open a theme park in Dubai in 2018 that features Fox movies and TV shows such as “Aliens,” “Ice Age,” “The Simpsons” and “Sons of Anarchy.” Continue reading Lionsgate and Fox to Mold Movies into Theme Park Attractions

BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

BlackBerry has finally done something it said it would never do: ditch its own operating system. Expected to ship by the end of November, Priv is based on the Android operating system but also incorporates BlackBerry’s encryption technology, still considered superior by the government and industry entities that have been central to the company’s success. Whereas BlackBerry phones once dominated usage among bank, law and other professional employment, the Canadian company lost market share to Apple and Android smartphones. Continue reading BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

Competition in the OTT video market has heated up over this last year, and will likely build over the coming year, say some experts. Currently in online video, the top five online video destinations account for 85 percent of the market share. High-trafficked video destinations include YouTube and Facebook and TV brands such as ESPN, CNN and Fox Sports. But the mid-to-long tail sites have almost no video — which is worth significantly more than display advertising — making it an opportunity that’s been waiting to happen. Continue reading Internet Service Providers Compete for OTT Video Dominance

SEC Greenlights Crowdfunding for Startups, Keeps Watchful Eye

After three years of consideration, the Securities and Exchange Commission now allows ordinary investors to take equity stakes in startups through crowdfunding. The move began with the 2012 Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, to assist startups and small businesses to raise capital from potential investors. But, until last week, only investors whose net worth was greater than $1 million (excluding their primary residences) or earned more than $200,000 a year were permitted to invest via crowdfunding. Continue reading SEC Greenlights Crowdfunding for Startups, Keeps Watchful Eye

Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

Snapchat has appealed to its fans for a variety of reasons, chief among them the fact that its photo messages disappear once they’ve been opened. That ephemeral nature has now been up-ended with the startup’s new Terms of Service. Whereas, formerly, Snapchat noted that its privacy policy was “delete is our default,” its new terms state that the company has the right, specifically in regards to the ‘Live Story’ feature, to reproduce, modify and republish photos as well as save them to Shapchat’s servers. The update has led to concern and confusion by many users. Continue reading Users Express Concern Over Snapchat’s Updated Privacy Policy

SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

High dynamic range is lauded for its more vivid colors and life-like imagery. Initially introduced by TV set manufacturers, an increasing number of gear manufacturers have introduced HDR capabilities and SMPTE just released standard specifications. But implementing HDR into production, post production and distribution can also create problems that degrade the image, with artifacts and banding. Several experts talked about the challenges in implementing HDR, and the potential solutions to them. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: Examining HDR Tech Challenges and Solutions

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