Netflix Reopens Beloved Shuttered Theater in New York City

The Paris Theater has, for decades, been a cherished movie venue in New York City. Many mourned its August closure as the last surviving single-screen theater in the city. But now Netflix has come to the rescue, reopening it this month as a hub for premieres, screenings and special events. Netflix held its theatrical run of director Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” there earlier this month. Having its own theater will make it easier for Netflix to arrange Oscar-qualifying theatrical releases of its movies. Continue reading Netflix Reopens Beloved Shuttered Theater in New York City

Facebook and Academics Use AI to Generate Game Worlds

Facebook, the University of Lorraine and the University College London published a paper that detailed how they researched a way to use artificial intelligence to create complex game worlds. Building video game environments has always been time-consuming, but this group’s approach — using content from the fantasy text-based multiplayer adventure “LIGHT” — demonstrated how machine learning algorithms can learn to “assemble different elements, arranging locations and populating them with characters and objects.” Continue reading Facebook and Academics Use AI to Generate Game Worlds

Canadian Federal Court Issues Pirate Site Blocking Measure

In response to a lawsuit from FairPlay, a coalition of major broadcasting and telco companies, the Canadian Federal Court issued its first pirate site blocking order. The order requires major ISPs to block the domains/IP addresses of GoldTV, a pirate IPTV service, and also opens the door to a more comprehensive push to block other pirate sites. FairPlay also wants to see the implementation of a national pirate site-blocking initiative. CRTC, Canada’s telco regulator, denied the first request, saying it had no jurisdiction. Continue reading Canadian Federal Court Issues Pirate Site Blocking Measure

Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

Movies and TV shows have combined real and CG images for decades, for the purpose of entertainment. But we’re seeing the rise of deepfakes, which mix fake and real elements in still images or videos with a malignant or harmful aim. Many Big Tech companies that have benefited from letting users post and share photos are now turning their attention to battling deepfakes. According to cybersecurity startup Deeptrace, the number of deepfakes online has nearly doubled to 14,678 from December 2018 to August 2019. Continue reading Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

Apple Chief Tim Cook Calls For National Data Regulations

Apple chief executive Tim Cook stated that, because tech companies haven’t self-policed their use of data, “it’s time to have rigorous regulation.” Although he also warned that regulators are too focused on breaking up the Big Tech companies, he admitted that “if one of the companies is found to be a monopoly, and regulators can prove they’ve abused that monopoly power, a breakup might be necessary.” Pew Research reported that about 60 percent of Americans believe their data is being collected on a daily basis. Continue reading Apple Chief Tim Cook Calls For National Data Regulations

Google Reconsiders Micro-Targeted Ads Ahead of Election

Google is tweaking its policies in advance of the 2020 presidential election. The company has decided to restrict just how minutely political advertisers can target an online audience. While advertisers will still be able to target ads based on age, gender, location and content of the websites that users visited, they will no longer be able to target audiences based on public voter records or political affiliations described as “left-leaning,” “right-leaning” or “independent.” Meanwhile, social giant Facebook is considering a similar move. Continue reading Google Reconsiders Micro-Targeted Ads Ahead of Election

Verizon, Snap Team to Create 5G-Enabled AR Experiences

With an eye towards 5G apps, Verizon inked a new tech development/marketing deal with Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. The companies plan to work together at Verizon’s 5G Labs to create augmented reality experiences for consumers as well as engage in exclusive distribution and co-marketing projects, such as Verizon preloading Snapchat on some 5G phones. The Snap Originals video series will also feature Verizon as a premium sponsor. Director Harmony Korine made a short experimental film with Snap’s Spectacles 3 camera. Continue reading Verizon, Snap Team to Create 5G-Enabled AR Experiences

Mythical Games Blockchain Strategy Gets $19 Million Boost

Los Angeles-based Mythical Games raised $19 million to pursue its mission of creating games with blockchain and allowing players to benefit via ownership. The company, which has dubbed this strategy “player-owned economies,” is at work on its first game. Javelin Venture Partners was the lead investor, joined by new investors Avon Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Hashed. Galaxy Digital, via its Digital EOS VC Fund and Struck Capital, are other current investors. Mythical Games raised $16 million last year in two rounds. Continue reading Mythical Games Blockchain Strategy Gets $19 Million Boost

ETC Digital Town Square Explores the Impact of 5G on M&E

On December 10, the Entertainment Technology Center at USC will hold a symposium on “5G: Planning and Piloting First M&E Services.” Digital Town Square producer Rochelle Winters said the event will highlight 5G’s transformative potential, the first tests and trials of 5G-enabled enhancements such as AR overlays and immersive content, the benefits of edge computing, and the build-out of private and site-specific 5G networks. The symposium will also look into the future of 5G capture, content and services. Continue reading ETC Digital Town Square Explores the Impact of 5G on M&E

‘The Mandalorian’ Uses Epic’s Unreal Engine for Production

“The Mandalorian,” one of the original exclusive shows on Disney+, follows a mysterious bounty hunter who takes on secretive jobs after the fall of the Empire. Recent data reveals that the show was the third most “in demand” digital original show since its debut. Epic Games is listed in the show’s end credits because series creator Jon Favreau used it in his production process. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is a popular platform for creating games, such as “Fortnite,” but it’s now being used in more Hollywood productions. Continue reading ‘The Mandalorian’ Uses Epic’s Unreal Engine for Production

WhatsApp and Twitter Manipulated for Political Campaigns

Evidence of social media manipulation for political gain is increasing. In Brazil, in response to an investigation into the spread of misinformation during the last presidential campaign, WhatsApp revealed it banned 400,000+ accounts between August 15 and October 28, 2018, which had “breached its terms of service,” with mass mailings. In the U.K., during a debate between the prime minister and head of the opposition party, the former’s party rebranded its Twitter account with the aim of misleading the public. Continue reading WhatsApp and Twitter Manipulated for Political Campaigns

Europe’s Antitrust Chief Aims to Keep Pressure on Big Tech

In her five-year tenure, European Commission head of the antitrust division Margrethe Vestager fined Google more than $9 billion and required Apple to pay $14.5 billion in back taxes. But she still has a dark view of the landscape, saying that, “in the last five years, some of the darker sides of digital technologies have become visible.” She has been appointed to an unprecedented second term and has been given expanded power regarding EU digital policy, and has already revealed an agenda that includes making sure that major technology companies pay more taxes in Europe. Continue reading Europe’s Antitrust Chief Aims to Keep Pressure on Big Tech

Qualcomm Offers Roadmap of Global 5G Networks Rollout

At Qualcomm’s Analyst Day in New York City, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon presented a visual roadmap projecting the global rollout of 5G networks in 2020, stating that mid-band (sub-6GHz) 5G will spread broadly, first in major cities and then, in 2021, in developing countries. The deployment of 5G is important for Qualcomm, which is expected to be a major provider of 5G chips and IP to global carriers and OEMs. The deployment projected by Amon is subject to change based on potential regulatory changes. Continue reading Qualcomm Offers Roadmap of Global 5G Networks Rollout

Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

Gaming is available across multiple devices (such as consoles, phones, tablets, PCs) and numerous services, including Google Stadia and Microsoft Project xCloud, and subscription mobile gaming from Apple and Google. Most of the latest offerings have involved software and services, with new hardware releases expected for next year. For the holidays, a Microsoft Xbox One or Sony PlayStation 4 are good choices; the latest models, with better graphics and more storage than the 2013 versions, will go as low as $150 and $200, respectively, on Black Friday. Meanwhile, streaming services are improving and may replace the need for consoles among some gamers. Continue reading Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

Justice Department to End the Paramount Consent Decrees

The Justice Department’s antitrust division plans to terminate the so-called Paramount consent decrees governing movie distribution, indicating they are no longer useful. Those rules were established in the wake of a landmark 1948 Supreme Court ruling covering the eight major movie distributors in the U.S. Their end will dramatically change movie distribution. DOJ antitrust official Makan Delrahim noted that streaming services and new business models have opened the door to “consumer-friendly innovation.” Continue reading Justice Department to End the Paramount Consent Decrees

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