FCC Formally Approves the Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint yesterday, months after the Justice Department gave its approval. FCC chair Ajit Pai and Republican commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly indicated their support of the deal in May, believing that it would lead to a faster deployment of 5G. Democrats voted against the merger, and commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel argued that it would lead to higher prices and less innovation, ultimately impacting consumers. A coalition of state attorneys general are still attempting to prevent the merger with a multistate lawsuit. Continue reading FCC Formally Approves the Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

Holoride, Ford, Universal Partner for In-Car VR Experience

Tech startup holoride has teamed with Ford Motor Company and Universal Pictures to create an immersive VR experience called “Universal Monsters Presents Bride of Frankenstein holoride.” The complimentary ride is being offered during select dates from October 14 to November 9 at Universal CityWalk Hollywood. “They are rolling it out at the theme park, but it could be featured anywhere because it is GPS-based,” explained ETC’s Phil Lelyveld, who recently previewed the ride with colleague George Gerba. “It adjusts to the location and the route. So it could be a touring experience, could be offered at store openings, etc.” Continue reading Holoride, Ford, Universal Partner for In-Car VR Experience

AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

AMC Theatres is launching an iTunes-style digital video store today in the U.S. that will allow AMC Stubs members to rent or purchase movies for home viewing. Similar to the model introduced by Amazon, Apple and other VOD retailers, AMC Theatres On Demand will offer about 2,000 movies following their theatrical runs, despite the fact that chains have generally been at odds with online video. A major theater chain joining the expanding collection of studios, networks, tech companies and popular platforms already embracing this technology illustrates the impact of streaming video on entertainment media. Continue reading AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

ETC Publishes White Paper on Consortium Shared Identity

Led jointly by ETC’s Seth Levenson and Cisco’s Randy Zhang, the Adaptive Production’s Blockchain working group at the Entertainment Technology Center is tackling issues regarding identity and onboarding/offboarding workflow within the entertainment industry. The working group examined the numerous inefficiencies and inconsistencies of production staffing. From temporary contracts to the inconsistent methods of bringing members on and off productions, a great deal of efficiency, legitimacy, and security is lost. The group’s technical white paper, Consortium Shared Identity (CSI) over an Enterprise Blockchain, presents solutions and lays the groundwork for a potential proof of concept down the line. Continue reading ETC Publishes White Paper on Consortium Shared Identity

Piper Jaffray Research: Teens Prefer YouTube Over Netflix

According to a fall 2019 survey by Piper Jaffray, Google-owned YouTube is now a more popular video platform than Netflix for teen consumers. The research found that 37 percent of today’s teens stream video on YouTube, followed closely at 35 percent by longtime leader Netflix. Piper Jaffray credits YouTube’s diversified content library, including a wide array of areas favored by younger audiences, such as music videos, how-to tutorials, social influencer content, and video game play-throughs. Continue reading Piper Jaffray Research: Teens Prefer YouTube Over Netflix

Amazon Offers Same-Day Shipping For Low-Cost Products

Amazon is stepping up its e-commerce domination with same-day shipping, even for products that cost less than $5, according to analysts at Edgewater Research. Rather than having to combine your “add-on” item to a larger purchase in order to reach a $25 minimum order to qualify for Amazon Prime shipping deals, the company is providing members with free same-day shipping, even if the only item is a $2 roll of dental floss. Amazon’s willingness to lose money on such a model illustrates its desire to compete with stores like CVS, Target and Walmart, where consumers often go for convenient purchases. Continue reading Amazon Offers Same-Day Shipping For Low-Cost Products

Blizzard Suspends Pro eSports Player for His Political Stance

Gaming company Activision Blizzard suspended an eSports player who, during a live broadcast, expressed his support for the pro-democracy protest movement in Hong Kong. Professional “Hearthstone” player Chung Ng Wai has been suspended for a year and forced to give up $10,000 in prize money. The move led to a significant backlash from gamers and politicians via social media and online forums. The public relations dilemma is similar to what played out this week following NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s support of free speech, which led to the decision by China’s state-run television not to broadcast two NBA games. Continue reading Blizzard Suspends Pro eSports Player for His Political Stance

CTA Predicts SVOD, Smart TVs, 5G Will Drive CE Revenue

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), producers of January’s CES tech confab in Las Vegas, recently projected CE trends for 2020 and beyond after updating its semi-annual U.S. Consumer Sales and Forecasts report. According to Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP), a new division of Variety, key takeaways from the report most relevant to the entertainment industry include subscription video streaming services, smart TVs, 4K tech, gaming and 5G Internet (in addition to related networking options and VR/AR products). CTA anticipates consumer tech retail revenue will reach $415 billion in the U.S. next year, up 5.7 percent from 2018.  Continue reading CTA Predicts SVOD, Smart TVs, 5G Will Drive CE Revenue

ETC Archive Working Group Publishes White Paper on Fixity

Focusing on the idea of “fixity,” Guidelines for the Preservation of Digital Audio-Visual Assets in the Cloud, the Entertainment Technology Center’s Archive working group white paper is now available online. This Adaptive Production working group, co-chaired by Paramount Pictures’ Andrea Kalas, was tasked with looking into a specific issue regarding archiving in the cloud and settled on pursuing the idea of fixity: an archivist’s term for ensuring the prevention of data loss in digital preservation. Continue reading ETC Archive Working Group Publishes White Paper on Fixity

Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday upheld the federal government’s repeal of net neutrality in the latest ruling that impacts how companies connect people to the Internet. However, the appeals court also ruled that the FCC had overstepped in its decision to prevent state and local governments from establishing their own related rules. The mixed ruling will likely lead to continued debate over net neutrality regulation, especially on the state level. It is also seen as a victory for the Trump administration, which has supported deregulation, and FCC chair Ajit Pai, who believes the repeal is good for the economy and fosters innovation. Continue reading Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

Amazon Eyes Low-Income Shoppers With PayCode Service

Amazon recently announced PayCode, a new pay-with-cash option for its online shoppers. The e-commerce giant’s service is the latest step in taking on low-price retail chains like Walmart. The move could help attract the 8+ million low-income households in the U.S. that do not presently have bank accounts, debit cards or credit cards. PayCode users can place an order on Amazon and then pay in cash within 24 hours at one of 15,000 Western Union locations. Amazon is also looking to expand its recently developed cashierless Go technology by bringing it to retailers such as movie theaters and airport shops. Continue reading Amazon Eyes Low-Income Shoppers With PayCode Service

Food Network App to Offer Live Interactive Cooking Classes

In partnership with Amazon, Discovery Inc. is introducing a video-streaming app in late October called Food Network Kitchen. The new app will feature on-demand programming, recipe videos, interactive classes and Alexa support. For $6.99 per month (or $59.99 annually), subscribers will be provided the opportunity to attend up to 25 live, interactive cooking classes each week led by celebrity chefs such as Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Ina Garten and Martha Stewart. “It’s our mission to delight, inspire and, of course, teach our millions of viewers everything we know about food and cooking,” explains Food Network. Continue reading Food Network App to Offer Live Interactive Cooking Classes

ETC@USC Shares Video Series From Grand Convergence

The Entertainment Technology Center at USC today announces the release of its latest series, “vETC | The Grand Convergence 2019: Innovation and Integration,” recorded August 27-28 in Technicolor’s Experience Center and Google’s Spruce Goose airship. ETC’s 5th annual virtual conference of significant presentations around emerging technologies and their impact on the M&E industry, the program’s concentration included AI, machine learning, adaptive production, blockchain, immersive media, virtual beings and streaming. Speakers presented concepts, workflows, business models and case studies in showcasing these disruptive and enabling technologies. The videos are now available on our YouTube channel. Continue reading ETC@USC Shares Video Series From Grand Convergence

Landmark Privacy Case: EU Court Rules in Favor of Google

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that Google will not be required to apply “right to be forgotten” rules globally. Based on the landmark privacy case, the tech giant will only need to remove links to sensitive personal data and disputed search results in Europe, after it receives approved takedown requests. The case was initiated in France in 2015 when privacy watchdog CNIL ordered Google to remove certain search results globally under “right to be forgotten” laws. Google refused and took the case to the French Council of State, which eventually turned to the CJEU.  Continue reading Landmark Privacy Case: EU Court Rules in Favor of Google

TiVo Confirms That Ads Will Appear Prior to DVR Recordings

TiVo confirmed that it plans to introduce commercials that will play before DVR recordings, including movies and TV shows recorded by customers with a lifetime subscription plan. The introduction of pre-roll video ads will impact the company’s current devices (running TiVo Experience 4 software) within the next 90 days and will become a permanent part of the service. Some publications speculate that the update will eventually affect devices with TiVo Experience 3 as well. TiVo’s Roamio, Bolt and Vox will be the first models eligible for pre-roll ads. Customers will have the ability to skip an ad once it starts playing. Continue reading TiVo Confirms That Ads Will Appear Prior to DVR Recordings

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