CES: Expectations for the Immersive Experience Landscape

When CES 2020 opens on January 7th in Las Vegas, I expect experiences — of which ‘entertainment’ is one option — will be center stage. We will be watching for repositioning of products and services as experiences, as well as for new ideas for experiences themselves. To state the obvious, for mixed reality and immersive experiences to work well, the user experience (UX) should be intuitive and match user expectations. Companies are working to achieve this by dealing in their own individual ways with the convergence of multisensory, multiplatform, immersive media technology and language (VR, AR, MR, XR); AI; 5G; IoT; robotics and autonomous things; and blockchain. Gartner describes this as a shift from technology-literate people to people-literate technology. Continue reading CES: Expectations for the Immersive Experience Landscape

CES: Streaming Digital Citizenship as a Societal Experiment

After years of development, direct-to-consumer streaming is poised to actively provide new choices for how the world consumes entertainment content. While it started as a response to the one-size-fits-all model offered by cable companies, it now offers choice of separate walled gardens, each with a different gate. Aggregators in the streaming space are quickly bulking up to what traditional providers charge based on the cost of channel acquisition. To some consumers this will seem like déjà vu. Others will choose carefully among the direct offerings to customize the content entering their world.  Continue reading CES: Streaming Digital Citizenship as a Societal Experiment

CES: Anticipating New Era of Streaming Digital Citizenship

It’s almost a new year and a whole new crop of technology is about to introduce a phase change into our collective psyche. It’s time to reflect before we dive into the shameless and enthusiastic possibilities it portends. Let’s take a moment to muse about our new realities. With 5G no doubt to be pervasive at CES 2020 next month, some of the new effects of the streaming marketplace will soon be apparent to the consumer. As each entertainment giant introduces new streaming services at what appears to be astounding value, when cobbled together they increasingly grow to approximate a consumer’s old aggregated service bill from a cable provider.  Continue reading CES: Anticipating New Era of Streaming Digital Citizenship

The Human Interface: What We Expect From AI at CES 2020

We’re not going to lie: the annual “heads up CES” piece on artificial intelligence is a major exercise in hit or miss. This is because technology rarely evolves on an annual time scale, and certainly not advanced technology like AI. Yet, here we are once again. Sure, 2019 was as fruitful as it gets in the AI research community. The raw debate between Neural Networks Extremists (those pushing for an “all neural nets all the time” approach to intelligence) and the Fanatical Symbolists (those advocating a more hybrid approach between knowledge bases, expert systems and neural nets) took an ugly “Mean Girl” turn, with two of the titans of the field (Gary Marcus and Yann LeCun) trading real insults on Twitter just a few days ago.  Continue reading The Human Interface: What We Expect From AI at CES 2020

ETC’s Latest Quarterly Newsletter Is Now Available Online

The Entertainment Technology Center’s newsletter covering new and ongoing projects over the course of the past fall quarter is now online. Among the key announcements: finalists are revealed for ETC’s Fall Immersive Media Challenge; coverage of ETC’s video series from its 5th annual virtual conference, vETC; an update on the Adaptive Production project, whose Archiving and Blockchain subcommittees published white papers on fixity and Consortium Shared Identity, respectively; highlights of ETCentric journalist Debra Kaufman’s reception of an ICG award; director of immersive media Phil Lelyveld’s interview at the Canadian Film Centre; a feature of new member company RWS Moravia; following up with a USC and ETC alumnus, Universal Pictures’ Lindsey Townley; and the announcement of a new USC School of Cinematic Arts course, “Hacking for Hollywood,” involving ETC CEO Ken Williams. Continue reading ETC’s Latest Quarterly Newsletter Is Now Available Online

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

ETC@USC Gears Up For January’s CES 2020 in Las Vegas

When CES 2020 opens on January 7 in Las Vegas, it is almost certain that entertainment will be taking center stage. Where emerging technologies have disrupted media and entertainment on a rollercoaster of change for the past few decades, today’s M&E companies are harnessing technologies, driving innovation, and emerging as disruptors themselves. The days of entertainment as a CES sideshow and a way to light up screens to sell TVs are over. Our team of reporters will be at CES again this year covering the latest news from keynote addresses, product demos and related events. Continue reading ETC@USC Gears Up For January’s CES 2020 in Las Vegas

Nielsen Will Split into Two Firms Following Activist Pressure

Following pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, Nielsen Holdings announced plans to split the media research firm into two independent publicly traded companies. Nielsen revealed it would create two separate companies by spinning off its Global Connect business. In a deal expected to close in 9-12 months, the two companies will be named Global Connect and Global Media. “Both the Global Media and Global Connect businesses are independently essential to the industries they serve, but each business has unique dynamics,” explained CEO David Kenny, who will stay on as chief exec of the Global Media business.  Continue reading Nielsen Will Split into Two Firms Following Activist Pressure

Discovery May Target Cord Cutters With Streaming Service

Discovery Inc. revealed yesterday that it is considering a streaming service that would directly offer content from its collection of television channels to U.S. viewers. The company envisions “an opportunity to take content on a broader basis to mount an attack on those who are not existing cable subscribers,” explained CEO David Zaslav during Thursday’s earnings call with Wall Street analysts. Discovery is considering “aggregating all of our content in the U.S. and having something that looks very different.” Such a move would mark a major shift for Discovery, which has been comparatively cautious in providing content to consumers without cable subs. Continue reading Discovery May Target Cord Cutters With Streaming Service

Developers Accessed Private Data From Facebook Groups

Facebook is dealing with yet another privacy situation. Since April of last year, the company has been reviewing how individuals use the network to share data with third parties. In the process, Facebook opted to remove or restrict some of its developer APIs, including the Groups API. These changes were intended to improve the interface between Facebook and any apps used to integrate with groups. However, the ongoing review discovered that about 100 third-party app developers had access to the personal data of members of several groups, and “at least 11 partners accessed group members’ information in the last 60 days,” according to Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, head of platform partnerships for Facebook. Continue reading Developers Accessed Private Data From Facebook Groups

Zuckerberg Responds to Sorkin’s Open Letter of Criticism

Yesterday we reported that Jack Dorsey announced Twitter would ban all political ads, placing pressure on Mark Zuckerberg to reconsider Facebook’s laissez-faire approach to such content. As the CEOs’ opposing philosophies are generating a great deal of media buzz, screenwriter and director Aaron Sorkin published an open letter to Zuckerberg, criticizing the chief executive for not doing his part to stop the spread of misinformation on the social network. In response, Zuckerberg used lines from the Sorkin-penned 1995 film “The American President” to essentially call Sorkin a hypocrite. Continue reading Zuckerberg Responds to Sorkin’s Open Letter of Criticism

Jack Dorsey Announces Twitter’s Plan to Ban Political Ads

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey revealed yesterday that the social platform would ban all political advertisements. Dorsey believes such content has “significant ramifications that today’s democratic infrastructure may not be prepared to handle,” and that manipulated videos and the spread of misinformation are creating challenges at an “overwhelming scale.” The move adds another layer to the debate over online advertising, social media and free speech — especially in the political arena — and increases the pressure on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to reconsider his laissez-faire approach. Continue reading Jack Dorsey Announces Twitter’s Plan to Ban Political Ads

Major Tech Firms Are Taking Action to Combat Deepfakes

Ahead of next year’s U.S. Presidential election, social platform Twitter is planning to introduce a new policy that intends to help curb manipulated media including altered videos known as “deepfakes.” Twitter plans to create its first ever such policy regarding deepfakes and will seek feedback from the public in doing so. Meanwhile, Amazon Web Services has joined Facebook, Microsoft and others in the Deepfake Detection Challenge (DFDC) and will serve as a tech partner and committee member helping to oversee the challenge. Continue reading Major Tech Firms Are Taking Action to Combat Deepfakes

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

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