Thinking About CES: Increasing Computational Sophistication

The entertainment industry has traditionally piggybacked on primary development in other sectors to fuel our own innovative adoption of practical and compelling technologies. History shows that we consistently benefit from numerous advances across industries for reuse or adaption in our key areas ranging from internal communication all the way to distribution of content. As we start compiling our wish lists for emerging standout technologies to be featured at CES 2022 (returning to Las Vegas January 5-8), we anticipate that an expanded computational sophistication of consumer devices will be in the cards. Continue reading Thinking About CES: Increasing Computational Sophistication

U.S. and EU Conduct Their First Trade Tech Council Meeting

The European Union and United States agreed yesterday on strengthening cooperation regarding several major global concerns, including a “rebalancing” of supply chains for semiconductors, new approaches to regulating international tech companies, and practical models for contending with “non-market, trade-distortive policies and practices” (although China was not singled out in the group’s statement). During their first meeting in Pittsburgh yesterday, officials from the newly formed U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) promised to work together on the development of artificial intelligence and screening interests in sensitive dual-use technologies. Continue reading U.S. and EU Conduct Their First Trade Tech Council Meeting

FTC Is Considering the Need for Stricter Online Privacy Rules

The Federal Trade Commission is looking into establishing stronger online privacy protections that would hold businesses such as Facebook, Google and Twitter more responsible for how they handle consumer data. The early discussions, under the leadership of new chair and vocal Big Tech critic Lina Khan, are addressing the possibility of introducing FTC regulation due to what is perceived as gridlock in Congress in creating a federal law. Privacy and civil rights groups have advocated for a single federal law — similar to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — rather than state laws (or no regulation at all). Continue reading FTC Is Considering the Need for Stricter Online Privacy Rules

Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

In its latest effort to take on Amazon in e-commerce advertising, Alphabet announced that Google will update its product search pages to include more images of items such as accessories and apparel. Rather than Google’s traditional scroll of links with accompanying text, the results will feature a look more similar to a digital store. The move is part of the search giant’s larger strategy to fend off Amazon, Target, Walmart and others that have been ramping up their digital ad businesses to complement retail and e-commerce operations. While Google still enjoys the lead in online search, it does not join these competitors in directly selling products. Continue reading Google to Update Its Product Searches to Attract Advertisers

Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

Global data center leader Equinix and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC will present a series of discussions that address virtual production and cloud workflows across various media and broadcast industries. The free webinar is slated for September 23 and will feature thought leaders from AWS, Epic Games, Equinix, ETC@USC, Google, Lux Machina, Mo-Sys Engineering, Paramount Pictures, PGA Tour Productions, Quintar, Silverdraft, and T&P Productions. Visit the webinar page online for more information and to register for what promises to be a compelling event. Continue reading Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

In the midst of troubling press attention as the company faces antitrust claims and ongoing criticism of its App Store business model, Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 during a streaming event yesterday. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared live on a virtual set rather than the traditional in-person stage as a precaution during COVID-19. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro features a new camera system that promises a new cinematic mode, improved low-light capabilities and an updated ultra-wide lens. The Apple Watch 7, touting a revamped look, includes new features such as a larger screen, softer corners, more support for e-bikes and fall detection for cycling. Continue reading Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

NBC Sets New Record for Price of Super Bowl Commercials

NBCUniversal announced that it has been selling 30-second ad spots for the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI for as much as $6.5 million, marking an 18 percent increase over the last Super Bowl and establishing a new rate record. Notably, the ad rate suggests that advertiser demand remains strong for the live broadcast despite shrinking audiences. The game is slated for February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. In addition, NBC has nearly sold out its advertising for the Beijing Winter Olympics, also scheduled for February. The Super Bowl and Winter Olympics have a schedule overlap for the first time. Continue reading NBC Sets New Record for Price of Super Bowl Commercials

ETC Execs to Discuss Future of Production at Makers Pop-Up

Makers Pop-Up is a 2-day virtual conference for the creative community that explores the merger of technology with storytelling in film, TV, advertising, interactive and animation. The event, scheduled for Wednesday-Thursday this week (June 9-10), will provide a digital space to make connections, meet potential partners and share ideas and resources. Two executives from ETC@USC will offer their expertise on panels: Yves Bergquist will address the “Virtual Creative Muse: The Evolution of AI as Artistic Mentor and Production Assistant” and Erik Weaver will discuss “Fix it in Prep: How Virtual Production Front Loads Creative Decisions and Costs.” Continue reading ETC Execs to Discuss Future of Production at Makers Pop-Up

European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, announced a proposal yesterday to create a European Digital Identity system that would “be available to all EU citizens, residents and businesses in the EU.” The goal is to enable citizens who are interested “to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phone.” In addition, these citizens would “be able to access online services with their national digital identification,” that would be recognized throughout European Union’s Member States. Continue reading European Union Plans Framework for Secure Digital Identities

ETC Executive Coffee: Warner on Future of Virtual Production

Ryan Beagan, vice president of virtual production at WarnerMedia, met virtually with USC students on April 21 for the fifth installment in ETC@USC’s Spring 2021 Executive Coffee with… series. Beagan engaged a group of six students and one recent alumnus in a one-hour discussion on “The Post-Pandemic Future of Virtual Production.” Graduate and undergraduate students in computer science, industrial engineering, theater, applied data, and film and television production discussed topics including sophisticated game engines, collaborative processes and new tools, and adapting to evolving compliance rules. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Warner on Future of Virtual Production

Amazon to Acquire MGM in Deal Valued at Nearly $8.5 Billion

Amazon announced this morning that it will purchase MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, signaling the tech giant’s serious intent to expand its entertainment ambitions by beefing up its Prime Video content library to better compete with Netflix, Hulu and the growing collection of streaming video services. The deal marks the second largest acquisition for Amazon; the company paid $13.7 billion for Whole Foods in 2017. Amazon plans to leverage MGM’s significant catalog of 4,000 movies and 17,000 television shows to help strengthen its film and TV unit Amazon Studios. Continue reading Amazon to Acquire MGM in Deal Valued at Nearly $8.5 Billion

ETC Executive Coffee: Disney on Immersive Media Storytelling

Disney executives met virtually with USC students on April 7 for the fourth installment in ETC@USC’s Spring 2021 Executive Coffee with… series. Mark Mine, director of the Technology Innovation Group at The Walt Disney Studios, along with his Disney colleague Daniel Baker, senior producer of technology innovation – interactive experiences, engaged a group of nine USC students in a one-hour discussion on “The Future of Immersive Media Storytelling.” They discussed the “aura” of effective immersive media, the balance between game elements and narrative elements, the use of light and shadow for user interface and user experience design, and the importance of navigation. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Disney on Immersive Media Storytelling