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Disney Announces Gaming and Sports Part of Growth Strategy

The Walt Disney Company announced revenue of $23.5 billion for the quarter ending December 31, essentially consistent year-over-year, while net income was up 49 percent to $1.91 billion year-over-year. CEO Bob Iger amplified plans to bring the company “to a period of sustained growth.” Following news that ESPN plans to partner on a new sports streaming platform, Iger disclosed a $1.5 billion investment in “Fortnite” creator Epic Games that will see the companies “collaborate on an all-new games and entertainment universe.” He also revealed Disney+ will exclusively stream Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” concert film. Read more

Apple Launches Open-Source Language-Based Image Editor

Apple has released MGIE, an open-source AI model that edits images using natural language instructions. MGIE, short for MLLM-Guided Image Editing, can also modify and optimize images. Developed in conjunction with University of California Santa Barbara, MGIE is Apple’s first AI model. The multimodal MGIE, which understands text and image input, also crops, resizes, flips, and adds filters based on text instructions using what Apple says is an easier instruction set than other AI editing programs, and is simpler and faster than learning a traditional program, like Apple’s own Final Cut Pro. Read more

Growth in Ad Sales, AWS Drive Amazon Profit Up 200 Percent

Amazon’s net sales for Q4 were $170 billion, a 14 percent increase year-over-year. For the full year 2023, net sales were up by 12 percent to $574.8 billion. “This Q4 was a record-breaking holiday shopping season and closed out a robust 2023 for Amazon,” CEO Andy Jassy said in the recent earnings release. The results included October Prime Day and holiday season shopping. Outstanding Q4 performers included ad sales, up 27 percent to $14 billion, and Amazon Web Services, which brought in $24.2 billion, growing 13 percent.”What we’re most pleased with is the continued invention and customer experience improvements across our businesses,” Jassy added. Read more

Disney, FOX, WBD Finalizing a New Sports Streaming Venture

FOX, Warner Bros. Discovery and The Walt Disney Company through its subsidiary ESPN are finalizing plans to form a new, multi-league sports streaming service expected to launch this fall. The direct-to-consumer offering would be made available via a new app and subscriptions could also be bundled with existing services like Disney+, Hulu and Max. The media companies launching the joint venture — who will each have one-third ownership of the new platform — have yet to announce a name or pricing model, but said content will be “from all the major professional sports leagues and college sports.” Read more

Cisco and Nvidia Team to Offer Help Developing In-House AI

Nvidia and Cisco Systems want to simplify the process of creating in-house AI computing infrastructure with a new joint service offering end-to-end artificial intelligence solutions that aim to allow any enterprise firm to host its own AI data center. Along with its own networking gear, Cisco will globally broker Nvidia AI software and GPU cloud products along with jointly configured “purpose-built Ethernet networking-based solutions.” European cloud services provider ClusterPower is an early customer, using the new offering “to help drive data center operations with innovative AI/ML solutions.” Read more

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