Streaming Bundle to Feature Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, Hulu

Starting November 12, Disney plans to offer consumers a $12.99-per-month streaming bundle that includes Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu’s ad-supported tier. November 12 will mark the U.S. debut of the anticipated Disney Plus service. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced the bundle during the company’s most recent earnings call with Wall Street. According to Iger, Disney is in discussions with Amazon, Apple and Google to offer Disney Plus via additional platforms. “We think it’s important to achieve scale relatively quickly and they’ll be an important part of that,” he said. Continue reading Streaming Bundle to Feature Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, Hulu

New Disney Hub on Spotify Designed for Families and Kids

Spotify recently announced a new partnership with Disney that brings a collection of Disney playlists to the streaming music platform. The Disney Hub on Spotify — currently available for fans in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.K. and U.S. — features soundtracks and other music related to Disney movies and TV shows. Among the current categories are Disney Hits, Disney Favorites, Disney Classics, Disney Sing-Alongs, Disney Princess, Marvel Music and The Best of Star Wars. Continue reading New Disney Hub on Spotify Designed for Families and Kids

Facebook Watch Readies Original Content for Summer, Fall

Social giant Facebook revealed that its strategy for building viewership of Facebook Watch is paying off, saying it is experiencing “big momentum” for the platform with original shows such as Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk” and “Sorry for Your Loss” with Elizabeth Olsen. Facebook Watch, since its launch two years ago, has a global daily user base of 140 million people who each spend an average of 26 minutes per day watching videos, nearly double from 75 million daily users in December who watched 20 minutes daily. Facebook has inked a series of partnerships and has more original content on its way. Continue reading Facebook Watch Readies Original Content for Summer, Fall

Hulu Has 28 Million U.S. Users, Announces Original Content

At the Digital Content NewFronts in New York City this week, Hulu revealed that its streaming video service now has 26.8 million monthly paid subscribers in the U.S., plus 1.3 million promotional accounts. That’s an increase from about 20 million total users this time last year. Hulu announced a new “binge advertising experience” that intends to be a less intrusive way to target binge viewers. Hulu also detailed new content deals, including a multi-year partnership with Vox Media Studios for food-centric programming and two new live-action series from Marvel for 2020. Continue reading Hulu Has 28 Million U.S. Users, Announces Original Content

Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Verizon Media (formerly Oath) now has production studios located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Sunnyvale and Taiwan. In addition, it built a 5G Los Angeles studio with plans to help pioneer new formats and production tech enabled by advanced 5G wireless connectivity. The worldwide facilities are being used by Verizon Media brands such as AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch and Yahoo. The L.A. space — led by Verizon Media’s immersive media arm RYOT — is outfitted with full motion capture and volumetric capture stages. Continue reading Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Disney, Rutgers Scientists Use AI to Generate Storyboards

Disney Research and Rutgers University scientists just created an end-to-end model using artificial intelligence to produce a storyboard and video featuring text from movie screenplays. This kind of text-to-animation model is not new, but this research advances the state-of-the-art by producing animations without annotated data or pre-training. The researchers wrote that the system is “capable of handling complex sentences” and is intended to make creatives’ work “more efficient and less tedious.” Continue reading Disney, Rutgers Scientists Use AI to Generate Storyboards

Industry Panel on Latest AI Trends in Media & Entertainment

Overcoming the uncanny valley of emotion is the major challenge of AI when creating a virtual human, according to Armando Kirwin, co-founder of Artie. He spoke at the NAB panel titled “AI in Media and Entertainment: Driving the Future, New Content Formats – Immersive.” HP’s Joanna Popper moderated the panel that also included Digital Domain’s John Canning, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl from Butcher Bird Studios, and Baobab Studios’ Kane Lee. The panel discussion ranged from synthetic characters and evolving views on acceptable versus realistic behavior, to what happens when your smart speaker becomes a virtual character. Continue reading Industry Panel on Latest AI Trends in Media & Entertainment

Disney, ILMxLAB and The VOID Introduce ‘Ralph Breaks VR’

The 2018 CG animated movie “Ralph Breaks the Internet” raked in more than $500 million in box office revenues last year and, this year, visitors to The VOID in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas will be able to have the immersive “Ralph Breaks VR” experience. Located in the Grand Canal Shoppes, the experience — from Disney and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB in partnership with The VOID, allows four players to enjoy features not possible in a home VR experience. “Ralph Breaks VR” is available in eight locations including Las Vegas. Continue reading Disney, ILMxLAB and The VOID Introduce ‘Ralph Breaks VR’

VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

The annual VRX Conference & Expo is slated for December 6-7 in San Francisco. The ETC’s Phil Lelyveld will be moderating a panel on the second day, focused on immersive storytelling with panelists including Ted Schilowitz of Paramount, Paul Raphael of Felix & Paul Studios, Bruna Berford of Penrose Studios and Ryan Pulliam of Specular Theory. VRX organizers are gathering a stellar lineup of top companies, execs and investors across entertainment and tech to cut through the hype and get to the heart of what’s really happening in XR. For those interested in attending, enter code ETC15 at registration for a 15 percent discount. Continue reading VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

The annual VRX Conference & Expo is slated for December 6-7 in San Francisco. The ETC’s Phil Lelyveld will be moderating a panel on the second day, focused on immersive storytelling with panelists including Ted Schilowitz of Paramount, Paul Raphael of Felix & Paul Studios, Bruna Berford of Penrose Studios and Ryan Pulliam of Specular Theory. VRX organizers are gathering a stellar lineup of top companies, execs and investors across entertainment and tech to cut through the hype and get to the heart of what’s really happening in XR. For those interested in attending, enter code ETC15 at registration for a 15 percent discount. Continue reading VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

Netflix Unveils Ambitious Slate of Animated Features, Series

Netflix released its four-year plan to produce a variety of animated series and feature films. The company usually withholds information about upcoming projects until just prior to release, but animation typically involves a long lead-time. As a result, Netflix is publicizing its family-oriented programming in advance, similar to Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks. Netflix also revealed that 60 percent of its users watch family-friendly fare every month and that the new content is intended to appeal to “the tastes of every member of the family.” Continue reading Netflix Unveils Ambitious Slate of Animated Features, Series

EA Announces New AI-Powered, Cloud-Native Gaming Tech

Electronic Arts unveiled Project Atlas, its “cloud-native gaming” technology, via a Medium blog post by chief technology officer Ken Moss. Although he did not say when it would be fully deployed and functional, Moss described Project Atlas as designed to “harness the massive power of cloud computing and artificial intelligence and putting it into the hands of game makers in a powerful, easy to use, one-stop experience.” The game engine combines rendering, game logic, physics, animation, audio, and more. Continue reading EA Announces New AI-Powered, Cloud-Native Gaming Tech

Unity’s AI-Enabled CineCast Allows Dynamic Game Viewing

At this week’s Unite LA event, Unity Technologies debuted CineCast, an AI-powered camera system that is intended to change how people stream, watch and interact with games and eSports. CineCast, which will enter beta in 2019, lets them create and view different camera angles. Unity introduced this technology to offer a better viewing experience for watching games such as “Overwatch.” Although the Overwatch League created similar tools, they don’t reach everyone, and Unity hopes to attract more viewers to the games. Continue reading Unity’s AI-Enabled CineCast Allows Dynamic Game Viewing

AT&T to Launch WarnerMedia Streaming Service Next Year

By the end of 2019, AT&T is slated to introduce a digital video service featuring WarnerMedia films and TV shows. That will include such blockbusters as “Wonder Woman” and the Harry Potter franchise as well as HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” The deal comes on the heels of AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner in June for $85.4 billion. The company made it clear then that the main motivation for the acquisition was to launch a streaming video service. So far, no details have been revealed on the service’s name, price or date that it will be launched. Continue reading AT&T to Launch WarnerMedia Streaming Service Next Year

Netflix to Offer Interactive Feature, Starting With ‘Black Mirror’

Netflix, famous for disrupting the traditional TV model by delivering all episodes of a new TV season at once, is readying experimentation with interactive TV. The company is reportedly developing a series of specials that will allow viewers of the streaming service to select the next storyline of a movie or television episode. According to people with knowledge of the plans, the new feature will be introduced later this year when viewers can select storylines for an upcoming episode of Emmy-winning sci-fi series “Black Mirror,” a show noted for its examination of tech and its social implications. Continue reading Netflix to Offer Interactive Feature, Starting With ‘Black Mirror’

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