BBC Partners with Microsoft to Release Beeb Voice Assistant

The BBC partnered with Microsoft to release an early version of Beeb, its digital voice assistant. Its U.K. debut will be part of Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program to encourage users to help improve Beeb prior to a wider rollout. The BBC first announced Beeb last year, noting that the aim was to integrate voice services into all its products. The public broadcaster will collect data by requiring users to log in to Beeb with their BBC accounts but such data will not be used for targeted ads. Continue reading BBC Partners with Microsoft to Release Beeb Voice Assistant

Hulu Launches Watch Party Feature to Enable Social Viewing

Hulu is the first major streaming platform to launch a built-in Watch Party feature that allows its subscribers to watch a show in a group chat room. During COVID-19 shutdowns, watch parties have become increasingly popular, although most are enabled by third-party apps and services rather than built-in social viewing features. The Hulu Watch Party feature is now available to web users who subscribe to the platform’s ad-free plan. Plex also launched a Watch Together feature that works with the user’s own media and the company’s on-demand content. Continue reading Hulu Launches Watch Party Feature to Enable Social Viewing

CES: Quibi Pitches Streaming Short Video for Small Screens

During CES in Las Vegas last week, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and chief executive Meg Whitman revealed more details about their streaming content venture fueled by $1.4 billion in venture capital funding. A portmanteau for “quick bites,” Quibi plans to offer short content — under 10-minutes — for mobile phones. In other words, the enterprise is entering the streaming wars, looking for a sweet spot between the heavy-hitter long-form providers like Netflix and HBO and the free, varied content of YouTube and TikTok. Continue reading CES: Quibi Pitches Streaming Short Video for Small Screens

BBC Is Creating Voice Assistant That Understands Accents

The BBC is developing a voice assistant named Beeb that it promises will understand British accents. Other virtual assistants have struggled with regional accents, but the BBC team will be recording staff voices from multiple U.K. locations to address that issue. While there are no plans to introduce a standalone CE device similar to Google Home or Amazon Echo, the BBC plans to debut Beeb next year to help people interact with online services offered via the company’s website and its smart TV iPlayer app. The assistant’s software will also be available to manufacturers interested in including it in their own consumer devices. Continue reading BBC Is Creating Voice Assistant That Understands Accents

BBC and ITV Join Forces to Launch Rival to U.S. Streamers

In the U.K., Amazon and Netflix now own about two-thirds of that country’s video streaming market and, for the second time, the BBC and ITV are trying to pool their assets to launch their own streaming platform. Their first effort to do so, in 2007, was squelched by regulators. The new platform, dubbed BritBox (a version of which has been available in North America), is expected to make its U.K. debut later in 2019, with the two broadcasters’ popular shows and new content. But the BBC and ITV are still struggling to resolve issues of budget, audience data sharing and content exclusivity. Continue reading BBC and ITV Join Forces to Launch Rival to U.S. Streamers

HPA Tech Retreat: Advance of Digital Out-of-Home Screens

During this week’s HPA Tech Retreat, BBC production standard lead Andy Quested reported on Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) screens, which are enjoying a robust 10 percent year-on-year growth. In 2018, these screens were estimated to have a 40 percent reach in the U.S., with an 11 to 18 percent reach worldwide. These advertising billboards play digital video, often mixed with artificial intelligence, interactivity and other new technology tricks, and are now responsible for a 50 percent share of the U.K.’s out-of-home ad dollars. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Advance of Digital Out-of-Home Screens

CES Panel: Defining TV Across Primetime and Multi-Platforms

Altman Vilandrie & Company director Jonathan Hurd presided over a panel at CES on how TV has evolved and will continue to change. Viacom’s Stefanie Schwartz noted that her company is making “hours of original content to drive viewership and engagement on all the social platforms.” “We’re experimenting with all kinds of formats and seeing what works,” she said. MAGNA North America president David Cohen said his company is doubling down on OTT. “We’re looking to think about where to put the dollars as consumers migrate,” he said. Continue reading CES Panel: Defining TV Across Primetime and Multi-Platforms

Amazon’s Prime Video Channels to Double Revenue by 2020

BMO Capital Markets released a report that quantifies the impact of Amazon’s Prime Video Channels service on the pay-TV industry. It revealed that Channels will generate $1.7 billion in revenue in 2018, compared to last year’s $700 million. Further, BMO Capital predicts that revenue will more than double to $3.6 billion in 2020. That’s good news for Channels’ partners, who stand to earn an estimated $1.2 billion this year, and $2.5 billion in 2020, based on Amazon sharing an average 70 percent of subscription fees. Continue reading Amazon’s Prime Video Channels to Double Revenue by 2020

Sports Leagues Pioneer Virtual Reality-Powered Innovations

In February, Verizon hosted a virtual reality Super Bowl LII experience over a 5G network at a virtual luxury suite at Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium. That NFL/Oculus Rift collaboration put viewers on the field in the midst of 3D holographic models, and is only one of numerous examples of the marriage of professional sports and virtual reality. The BBC app, for example, offered a virtual reality World Cup experience, and NBC let viewers pick their camera angles and access data for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading Sports Leagues Pioneer Virtual Reality-Powered Innovations

The World Cup Is Finally Available in 4K HDR in Your Home

For the first time, the FIFA World Cup is available in 4K HDR in your living room. Those interested in viewing the world’s single biggest sporting event this way have several choices. Via the Fox Sports World Cup app, cable subscribers can view 4K HDR streams on Hisense’s H6E, H8E or Laser models. Dish is offering 56 of the 64 games live in 4K HDR, and DirecTV is broadcasting all the games that way. Layer3 TV/Altice is also broadcasting in 4K and Comcast Xfinity X1 subscribers can watch 4K HDR on demand the next day. Continue reading The World Cup Is Finally Available in 4K HDR in Your Home

European Broadcasters Partner to Fend Off Amazon, Netflix

Spain’s three major broadcasters — state-run RTVE and privately run Mediaset España and Atresmedia — are joining forces to launch LovesTV, an 18-channel streaming platform featuring programs from all of them. This paradigm is also taking place in the U.K., France, Germany and Italy, as competitors join forces to co-produce programs or stream programs online. It’s a strategy to fend off Netflix, Amazon and HBO, all of which are increasing their budgets to offer streaming programming for European audiences. Continue reading European Broadcasters Partner to Fend Off Amazon, Netflix

HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR

In the ongoing journey to integrate high dynamic range (HDR) into U.S. movie theaters and homes, a panel at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, California explored the topic from several angles. Everyone knows that HDR is much more than a single format: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG (hybrid log gamma) all compete in the marketplace. But Pat Griffis, Dolby Laboratories vice president technology in the office of the CTO and a SMPTE fellow, wanted to clarify the basic definition of HDR as more accurately seen as color volume. Continue reading HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR

HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

IMF (Interoperable Master Format) came of age, and two hours at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat were devoted to progress made and reasons for its adoption. Led by NABA (North American Broadcasters Association) chair of the working group on file formats Clyde Smith, a senior vice president at Fox Network engineering and operations, the block of speakers covered the business benefits of IMF and how Hollywood, broadcast and OTT would benefit from adopting it. Other topics focused on integrating IMF into the production pipeline. Continue reading HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

ESPN Delivers Twice-Daily ‘SportsCenter’ Show on Snapchat

Following new shows from CNN and NBC News debuting on Snapchat, ESPN will introduce its first episode of “SportsCenter” on the social platform at 5:00 pm Eastern today, hosted by Katie Nolan (formerly of Fox Sports). Starting tomorrow, three- to five-minute episodes of the popular ESPN show will air at 5:00 am and 5:00 pm on weekdays and 5:00 am on weekends. Additional episodes will be reserved for breaking news. The Snapchat version of the show will be hosted by Nolan, sports anchor Elle Duncan, NBA commentator Cassidy Hubbarth, ESPN Radio’s Jason Fitz, reporter Jac Collinsworth and comedian Cy Amundson. Continue reading ESPN Delivers Twice-Daily ‘SportsCenter’ Show on Snapchat

NBCUniversal, Snap to Open New Studio for Mobile Content

NBCUniversal and Snap plan to open a production studio to create original content for mobile devices. Mark and Jay Duplass, who formed creative agency Donut to produce programming for new platforms, will be the first creators for the studio. NBC News already produces “Stay Tuned,” a twice-daily newscast distributed on Snapchat, which drew 29 million unique viewers in its first month. Former NBC Entertainment executive Lauren Anderson will head the new NBCUniversal-Snap studio, to be based in Santa Monica. Continue reading NBCUniversal, Snap to Open New Studio for Mobile Content

Page 1 of 512345