Amazon Stands to Gain $3 Billion a Year from Prime Video Ads

Amazon this week began serving advertising to Prime Video customers who did not elect to pay an additional $2.99 per month in addition to the basic annual Prime membership of $139 per year or $14.99 per month. Adding commercials is estimated to potentially bring in more than $3 billion a year for Amazon, which is expected to have 2023 revenue of around $567 billion. The surplus will come in handy to pay out $1 billion a year over 11 years for the rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football.” The ad-supported Prime Video service launches in the U.S., Canada, UK and Germany, with Mexico, France, Italy, Spain and Australia following later in the year. Continue reading Amazon Stands to Gain $3 Billion a Year from Prime Video Ads

CES: Marketers Shift Tactics in Streaming, Post-Cookie World

Audiences are migrating from broadcasting to streaming, and Google just announced its decision to phase out third-party cookies. What’s a marketer to do? At CES, Disney, Pfizer and GroupM marketers discussed how they plan to evolve in a changing landscape. The Walt Disney Company’s Lisa Valentino emphasized the need for interoperability of data across platforms, with the consumer at the center. GroupM debuted its Ad Innovation Accelerator to “strategize and create scalable ad formats that are designed to be ubiquitous across ad-supported streaming environments.” Partners include BrightLine, Disney, KERV, NBCUniversal, Roku, Telly and YouTube. Continue reading CES: Marketers Shift Tactics in Streaming, Post-Cookie World

Stability AI Is Offering Paid Membership for Commercial Users

As the pressure ratchets up for AI companies to go beyond the wow factor and make money, Stability AI has formalized three subscription tiers as it seeks to expand commercial use of its open-source, multimodal core models. The Stability AI Membership offerings include a free tier for personal and research (i.e., non-commercial) use, a professional tier that costs $20 a month, and a custom-priced enterprise tier for large outfits. The company says that with the three tiers it is “striking a balance between fostering competitiveness and maintaining openness in AI technologies.” Continue reading Stability AI Is Offering Paid Membership for Commercial Users

Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

Amazon Prime Video plans to introduce commercial breaks to its popular streaming service early next year, following top platforms such as Disney+, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, which already offer ad-supported tiers. The company indicates it will run fewer ads than traditional linear TV broadcasters and broadband rivals but has yet to specify numbers. Subscribers in the U.S. who want to keep the streaming service ad-free have the option of paying an additional $2.99 per month. Amazon explained that its strategy to include ads would help it “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.” Continue reading Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

YouTube Connected TV Popularity Prompts Ad Break Testing

YouTube is increasingly popular among connected TV (CTV) viewers who no longer turn to the social video service only for music videos or one-off skits. YouTube says that in the U.S., 65 percent of CTV watch time is on content that is 21 minutes or longer. The shift has prompted the Google-owned platform to change its approach to display advertising. The company is experimenting with longer but fewer ad breaks and limiting creator control with regard to ad placement on new videos. A new countdown timer more prominently displays the time until an ad ends or can be skipped. Continue reading YouTube Connected TV Popularity Prompts Ad Break Testing

Runway Makes Next Advance in Consumer Text-to-Video AI

Google-backed AI startup Runway has released Gen-2, an early entry among commercially available text-to-video models. Previously waitlisted in limited release, the commercial availability is impactful, since text-to-video is predicted as the next big bump in artificial intelligence, following the explosion of AI use generating text and images. While Runway’s solution may not be ready to serve as a professional video tool, this is the next step in development of tech expected to impact media and entertainment. Filmmaker Joe Russo recently predicted that within the next two years, AI may have the ability to create feature films. Continue reading Runway Makes Next Advance in Consumer Text-to-Video AI

YouTube Unveils ‘Unskippable’ 30-Second TV Ads at Upfront

At its Brandcast Upfront event, YouTube introduced the concept of 30-second unskippable ads for top-performing YouTube content on TVs, drawing comparisons to the linear commercials of old. The company is also starting to test “Pause Experiences,” which are commercials that play on TV screens when viewers pause content. YouTube touted its massive television reach, citing December Nielsen data indicating more than 150 million unique viewers of YouTube and YouTube TV on television sets in the U.S. That data allowed YouTube to claim title to America’s No. 1 most-watched streaming service on TVs. Continue reading YouTube Unveils ‘Unskippable’ 30-Second TV Ads at Upfront

Stability AI Debuts Open Source StableLM Foundation Model

Stability AI has released StableLM, an open source language model that will compete with OpenAI’s GPT-4 to create apps like ChatGPT. The Alpha version of StableLM is available in 3 billion and 7 billion parameters, and the company promises 15 billion to 65 billion parameter models to come. “With the launch of the StableLM suite of models, Stability AI is continuing to make foundational AI technology accessible to all,” the London-based company said. The StableLM models can generate text and code to power various downstream applications with appropriate training. Continue reading Stability AI Debuts Open Source StableLM Foundation Model

Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

The business-oriented Magic Leap 2 AR headsets will debut in three models on September 30 in global territories including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Saudi Arabia. The Magic Leap 2 Base starts at $3,299. There is a midrange Magic Leap 2 Developer Pro, working up to the Magic Leap 2 Enterprise, which sells for $4,999. Smaller and lighter than its 2018 predecessor, Magic Leap 2 comes with a hip-worn AMD processor, offers a wide field of view, and has a dimmer that can be applied to background visuals to make virtual objects pop. In the U.S., Magic Leap 2 will be available through IT solutions reseller Insight.  Continue reading Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

Google Blocks Burger King Ad From Activating Google Home

Burger King released a TV ad in which an actor activates the Google Home digital assistant to describe the ingredients in the Whopper sandwich. Prompted by the actor, Google Home searches Wikipedia for the Whopper and lists the makings of the sandwich. Within hours of the ad’s release, however, both The Verge and BuzzFeed discovered that the commercial no longer activated the device. Burger King did not work with Google to create this marketing approach, and Google reacted by stymying it. Continue reading Google Blocks Burger King Ad From Activating Google Home

Airware Offers Commercial Drone Operation for the Enterprise

Drone startup Airware has launched a commercial drone operating system with plans to make unmanned aerial vehicles easier to use. Interested businesses would pay a monthly subscription to license Airware’s Flight Core autopilot technology, Ground Control Station, and cloud platform. The system of hardware, software, and cloud computing allows businesses to customize drone missions for their own needs, whether it involves surveying farm land or inspecting cell towers. Continue reading Airware Offers Commercial Drone Operation for the Enterprise

Amazon Receives FAA Approval to Test Drones in Open Spaces

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Amazon’s request to test drones outdoors. The FAA is stipulating that the tests be conducted only during the day and no higher than 400 feet off the ground. Amazon is hoping that unmanned aerial vehicles may be used for a future 30-minute package delivery service, and the open-space testing would help in its development efforts. During testing, Amazon will report to the FAA regarding the number of flights, any software issues and related data. Continue reading Amazon Receives FAA Approval to Test Drones in Open Spaces

FAA Proposes Long-Awaited Rules on Commercial Drone Use

Over the weekend, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed rules for the commercial use of small drones (unmanned aircraft weighing up to 55 pounds), that could have an impact on future film and television production, still photography, sports coverage, product deliveries, and much more. The proposed regulations call for operator certification, daylight flights only, and keeping aircraft in sight. The rules would not apply to recreational drones, growing in popularity with hobbyists, which have their own regulations. Continue reading FAA Proposes Long-Awaited Rules on Commercial Drone Use

Nielsen Develops Metric That Tracks ‘Tweets Per Impression’

Nielsen is developing a new metric for entertainment marketers that measures the social impact of a television commercial. The “tweets per impression” (TPI) measurement shows just how effective the impression of a commercial may have been by mapping the number of tweets about the commercial shortly after it airs. TPI provides entertainment marketers a way to make sure that they are getting the biggest bang for their buck. Studios, networks and advertisers are showing interest in the new metric. Continue reading Nielsen Develops Metric That Tracks ‘Tweets Per Impression’

Longer-Lasting Solid-State Batteries May Power New Wearables

Solid-state batteries, which have been used for wireless sensors but are typically considered too expensive for most devices, can now be manufactured much cheaper, according to Applied Materials. The company, which supplies equipment for semiconductor and display industries, says that these longer lasting batteries can be used in anything from smartwatches to electric cars. The company plans its first commercial use of the batteries in wearable devices, where size is a limitation.  Continue reading Longer-Lasting Solid-State Batteries May Power New Wearables