YouTube’s Live Q&A Brings Order to Live-Stream Questioning

YouTube is adding a Live Q&A feature aimed at helping creators to interact with viewers during live streams. Now, when a Q&A starts a prompt will appear pinned to the top of the chat. As viewers begin chatting their questions, creators can select the ones they’re responding to and pin them at the top, too, so participants will know which query is being responded to. The new system brings some organization to what was a sometimes confusing Q&A format, with creators scrolling for questions and participants often clueless as to the context of the response. Continue reading YouTube’s Live Q&A Brings Order to Live-Stream Questioning

Twitter Circle Goes Wide with Tweets for 150 of Your Friends

Twitter is rolling out Twitter Circle globally on iOS, Android and on Twitter.com. The feature, which emulates Instagram’s Close Friends, lets people tweet to a select circle of up to 150 connections. “With Twitter Circle, people now have the flexibility to choose who can see and engage with their content on a tweet-by-tweet basis,” the company said, couching it as a way to “have more intimate conversations and build closer connections with select followers.” Before posting on Twitter, users will now see an option to share tweets with either their circle or full followers list. Continue reading Twitter Circle Goes Wide with Tweets for 150 of Your Friends

Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

Free streaming media service Plex is testing a new community-oriented feature called Discover Together that lets users add friends and keep tabs on their favorite programs, viewing their ratings and bookmarks. In addition to enhancing engagement by prompting online discussions, Plex hopes the crowd-sourced community data can eventually help power its recommendation engine. The idea is for Discover Together to launch with a high degree of privacy, inviting users to fill out Plex profiles with their geographic location and Plex Pass status, extending individual friend invites using a Plex username or email. The feature is currently in beta for web, iOS and Android users. Continue reading Plex Goes Social for Content Discovery, Adds Music Channels

Twitch Users Can Soon Ask Guests to Join Their Live Stream

Twitch is rolling out a new feature called Guest Star that allows users to invite up to five guests to join their live stream. Guest Star will at first deploy to a small group and expand to all users by the end of the year. Anyone with a Twitch account will be able to join a stream from their desktop or mobile app. Previously, those who wanted to have guests join a stream had to do it through a third-party platform like Discord. Creators using Guest Star will be able to host their guests directly within Twitch Studio or Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). Continue reading Twitch Users Can Soon Ask Guests to Join Their Live Stream

Niantic Creates Virtual Format for Two-Day Pokémon GO Fest

Rather than bringing people together in a park, Niantic‘s Pokémon GO Fest 2020 will enable gamers from around the world to join virtually from July 25 to July 26. Niantic chief executive John Hanke referenced COVID-19 when he explained his company wants to support players during the lockdown. “We want to bring the fun, and we want to make a safe adventure for people, as we have in the past year after year,” he said. He added that Niantic supports Black Lives Matter and wants to be a force for good for users and their communities. Continue reading Niantic Creates Virtual Format for Two-Day Pokémon GO Fest

AT&T Rolls Out Its Ad-Buying Service for Premium Content

AT&T’s ad unit Xandr has launched its ad-buying platform that offers exclusive access to AT&T’s customer data and assists companies in purchasing ad space across formats including mobile and streaming video. The platform, called Xandr Invest, will let advertisers buy ads on AT&T properties such as CNN, TBS and TNT, and will serve as the only ad-buying platform for Xandr’s Community marketplace that also features curated content from publishers such as Philo, Tubi and Vice. AT&T will compete in advertising with Google and Facebook, which combined represented almost 60 percent of the Internet ad market last year, according to PwC. Continue reading AT&T Rolls Out Its Ad-Buying Service for Premium Content

Facebook Teams with Viasat to Offer Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspots

In Facebook’s latest effort to bring Internet access to rural communities and less developed areas, the social giant is teaming with Carlsbad, California-based Viasat to deliver high-speed satellite-powered Wi-Fi hotspots. Starting in remote regions of Mexico, the two companies are eyeing a potential global project for the future. Last April, Viasat and local partner Prosperist introduced the “Community” Wi-Fi hotspot service in Mexico, which recently became available to more than one million citizens. Community uses the ViaSat-2 satellite system, which the company describes as the highest-capacity satellites currently in orbit. Continue reading Facebook Teams with Viasat to Offer Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspots

Why This Reviewer Hails Mastodon as a Refuge From Twitter

For people who may be growing tired of Twitter, there is Mastodon, an open-source community-run microblogging website that first appeared in 2017. The social media platform lets users post “toots” and “boost” other users’ posts. The decentralized network exists as numerous “instances,” each of which has its own rules and administrators and which together form a “federation.” There is no central server, so if one “instance” stumbles in some way (for example, forgets to pay for the Internet), none of the other instances are harmed. Continue reading Why This Reviewer Hails Mastodon as a Refuge From Twitter

YouTube Ups its Social Profile with the Debut of Reels Feature

YouTube has debuted Reels, a video feature similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Users will find Reels on a new tab in creators’ channels and will be able to adorn videos with filters, text and stickers. Unlike Snapchat and Instagram Stories, a single creator can make many Reels on different topics and the videos will not disappear after 24 hours. With Reels, Google hopes to make YouTube a more social environment and keep users glued to the platform. Google reportedly bid $30 billion to buy Snap last year. Continue reading YouTube Ups its Social Profile with the Debut of Reels Feature

YouTube Seeks Volunteers to Moderate Site for Perks, Access

In an effort to become more of a social media platform, YouTube launched YouTube Community in mid-September to allow video creators to run a social network on their channel’s page. On the “Community” tab on Channel pages, video creators can share content, including text, GIFs and images with their fans. Community has been in public beta (with some YouTube celebrity creators), but hasn’t yet rolled out. Now, YouTube is asking volunteers to moderate content in exchange for perks such as access to workshops and products. Continue reading YouTube Seeks Volunteers to Moderate Site for Perks, Access

Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

For 13 years, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has been presiding over Second Life. Now, the company is about to create a virtual reality network, dubbed Project Sansar, to provide an environment for individuals and businesses to experiment in VR. Sansar has been constructed to be incredibly scalable and immense, which could be either exciting or daunting to potential users. Linden Lab hopes it’s the former, and that people will use Sansar to build innovative VR worlds for problem-solving and social interaction. Continue reading Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

Yahoo has shut down Yahoo Screen, the company’s four-year-old video portal that had been a major component of chief exec Marissa Mayer’s turnaround strategy. Yahoo took a $42 million write-off on original video content in October, and while Yahoo Screen had yet to compete with video giant YouTube, comScore notes that the portal had about 15 million U.S. visitors in November. The portal had provided easy access to Yahoo’s video content — from digital magazines, concerts and football games to licensed reruns of “Saturday Night Live” and original series such as “Community.” Continue reading In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

NBCUniversal to Launch Ad-Free Streaming Comedy Channel

Comcast’s NBCUniversal plans to debut a Web-only subscription video service in January called Seeso that will offer comedic fare such as standup specials, original series, select movies, and NBC classics like “The Office” and “30 Rock” along with late-night hits including “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The ad-free channel, which will cost $3.99 per month, will offer more than 20 exclusive original series during its first year. NBCU said it does not have plans to remove its content from other digital services such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. Continue reading NBCUniversal to Launch Ad-Free Streaming Comedy Channel

TVShow Time Update Revamps App’s Community Interactions

French startup TVShow Time released a 5.0 update to its app that offers a more social experience for its 500,000 monthly users. New features permit users to track how many new episodes they have watched, send messages and show recommendations to friends, and view show ratings. The app has a newly designed interface and layout that makes content more accessible than before. Previously, TVShow Time used a simple calendar format that allowed users to keep track of their favorite TV shows. Continue reading TVShow Time Update Revamps App’s Community Interactions

SXSW Tackles Future of Television with Panels and Premieres

As part of its “Future of TV” series, the South by Southwest Festival is hosting a number of panels featuring filmmakers who recently produced content for online media. Morgan Spurlock is promoting a new show he created for AOL, and Dan Harmon will discuss “Community” and its move to Yahoo, while CNN and Hulu execs will tackle the evolving landscape of traditional TV and Internet video. Tech companies are investing in more original content while the shift in live TV is forcing media giants to offer more of their content online. Continue reading SXSW Tackles Future of Television with Panels and Premieres