Facebook to Debut Three-Pronged Plan to Combat Fake News

Facebook issued a request for proposals from academics to study fake news on the social platform’s News Feed, with the aim of getting more information regarding the volume of false news and its impact. Those academics whose proposals are accepted will be funded and have access to data on the site. Facebook also plans to introduce a public education campaign about what fake news is and how users can stop spreading it; the campaign will be placed on the top of Facebook’s homepage. The company will also debut a 12-minute video about fake news. Continue reading Facebook to Debut Three-Pronged Plan to Combat Fake News

Brands Face the Challenges, Promises of AR/VR Experiences

Industry execs gathered for a CES panel to discuss the challenges brands are now facing with AR and VR. According to NorthSouth Studios chief executive Bill Newell, the most impactful events for AR in 2017 were Apple and Google’s introduction of AR development kits. But he acknowledged that convincing big brands to consider AR or VR projects is still a major challenge for the creators of those experiences. At the agency Firstborn, senior vice president business planning Gabe Garner says his company is always honest about the return on investment, which won’t match up with traditional media. Continue reading Brands Face the Challenges, Promises of AR/VR Experiences

Discovery and Google Partner on Virtual Reality Travel Series

Discovery and Google are partnering on a 38-episode virtual reality travel series that takes viewers to all seven continents in seven chapters: North and South America, Asia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, and Europe. Sascha Unseld, who directed the Oculus Story Studio’s “Dear Angelica” VR short, served as creative producer on the series. Discovery has nabbed an exclusive brand sponsor, which will be announced later. VR travel videos are becoming more popular, with immersive videos from airlines, travel agents and others. Continue reading Discovery and Google Partner on Virtual Reality Travel Series

The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, film director/producer Marcus Dillistone, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences managing director Andy Maltz and Academy Film Archive director Michael Pogorzelski presented a case study of an ACES reformatting and archiving project, with Dillistone’s 1999 short film “The Troop.” The topic is the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, and the film had a royal premiere at BAFTA, with film industry and military guests as well as a British princess in attendance. Continue reading The Troop Redux: ACES Reformatting and Archiving Project

Twitch Will Live-Stream Amazon Pilots, Original Documentary

Amazon-owned Twitch is diversifying from its usual fare of videogame broadcasts. Starting April 5, the company will live-stream three Amazon pilots. Sci-fi drama “Oasis,” and half-hour comedies “The Legend of Master Legend” and “Budding Prospects” will stream in back-to-back two-hour blocks over a 24-hour period at Twitch’s programmatic TV content site. Following this, Twitch Studios will premiere its first original documentary, the 22-minute “Ironsights,” about a female Twitch streamer who plays “Big Buck HD.” Continue reading Twitch Will Live-Stream Amazon Pilots, Original Documentary

Netflix-Style Video-On-Demand Service Debuts in North Korea

North Korea has launched its own Netflix-like streaming service called Manbang (“everywhere” or “every direction”), although the content and availability is limited. According to Digital Trends, Manbang offers “citizens in three cities, including the capital Pyongyang, access to five streamed channels alongside a selection of on-demand content.” The service’s set-top box also streams state-approved newspaper articles, documentaries about Kim Jong-un and the leadership, and English and Russian language lessons. The box enables “viewers to search for programs by typing in the title, or by browsing through categories, offering similar functionality to Netflix in the United States,” notes NK News. Continue reading Netflix-Style Video-On-Demand Service Debuts in North Korea

Netflix’s New Flixtape Site Lets Users Create, Share ‘Mixtapes’

Netflix has debuted Flixtape, a standalone website that allows users to make playlists of their favorite movies and TV shows. The lists can be created on the basis of genre (comedy, drama, documentary) or any kind of theme. According to Netflix, these lists can either be shared, via text message, email or social networks including Facebook and Twitter, with family and friends, or simply created for the user’s own reference. The list, however, is limited to a total of six titles. Continue reading Netflix’s New Flixtape Site Lets Users Create, Share ‘Mixtapes’

DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Although Super Bowl 50 was broadcast only in HD, now media outlets are beginning to deliver live sports in 4K Ultra HD. AT&T’s DirecTV says it plans to deliver as many as 25 MLB Network games live in the new format this year, although its 4K Ultra HD will not feature high dynamic range (HDR). Sony reports it just accomplished a 4K Ultra HD (with HDR) test broadcast on a February 10 soccer match between Mexico and Senegal, in Miami’s Marlin Park. Last year, about 6.3 million UHD TV sets shipped in North America. Continue reading DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

European pay-TV company Sky launched Sky VR Studio to create immersive video content for VR platforms. The first content will involve sports and, later, entertainment and news. Majority-owned by 21st Century Fox, Sky, which was an early investor in VR startup Jaunt, has 21 million subscribers. Sky’s VR content will first be ported to third party platforms such as Facebook 360, Oculus and YouTube 360, for users with Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Its ultimate goal is to develop its own VR app and host and stream VR content. Continue reading Sky Opens VR Studio to Produce Virtual Reality Video Content

Vimeo Unveils New Slate of Original Content, Updates iOS App

Vimeo introduced its second slate of original films and programs, including its first feature film and first concert film. Last month, YouTube also introduced original programming on its YouTube Red ad-free subscription service. But Vimeo’s slate is clearly aimed at an older demographic than YouTube’s, which features YouTube stars such as PewDiePie. Vimeo also upgraded its iOS mobile app, with a new interface that organizes videos into categories (such as Music, Documentary, Travel) to distinguish them from personal videos. Continue reading Vimeo Unveils New Slate of Original Content, Updates iOS App

Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

Videogame designer, Carnegie Mellon University professor and former Disney Imagineer, Jesse N. Schell, soared through a list of 10 virtual reality prognostications at Unity’s recent Vision AR/VR Summit in Hollywood. One of five speakers asked to soothsay about VR’s future, the creative director behind the “Toontown Online” massive multiplayer online game (MMO) predicted that by 2018, “Madden NFL” will be released in VR, and by 2020, there will be at least 10 VR reality television shows and a $10 billion VR adult video industry. Continue reading Expert Predicts Madden NFL and Reality Shows Coming to VR

Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

Award-winning filmmakers and video reporters Nonny de la Peña, Sandy Smolan and Ben Solomon, along with ABC News Digital executive Dan Silver, took part in a wide-ranging discussion about immersive journalism at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival this past week. Among the ideas expressed were the importance of choosing the right stories for the virtual reality medium, of telling them with filmic finesse to maintain audience interest, and of designing the role of the on-screen reporter. Noted as on the near horizon for immersive reportage were real-time streaming, interactivity, and live action capture with the aid of videogrammetry. Continue reading Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

Netflix Amps Up Original Content, Pushes for Global Presence

At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company is facing pushback from television networks and Hollywood studios balking at selling global rights. Netflix has set the goal of offering service in every country in the world by the end of 2016, in part to offset a slow-down in domestic subscription growth. To do so, the company is committing to 31 original scripted shows slated for 2016, more than double the 15 that aired in 2015. Continue reading Netflix Amps Up Original Content, Pushes for Global Presence

New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

The New York Times debuted its second, and most ambitious VR film, “The Displaced,” along with its NYT VR app, which can be viewed with Google Cardboard. Produced in partnership with VR studio Vrse, the 11-minute documentary, which focuses on the daily lives of three refugee children across the world, was directed by Ben Solomon and Imraan Ismail and shown at a premiere that included a panel discussion that included participation of Vrse chief executive Chris Milk, who characterizes virtual reality as “the last medium.” Continue reading New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

YouTube Democratizes VR, Stays a Step Ahead of Competition

YouTube is introducing 360-degree VR videos as well as a virtual movie theater for all YouTube videos. Anyone with a Google Cardboard headset and the Android app can begin viewing the ten or so VR videos that YouTube produced; the iOS app is coming soon. YouTube’s VR features come just before The New York Times ships 1.3 million Google Cardboard sets and its own VR documentary, “The Displaced.” YouTube’s assertive move into VR is widely seen as a way to stay a step ahead of the competition, Facebook in particular. Continue reading YouTube Democratizes VR, Stays a Step Ahead of Competition

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