Netflix Cutting Costs in Areas Such as Cloud, Staffing, Perks

Netflix, which said it lost almost one million subscribers in Q2, has been aggressively cutting costs, implementing a variety of measures that range from scaling back its real estate footprint to trimming cloud computing. While the streaming giant says the cuts have not significantly impacted content spending, it has laid off more than 400 employees in 2022 and has begun hiring more junior staff, according to reports. Macroeconomic trends have made belt-tightening common across the industry, but at Netflix it stands in stark contrast to years of explosive growth and free spending. Continue reading Netflix Cutting Costs in Areas Such as Cloud, Staffing, Perks

Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Lyft Media is the new business unit under which the ride hailing company is consolidating its advertising sales activities. More than two years since Lyft acquired Halo Cars Inc., manufacturer of car-top digital monitors, it is renewing its focus on generating ad revenue. In-car tablets that show advertisements in addition to letting riders track routes, control music and tip and rate their drivers are being testing in Los Angeles and by year’s end will be in 25 percent of Lyft vehicles there and in Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco. Continue reading Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

MarqVision Raises $20 Million to Help Monitor and Protect IP

Intellectual property protection is leveraging the power of AI using search. MarqVision is a firm built around monitoring e-commerce and general content platforms policing IP rights, with particular attention to blockchain and NFTs. The Los Angeles-based startup has raised $20 million in Series A funding to further its goal of detecting counterfeits and having them removed from points of online distribution and sale. Originally incubated at Y Combinator, MarqVision has put together a client base that spans from luxury brands LVMH, Ralph Lauren and Baccarat to the more populist Pokémon. Continue reading MarqVision Raises $20 Million to Help Monitor and Protect IP

Immersive Gamebox Pacts with Netflix for IRL ‘Squid Game’

Netflix has licensed “Squid Game” rights to location-based game destination Immersive Gamebox, which will launch an interactive — and safe — version of the deadly competition, at U.S. locations including Manhattan, Dallas, Salt Lake City and San Jose, as well as overseas sites in the UK and Germany. Fans who purchase a ticket for $24.99 to $39.99 (£20.62 to £32.98) can participate in all six challenges from the show using 3D motion tracking visors and touchscreens placed around the room. Players that don’t “survive” will lose “lives,” while winners “earn money in the piggy bank,” though not actual cash.  Continue reading Immersive Gamebox Pacts with Netflix for IRL ‘Squid Game’

Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within

Meta Platforms’ revenue dropped 1 percent in the second quarter, totaling $28.8 billion, just missing Wall Street’s expectation. It was the first year-over-year revenue drop since the company went public 10 years ago. Meta logged $6.69 billion in Q2 profit, down 36 percent over the same period in 2021. Costs increased by 22 percent, largely due to ongoing heavy investment in the metaverse, where the company’s ambitions took a hit Wednesday when the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to prevent Meta from buying Los Angeles-based virtual reality firm Within. Continue reading Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within

Forum to Demo Next-Gen Virtual Production Stage for ICVFX

HALOSTAGE is presenting an open forum and series of tech demonstrations over five days at The Henson Soundstage on The Jim Henson Company Lot in Los Angeles. The free event, slated for June 27-July 1, will feature virtual production LED stages with curved cinematic boards designed for in-camera visual effects (ICVFX). HALOSTAGE will offer in-depth presentations and hands-on shooting for all production departments. For studios and producers, demos will illustrate how mobile stages enable flexible setups and help eliminate investment risks. For the detailed program and to register, visit the HALOSTAGE event site. You can also check out the HALOSTAGE Invite PDF. Continue reading Forum to Demo Next-Gen Virtual Production Stage for ICVFX

New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

Nielsen’s Gracenote media data division is launching the Distribution Dynamics and Program Availability Archive to measure “bingeability.” The company says the new datasets will help content owners and buyers optimize program licensing and acquisition strategies by providing insights into programming characteristics that drive regular consumption. “The new thinking prioritizes understanding of why certain content resonates with viewers and what drives engagement,” Gracenote says, adding that “clarity on the characteristics of content that drive viewership and understanding the historical placement of content are key to generating the maximum value out of programming in the future.” Continue reading New Gracenote Distribution Dynamics Measures Bingeability

Unions a Gaming Hot Button as Activision Blizzard Organizes

Activision Blizzard has become the first major North American video game company where workers have voted to form a union, the Game Workers Alliance. The vote, which took place over the last few weeks, passed 19 to 3, affecting 28 quality-assurance employees at the company’s Wisconsin-based Raven Software subsidiary, which works on “Call of Duty” game development. Results were tabulated by the National Labor Relations Board on Monday. Activision has a week to lodge formal objections. The Communications Workers of America says it hopes the development “serves as inspiration for the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios.” Continue reading Unions a Gaming Hot Button as Activision Blizzard Organizes

Bob Iger’s Act 2: Into the Metaverse with Avatar Firm Genies

Los Angeles-based avatar technology firm Genies Inc. has secured Bob Iger as an investor and board member, a coup for the five-year-old startup, which crafts celebrity avatars and also allows people to create their own avatars, fashion, worlds and experiences. The move into the metaverse is Iger’s first entertainment play since exiting Disney in December after 15 years as CEO. Genies says Iger will help “navigate its mission to empower humans to create their own avatar ecosystems” in Web3 — including avatars, fashion lines, immersive experiences and virtual worlds.  Continue reading Bob Iger’s Act 2: Into the Metaverse with Avatar Firm Genies

ETC Releases Its CES 2022 Report: AI, AR, Multiverse, NFTs

Moving back toward an onsite experience, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) hybrid format for CES 2022 opened to an anticipated reduced audience compared to previous years but continued its showcase of insightful and exciting product revelations and keynote addresses. With its own hybrid makeup, the ETC@USC team’s boots on the ground in Las Vegas and remote reporting in Los Angeles identified and covered four specific areas of activities — the multiverse, augmented reality, NFTs and artificial intelligence – as well as other CES tech trends, products, keynotes and highlights. ETC’s CES 2022 Report is now available online. Continue reading ETC Releases Its CES 2022 Report: AI, AR, Multiverse, NFTs

Amazon Style Retail Clothing Store to Launch in Los Angeles

Amazon Style, an IRL clothing store, will open in Los Angeles later this year. The 30,000-square-foot retail establishment, located in Glendale’s upscale Americana at Brand open-air mall, will feature high-tech dressing rooms from which shoppers can electronically summon items as Amazon attempts to address the “pressure points” of traditional clothes shopping. Amazon has been experimenting with physical retail since 2015 when it opened a bookstore in Seattle. In 2017 it purchased the Whole Foods grocery chain for $13.7 billion, and has since then experimented with various formats, including “grab-and-go” convenience stores. Continue reading Amazon Style Retail Clothing Store to Launch in Los Angeles

Global Startups Raised $621 Billion in 2021, Breaking Record

Startups enjoyed record venture capital funding last year, raising $621 billion globally and seeding several new tech hubs around the world, although Silicon Valley remains ground zero, according to research firm CB Insights. The U.S. accounted for roughly half of the funding raised globally, with stateside startups raising roughly $311 billion. Bootstrappers in Silicon Valley and New York retained the leading positions in terms of most money raised and number of deals completed, says CBI. Early-stage funding accounted for 63 percent of Philadelphia’s startup deals. Los Angeles and Dallas also grew early stage numbers, to 62 and 55 percent respectively. Continue reading Global Startups Raised $621 Billion in 2021, Breaking Record

CES: Members of Congress Discuss Cybersecurity Concerns

Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-California), who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, is concerned about the potential harm of cyberattacks in her 44th district, which includes of the Port of Los Angeles. Congressman Jay Obernolte (R-California), among his other assignments, is a member of the Committee of Science, Space and Technology and two caucuses, one on 5G and another on AI.  What they both have in common are concerns about cybersecurity, topics that were addressed during a panel at CES 2022. Continue reading CES: Members of Congress Discuss Cybersecurity Concerns

CES: An Update on the U.S. Rollout of ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV

ATSC president Madeleine Noland presented a “virtual tour” of NextGen TV at CES 2022, where it is again located in the Las Vegas Convention Center lobby. She revealed that, in addition to three displays showing off NextGen TV’s improved visuals, audio and interactivity, ATSC will also highlight products from Gaian Solutions, LG Electronics, Pearl TV, Samsung, Sony and Sinclair Broadcast Group. She also interviewed three executives on their NextGen launches and other activities from 2021 as well as their upcoming plans for 2022. Continue reading CES: An Update on the U.S. Rollout of ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV

Netflix Debuts Five Games on Android for Global Subscribers

Netflix has released its first slate of mobile games. Available to the global Android market, the inaugural five titles are “Stranger Things: 1984” and “Stranger Things 3: The Game,” both developed by Texas-based BonusXP; “Shooting Hoops” and “Teeter (Up)” from Vancouver-headquartered Frosty Pop; and “Card Blast,” created by England-based Amuzo in conjunction with L.A.’s Rogue Games. The titles were released Tuesday for download on Google Play, then began rolling out on the streamer’s app. Netflix is offering the games as a value-added for subscribers, without advertising or in-app solicitation. Continue reading Netflix Debuts Five Games on Android for Global Subscribers