Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

In November 2016, Blizzard announced it was creating the Overwatch League, the first-ever eSports venture to model itself after professional North American sports, with franchised teams in major cities, salaried athletes and live spectator events. This was in the early days of “Overwatch,” a first-person shooter, team-based game, which had already accrued die-hard fans when it was in beta. The game, an “optimistic” battle between heroes and AI robots, has become a huge hit, with more than 35 million players and more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Continue reading Overwatch League, NBA 2K League Establish eSports Profile

Ticketmaster Teams With LISNR For Smart Tone Technology

Ticketmaster has partnered with LISNR, a data-over-audio company, to use an ultrasonic sound technology on users’ smartphones to admit them to live events and track their movements. The technology, dubbed “smart tones,” transmits information between devices, and was recently used by Jaguar Land Rover so that mobile devices in different vehicles could communicate with one another. Ticketmaster is launching a new e-ticketing system called Presence, powered by LISNR tech, that it hopes will reduce entry wait times at live events. Continue reading Ticketmaster Teams With LISNR For Smart Tone Technology

NBA, Take-Two Establish First Professional Sports E-League

The National Basketball Association and videogame publisher Take-Two Interactive Software inked a joint venture to establish a professional videogame league, with NBA franchises creating teams for Take-Two’s “NBA 2K” videogame, beginning next year. The NBA 2K e-league is the first to be operated by a major U.S. sports league, although both teams and athletes have bought or invested in e-sports teams before. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Arby’s Restaurant Group and other major advertisers have also gravitated to e-sports. Continue reading NBA, Take-Two Establish First Professional Sports E-League

Amazon’s Prime Day Sales Surge 30 Percent Over Last Year

According to e-commerce giant Amazon, yesterday’s Prime Day sales from third-party merchants were up 30 percent over last year’s event, driven by international demand. The statement was made at 3:00 pm Eastern Time during the company’s day-long promotion designed to attract more subscribers for its $99-per-year Amazon Prime membership. Once the total numbers are in, Amazon anticipates “a record day for small businesses and sellers.” Last year’s event was criticized after deals ran out too early. “The company this year offered more deals and deeper inventory,” reports Bloomberg. “It relied on thousands of third-party merchants who sell goods on Amazon and give the company a cut of each sale to boost the number of deals.” Continue reading Amazon’s Prime Day Sales Surge 30 Percent Over Last Year

NBA Debuts Fan-Created Video Initiative Aimed at Millennials

The NBA, partnering with BroadbandTV (BBTV), has introduced a new multi-platform video initiative, NBA Playmakers. Aimed at millennials, the new online video network allows fans to make their own videos, with access to some NBA content and inclusion on a soon-to-launch YouTube channel. A video that draws a big audience or shows special talent will win its creator tickets, access to the NBA video team and other goodies. This initiative is the first foray that the league, with BBTV, plans to showcase high-quality fan content. Continue reading NBA Debuts Fan-Created Video Initiative Aimed at Millennials

YouTube Offers Incentives to Compete for Top Video Creators

At VidCon, YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki reached out to the video creator community with an array of enticements. That’s because, although YouTube may be the biggest player in user-generated content — including the properties that reach stratospheric views — the Google-owned company now has plenty of competition. Facebook, Periscope and Vine are just some of the platforms wooing video creators who have created successful properties, and YouTube unveiled efforts to keep these creators on its site. Continue reading YouTube Offers Incentives to Compete for Top Video Creators

Amazon’s First Drive-Up Grocery Store Expected in California

Amazon may open its first drive-up grocery store in Sunnyvale, California, where customers can pick up items they ordered online. Shoppers would place their orders and choose a window during which they could pick up their groceries. The model could provide a viable alternative to traditional grocery shopping for busy consumers, while also addressing some of the challenges faced by the AmazonFresh delivery service, which first launched in the Seattle area and has since expanded to parts of Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, New York City and Philadelphia. Continue reading Amazon’s First Drive-Up Grocery Store Expected in California

New Selling Feature on Facebook Groups Similar to Craigslist

Facebook is launching a new feature in Facebook Groups that may finally take a bite out of Craigslist. The feature will enable users to post listings, find posts about items for sale and set pickup locations. The popular social network previously attempted to unseat the 20-year-old Craigslist in the classifieds business, but the venture never took off. Despite its crude appearance, Craigslist still gets 50 billion page views monthly in the U.S. alone because it already has so many users. Continue reading New Selling Feature on Facebook Groups Similar to Craigslist

Hachette Launches Twitter Experiment to Boost its Book Sales

Hachette Book Group, which publishes best-selling authors including Michael Connelly, Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson, announced on Monday that it is partnering with Gumroad to determine whether author tweets can help push book sales. In today’s social media landscape, authors with significant Twitter followings — such as John Green and Paulo Coelho — have experienced major success. Gumroad enables creators to sell products directly to social media followers without leaving Twitter. Continue reading Hachette Launches Twitter Experiment to Boost its Book Sales

Bandcamp Gives Artists More Control with Subscription Service

Bandcamp, an online music store that supports promotion of independent artists, will now offer individual subscription platforms. Artists will be able to share content, merchandise, and other offers, choosing their own subscription rate. Music will be available to subscribers through downloads or streaming via the mobile app. As a bonus for new subscribers, artists can choose to give items from their back catalog. Bandcamp currently features 12 million tracks and 1.6 million albums. Continue reading Bandcamp Gives Artists More Control with Subscription Service

Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

Pixar vets Oren Jacob and Martin Reddy launched San Francisco-based ToyTalk, a startup that develops mobile games that enable children to have extended conversations with animated characters. The concept was inspired by a Skype call when Jacob’s then 7-year-old daughter asked if she could speak with one of her dolls. While kids can hear characters speak through movies, games and toys, Jacob began thinking about how to help children better engage with the characters. Continue reading Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

Spotify and BandPage Enable Direct Artist-Fan Engagement

The partnership to allow musicians to sell directly to Spotify users through BandPage has gone live. BandPage, a platform that allows artists to easily promote themselves and make money online, will enable exclusive offers from the artists directly to the fans. The offers will transcend typical merchandise and instead include secret shows, meet-and-greets, soundcheck parties and more. The service went live on Wednesday, and offers are already available to the public. Continue reading Spotify and BandPage Enable Direct Artist-Fan Engagement

Keep’s OneCart Service Makes Online Shopping Even Easier

New York-based startup Keep allows Internet shoppers to add any merchandise from across e-commerce sites to one unified shopping cart. Now, with the addition of the OneCart feature, users can add an item from any online store to the mobile app and check out with minimal effort. And rather than entering credit card and shipping information for every shopping site, Keep unifies the experience by allowing users to enter information just once to be used universally. Continue reading Keep’s OneCart Service Makes Online Shopping Even Easier

Startup Offers Customized Mobile Apps for YouTube Celebrities

High-profile YouTubers — whether they be vloggers, athletes, musicians or beauticians — can now reach their audience through personalized mobile apps. Victorious, a startup led by three former Google executives, launched last week. The company has recruited several YouTube celebrities to use its app to post photos and videos, and communicate with fans. Victorious will allow the creators to make money from in-app purchases, advertisements and merchandise sales. Continue reading Startup Offers Customized Mobile Apps for YouTube Celebrities

Amazon to Sell Kid’s Show and Merchandise via Content Hub

Amazon and Hit Entertainment have teamed up to offer a “content hub,” which will allow preschoolers to watch episodes of a new children’s television show, “Fireman Sam,” alongside ads for related merchandise, such as toys and apparel. “Fireman Sam” episodes will be available exclusively on Amazon, starting with the first 13 episodes released yesterday. The content hub raises questions about children’s advertising, which is usually subject to regulation when it appears on TV. Continue reading Amazon to Sell Kid’s Show and Merchandise via Content Hub

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