Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

Photo- and video-sharing social app Instagram is introducing the option for users to upload longer uninterrupted Stories of up to 60 seconds in duration, without automatically converting the video content into 15-second mini-clips as was previously the norm. The Meta Platforms-owned network began testing the update with select users in December 2021 and just announced that the feature is rolling out to all global users. Allowing content creators to share 60-second Stories in one slide is expected to be a welcome change for both users and viewers. Continue reading Instagram Enables Its Users to Upload Longer Video Stories

EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen signaled the bloc is preparing the implement a regulatory framework for the metaverse, writing in her annual Letter of Intent for the State of the Union address that the Commission will in 2023 advance an “initiative on virtual worlds, such as metaverse.” The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, expanded on that in a blog post that Europe’s “way to foster the virtual worlds” will be threefold, focusing on “people, technologies and infrastructure,” with speculation bubbling that the third prong will involve some sort of carrier tax. Continue reading EU Hints at Introduction of Metaverse Regulations and Taxes

Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen announced that the platform paid $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, a 50 percent increase over the $4 billion distributed in the same period in the prior frame. The amount includes monetization across all formats — short and long form video, audio only, live, user-generated content and more — on all platforms (desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV), in over 100 countries. For the second consecutive measurement period, UGC drove more than 30 percent of the payouts for artists, songwriters and rights-holders, according to the company. Continue reading Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Disney+ has unveiled a new app for viewing augmented reality, inviting subscribers to test drive “the future of storytelling, in your own living room” with the new short “Remembering: The AR Experience.” Created by an award-winning duo (“Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson, who also produces, and writer/director Elijah Allan-Blitz), the 8-minute film is meant to be viewed “through” an iOS tablet or iPhone that you hold up to your TV screen, allowing its camera to activate a QR code that triggers the AR, bringing fanciful objects (trees, rainbows, shooting stars and clouds) to your IRL surroundings. Continue reading Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Tencent Holdings Sinks $297M into Ubisoft Owner Guillemot

Tencent has invested $297 million in Guillemot Brothers Limited, the company that owns Ubisoft, maker of “Assassin’s Creed.” The Chinese game giant already had a 4.5 percent stake in Ubisoft that it can now increase to 9.99 percent. Tencent gains a 49.9 percent stake with 5 percent voting rights in the parent company. Shares of Ubisoft fell 17 percent last week when it became apparent there was no takeover in the offing. The deal is part of a strategy “to develop immersive game experiences, and to bring some of Ubisoft’s most well-known AAA franchises to mobile,” said Tencent president and CEO Martin Lau. Continue reading Tencent Holdings Sinks $297M into Ubisoft Owner Guillemot

Lenovo Introduces Wearable Display Glasses for Consumers

Lenovo is entering the consumer market for wearable displays after selling similar devices for business use for the past five years. The lightweight Lenovo Glasses T1 have micro OLED displays featuring 10,000:1 contrast and 1920×1080 pixels per eye, with an audio speaker at each temple. Capable of being powered by a Windows, Android, macOS or iOS device, they connect with USB-C. Lenovo likens the Glasses T1 to having “a personal monitor” in your pocket and says they allow wearers to experience content “well beyond the limited screen size of mobile devices.” Continue reading Lenovo Introduces Wearable Display Glasses for Consumers

Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Meta Platforms is joining forces with Qualcomm to develop a next-generation extended reality chipset for its Meta Quest 2 and other headsets. The multi-year agreement, announced at the IFA 2022 consumer electronics show in Berlin, will focus on virtual reality and augmented reality applications. While the deal leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR platforms, engineering and product teams from each company will collaborate on “core technologies to accelerate a fully realized metaverse,” Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon announced from the stage at Friday’s IFA keynote in which he was joined remotely by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Cox Communications has finally launched its long-awaited mobile offering. Cox Mobile is officially piloting in three markets where it is available only to Cox broadband customers: Las Vegas, Nevada; Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Omaha, Nebraska. Customers will initially be offered two plans, each featuring unlimited talk and text — Pay As You Gig and Gig Unlimited, with coverage including 4G LTE and 5G, in addition to 4 million Cox Wi-Fi hotspots. The company plans to expand Cox Mobile in new markets through the rest of the year. Continue reading Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Samsung TV Plus Targets Premium Content in FAST Relaunch

Samsung Electronics America is refreshing Samsung TV Plus, a free ad-supported TV (FAST) and video on-demand service seen in 24 countries on 465 million TV and mobile devices. The main emphasis will be adding premium content that Samsung is looking to license from industry partners. Launched in 2015 as one of the first FAST services by a device manufacturer, Samsung TV Plus has nonetheless maintained a low profile, despite offering what is now more than 220 linear channels in the U.S., over 1,600 channels globally, and 50-plus O&Os spanning news, sports and entertainment. Continue reading Samsung TV Plus Targets Premium Content in FAST Relaunch

Google Debuts AI Test Kitchen, LaMDA Language Generator

Google has launched an AI Test Kitchen and is inviting users to sign up to test experimental AI-powered systems and provide feedback before the applications are deployed for commercial use. First up is the Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), which has shown promising early results. The AI Test Kitchen has begun a gradual rollout to small groups of U.S. on Android with plans to include iOS in the coming weeks. According to Google, “as we move ahead with development, we feel a great responsibility to get this right.”  Continue reading Google Debuts AI Test Kitchen, LaMDA Language Generator

YouTube Shorts Will Be Available on Living Room TV Screens

YouTube is laying the groundwork to bring its YouTube Shorts to Google TV and Android TV. While the company’s take on TikTok’s vertically framed, quick-hit content has been enormously successful — racking-up as many as 30 billion views in one day on mobile devices this year — there is as yet no dedicated TV support for the phone-first format. That’s about to change according to reports filtering out of an internal partner event. While the meeting centered on Alphabet’s own smart TV formats, as a content-provider YouTube’s past practices have tended to platform agnosticism. Continue reading YouTube Shorts Will Be Available on Living Room TV Screens

Researcher Says TikTok Can Track User Data via Keystrokes

Popular short-form video platform TikTok is garnering more unwanted attention, this time for tracking users’ keystrokes via a the ByteDance-owned video app’s browser. The feature was discovered by privacy researcher Felix Krause, a former Google engineer, who reported the Chinese company embeds the tracking capability within the in-app browser that opens when someone clicks an external link. Krause noted his research is limited to the Apple iOS platform. Krause did not speculate as to how TikTok is using the capability, but suggests he finds it troubling because it indicates TikTok is able to track users’ online activity if it so chooses. Continue reading Researcher Says TikTok Can Track User Data via Keystrokes

Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

July was the first month in which streaming has overtaken cable viewing, according to Nielsen’s monthly snapshot The Gauge, which reports streaming captured a record 34.8 percent share of total U.S. TV viewership, cable 34.4 percent and broadcast 21.6 percent. While streaming has exceeded broadcast’s viewing share before, this is the first time it also exceeded cable, said Nielsen Global Media’s Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy and thought leadership. Audiences spent 23 percent more time streaming content than they did in July 2021, 9 percent less time watching cable and 10 percent less time watching broadcast television. Continue reading Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

TikTok Stories Can Now Be Shared via Facebook, Instagram

TikTok is launching a new sharing feature that allows TikTok Stories to be published on competing social networks like Facebook and Instagram. The move may increase exposure for TikTok content on Meta Platforms media as the social giant has been taking steps to downgrade recirculated TikTok videos in Reels. Meta recently advised creators it is prioritizing original Reels content on Facebook and Instagram that are programmed to flag third-party watermarks. Piloting since last year, TikTok’s reposting feature recently began rolling out more broadly to TikTok users. Continue reading TikTok Stories Can Now Be Shared via Facebook, Instagram

Pew: YouTube Most Popular with Teens, Followed by TikTok

YouTube is the most popular social media platform among teens, with 95 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds saying they use the service, according to the Pew Research study “Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022.” TikTok is currently ranked second, with a 67 percent teen buy-in, according to the study, followed by Instagram (62 percent) and Snapchat (59 percent). While neither YouTube nor TikTok were on the Pew ranking when the previous survey was released in 2015, Facebook fell precipitously — from first to fifth place — with 32 percent of teens onboard in 2022, versus 71 percent seven years ago. Continue reading Pew: YouTube Most Popular with Teens, Followed by TikTok