CES: Streaming Digital Citizenship as Societal Experiment

After years of development, direct-to-consumer streaming is poised to actively provide new choices for how the world consumes entertainment content. While it started as a response to the one-size-fits-all model offered by cable companies, it now offers choice of separate walled gardens, each with a different gate. Aggregators in the streaming space are quickly bulking up to what traditional providers charge based on the cost of channel acquisition. To some consumers this will seem like déjà vu. Others will choose carefully among the direct offerings to customize the content entering their world.  Continue reading CES: Streaming Digital Citizenship as Societal Experiment

CES: Anticipating New Era of Streaming Digital Citizenship

It’s almost a new year and a whole new crop of technology is about to introduce a phase change into our collective psyche. It’s time to reflect before we dive into the shameless and enthusiastic possibilities it portends. Let’s take a moment to muse about our new realities. With 5G no doubt to be pervasive at CES 2020 next month, some of the new effects of the streaming marketplace will soon be apparent to the consumer. As each entertainment giant introduces new streaming services at what appears to be astounding value, when cobbled together they increasingly grow to approximate a consumer’s old aggregated service bill from a cable provider.  Continue reading CES: Anticipating New Era of Streaming Digital Citizenship

Netflix Reopens Beloved Shuttered Theater in New York City

The Paris Theater has, for decades, been a cherished movie venue in New York City. Many mourned its August closure as the last surviving single-screen theater in the city. But now Netflix has come to the rescue, reopening it this month as a hub for premieres, screenings and special events. Netflix held its theatrical run of director Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” there earlier this month. Having its own theater will make it easier for Netflix to arrange Oscar-qualifying theatrical releases of its movies. Continue reading Netflix Reopens Beloved Shuttered Theater in New York City

Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

Movies and TV shows have combined real and CG images for decades, for the purpose of entertainment. But we’re seeing the rise of deepfakes, which mix fake and real elements in still images or videos with a malignant or harmful aim. Many Big Tech companies that have benefited from letting users post and share photos are now turning their attention to battling deepfakes. According to cybersecurity startup Deeptrace, the number of deepfakes online has nearly doubled to 14,678 from December 2018 to August 2019. Continue reading Big Tech, DARPA Ramp Up Deepfake Research, Detection

‘The Mandalorian’ Uses Epic’s Unreal Engine for Production

“The Mandalorian,” one of the original exclusive shows on Disney+, follows a mysterious bounty hunter who takes on secretive jobs after the fall of the Empire. Recent data reveals that the show was the third most “in demand” digital original show since its debut. Epic Games is listed in the show’s end credits because series creator Jon Favreau used it in his production process. Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is a popular platform for creating games, such as “Fortnite,” but it’s now being used in more Hollywood productions. Continue reading ‘The Mandalorian’ Uses Epic’s Unreal Engine for Production

Justice Department to End the Paramount Consent Decrees

The Justice Department’s antitrust division plans to terminate the so-called Paramount consent decrees governing movie distribution, indicating they are no longer useful. Those rules were established in the wake of a landmark 1948 Supreme Court ruling covering the eight major movie distributors in the U.S. Their end will dramatically change movie distribution. DOJ antitrust official Makan Delrahim noted that streaming services and new business models have opened the door to “consumer-friendly innovation.” Continue reading Justice Department to End the Paramount Consent Decrees

T-Mobile Will Launch its 5G Networks in the U.S. This Year

T-Mobile plans to debut its U.S. 5G service on December 6, with a low-frequency 600MHz radio signal and 5G-capable devices to provide high-speed service to 200 million customers. The carrier has been building out its 5G capabilities for over a year and expects to be able to cover 5,000 cities and towns by the end of 2019. Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren are the two devices customized for T-Mobile’s 5G network. China, meanwhile, rolled out the world’s largest 5G network, via three state-owned carriers. Continue reading T-Mobile Will Launch its 5G Networks in the U.S. This Year

U.S. Investigates TikTok App Based on Security Concerns

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is conducting a national security review of Chinese company ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly, in November 2017, for $800 million to $1 billion. ByteDance merged Musical.ly, an app popular among teens for making karaoke videos, with its similar service TikTok. Over the past year, TikTok has been downloaded 750+ million times, and U.S. lawmakers are concerned about its growing influence. One source said the U.S. has evidence TikTok sends data to China. Continue reading U.S. Investigates TikTok App Based on Security Concerns

Netflix Seeks Growth Abroad, Bumps into Local Censorship

Streaming services have operated worldwide, largely untouched by local censorship laws. As Netflix expands, however, it’s starting to encounter local sensitivities. So far, the company has experienced the impact of local laws in Turkey, India and Saudi Arabia. In its 2018 annual report, among business risks, Netflix listed “censorship” and “the need to adapt our content and users interfaces for specific cultural and language differences.” But with subscriber growth plateaued at home, Netflix must seek expansion abroad. Continue reading Netflix Seeks Growth Abroad, Bumps into Local Censorship

Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today

Apple’s revenue climbed 1.8 percent to $64.04 billion, due to sales in wearables and services such as apps, mobile payments and streaming-music subscriptions. Meanwhile, iPhone sales fell 9.2 percent and profit fell 3 percent to $13.69 billion. The company’s operating expenses have also risen 9 percent as it embraced facial recognition for the new iPhone and increased R&D spending. In advance of the Apple TV+ debut on November 1, Apple held a gala event for “The Morning Show” at New York’s Lincoln Center. Continue reading Apple Experiences Mixed Q3, Launches Apple TV+ Today

AT&T Reveals More Info About HBO Max, Debuting in May

AT&T revealed more information about its HBO Max streaming service, scheduled to debut in May 2020. The service, priced at $14.99 per month, will be free for existing HBO and HBO Now subscribers, and premium AT&T customers, and feature shows from TV producer Greg Berlanti and actress/producer Mindy Kaling as well as content from HBO and Warner Bros. movie/TV library, including “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.” It is also acquiring streaming rights for shows such as Comedy Central’s “South Park.” Continue reading AT&T Reveals More Info About HBO Max, Debuting in May

Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Netflix is testing variable playback speeds with a small group of Android users, much to the dismay of many Hollywood creatives. Judd Apatow, Brad Bird and Aaron Paul were among those who spoke against the feature, with Apatow noting that “distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.” There is evidence that some users prefer to consume media at faster speeds, to improve concentration and cover more material. Netflix vice president Keela Robison said subscribers had “frequently” requested the feature. Continue reading Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Verizon Offers Free Disney+ for Unlimited Data Customers

Verizon Communications, the largest U.S. wireless provider, will provide a year of free access to Disney+ for its customers who have unlimited data plans. About half of Verizon’s 100+ million customers currently pay for an unlimited data plan. Disney’s new film and television streaming service will debut November 12 and cost $6.99 per month. Verizon will also offer a year of free Disney+ to its FiOS Internet and 5G home broadband subscribers. Disney+ is one of several new streaming services targeting Netflix’s dominance. Continue reading Verizon Offers Free Disney+ for Unlimited Data Customers

Netflix Remains Confident, Despite Increased Competition

For the second straight quarter, Netflix fell short of its subscriber-growth target. For some, this raises questions about Netflix’s ability to fend off competition in an increasingly crowded market, particularly as traditional media companies continue flooding the space with video-streaming services. On Wednesday, however, Netflix shares rose 8.5 percent based on news that the overall subscriber base did grow in the 3rd quarter, it didn’t lose domestic numbers, and it also saw strong international subscriber growth.

Continue reading Netflix Remains Confident, Despite Increased Competition

Hulu Advances Personalization With Like/Dislike Buttons

Ahead of the launch of two new streaming services, Disney+ and Apple TV+, Hulu is taking steps to add more personalization to its platform. After launching an enhanced recommendation engine that takes into account what viewers watch and when, it’s now introducing Like and Dislike buttons that will enable more personal and accurate content recommendations. The new buttons now appear across the Hulu platform. When using a living room device, you’ll see them on the Details page; when using a computer, you’ll see them on the Homepage.

Continue reading Hulu Advances Personalization With Like/Dislike Buttons

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