AI-Powered Auto-Dubbing May Soon Become Industry Norm

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are poised to revolutionize the dubbing process for media content, optimizing it for a more natural effect as part of an emerging movement called “auto-dubbing.” AI has impacted the way U.S. audiences are experiencing the Netflix breakout “Squid Game” and other foreign content, as well as helping U.S. programming play better abroad. Its impact is in its nascency. Soon, replacing rubber-lip syndrome with AI-enhanced visuals that enable language translation at the click of a button may become the industry norm.  Continue reading AI-Powered Auto-Dubbing May Soon Become Industry Norm

Streaming Surge Makes CTV Video Top Ad Growth Platform

Surveys indicate the continued acceptance of Connected TV with advertisers, programmers and viewers, making it the fastest growing advertising platform. While this has largely been the result of housebound audiences during the pandemic, future growth is projected to be strong. A Leichtman Research Group survey shows more than 80 percent of TV households possessing at least one connected TV device (higher penetration than cable TV), which translates to 4.1 devices per CTV household. Study results also reveal that 39 percent of adults watch streaming video daily, with 60 percent streaming weekly. Continue reading Streaming Surge Makes CTV Video Top Ad Growth Platform

Apple to Expand Hollywood Ambitions with Regional Campus

Apple is expanding its Los Angeles footprint, building new regional headquarters in the northern part of Culver City. Construction is in progress on two adjacent buildings comprising more than 550,000 square feet on a lot flanked by National, Venice and Washington boulevards. Apple says the complex will house teams working on Apple TV+, Apple Music, engineering and artificial intelligence at a site near the new Ivy Station development and Metro Expo Line stop. Apple already has more than 1,500 employees working in a leased 128,000-square-foot Culver City office.  Continue reading Apple to Expand Hollywood Ambitions with Regional Campus

73rd Engineering Emmy Honorees Include Dolby and Hastings

The Television Academy has announced the companies and individuals that will be honored at the 73rd Engineering Emmy Awards, among them Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, recipient of the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dolby Laboratories, honored with the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award. The awards honor individuals, companies or organizations for developments in broadcast technology. The latest honorees — ranging from creators of high-end special effects tools to systems that help maintain distancing protocols — will be recognized at a live ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles Hotel on October 21. Continue reading 73rd Engineering Emmy Honorees Include Dolby and Hastings

Comcast Launches Sky Glass Smart TV with Streaming in UK

Comcast’s European subscription service Sky has officially launched its anticipated smart TV set, Sky Glass, which allows customers to stream Sky and other content services over the Internet without a set-top box or satellite dish. Sky was acquired in 2018 by Philadelphia-based Comcast, which paid $39 billion for the European pay TV service. Sky Glass is currently available in 43-, 55- and 65-inch sizes in five colors — white, pink, green, blue and black. The televisions will be sold in the United Kingdom beginning October 18 with launches to other European markets starting next year. Continue reading Comcast Launches Sky Glass Smart TV with Streaming in UK

Netflix Continues Games Push with Purchase of Night School

Netflix continues its push into video games with the acquisition of Night School Studio, best known for developing narrative titles like “Oxenfree.” The move is part of a plan to expand the Netflix membership library to include “exclusive games designed for every kind of gamer and any level of play,” said vice president of game development Mike Verdu in a statement announcing the purchase. Within the past month the streaming service released two “Stranger Things” games globally and issued three Android mobile games in Poland, Italy and Spain. Netflix games have no ads or in-app purchases. Continue reading Netflix Continues Games Push with Purchase of Night School

Disney+ Leverages Social Platforms to Draw Streaming Subs

After analyzing hundreds of social media ad campaigns by the top streaming ad platforms, BrandTotal has found that Disney+ is leading in paid share-of-voice, with 30 percent of all impressions. HBO Max is next with 23 percent, with Hulu in third place at 21 percent. The top-five included Peacock with 16 percent and Paramount+ at 7 percent. Meanwhile, the report found Apple TV+ and Netflix to be the least active social media advertisers, with 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively. BrandTotal’s report — Social Intelligence Competitive Snapshot: The Streaming Wars — analyzed paid social advertising campaigns over 90 days beginning June 23, 2021. Continue reading Disney+ Leverages Social Platforms to Draw Streaming Subs

Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

Comcast is upping its hardware play, launching a branded wireless streaming device, the XiOne, and offering TVs running its own software, dubbed XClass in the U.S. The cable giant plans to make XiOne its branded global platform. Comcast describes XiOne as a plug-and-play device with faster processing, more memory and a voice-activated remote. It supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, Wi-Fi 6, 4K UHD and HDR. XiOne boxes are currently available in Italy and Germany to some subscribers of Sky Q, which Comcast owns. Comcast has begun introducing the devices in the U.S. to customers using older boxes.  Continue reading Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

Hollywood Is Hiring Social Media Stars for Film and Television

The clout of social media in traditional entertainment is recognized with coverage in The Wall Street Journal, which reports Netflix paid 20-year-old TikTok star Addison Rae more than $20 million as a lead in the romantic comedy “He’s All That,” the top U.S. performer on the streaming service upon its August premiere. A documentary series featuring TikTok’s Charli D’Amelio launched on Disney’s Hulu service this month, while producer Brent Montgomery, with credits including reality TV hits such as “Duck Dynasty” and “Pawn Stars” has sold Netflix “The Hype House,” about influencer roomies. Continue reading Hollywood Is Hiring Social Media Stars for Film and Television

Viewers Choose Episode Order in Netflix Heist Series ‘Jigsaw’

Netflix is exploring another interactive story approach with its upcoming eight-part series “Jigsaw,” currently in production. The heist thriller will allow viewers to watch the first seven episodes in any order, culminating in a designated finale that will tie things up, no matter the path chosen by different viewers. Branching story structure is nothing new to fans of video games and Netflix previously experimented with the format in the “Black Mirror” special “Bandersnatch” and “Love, Death + Robots,” but “Jigsaw” shakes things up a bit in that the series arc can be constructed at random. Continue reading Viewers Choose Episode Order in Netflix Heist Series ‘Jigsaw’

Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

After an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), Apple agreed to let Netflix, Spotify and some other companies use payment methods outside Apple’s App Store when users sign up for subscriptions. Analysts dub the move a “strategic retreat” from what has been a huge source of revenue for Apple. During Epic Games’ lawsuit against the tech giant, lawyers revealed that 81 percent of the App Store’s 2016 revenue came from games, 3 percent from music and 4 percent from other forms of entertainment. Continue reading Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

More Americans Now Subscribing to Multiple SVOD Services

According to Leichtman Research Group, the number of U.S. consumers subscribing to more than one of the big three SVOD services — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu — more than doubled to 58 percent in 2021, up from 28 percent 2016. Overall, 78 percent of U.S. households now subscribe to one of the three, compared to 59 percent in 2016. Among those that have any of the three top-tier SVOD services, 74 percent also pay for a second service of some sort, versus 47 percent in 2016. Findings from LRG’s Emerging Video Services study are based on a survey of 2,000 households nationwide. Continue reading More Americans Now Subscribing to Multiple SVOD Services

Government Reveals U.S. Agencies Using Facial Recognition

The federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that, out of 24 U.S. government agencies surveyed, 19 of them are using facial recognition, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and numerous other smaller agencies. The GAO report added that as use of facial recognition “continues to expand … members of Congress, academics, and advocacy organizations have highlighted the importance of developing a comprehensive understanding of how it is used by federal agencies.” Continue reading Government Reveals U.S. Agencies Using Facial Recognition

Adobe Is Buying Collaborative Video Software Firm Frame.io

Adobe is purchasing cloud-based video collaboration platform Frame.io for $1.275 billion in a deal expected to close in Q4 2021, which ends in late November. Frame.io co-founder and chief executive Emery Wells and co-founder John Traver will join Adobe, with Wells leading the Frame.io team and reporting to Adobe chief product officer Scott Belsky, who is also executive vice president of Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe will integrate the company’s review-and-approval functionality with Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and “other Adobe Creative Cloud applications.” Continue reading Adobe Is Buying Collaborative Video Software Firm Frame.io

Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Netflix now blocks residential IP addresses in its efforts to stymie VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. But some ordinary Internet users without a VPN have been impacted and now report “missing content” on Netflix. When Netflix began this crackdown six years ago, it was in response to copyright holders complaining about piracy. But the ban hit a lot of legitimate VPN users and VPN pirates found other ways to get around geographic blocking including using residential IP addresses as proxies. Continue reading Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown