Blizzard Entertainment Reveals eSports Expansion Franchises

Blizzard Entertainment, which pioneered competitive eSports 20 years ago in South Korea, is busily turning eSports from a game into a genuine sport. This year, the company, which employs former NBA, NFL, ESPN and Fox Sports executives, launched the Overwatch League’s inaugural season with 12 teams. More than 20,000 spectators attended finals, held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, with the matches broadcast on ESPN. Blizzard also plans expansion franchises in cities in the U.S., Canada and China. Continue reading Blizzard Entertainment Reveals eSports Expansion Franchises

Verizon Plans to Debut 5G Services in Four Cities Next Month

On October 1, Verizon Communications will roll out a 5G package to residential customers in four cities: Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Signups for the service begin this week. The new 5G service relies on millimeter waves, higher-frequency spectrum that can carry more data but can’t travel as far or penetrate many hard materials. Verizon’s new chief executive Hans Vestberg pointed to 5G’s network reliability, low latency, energy efficiency, service deployment time and speedier connection to the Internet. Continue reading Verizon Plans to Debut 5G Services in Four Cities Next Month

Verizon Announces 5G Wireless Deals With Apple and Google

Apple and Google will be the first video providers for Verizon’s superfast 5G wireless service, slated to launch later this year in Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento, California. According to those familiar with Verizon’s plan, customers of the home broadband service will have the option to access live television via a free Apple TV box or a free subscription to the YouTube TV app. Verizon plans to introduce online services using 5G technology that matches or exceeds the speeds of landline offerings. Continue reading Verizon Announces 5G Wireless Deals With Apple and Google

NFL, Snap Extend Content Partnership for Next Two Seasons

The National Football League extended its content partnership with Snap for its 2018 and 2019 seasons, and added a Sunday experience, the Sunday Publisher Story, to deliver game news, highlights and hourly updates. The NFL content will continue to be featured in Snapchat’s Our Stories. In addition to the NFL, Snap has inked content partnerships with all major U.S. leagues as well as NBC and IOC for Olympics and Fox Sports for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The NFL and Snap signed their first deal in 2015. Continue reading NFL, Snap Extend Content Partnership for Next Two Seasons

Growing Strength of Amazon Advertising Biz Draws Concern

Amazon’s advertising and e-commerce businesses are growing in strength, challenging the dominance of Google and Facebook. That’s because Amazon holds the key to a very important piece of information for advertisers — what people buy — and the tech behemoth is beginning to leverage that data. Amazon still makes most of its revenue via e-commerce and Amazon Web Services, but in the first three months of 2018, revenue for advertising jumped 139 percent to $2 billion. This shift has advertisers concerned. Continue reading Growing Strength of Amazon Advertising Biz Draws Concern

Facebook Ramps Up its Live Sports Streaming With Boxing

Facebook plans to stream live boxing and related programming through a new deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Content “will be available to fans in the U.S. on Facebook Watch and globally via the Golden Boy Promotions page on Facebook,” reports Variety. Broadcasts will leverage social features such as “real-time fan interaction and engagement.” However, the bouts will not feature ads. Facebook, which has been experimenting with streaming live MLB games, recently secured deals “with action-sports company Nitro Circus and Fox Sports for Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league.” Continue reading Facebook Ramps Up its Live Sports Streaming With Boxing

Media Outlets See Advertising Boon in Legal Sports Gambling

The Supreme Court’s ruling now permits states to make their own decisions about legal gambling on sporting events. For media and advertising companies, the ruling could also be a boon to their bottom line. With gambling, viewers will want to follow live sports in greater detail, and expanded sports coverage means more advertising dollars. In anticipation of such legalized gambling, media executives are mulling over ideas for programming on their digital platforms that include more stats and betting options. Continue reading Media Outlets See Advertising Boon in Legal Sports Gambling

NBCUniversal, Google Ink Deal to Produce Multi-Episode VR

NBCUniversal and Google have teamed up to create and distribute 10+ multi-episode original 360-degree video and VR180 video productions, for “Saturday Night Live,” Bravo’s “Vanderpump Rules” and SYFY Wire among others. The two companies began their collaboration in January, producing a few 360-degree videos for “Saturday Night Live,” and, on Monday, they released two new videos related to “Vanderpump Rules,” which were produced with Google’s 360-degree video capture/production platform Jump. Continue reading NBCUniversal, Google Ink Deal to Produce Multi-Episode VR

Facebook Strikes Significant Deals With MLB, Warner Music

Facebook and Major League Baseball have agreed to an exclusive deal through which Facebook now has rights to stream 25 afternoon MLB games live on its social media platform. This marks the first time a major sports league in the U.S. has agreed to broadcast regular season games exclusively on Facebook — and the decision was unanimous among MLB owners. Though neither party disclosed financial details, people close to the matter say it is valued between $30-$35 million. Facebook also signed a major licensing deal with Warner Music Group. Continue reading Facebook Strikes Significant Deals With MLB, Warner Music

Netflix Debuts ‘Cloverfield Paradox’ as a Super Bowl Surprise

Much to the surprise of viewers watching Super Bowl LII, Netflix debuted a trailer for its much-anticipated sequel to “Cloverfield” and “10 Cloverfield Lane,” titled “The Cloverfield Paradox” — and announced that the movie, produced by J.J. Abrams, would be available to stream as soon as the game ended. During the evening, filmmaker Ava DuVernay tweeted her support for the “woman of color-led, sci-fi thriller released worldwide day + date w/ big Netflix muscle for black director, his super producer + POC cast.” Continue reading Netflix Debuts ‘Cloverfield Paradox’ as a Super Bowl Surprise

Silicon Valley Could Compete with Pay TV in Streaming Sports

Silicon Valley companies are getting closer to becoming major players in sports broadcasting. Up until now, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Verizon and Yahoo have been happy to ink contracts for various smaller sports packages that allow them to stream what has already been broadcast by the TV networks. But that scenario may be poised for a change, evidenced by the recent bidding war for primetime TV rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” (Fox just signed a 5-year broadcast agreement, but a digital partner has yet to be announced). Continue reading Silicon Valley Could Compete with Pay TV in Streaming Sports

NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

NBCUniversal inked a deal with NFL for the rights to stream “Sunday Night Football” to mobile phones, beginning in 2018 and including Super Bowl LII on February 4. The media titan, which will stream the games through its “TV Everywhere” mobile phone offering, has been streaming “Sunday Night Football” to various platforms since 2008, but this is the first time it will be able to stream the No. 1 primetime TV show on all digital platforms. Cable subscribers have had access to the games via apps for tablets and smart TVs. Continue reading NBCUniversal Snags Mobile Rights to ‘Sunday Night Football’

Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

Verizon Communications inked a deal valued at more than $2 billion with the National Football League, to show NFL football games on its mobile network, Yahoo, Yahoo Sports and go90 mobile platforms. The telecommunications giant will make Monday, Thursday and Sunday night national games available on its smartphone apps regardless of carrier, as well as playoffs and Sunday afternoon games from a user’s home market. National games, except Sunday afternoon games, will also be available on tablets. Continue reading Verizon Inks Deal for NFL Games on Yahoo, Mobile Platforms

AWS Expands Cloud Efforts with New Machine-Learning Tools

To compete in the profitable cloud-computing arena, Amazon Web Services debuted 20 new machine-learning tools this week at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. Tools include speech recognition and algorithms to automate decisions. The move helps Amazon compete better with Google and Microsoft, both of which are using their expertise in AI and machine learning to cut into its market share. Machine learning will also help potential developers that can’t create these capabilities on their own. Analysts estimate that Amazon dominates the cloud with a 44 percent market share. Continue reading AWS Expands Cloud Efforts with New Machine-Learning Tools

AWS Rolls Out Elemental Media Services for Video Providers

Amazon Web Services debuted AWS Elemental Media Services this week at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The suite includes five services, three based on existing AWS Elemental products and two new services. Announced by AWS chief marketing officer Keith Wymbs, the existing three products include live compression engine MediaLive, packaging technology MediaPackage and file-to-file transcoding engine MediaConvert. The two new services are MediaStore, for video delivery from storage optimized for media, and MediaTailor, a targeted ad insertion program. Continue reading AWS Rolls Out Elemental Media Services for Video Providers

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