Companies Prep for Brunt of California Consumer Privacy Act

Beginning January 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will allow that state’s residents to find out exactly what personal data companies hold about them — and ask them to delete such information. Consumers will also have the option of opting out of allowing their personal information to be sold. The legislation — which was designed to make Amazon, Facebook, Google and others more transparent — will impact a wide range of companies, large and small, including airlines, banks, retailers and restaurants. Continue reading Companies Prep for Brunt of California Consumer Privacy Act

Lawmakers Aim to Control Malicious Content Enabled by AI

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee began a series of hearings to look into “emerging technological breakthroughs” to control malicious content posted on digital platforms by AI-enabled software including bots. Facebook head of global policy management Monika Bickert testified that the company has prioritized the development of such tools. Chief information officers at numerous tech companies are paying attention, worried that lawmakers are considering regulating the use of AI. Continue reading Lawmakers Aim to Control Malicious Content Enabled by AI

Trade War with China Could Impact Hollywood’s Box Office

In the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, Hollywood is feeling the impact, as the Beijing-based government has begun to limit Hollywood’s ability to sell its entertainment products. Four people who do business in China or closely follow its relations with Hollywood are commenting to the press on the worsening relationship. China, currently the world’s second-largest film market, requires government approval for film distribution. “I don’t want to use the words ‘total freeze,’ but it’s real,” said SK Global head and “Crazy Rich Asians” producer John Penotti. “They’re not saying it officially, but the industry is operating as if it’s close to a total shutdown.”

Continue reading Trade War with China Could Impact Hollywood’s Box Office

AT&T Rolls Out Its Ad-Buying Service for Premium Content

AT&T’s ad unit Xandr has launched its ad-buying platform that offers exclusive access to AT&T’s customer data and assists companies in purchasing ad space across formats including mobile and streaming video. The platform, called Xandr Invest, will let advertisers buy ads on AT&T properties such as CNN, TBS and TNT, and will serve as the only ad-buying platform for Xandr’s Community marketplace that also features curated content from publishers such as Philo, Tubi and Vice. AT&T will compete in advertising with Google and Facebook, which combined represented almost 60 percent of the Internet ad market last year, according to PwC. Continue reading AT&T Rolls Out Its Ad-Buying Service for Premium Content

Google and Amazon Use AI to Improve Speech Recognition

Google’s artificial intelligence researchers made an unexpected discovery with its new SpecAugment data augmentation model for automatic speech recognition. Rather than augmenting input audio waveforms, SpecAugment applies augmentation directly to the audio spectrogram. Researchers discovered, to their surprise, that models trained with SpecAugment out-performed all other speech recognition methods, even without a language model. Amazon also revealed research on improving Alexa’s speech recognition by 15 percent. Continue reading Google and Amazon Use AI to Improve Speech Recognition

Mobile Use, Online Shopping and Video Spur Digital Ad Growth

A report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows marketers are spending considerably more on digital advertising due to an increased use of mobile devices, as well as online shopping and greater consumption of video, music and podcasts. Digital advertising ramped up 23 percent to $49.5 billion in the first half of 2018, from $40.3 billion during the same period in 2017. Of that, advertisers spent almost 63 percent ($30.9 billion) on mobile advertising in 2018, compared to 54 percent in 2017. Continue reading Mobile Use, Online Shopping and Video Spur Digital Ad Growth

Facebook Fails to Police Device Makers’ Use of Personal Data

Last month, Facebook admitted that it failed to properly oversee the seven device manufacturers that the company allowed to access personal data of hundreds of million of people in order to build a so-called Facebook Experience. The Silicon Valley company detailed its errors, which was detected by its own government-approved privacy monitor in 2013, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a privacy advocate and frequent Facebook critic. Meanwhile, Facebook users whose data was compromised have not been alerted. Continue reading Facebook Fails to Police Device Makers’ Use of Personal Data

Apple iTunes Losing Market Share for Movie Rentals, Sales

Apple’s iTunes Store continues to lose market share for video viewers. In 2012, say sources, the company was responsible for well over 50 percent of movie rentals and sales; that figure has now decreased to between 20 percent and 35 percent. The figures are uncertain because no trade group or company tracks market share of digital movies, but several Hollywood studios have reported a decline in the amount of business with iTunes. An Apple spokeswoman said the company is targeting subscription services, an area experiencing significant growth. Continue reading Apple iTunes Losing Market Share for Movie Rentals, Sales

PwC Forecast Points to Growth in Gaming, VR and eSports

Consulting firm PwC predicts a 6.3 percent compound annual growth rate for console video games over the next five years in the U.S., with revenue increasing from $21 billion in 2016 to $28.5 billion in 2021. “That doesn’t include PC games microtransaction revenue, which is expected to grow from $3 billion in 2016 to $4.2 billion in 2021,” reports VentureBeat. PwC also predicts social and casual games will surpass console games this year. Meanwhile, the PwC forecast points to significantly faster growth rates for virtual reality and eSports in the U.S. Continue reading PwC Forecast Points to Growth in Gaming, VR and eSports

Established Companies Look to Startups for New Tech Growth

Major U.S. corporations are beginning to see acquisitions of startups as a way to purchase rather than develop new technologies, a major turnaround from many decades of avoiding Silicon Valley. Until recently, established manufacturers preferred to build their own new products or buy other deep-rooted companies. Then, in 2015, Ford Motor Company bought Chariot, a crowd-sourced commuter-shuttle startup for $65 million, signaling a change in strategy, not just among auto-manufacturers, on how to move into future technologies. Continue reading Established Companies Look to Startups for New Tech Growth

China’s Tencent Pictures Seeking New Hollywood Acquisitions

Alibaba Pictures Group and Dalian Wanda Group have been spending big to acquire Hollywood companies, in their quest to make homegrown movies and capture a bigger portion of that nation’s huge box office. Now, Tencent Pictures, the film unit of China’s biggest Internet company, has joined that fraternity, with chief executive officer Edward Cheng saying acquisition targets could be in Hollywood and include creative and/or production companies. China’s box office is projected to reach $10.4 billion in 2017. Continue reading China’s Tencent Pictures Seeking New Hollywood Acquisitions

New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

When Apple unveils its next generation Apple TV product this Wednesday at its scheduled event in San Francisco, insiders say videogames will be one of the key selling points. The move marks a departure for Apple TV, which has thus far been marketed as a device for streaming video and music content. The device will reportedly feature the components necessary for generating interest from casual gamers, including more power and a faster processor for improved graphics, a motion-sensitive remote that could also serve as a game controller and an app store for downloading games. Continue reading New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

2015 CES: Wearables to Take Many Forms at the Sands Expo

Wearables made a surprisingly robust showing at the 2014 International CES. At the next Consumer Electronics Show in January, a Wearables Marketplace (Sands, Level 2) will gather companies providing products from “high-tech fashion and smart jewelry to wearables that track your mood, activity and even your pets, as well as the newest augmented reality devices.” Other wearable providers will be found in the Smart Watches, Health & Wellness and Sports Tech Marketplaces, all located in the Sands Expo. Continue reading 2015 CES: Wearables to Take Many Forms at the Sands Expo

PwC Study: Electronic Home Video to Top Physical by 2016

According to new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, box office and digital revenue is expected to steadily increase over the next five years, while rentals and sales of discs are projected to sharply decline. PwC predicts that electronic home video revenue will exceed revenue of physical home video by 2016. Not surprisingly, DVDs are facing a questionable future. PwC estimates that physical home entertainment revenue will decline from $12.2 billion in 2013 to $8.7 billion in 2018. Continue reading PwC Study: Electronic Home Video to Top Physical by 2016

The Future of Media: Global Shift, Away from U.S. And Europe

Media as a business and cultural force is in a period of transformation in all respects. There is a shift underway in media consumption from the U.S. and Europe toward Asia, Africa and Latin America. Print and music may be declining, but TV and on-demand content remain strong. Low-cost mobile devices continue to impact the creation, distribution and consumption of content for a new global audience. As a result, there is an increased focus on non-English media content. Continue reading The Future of Media: Global Shift, Away from U.S. And Europe

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