Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

After more than six months of negotiations, Nexstar Media Group has struck a deal with Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery to acquire a 75 percent stake in The CW Network. Paramount and WBD will each continue to hold a 12.5 percent stake in The CW and will continue to provide scripted programming for it through the 2022-23 season after the deal closes, which Nexstar expects to happen in Q3. Financial terms were not disclosed, though Variety reports Nexstar is not paying cash, but rather assuming “a large chunk” of The CW’s “more than $100 million” in debt. Continue reading Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

AI Coding Tools Speed Process to Offset Developer Shortage

New AI-powered coding tools such as Amazon’s CodeWhisperer and Copilot from GitHub and OpenAI may be giving some developers the jitters. Following splashy debuts for both programs last week, GitHub CEO Thomas Dohmke offered public assurances that Copilot is not designed to replace coders, but to speed the process, alleviating a software developer shortage. Similar to Copilot, CodeWhisperer can autocomplete Java, JavaScript and Python functions based on a comment or some keystrokes. Amazon says it trained the system using billions of lines of open source code, publicly available documentation and its own codebase. Continue reading AI Coding Tools Speed Process to Offset Developer Shortage

Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

Seventy two percent of Americans say they “love” their user experience with streaming services, according to Nielsen’s State of Play report, which notes that 93 percent of those surveyed will increase their streaming subscriptions or make no change, despite nearly half the respondents admitting they’re somewhat overwhelmed by options. As of February, U.S. viewers could choose from more than 817,000 unique program titles, compared to about 646,000 in 2019. In the 12 months ending February 2022, Americans’ upped their average weekly video streaming time by 18 percent, to 169.4 billion streaming minutes, from 143.2 billion. Continue reading Nielsen Says Viewers ‘Love’ Streaming but Find It Confusing

No-Code AI and Prediction Tools Bring Coding to the People

A new AI revolution is underway, turning people who know little about coding into developers. Called “no code,” startups are emerging to productize this new category, which essentially lets people use familiar, clickable web interfaces and even natural language to automate tasks or create simple applications, while machine learning takes over the rest. Proponents predict it will be a game-changer, powering a brigade of “citizen developers” to leverage artificial intelligence without knowing how to write code. Startups entering the space include Juji, which makes creating AI chatbots as easy as programming PowerPoint. Continue reading No-Code AI and Prediction Tools Bring Coding to the People

OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

OpenAI unveiled a $100 million OpenAI Startup Fund to fund early-stage companies pursuing ways that AI can have a “transformative” impact on healthcare, education, climate change and other fields. OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman said the Fund will make “big, early bets” on no more than 10 such companies. OpenAI, with funding from Microsoft and others, will manage the Fund. Selected projects will get “early access” to future OpenAI systems, support from OpenAI’s team and credits for Microsoft Azure. Continue reading OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

IBM Project CodeNet Employs AI Tools to Program Software

IBM’s AI research unit debuted Project CodeNet, a dataset to develop machine learning models for software programming. The name is a take-off on ImageNet, the influential dataset of photos that pushed the development of computer vision and deep learning. Creating “AI for code” systems has been challenging since software developers are constantly discovering new problems and exploring different solutions. IBM researchers have taken that into consideration in developing a multi-purpose dataset for Project CodeNet. Continue reading IBM Project CodeNet Employs AI Tools to Program Software

IBM CodeNet Enables AI Translation of Computer Languages

During its Think conference this week, IBM debuted Project CodeNet, an open-source dataset for benchmarking around AI for code. Project CodeNet consists of 14 million code examples, which makes it about 10 times larger than the most similar dataset, which has 52,000 examples. Project CodeNet also offers 500 million lines of code and 55 programming languages including C++, Java, Python, Go, COBOL, Pascal and Fortran, making it a Rosetta Stone for AI systems to automatically translate code into other programming languages. Continue reading IBM CodeNet Enables AI Translation of Computer Languages

Netflix Names Sarandos Co-CEO, Subscriber Numbers Grow

Streaming giant Netflix announced that chief content officer Ted Sarandos is now co-chief executive officer with long-time chair & chief executive Reed Hastings. The move is largely seen as clearing the path for Sarandos to eventually succeed Hastings, who noted that the promotion “makes formal what was already informal — that Ted and I share the leadership of Netflix.” The company added 26+ million subscribers in the last two quarters as consumers began seeking more in-home entertainment while sheltering in place due to COVID-19. Continue reading Netflix Names Sarandos Co-CEO, Subscriber Numbers Grow

YouTube to Roll Out Free Originals, Measurement Analysis

At IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts in New York City last week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki revealed that 2 billion monthly global users now watch more than 250 million hours of YouTube content on TV screens daily. The video hub is actively working on brand safety issues, plans to integrate Nielsen Catalina analysis to measure increases in offline sales, and — in a significant strategy shift — announced it would remove the paywall for some of its ad-supported original programming. Starting this year, all of the platform’s new original series and specials will be available for free. Continue reading YouTube to Roll Out Free Originals, Measurement Analysis

YouTube Taps Ben Relles to Lead Programming Innovation

Google’s YouTube is planning new original programming with a focus on live specials and interactive content. Ben Relles, former head of unscripted for YouTube Originals, will assume his new role as head of innovation to lead the initiative. Reporting to Susanne Daniels, global head of original content, Relles will be responsible for the development of new scripted and unscripted original programming intended to foster interaction and engagement with viewers. Interactive content has been getting more attention since the success of Netflix’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.” Continue reading YouTube Taps Ben Relles to Lead Programming Innovation

EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

The EU’s European Commission announced its plans to make Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services operating within the European Union to dedicate at least 30 percent of their catalogs to content produced locally. A final vote approving the new law, described as “a mere formality” by Roberto Viola of the European Commission, is expected in December. The European Union plans to publish a report that details the percentages of European projects that are tied to multiple streaming platforms. Netflix is reportedly already close to the 30 percent quota. Continue reading EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

Netflix Now Tops Broadcast, Cable, YouTube for TV Viewing

According to a new Cowen & Co. survey of U.S. consumers, subscription-video service Netflix is now the top choice for watching entertainment content on TV. In response to the question, “Which platforms do you use most often to view video content on TV?” — 27 percent of the 2,500 respondents said they prefer Netflix, while 20 percent opt for basic cable, 18 percent for broadcast television, and 11 percent for YouTube. Meanwhile, Netflix is reportedly testing a new Ultra tier that would allow simultaneous streaming of Ultra HD video and audio across four devices. Continue reading Netflix Now Tops Broadcast, Cable, YouTube for TV Viewing

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

NBC News Could Launch a Live-Streaming Product This Year

NBC News programming is currently available via broadcast television, cable channel MSNBC and social platform Snapchat. An additional distribution option to attract younger viewers is being considered. Speaking to reporters this week, NBC News and MSNBC chair Andrew Lack explained that execs are mulling a new live-streaming service. “Lack did not give a time frame for a launch, though he suggested the concept could roll out in 2018,” reports Variety. “He and Nick Ascheim, senior vice president of digital for NBC News, said executives were also considering whether the product would be free or require a subscription.” Continue reading NBC News Could Launch a Live-Streaming Product This Year

As Job Market Improves, Demand for Programmers Hits High

One of the greatest challenges to today’s economic growth is a lack of technology talent. Companies are adopting new strategies to find qualified software engineers, programmers and developers, including new apprenticeship and internship programs. The national unemployment rate hit 4.1 percent in January, its lowest since 2000. As the job market improves, demand for tech talent also increases. For software engineers, the unemployment rate was a mere 1.9 percent last year, which was down from 4 percent in 2011.

Continue reading As Job Market Improves, Demand for Programmers Hits High