YouTube Shorts Will Be Available on Living Room TV Screens

YouTube is laying the groundwork to bring its YouTube Shorts to Google TV and Android TV. While the company’s take on TikTok’s vertically framed, quick-hit content has been enormously successful — racking-up as many as 30 billion views in one day on mobile devices this year — there is as yet no dedicated TV support for the phone-first format. That’s about to change according to reports filtering out of an internal partner event. While the meeting centered on Alphabet’s own smart TV formats, as a content-provider YouTube’s past practices have tended to platform agnosticism. Continue reading YouTube Shorts Will Be Available on Living Room TV Screens

Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

U.S. audiences have been showing up at theaters to see summer blockbusters, a happy plot twist for an industry that saw the bottom fall out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Films such as Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” have proven that despite the surge in streaming, audiences will trek out of the home for content that rises to the level of an event. “There’s no question that we’re coming back — in relevance, and in actual behavior,” said Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein. Continue reading Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

vETC to Discuss Virtual Production During SIGGRAPH

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host its 6th vETC virtual conference at SIGGRAPH 2022 in Vancouver, British Columbia, August 9-11. During this year’s vETC at the Amazon Web Services booth (1039), speakers will present concepts, workflows, business models and case studies as they apply to virtual production. Many of the companies that worked on ETC’s latest R&D film project, “Fathead” will discuss their discoveries in sessions that will be recorded and posted on ETC’s YouTube channel. The 3-day program with list of speakers and gear to be demonstrated is available on the ETC site. Continue reading vETC to Discuss Virtual Production During SIGGRAPH

Sony Completes Its $3.7B Purchase of Bungie Game Studio

Sony Interactive Entertainment has completed its acquisition of the Bellevue, Washington-based Bungie game studio. In an effort to allay antitrust concerns, the developer of the “Destiny” game series will operate as an independent subsidiary of Sony, its mandate to “continue to independently publish and creatively develop our games,” Bungie CEO Pete Parsons wrote in a blog post. Both firms have offered assurances that future game development will not be limited to PlayStation exclusives. Sony valued the developer of “Destiny” and “Destiny 2” at approximately $3.7 billion in a Friday SEC filing. Continue reading Sony Completes Its $3.7B Purchase of Bungie Game Studio

Netflix Explains Its Camera Requirements and Best Practices

Netflix has updated details for approved camera systems as part of its content delivery requirements. “While capturing at a higher resolution is certainly important to image quality, we know it’s not everything,” Netflix camera systems specialist Kris Prygrocki shared, emphasizing that other attributes include dynamic range, color accuracy, noise performance, sensor readout speed, compression, chrome subsampling and bit depth. Other considerations are post-production software support for the recorded file format, proper color management and metadata options, Prygrocki said. Netflix has had camera standards since 2019. Continue reading Netflix Explains Its Camera Requirements and Best Practices

UK Competition Authority Analyzes Microsoft-Activision Deal

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority opened an antitrust investigation last week into Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard takeover, analyzing whether the deal could harm competition “for example, through higher prices, lower quality, or reduced choice.” The inquiry was announced the same day the CMA said it is looking into Amazon’s use of data from third-party sellers. In January, Microsoft shared plans to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion — a record-setting price for a tech acquisition — with a planned fiscal 2023 close. The CMA has set September 1 as the deadline for its initial decision. Continue reading UK Competition Authority Analyzes Microsoft-Activision Deal

Adobe Debuts ‘Content Credentials’ to Battle Misinformation

Adobe is releasing an open source developer toolkit that aims to prevent the spread of visual misinformation by including additional metadata that Adobe calls Content Credentials. The system is also designed to help content creators indelibly tag authorship to their work. Announced in 2019, the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) project has released a whitepaper introducing the system, which is integrated into Adobe software. The CAI has teamed with hardware manufacturers and newsrooms to help ubiquitize its vision. The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have signed aboard. Continue reading Adobe Debuts ‘Content Credentials’ to Battle Misinformation

Sony Interactive Bundles Cloud Gaming with PlayStation Plus

Sony Interactive Entertainment is launching an upgraded version of its PlayStation Plus subscription service that includes access to the separate PlayStation Now cloud gaming platform for one monthly fee. This week’s launch in North and South America will be followed by Europe and Australia in late June, completing the global rollout that Sony began in Asia in late May. “Fans worldwide can now enjoy hundreds of fantastic games available in the PlayStation Plus catalog,” SIE president and CEO Jim Ryan said, emphasizing that “the service will continue to grow with new monthly game offerings” that include PlayStation’s most popular titles. Continue reading Sony Interactive Bundles Cloud Gaming with PlayStation Plus

ByteDance on Hiring Spree for Expansion of Its Pico VR Unit

ByteDance appears ready to make a splash in the U.S. virtual reality market and is expanding the presence of its Pico VR unit on the West Coast, as per recent job listings. The Beijing-based ByteDance purchased Pico in August 2021, and now has more than 40 open positions posed for operations in San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. According to Pico’s website, the company makes “best in class” wireless VR headsets, and in addition to the U.S. has operations in Europe, China and Japan. Many of the current job listings are for a content division called Pico Studios. Continue reading ByteDance on Hiring Spree for Expansion of Its Pico VR Unit

Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Amazon is combatting inventory shortages with a new invite-based ordering protocol for high-demand products, starting with U.S. fulfillment of the Sony PlayStation 5 game console, followed by Microsoft’s Xbox Series X. The idea is to prevent hoarding by “scalpers” who program bots to buy in quantity then resell the items at significant markup. Participation does not require Prime membership, merely a request for the invitation. Amazon plans to roll the program out to more countries as it strives to ensure a positive shopping experience for individual customers and households. Continue reading Amazon Intros Invite-Based Ordering for High-Demand Items

Sony: Smartphone Camera Tech Will Make DSLRs Obsolete

A top Sony executive predicts smartphones will make DSLR cameras obsolete by 2024. Speaking at a business briefing, Sony Semiconductor Solutions president and CEO Terushi Shimizu said the company expects smartphone cameras “will exceed the image quality of single-lens reflex cameras within the next few years,” Nikkei Asia reports. According to the Sony presentation, “still images are expected to exceed interchangeable lens camera (ILC) image quality” within three years. In addition to the older DSLR tech that has fallen by the wayside, the ILC category also includes more modern mirrorless cameras. Continue reading Sony: Smartphone Camera Tech Will Make DSLRs Obsolete

Sony Uses Bungie to Expand Presence in Live Service Gaming

After purchasing Bungie for $3.6 billion in February, Sony Interactive Entertainment is aiming to grow its live gaming services from one to 12 by the end of 2025. SIE president and CEO Jim Ryan detailed a plan to funnel 49 percent of the company’s PlayStation Studios development budget into live games this year, increasing the number to 55 percent by 2025. Sony wants to move to a model of launching and continually updating online franchises, much like Epic Games has done with “Fortnite” or Bungie with “Destiny.” SIE didn’t specify which titles would be part of its new live game network. Continue reading Sony Uses Bungie to Expand Presence in Live Service Gaming

Cloud, Virtual Production Power New Workflows at NAB Show

Cloud computing and virtual production were the hot tickets at NAB 2022, where attendance was 52,468, down 40 percent since the previous most recent live show in 2019, when 91,500 convened in Las Vegas. And there were fewer exhibitors (about 900 vs. roughly 1,600 three years ago). But some things never change. Amazon Web Services, ARRI, Blackmagic, Quasar Science and Mo-Sys were among the notable companies touting cloud-based and virtual production solutions. And Sony Electronics wowed the crowd with a sprawling booth that featured its new Venice 2 digital cinema camera. Continue reading Cloud, Virtual Production Power New Workflows at NAB Show

Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

Epic Games has raised $2 billion in a funding round that will fuel the company’s ambition to build a metaverse. Investments of $1 billion each came from existing shareholder Sony Group and Kirkbi, the family-owned company that owns 75 percent of the Lego Group. Epic continues to have a single class of common stock outstanding and remains controlled by founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, who launched the company in 1991. The fresh funds — the largest game company raise since 2002, according to PitchBook Data — positions Epic’s post-money equity valuation at $31.5 billion, the company says. Continue reading Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms

As the Renaissance was a reaction to the Dark Ages that preceded it, so too the entertainment industrial complex finds itself on the brink of a fruitful new era of technological and creative achievement triggered by COVID-19. The need for remote production has encouraged a cross pollination of new tools and techniques that will likely lead to significant change in the next era of media production. Roaring back to an in-person event in Rancho Mirage last week after hosting a virtual summit in 2021, the HPA Tech Retreat 2022 showcased the groundbreaking exchange between content-makers and tech providers. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms