Publishers Rethink Sharing Content on Social Media Platforms

The trade group Digital Content Next just released a report that details how some publishers of newspapers and other media outlets are pulling back on their use of Facebook’s Instant Articles program. The change comes as publishers re-examine their business models, especially vis-à-vis social media platforms. Publishers have hosted stories on Facebook, rather than their own websites, so they load more quickly on mobile phones. But these publishers also chafe against Facebook restrictions on the number and types of ads in Instant Articles. Continue reading Publishers Rethink Sharing Content on Social Media Platforms

Industry Vets Discuss Goals of Producing Immersive Content

Niko Chauls, director of emerging technology for the USA Today Network, and David Hamlin, executive producer of the “VRtually There” series, sat with ETC’s Phil Lelyveld for a one-hour conversation at CES. USA Today Network has the largest newsgathering force in the U.S., comprised of 109 local properties plus USA Today. Chauls has a near-term goal of delivering 360-degree segments reliably on a weekly basis. He sees a reliable flow of quality 360-degree content as the key to both growing the audience and attracting advertising sponsors. Hamlin would like to gear his team up to deliver three stories per week. He reiterated that it is good storytelling that builds the audience and attracts advertisers. Continue reading Industry Vets Discuss Goals of Producing Immersive Content

Internet and the Body: Growing the Fitness Wearables Market

Is the honeymoon over for fitness wearables? That’s on the mind of New York Times technology writer Eric Taub who quizzed executives in the field about what he perceives as declining interest in fitness trackers and smartwatches. TomTom president Jocelyn Vigreux countered that the industry is actually in its infancy. “We’re on a curve and the curve is steep,” he said during the CES session. “We’re at the dawn of an explosion of innovation precisely because we have so much capital and smart people invested in wearables.” Continue reading Internet and the Body: Growing the Fitness Wearables Market

Virtual Reality Will Be a Major Force at CES 2017 Next Month

In 2016 the definition of virtual reality became somewhat diluted as it entered mainstream culture. Everything from non-interactive 360 videos viewable on a tablet to free-roaming full-body head-mounted display experiences inside warehouse spaces was marketed as VR. We saw ‘magic window’ VR experiences, a push for consumer HMDs including Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, and the introduction of low-cost alternatives such as Google Cardboard. It should come as little surprise that more than 210 companies exhibiting at CES 2017 use the keywords AR and/or VR in their descriptions; 72 are clustered in the Gaming and VR Marketplace section in South Hall Lower Level between spaces 21760 and 26025. Continue reading Virtual Reality Will Be a Major Force at CES 2017 Next Month

Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facebook plans to fund original productions and license original video content from media companies and digital celebrities for its platform. To be led by Facebook head of global strategy Ricky Van Veen, the new initiative is still in its nascent stages; a spokesperson only says the company is reaching out to many potential partners. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has steadfastly insisted Facebook is not a media company, but given this decisive move towards content, that will be a difficult position to maintain. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

CBS is launching apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV that will add 360-degree videos to CBSN’s news coverage. The apps will debut with a show documenting production of a “60 Minutes” episode on searching for gorillas in Africa. The apps, which will also feature a new playlist for 360-degree videos, will offer curated video playlists, a personalized playlist of favorite videos and features for finding related videos. Viewers will be able to use their remote control to navigate the videos. Continue reading CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

In January, Chrome will begin placing a “not secure” warning on the left of its address bar for websites that do not use strong HTTPS-connected encryption, which accounts for nearly half of the world’s existing sites. Up until then, Chrome has only posted warnings on HTTPS sites with faulty encryption. Later in 2017, Chrome plans to expand the categories of sites for which it will issue warnings, including any unencrypted pages visited via Chrome’s Incognito and any HTTP site offering downloads. Continue reading Chrome Tightens Up Security Warnings for Unencrypted Sites

Google’s AMP Speeds Mobile, But Ad Limits Raise Concerns

A year after Google introduced its Accelerated Mobile Pages, aimed at speeding up content on mobile platforms, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Hearst, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Vox Media and many other publishers are using it. But the reviews are mixed, since, with AMP, Google has begun to send users to stripped-down pages rather than to the publisher’s mobile website, and publishers say they are not generating revenue from AMP pages at the same rates as their full mobile sites. Continue reading Google’s AMP Speeds Mobile, But Ad Limits Raise Concerns

Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

Having exited beta, Google’s VR platform Daydream is now available to developers who can use the VR SDK to build virtual reality experiences for Daydream-capable phones and headsets. Daydream is already baked into Android 7.0 (Nougat) and can also integrate with Unity and Unreal game engines. Apps to be available at launch include CNN, HBO, Hulu, IMAX, MLB, NBA, Netflix, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts games. Daydream was first introduced at Google I/O in May. Continue reading Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

Lytro Debuts First VR Film Shot with Immerge Camera System

Up until now, virtual reality content from The New York Times, the United Nations, Facebook, YouTube and others is actually more accurately described as 360-degree video. What that means is that, although it is immersive, the viewer can’t move inside the VR experience, limited to three “degrees of freedom” (3DOF). In computer-generated videogames, the player has six degrees of freedom (6DOF), and Lytro has advanced its plans to bring that to cinematic virtual reality with its light field camera system. Continue reading Lytro Debuts First VR Film Shot with Immerge Camera System

Facebook Risks Alienating its Users by Blocking Ad Blockers

Facebook is now able to block all ad blockers on its desktop website, enabling advertising to run unimpeded. The move has ignited a firestorm of discussion about the ethics of ad blocking: digital ads are irritating, but they also underpin the business model of the very digital publishers who provide content. Publishers as established as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are struggling with eroding ad sales. Wired, Forbes and NYT have also tried out techniques to counter ad blocking. Continue reading Facebook Risks Alienating its Users by Blocking Ad Blockers

How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

Publishers have gravitated to sponsored content — stories, videos and podcasts that mimic journalistic content — to cope with rapidly changing online advertising. The Atlantic, Slate and The New York Times are among the publications that count sponsored content as a significant portion of their revenue. Companies such as Vice and BuzzFeed have created businesses centered on focused content. But the definition of sponsored content is shifting as viewers move from news sites towards Facebook and other social media platforms. Continue reading How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

YouTube, Facebook to Stream Video from Political Conventions

Earlier this week, we reported that Twitter is partnering with CBS News to live-stream video content from the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Now YouTube and Facebook have announced they also plan to offer live video. Google’s YouTube will serve as the official streamer for both parties’ conventions (as it did in 2012), which this time will include 360-degree video with an option for VR viewing. Facebook plans to set up media lounges at both conventions and has invited 22 media organizations to broadcast from their spaces. Continue reading YouTube, Facebook to Stream Video from Political Conventions

Facebook Now Favors Friends Over Publishers in News Feed

Facebook is again changing its News Feed algorithm, this time to favor postings by the users’ family and friends over those from publishers. The result will be that postings, including links, videos and photos, from publishers of all sizes will appear less prominently in users’ News Feeds. That means that The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Vice and others will get less traffic than they have become accustomed to receiving. More than 1.65 billion users per month view Facebook’s News Feed feature. Continue reading Facebook Now Favors Friends Over Publishers in News Feed

Cannes Lions Advertising Fest Highlights Branded VR Content

At the Cannes Lions advertising festival, Google issued its first ranking of 360-degree video ads on YouTube, which have already garnered 20 million views. BMW’s VR racing experiences earned a No. 1 spot on the list, which also included McDonald’s, Oreo and Hyundai. Google has distributed 5 million Cardboard viewers for watching VR with a smartphone. The company acknowledges these are early days for virtual reality, but also believes that more access to smartphones will hasten more adoption. Continue reading Cannes Lions Advertising Fest Highlights Branded VR Content

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