Facebook Inks Video Deals with Media Brands and Celebrities

In a bid to fill the Facebook Live pipeline with high quality video, Facebook has inked deals with almost 140 media companies including CNN, The New York Times, Vox Media, Tastemade, Mashable and The Huffington Post, and celebrities including Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, Deepak Chopra and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson. With these high-profile media contracts, Facebook plans to tap into a potentially lucrative advertising market, as well as more deeply engage its 1.65 billion monthly users. Continue reading Facebook Inks Video Deals with Media Brands and Celebrities

Virtual Reality Naysayers Dub VR ‘Prison’ and ‘Health Hazard’

Virtual reality may be the hottest technology trend now, with new headsets, cameras and content in high gear. But not everyone is enthused. Two naysayers have had big audiences for their caveats recently. The New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo has dubbed virtual reality “a prison of fantastical sights and sounds.” On Quora, a community-sourced Q&A site, military flight simulator expert Steve Baker wrote VR headsets are a major health hazard that can disorient the human brain and damage the eyes. Continue reading Virtual Reality Naysayers Dub VR ‘Prison’ and ‘Health Hazard’

Facebook Launches 360 Photos for Sharing Immersive Images

Facebook just introduced a new way to view panoramas and VR photos on smartphones. Rather than zooming in and out, the new feature, dubbed 360 Photos, will allow the user to simply upload a panorama or photo from an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, 360 app or the Ricoh Theta camera and its ilk, which Facebook will then convert. Via a compass icon, the user can then scan the photo by tilting the phone or click/tap-and-dragging. A Gear VR user can tap the “View in VR” button to scan the 360 photo by moving his head. Continue reading Facebook Launches 360 Photos for Sharing Immersive Images

Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Since Facebook rolled out Live to everyone in December, it’s quickly built momentum, distinguishing itself from YouTube and other video platforms, and building a massive audience. Although Facebook had to overcome a range of technical challenges to enable hundreds of thousands of phones to stream at the same time, it used its expertise and engineering capacity to do so. Now, Facebook is encouraging celebrities and broadcasters to create Live content, and is also working on a business model to share eventual revenues. Continue reading Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Advertisers Seek New Ways to Combat Growth of Ad Blocking

For advertisers, ad blocking is a problem that’s quickly getting bigger, as more consumers download ad-blocking apps and browsers. Mobile marketing company Tune just released a new report that predicts that ad blocking could comprise 80 percent of smartphone owners by Q3 2017. In response, advertisers are exploring ways to block the ad blockers. Digital advertising trade group Interactive Advertising Bureau has written a primer on how to block the blockers, and even The New York Times is testing ways around them. Continue reading Advertisers Seek New Ways to Combat Growth of Ad Blocking

Google Takes On Facebook with Faster Mobile News Delivery

Google has updated its mobile search with a fast-loading format, developed with input from various publishers, so that smartphone users can access news articles more quickly. Conducting a Google search will now bring users to a horizontal carousel of articles where each news item will feature a lightning bolt icon and the letters ‘AMP’ (Accelerated Mobile Pages). Clicking on an article will bring it up almost immediately. The new format comes as Facebook is expanding its Instant Articles program in an effort to speed the delivery of news articles and videos. Continue reading Google Takes On Facebook with Faster Mobile News Delivery

Google to Speed Up the Web with Open Source AMP Initiative

Google is readying an attempt to reinvent the mobile Web with its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, which has taken just nine months to develop and launch. AMP, a response to proprietary platforms such as Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple’s News, is an open source platform that dramatically speeds the loading of Web pages, in part by caching content on the cloud. By the time AMP launches, Google will also allow publishers to track analytics, sell ads and put paywalls in place. Continue reading Google to Speed Up the Web with Open Source AMP Initiative

Apple News App Glitch Causes Underreporting of Readership

Apple announced that it has been underestimating the number of readers using the Apple News app to read news from more than 100 publishing partners. The company is working on fixing the problem, but for now, neither the publishing partners nor Apple know how popular the app has become. Publishers need an accurate number to manage their advertising strategies. Executives at the publishing partners have been underwhelmed by the reported traffic from the Apple News app so far. Continue reading Apple News App Glitch Causes Underreporting of Readership

A Twist on Wearables: Two Examples that Use Data Differently

Wearables have mostly been discussed in terms of the data they provide — be it steps walked, calories burned or blood pressure measured. Two examples showcased by The New York Times tech writer Eric Taub at CES do more than simply serve data to the user, differences that help to define this new category. One uses sensory information and a rhythmic feedback to change people’s level of happiness and energy; a second was developed by academics, medical centers and Apple to conduct a global medical study on heart health and exercise. Continue reading A Twist on Wearables: Two Examples that Use Data Differently

VR Exploding at Sundance Fest, to Reach $70B Value by 2020

At the Sundance Film Festival in January, the New Frontier program will host 30 virtual reality experiences, more than double the number from last year. Those 30 were chosen from a pool of 200 to 300 submissions. Most projects are artistic or experimental but two came out of Hollywood, highlighting continued interest there. Now, pointing to Facebook and Google’s big investments and recent VR experiments by the National Basketball Association and The New York Times, one market researcher projects virtual reality’s value at $70 billion by 2020. Continue reading VR Exploding at Sundance Fest, to Reach $70B Value by 2020

Social Ads Aimed at Journalists Becoming More Sophisticated

Marketers and advertisers have targeted ads to journalists and “influencers” for some time. But the practice is getting more advanced and pervasive, as Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies offer more granular targeting tools. In fact, the latest efforts now target customized messages to journalists as specific publications, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Reaching individuals who work in media can now be accomplished in a variety of ways, including using profile or email information.

Continue reading Social Ads Aimed at Journalists Becoming More Sophisticated

New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

The New York Times debuted its second, and most ambitious VR film, “The Displaced,” along with its NYT VR app, which can be viewed with Google Cardboard. Produced in partnership with VR studio Vrse, the 11-minute documentary, which focuses on the daily lives of three refugee children across the world, was directed by Ben Solomon and Imraan Ismail and shown at a premiere that included a panel discussion that included participation of Vrse chief executive Chris Milk, who characterizes virtual reality as “the last medium.” Continue reading New York Times Debuts VR App, VR Film on Refugee Children

YouTube Democratizes VR, Stays a Step Ahead of Competition

YouTube is introducing 360-degree VR videos as well as a virtual movie theater for all YouTube videos. Anyone with a Google Cardboard headset and the Android app can begin viewing the ten or so VR videos that YouTube produced; the iOS app is coming soon. YouTube’s VR features come just before The New York Times ships 1.3 million Google Cardboard sets and its own VR documentary, “The Displaced.” YouTube’s assertive move into VR is widely seen as a way to stay a step ahead of the competition, Facebook in particular. Continue reading YouTube Democratizes VR, Stays a Step Ahead of Competition

Facebook Unveils Plan to Share Revenue with Video Creators

Facebook, which just achieved a milestone of more than a billion daily users, has announced plans to share revenue with Facebook video content owners and launch a news app. The moves are aimed at keeping users on the platform as long as possible, and its competitors have the same goal in mind: Apple has its newsreader Apple News, partnering with The New York Times; Twitter Moments links tweets in a traditional story format; and Snapchat Discover app showcases stories from publishers including CNN, Vice, People and National Geographic. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Plan to Share Revenue with Video Creators

Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

At The New York Times’ DealBook conference, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings pointed to a broad, sustained growth of consumer spending on entertainment as proof that there is not enough television content currently available. Great content, he said, will find viewers. The bar for quality is rising, he noted further, and said Netflix is maintaining its high standards by working with other production companies. As an example, he pointed to “Narcos,” which was produced with French company Gaumont. Continue reading Netflix Chief Exec Tells Conference: “There’s Not Enough TV”

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