Creative Artists Agency Signs Its First Virtual Influencer Client

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) signed Miquela, a 19-year old Brazilian-American model, pop singer and social influencer. Unlike CAA’s other clients, however, Miquela is a virtual character, created by California-based tech startup Brud in 2016. She first appeared on Instagram where, as “Lil Miquela” she garnered 2.2 million followers. She also has almost 550,000 TikTok followers. CAA plans to work with Miquela on “TV, film, and brand strategy and commercial endorsements, raising the prospect of a movie or show featuring the character.” Continue reading Creative Artists Agency Signs Its First Virtual Influencer Client

Apple Acquires Virtual Reality Live Streaming Service NextVR

Apple has purchased NextVR, a virtual reality video service that offered 360-degree access to live events, including sporting events from NBA, WWE and NHL. With a VR headset, users could enjoy the feeling of “presence” in NextVR’s panoramic stereoscopic 3D scenes. The company also offered 2D smartphone access and planned to support augmented reality devices. The service never became popular, however, and a failed 2019 funding round followed by the coronavirus-related cancellation of sporting events left it struggling to survive. Continue reading Apple Acquires Virtual Reality Live Streaming Service NextVR

Twitter Users Can Follow 300+ Subjects via Topics Feature

On November 13, Twitter is launching Topics, a feature aimed at new or intermittent users that allows them to follow more than 300 subjects. By following a topic, the user will see tweets from experts in that arena. Twitter began testing the feature on Android in August. Topics team lead Rob Bishop noted, “the main reason that people come to Twitter is to keep up on the things that they’re interested in … [but] the challenge is it’s really quite difficult to do that on Twitter day to day.” Continue reading Twitter Users Can Follow 300+ Subjects via Topics Feature

Facebook Debuts Showcase Upfront-Style Advertising Sales

Facebook debuted Facebook Showcase, a premium video-ad program to let buyers for online video/TV ads nail down guaranteed rates and impressions up to one year in advance. With the program, Facebook makes a more aggressive move into upfront buys for its content; its previous program only let advertisers buy video ads one quarter in advance. The Showcase program, which is now only available for ad campaigns aimed at U.S. audiences, coincides with the company’s increase in original content for its Watch video service. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Showcase Upfront-Style Advertising Sales

Facebook Expands Watch Party, Playlist Makes Music Social

Facebook is expanding its Watch Party feature globally, to all Pages and all users. The company debuted the feature to all Groups in July 2018; in the following months, users streamed more than 12 million Watch Parties, which allow remote viewers to watch and comment together in real time. According to Facebook, these Watch Parties have resulted in eight times as many comments as the number generated by non-live videos in Groups, which the company regards as a “key metric” that the feature does indeed encourage engagement. Meanwhile, a new app named Playlist is bringing similar social interaction to music. Continue reading Facebook Expands Watch Party, Playlist Makes Music Social

Industry Leaders Discuss Audience Engagement at CES 2018

C Space and the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES focused attention on media companies and the quest for attention from a fragmented and easily distracted audience. Six executives on the “Let’s Get Connected: Titans of Audience Engagement” panel represented a cross-section of audience segments from PBS and Pinterest to Vice and WWE. Each revealed layers beyond the sheer numbers of viewers or video streams to show the value of knowing and then engaging with your audience. Moderator Gayle Fuguitt of Foursquare framed the discussion as “better channels for connecting brands and audiences.” Continue reading Industry Leaders Discuss Audience Engagement at CES 2018

Facebook Builds Watch Audience with WWE and Vice Series

Facebook is building audiences for its new Watch video platform with a strategic series of deals and productions. The social media platform nabbed exclusive rights to “Mixed Match Challenge,” a 12-episode 20-minute live weekly show from WWE that it will begin streaming on January 16 in the U.S. only. The ad-free series is an elimination, tag-team tournament that matches male and female stars from “Raw” and “SmackDown Live.” Facebook also ordered three original weekly series from Vice Media, all of them unscripted. Continue reading Facebook Builds Watch Audience with WWE and Vice Series

Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

In a significant departure from its traditional business model, Disney announced it plans to pull its movies from Netflix and roll out two of its own online streaming services. Early next year the company will introduce an ESPN streaming service that is expected to cover 10,000 events each year, including MLB, NHL and MLS content. The company also plans to launch a Disney-branded streaming platform in 2019 that will offer its movies and TV programming as well as original content exclusive to the service. Following the news, Netflix stock dropped 7 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Disney to Introduce Streaming Services Over Next Two Years

Twitter Expands Video Ad Tools with Generous Revenue Share

Twitter hasn’t kept up with other social media platforms with advertising offerings, say some critics, but newly reappointed chief executive Jack Dorsey hopes to buoy the company’s fortunes with an array of new video advertising products. One of Twitter’s major advantages from the advertiser’s point of view is its emphasis on international, national and local live events. Whether Dorsey’s bid to curry favor among advertisers works to appease Wall Street, however, remains to be seen. Continue reading Twitter Expands Video Ad Tools with Generous Revenue Share

NHL and MLB Advanced Media Team Up on Digital Global Hub

Major League Baseball’s fast-growing technology arm and the National Hockey League have announced a $600 million deal involving TV and digital rights to NHL games and related content. MLB Advanced Media will pay $100 million annually for six years to take control of NHL digital and broadcast operations, including NHL.com and distribution of live out-of-market games. The deal is also expected to lead to a fully integrated global hub including live game streaming, video, social media, apps, and statistical and analytical content. Continue reading NHL and MLB Advanced Media Team Up on Digital Global Hub

HBO Outsources its Streaming Tech Development to MLBAM

A project called “Maui” being developed internally at HBO to launch the company’s standalone streaming video service next year has been terminated. Instead, HBO has opted to outsource the development of its service to MLB Advanced Media, a company with experience in streaming media technology. As a result of Maui’s cancellation, HBO has also parted ways with its chief technology officer, Otto Berkes, who had been with the company since 2012 and oversaw the project.  Continue reading HBO Outsources its Streaming Tech Development to MLBAM

Yahoo Announces New Shows and Broadcast Partnerships

At this week’s Digital Content NewFronts event in New York, Yahoo announced a new slate of online comedies and lifestyle programs to be available this year. In addition to the original programming, Yahoo has partnered with WWE to create an online wrestling hub scheduled to launch this summer, and will feature select streaming content from Conde Nast Entertainment, ABC News and CNBC. Continue reading Yahoo Announces New Shows and Broadcast Partnerships