Amazon, Google Ramp Up Competition in Smart Home Market

Although Amazon currently sells a certain number of Google smart home Nest devices, the company has decided to stop doing so, thus ramping up the competition in this space between the two tech behemoths. Nest employees apparently had been expecting the move, which came in a conference call last year when Amazon said it would not list any of the newer Nest products such as the Nest thermostat and Nest Secure home security system. The decision reportedly came directly from Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos. Continue reading Amazon, Google Ramp Up Competition in Smart Home Market

Twitch’s Reality Show Aims to Promote Aspiring Video Stars

Twitch will debut its reality competition show, “Stream On” on March 8, featuring 14 online video personalities vying for a $60,000 prize over an 11-week period. The competition and its prize money is intended to help finance and promote the streaming careers of new Twitch Partners who are building audiences already, but have yet to break out. Those selected to compete are gaining recognition for talent beyond gaming, such as art, comedy, cooking and music. The show will be produced by Twitch Studios and air live on Twitch.tv. Continue reading Twitch’s Reality Show Aims to Promote Aspiring Video Stars

Google Plans to Maintain Current Spending on YouTube Red

Google plans to maintain its current level of spending on the YouTube Red streaming service for the next two years, unlike Amazon and Netflix, both of which continue to up their investments. After switching its video strategy more than once, YouTube is currently approaching entertainment in three ways: its YouTube Red on-demand streaming service, live video service YouTube TV, and a new music streaming product. YouTube Originals are a “driving force” on YouTube Red, says the company’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl. Continue reading Google Plans to Maintain Current Spending on YouTube Red

Brands Pressure Platforms to Resolve Hate, Fake News Issue

Social media platforms that placed ads on pages espousing extremism and hate have vowed to take steps against this, but the brands involved, from AT&T to Kellogg, are also getting flak for appearing on the sites and inadvertently funding the purveyors of fake news and hate speech. That has happened because brands now depend on automated ad technology to reach targeted demographics, but they are now re-evaluating that strategy; Unilever is considering leaving YouTube and Facebook unless they gain control of the situation. Continue reading Brands Pressure Platforms to Resolve Hate, Fake News Issue

Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

Walmart’s tech incubator, Store No. 8 recently purchased Spatialand, a small virtual reality startup that specializes in software tools designed for transforming existing media content into immersive experiences. The acquisition is part of Walmart’s plans to create future shopping experiences for store locations and websites. Spatialand founder Kim Cooper and 10 employees will join Walmart; Store No. 8 principal Katie Finnegan will serve as interim CEO. Financial terms were not revealed. Continue reading Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

NBC, Intel and Snap to Stream Live Video of Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics is going to get wide coverage from NBC, which plans to live broadcast the events in PyeongChang, South Korea across all time zones and without delays. In contrast to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this one will feature even more video on social media platforms. NBC and Intel plan to stream 30 events in virtual reality, including the opening ceremony, and Snapchat is launching a tool for NBC to feed snippets of live coverage into its app. Continue reading NBC, Intel and Snap to Stream Live Video of Winter Olympics

Growth in Number of Twitch Partners, Affiliates Earning Money

Amazon-owned Twitch revealed new metrics regarding its popular game streaming service, including more than 2 million monthly streamers and 15 million daily visitors, an increase in Partners who profit from their Twitch videos (27,000), and the number of its Affiliate streamers (150,000). While the total number of Twitch’s creator community held steady in 2017, the increase in number of people making money on the platform is compelling, even as it faces new competition from YouTube Gaming. Continue reading Growth in Number of Twitch Partners, Affiliates Earning Money

YouTube Plans to Include Labels for All State-Funded Videos

YouTube, targeting content that promotes conspiracy theories as well as state-sponsored content, says it will begin to label all videos coming from state-funded broadcasters. That may even include the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), but in fact is intended to target such bad actors as RT, the Russian state news organization identified by U.S. intelligence as the Kremlin’s main international propaganda unit. Last year, YouTube reportedly had 5.5 million views across 20 channels of RT content. Continue reading YouTube Plans to Include Labels for All State-Funded Videos

Awesomeness Delivers DreamWorksTV on Amazon Channels

Digital media company Awesomeness has launched DreamWorksTV on Amazon Channels, marking the first time DreamWorksTV is transitioning to another online platform (it launched on YouTube in 2014 and currently has more than 3.7 million subscribers). The channel, targeting viewers aged 6-12, will offer kids’ programming and original content exclusively for Prime members via Amazon Channels, the e-commerce giant’s a la carte TV service. The DreamWorksTV streaming OTT offering will run $4.99 per month following a 7-day free trial period.

Continue reading Awesomeness Delivers DreamWorksTV on Amazon Channels

Silicon Valley Could Compete with Pay TV in Streaming Sports

Silicon Valley companies are getting closer to becoming major players in sports broadcasting. Up until now, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Verizon and Yahoo have been happy to ink contracts for various smaller sports packages that allow them to stream what has already been broadcast by the TV networks. But that scenario may be poised for a change, evidenced by the recent bidding war for primetime TV rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” (Fox just signed a 5-year broadcast agreement, but a digital partner has yet to be announced). Continue reading Silicon Valley Could Compete with Pay TV in Streaming Sports

YouTube TV Signs Exclusive Deal with New Pro Soccer Team

According to Variety, “YouTube TV has secured exclusive rights to games with a new Major League Soccer team in Los Angeles, marking the first time a streaming service of any kind has made such a deal with a U.S. pro sports team instead of a TV alternative.” YouTube TV will also have naming rights to the Los Angeles Football Club’s jerseys when the team joins MLS next month. The games will be restricted to YouTube TV subscribers in the LA market, who will not be charged extra for access to the games (beyond the standard $35 per month subscription fee). Continue reading YouTube TV Signs Exclusive Deal with New Pro Soccer Team

Facebook, Google and Twitter Talk About Russian Interference

Facebook, Google and Twitter faced Congress in the past weeks to answer questions about how Russian companies and troll farms spread deceptions and inaccuracies before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The digital tech companies were also asked if there was evidence of collusion between the Russian actors and the Trump campaign, and Google was asked specifically about its commercial dealings with a Russian broadcaster that, say federal intelligence agencies, is a Kremlin propaganda outlet. Continue reading Facebook, Google and Twitter Talk About Russian Interference

YouTube Gaming’s Streamer Base Experiences Major Growth

A new Streamlabs report suggests that Twitch rival YouTube Gaming is gaining significant traction. While Twitch continues its lead in live streaming video, YouTube’s monthly active streamer base increased by 343 percent during 2017. Twitch attracted 27,000 concurrent streamers in Q4 2017, while YouTube Gaming had 7,000, notes TechCrunch. “Twitch also saw 788,000 concurrent viewers in Q4, up from 736,7000 in the prior quarter.” YouTube was “second with 308,000 concurrent viewers, followed by Periscope’s 80,000, Facebook’s 27,500 and Microsoft Mixer’s 5,000.” Continue reading YouTube Gaming’s Streamer Base Experiences Major Growth

Snapchat Debuts Stories Shared via Web to Spur User Growth

Snap has just made a radical change to how users can share their stories, in a move to expand its reach. Now, even people who haven’t downloaded the app will be able to access content via a link. Anyone with an official account, like celebrities, will be able to share stories, hosting the content on Snapchat.com. People without official accounts who submit content publicly to a group video will also be able to share their content. With this change, videos on Snap will be seen by more people, which could increase downloads. Continue reading Snapchat Debuts Stories Shared via Web to Spur User Growth

YouTube Introduces Plan to Unify Artists’ Disparate Channels

YouTube debuted plans to streamline its service by consolidating artists’ channels. In doing so, it will combine separate channels for live albums, music videos, live performances, single songs and complete albums to a single site. Among YouTube’s many music partners, the new plan will especially impact Vevo channels where Official Artist Channels, marked with a musical note, will be the first thing a user sees in search. Channels can still be accessed with YouTube’s advanced channel filter in search. Continue reading YouTube Introduces Plan to Unify Artists’ Disparate Channels

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