Welcome to Rerun, your weekly round-up of the most interesting news stories from the future of video, VR and TV, curated by the Axonista team.
This week saw Sony and Nintendo announcing VR content, while Microsoft revealed a new VR-ready version of the Xbox One. It's clear that there's demand for VR among gamers, but what do they really think about VR? This video by Techcrunch attempts to answer!
Technicolor makes Hollywood’s digital dreams come true
In 2008, Technicolor was a very different company. It was becoming an obsolete business focused on film processing and duplication. Then Fred Rose came on the scene. By 2016, the company had completely exited film processing and had increased its presence in VR, connected devices, and visual effects.
Technicolor now features in every commercially available VR headset, from the Oculus Rift to Google Daydream. Its visual effect business touches 70% of studio movies, and it's the number 2 player in the connected home business, making set-top boxes and gateways for the likes of DirectTV.
It's a pretty stunning turnaround. Fred Rose, CEO of Technicolor, has evangelised Technicolor’s portfolio of businesses and found success. But at Rerun, we think their success comes from their understanding of the future.
In the words of Mark Turner, Technicolor's VP of Strategic Planning & Partnerships:
'VR is not one thing. Interactivity is not one thing. The modes exist on a continuum. On one end, you’ve got passive 360 video, where you’re a ghost, watching but unable to interact; on the other, we have fully immersive multiplayer games and cinematic environments, and in between is where most content and devices are right now. Not totally one thing or another. The first big hit in VR may be more like a game than a movie.'
The one big reason why BuzzFeed needs to break into TV
To think of BuzzFeed as a publisher of listicles and clickbait is to hold a very limited view. The BuzzFeed News division is a fountain of the kind of investigative journalism and storytelling that most newspapers have long given up on. Recently they've begun partnering with TV & film networks, like NBC, in order to bring these stories to life in video. This feature by Bloomberg offers an unseen level of insight into BuzzFeed's culture of experimentation, and its video and product ambition.
Already, people binge-watch prestigious television series on their mobile phones and stream low-resolution web ephemera onto their living room TVs. BuzzFeed, he (Jonah Peretti, Buzzfeed founder & CEO) says, is positioned to prosper on the further blurring of these distinctions.
“We view BuzzFeed as an incubator of talent and a test market,” says Jeff Wachtel, chief content officer for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “They bubble up all these great ideas we would not have the time and resources to. They have a way to measure whether those ideas have a potential audience.” In November, NBC invested an additional $200 million in BuzzFeed in a deal that valued Peretti’s company at about $1.7 billion.
Future of TV
Football clubs embrace the role of digital publisher
'In reality, we are a content company' - Rafael de los Santos, Real Madrid’s global head of digital
There is perhaps no clearer example to football fans of the changing nature of their favourite teams, than the rebranding of the crest of one of football's most historic clubs, Juventus. In their own words, the goal is to "extend its influence over international markets, beyond football".
Now fully aware of the importance of social media, and owning the media portrayal of star players, football clubs both big and small can be seen experimenting with different media platforms and technologies. Whether it's doubling down on TV at Manchester United or creating 360 Match Day videos at Manchester City, expect to see more clubs get more heavily involved in content creation in the coming season.
AI will shape the future of media. Here’s how.
There are few other trades that have been so visibly and so completely disrupted by technological advances than media and journalism.
In a well-rounded and well-researched article, James Edward Murray of NewsCart opines that AI and continued automation in newsrooms will continue to advance, particularly in production journalism, such as captioning, distribution and content recommendation. The key areas that publishers should consider for advancement? Emotion-recognition software that detects emotions; smarter and more functional Content Management Systems that accommodate AI.
Amazon is gaining ground on Netflix in Europe
Data compiled by Parrot Analytics indicates that Amazon Prime may be gaining European ground on Netflix. Amazon Prime is now active in 20 European countries, while Netflix is active in almost all European countries.
The study reveals that:
The average demand for Netflix programs fell by 32%, while demand for Amazon went up by 57% within the last year.
At Rerun, we think this should be approached with a little caution. Amazon have only in the past year launched Prime in Europe, and its rollout is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. We reckon that users may be signing up to Amazon Prime to check it out and closing or reducing their use of Netflix for the moment. We think the competition between the services is only just beginning.
We reckon two key areas of battle will take place on mobile and amongst younger audiences. Ooyala's, recent Global Video Index report, highlights that mobile viewing accounted for nearly 57% of all video plays worldwide in Q1 of 2017. While Mediacom have revealed in the UK market, an increasing number of children and teens are streaming content through smartphones.
The story of Netflix and Amazon Prime is only beginning.
It was inevitable, really: Netflix is turning into HBO
As Netflix continues its transformation into a global streaming giant, it has a product market fit issue to think long and hard about. When Netflix first launched, Ted Sarandos famously said that its mission was to 'become HBO faster than HBO can become us.' Netflix's recent culling of expensive, high-profile shows like Sense8 and The Get Down due to smaller than anticipated audience size, reveals that this strategy is still in place. Netflix's sweet spot lies in high-quality productions with mass audience appeal.
If it gets too niche, it risks losing segments of its audience, which would undermine its position as a one-stop shop. Yet, trying to be everything to everyone can lead to making mediocre things for no one.
We've seen Netflix break a lot of rules, releasing entire seasons in one go, simultaneously, globally. It's been crunching data to find out the exact type of content that resonates the most with its growing viewer base, and has funded, and resurrected a tonne of high budget shows.
At Rerun, we wonder if Netflix's own model of 'watch whenever you want' has removed the urgency from appointment to view TV, which could lead to a not quite complete data set when judging the success of a new show, or a second season. There's such an abundance and selection of high-quality originals available to watch that maybe the discerning Netflix user base hasn't just got around to viewing it all yet.
Facebook dives into scripted television with Nicole Byer comedy series
The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Facebook has teed up one of the first titles in its original video slate - a scripted TV comedy that was previously cancelled after airing for one season on MTV. It appears that Facebook has assembled an exec team from youth-targeted TV and video networks like MTV and College Humor, and is listening to them. With plenty of money to fund new (and old) originals, this is a very exciting one to watch.
The decision to revive Loosely Exactly Nicole reunites Byer with Mina Lefevre, who developed the series during her tenure as executive VP at MTV. She exited the Viacom network in February before moving to Facebook as head of development.
The Walking Dead is getting a series of VR games
This is super exciting! Other notable movies and shows have dabbled in VR, but the Walking Dead team are taking it one step further; the show will be getting an entire series of virtual reality games.
Skybound Entertainment, the production company co-founded by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, it is partnering with Skydance Interactive to create the games. The first game is scheduled for release in 2018.
VR shines at E3
VR is fast becoming a staple at expo's, conferences and festivals and this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Centre is no exception.
This year, the spike in content is evident. South Africa's the Times quotes the Entertainment Software Association as claiming that the number of E3 exhibitors involved with virtual or augmented realities more than doubled to 126 from 53 last year.
For gamers, Bethesda Softworks dropped VR versions of blockbuster video games "Fallout," "Doom," and "Skyrim". While the Times also reports that Sony has increased its library of games to accommodate its market of VR users. Users who have already snapped up one million PS VR units, along with some 5.25 million VR games. The key takeaway? Headset sales still have some way to go to in any way compete with PC's and consoles, but the increased amount of available content that is being generated by major games producers shows a remarkable confidence in VR experiences.
- Twitter picks up ‘Game of Thrones’ Live Aftershow from Bill Simmons’ The Ringer
- Google's getting serious about building its own iPhone
- Sky and Virgin Media announce strategic partnership to accelerate brand-safe targeted TV advertising
- YouView taps Amazon’s Alexa for voice controls
- Hands-on with new Chinese VR camera that shoots at 7k resolution
Repostered - Alternative movie posters
Repostered is a digital archive of movie posters made by fans or made for special re-releases and screenings. The creativity and beauty of these posters is pretty stunning. It's perfect coffee break browsing!