Welcome to Rerun, your weekly round-up of the most interesting news stories from the future of video, VR and TV, curated by Axonista.
We are delighted to bring you exciting news!
What do Whistle Sports, Twitch, Storyful, RYOT, Refinery29, Jukin Media, Awesomeness TV and The Paramount Network have in common? Apart from being awesome industry leaders, driving the future of TV and video forward?
They've been sharing their thoughts about the future of video with us and our friends at VideoInk this week at Cannes Lions. We have a super series of exclusive video interviews coming up with all of them and we can't wait to share them with you!
But first - Let's get to it!
How Hollywood got hacked: studio at center of Netflix leak breaks silence
This past May, 'Orange is the New Black' was leaked online a month and a half before its official release on Netflix. Larson Studios, who was involved in post production work for the show, has revealed it was the source of the leak.
In what reads like a plotline from Mr. Robot, a hacker or group of hackers, under the alias 'The Dark Overlord' had been scanning the internet for vulnerable PCs. The hacker/s happened upon an old computer at Larson Studios that was still running Windows 7; a saga of blackmail and lies then ensued. And in February Larson Studios quietly wired the hackers $50,000 in Bitcoin to hush the matter up.
Unfortunately for Larson Studios, 'The Dark Overload' subsequently used stolen material to blackmail Netflix and other Hollywood studios.
The company has since overhauled its security measures. Audio and video files are kept separate, data leaving the house is encrypted by default, networks are separated, and computers on premises are locked down.
But the lesson here, as CEO Rick Larson points out, 'Don't trust hackers'.
Future of TV
People-based TV ads are almost ready for prime time. Here’s why
Get ready for creepy targeted ads to follow you to your TV!
Addressable TV is going to be big business, with an ad spend of almost $2.2 billion in the US by 2018 projected by the Video Advertising Bureau.
Addressable TV gives advertisers the ability to send a particular commercial to a particular household. Marketers use targeting data they can cross check with pay TV providers.
This kind of advertising on Instagram or Twitter, is creepy, but bearable, because you can scroll right past.
However, targeted advertising is still mostly useless when informing purchase decisions, as users are exposed repeatedly to ads for items just purchased, or informed that Facebook friends like a particular service (so what?).
In order for Addressable TV to be successful, the industry really needs to think about usefulness, and context rich relevance.
As TV is shared experience, does everyone want their internet history following them around on the main screen in front of their entire family? Nope.
Netflix's interactive shows arrive to put you in charge of the story
Netflix’s first interactive episode has arrived on the platform, with 'Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale'. Netflix have chosen to begin the experiment with a children's show, and we think this is an awesome idea as 'Kids think everything is interactive'.
At Rerun, we fired up Netflix to take a look. Our initial thoughts are that voice control would be a neat interactive layer: this would simplify the experience on Smart TVs, Roku devices & Apple TV where a user requires a remote to interact. The reason being that especially if watching on a TV. There are a total of 13 narrative points at which to make a story choice, and at these points, the interactively is well explained and fun.
We think the likelihood of this format rolling out to shows like House of Cards might not be feasible. The writing team for 'Puss in Books', had to create 4 possible endings, each different interconnecting story points. All of this had to be created, meaning 4 shows worth of content produced just 1 episode. Interactive shows could be too expensive to create in the mainstream, for now. We think that for the moment, mixed media content like 360 video could be a more likely fit.
Netflix is currently in the thick of competition. But we think that if Netflix can master interactive shows, this format could give it a competitive advantage - but one that will take loads of cash to master.
A new startup from Nokia employees is trying to fix VR's biggest technical problem
Led by former Nokia and Microsoft product managers, the new Finnish company Varjo seems to have cracked one of VR's biggest technical problems - resolution. Anyone who has tried a VR headset will be familiar with the blurriness of the image, but Varjo's technology claims to be 70 times clearer than the current generation of VR, making it very close to "human eye resolution". You can see the difference in the image above.
But don't expect to be purchasing one anytime soon. Varjo expects to release the consumer version sometime in 2018, and it will be priced in the 'thousands of dollars' range. Still, now that they've announced it we expect to see others follow suit before too long, as VR is an intensely competitive industry.
Star Trek virtual reality game boldly goes with IBM Watson
If there’s any franchise that demands AI commands to make an experience more immersive and reflective of a scenario in franchise’s TV show, movie or game, it’s Star Trek.
It’s fitting, then, that Ubisoft, the French video game publisher behind Star Trek Bridge Crew, has announced that the game will support Watson's speech-to-text and Conversation functionality. This support will be in an "experimental beta period" for a currently unspecified amount of time, but it's live on Vive and Oculus Rift on PC, and PlayStation VR on PS4.
The mixture of VR and AI seems to be key to creating a vivid and compelling experience. Perhaps the most telling quote comes from Piers Harding-Rolls, research director for IHS Markit:
When it comes to virtual reality, you're looking for something to keep you in the experience. Using your voice to engage with characters in the game is a step further, it adds believability to the experience you're having, unlike if you had to use a controller.
Twitch signs exclusive streaming deal with Blizzard, will offer loot giveaways to Prime customers
Many of the great developments in recent times for esports have been around funding and partnerships for esports leagues. However, there have also been major developments in the licensing of streaming and broadcasting eSports events.
Amazon-owned Twitch have just signed a two-year deal with Blizzard Entertainment that ensures exclusive third-party streaming rights for over twenty of the developer’s premier esports events. Along with licensing its competitions, Blizzard will also reward Twitch Prime customers with in-game content for Overwatch, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
Competition in gaining licensing to esports has increased in recent years with YouTube locking down both the CS:GO ESL Pro league and ECS League and Facebook securing 5,500 hours of ESL content. Amazon, through Twitch, is now in the mix with these major players, which in itself is a fascinating competition deserving of its own league.
- See all the Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners
- YouTube ‘heatmaps’ for 360 video show where viewers are looking
- Rocket League is NBC’s test drive for esports
- Streaming sports startup FuboTV raises $55 million
- Intel signs on as an Olympic sponsor, promising VR and 360-degree video
- Comcast is developing a blockchain video advertising platform
Dive Into Dalí Art Like Never Before In This VR Museum
The new VR museum comes with a promise to ‘view, touch, and even step inside of over 280 pieces of Dalí’s original artwork without the hassle of waiting in line.’
While Dalí is no longer with us, we’d like to think he’d appreciate this fan fiction style spin on his great artworks, especially given its potential to both expose a new generation to the fabulously bonkers world of Dali, and open up the art museum experience to those who aren't able to visit in person.