Happy Friday! Welcome to Issue 84 of Rerun by Axonista!
In this week's Top Pick anonymous sources reveal to the WSJ that Google has signed up CBS to its upcoming YouTube-based web TV service, which is planned to launch in early 2017.
We also look at Snapchat's new TV-like model for Discover publishers; Netflix shakes off its weak subscriber growth; why it's a great time to be a journalist; the challenges of creating great VR experiences; and NextVR's all-new VR NBA coverage.
Let's get to it!
Google plans to take on TV
Google has signed up CBS to its upcoming web TV service, and is also in talks with Viacom, Fox and Disney. The service is reported to be a skinny bundle costing $30-$40 a month.
Late last year Apple reportedly gave up on their attempt to put together a similar bundle, after years of negotiations, so this service would be a big success for Google if they can pull it off.
Future of TV
Snapchat wants to stop sharing ad revenue with its media partners
Snapchat have always marched to the beat of their own drum. Their latest twist is a new deal for "Discover" publishers: Snapchat pays you up front, and Snapchat keeps all the ad money.
It means a guaranteed payday for publishers who create content for Snapchat, at the cost of limits on how much money they can potentially make. Some digital publishers are already prickling, but this licensing model is the same one that TV networks use and it will no doubt be welcome to many publishers.
Netflix adds 3.57M new subscribers, including 3.2M international, beating Wall Street expectations
The culprit was pretty much what we’d expected: people are getting excited about its new original content — and that might be enough to entice international consumers eagerly waiting to watch it and catching up on everything else in the mean time.
Netflix are still in the process of ramping up their Originals program but it's already bearing fruit in the form of new subscribers. The majority of the new subscribers were outside the US. This is likely due to Netflix's presence in new markets, their increasing catalog of localised content and some breakout international hits like Stranger Things.
Sharethrough’s Patrick Keane: Publishers without video strategies ‘will die’
“Every publisher, if they don’t have a sound, scalable video strategy, will die,”
Sharethrough president and Refinery29 investor Pat Keane appeared on the Digiday podcast this week and he did not hold back his opinions on what digital publishers need to be focused on, namely video and mobile. His main points:
- Facebook is scarier than Google ever was
- 70 is the new 50 for mobile traffic
- Many digital media companies hit the $100 million wall
It's a great time to be a journalist, says Channel 4's Jon Snow
No not that Jon Snow! Esteemed Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow, one of the most talented and widely respected journalists alive today.
This week he spoke at the Policy-UK Forum about the future of news, and he was full of praise for citizen journalism and video. We've seen the effects of it on platforms like Periscope, and at Channel 4 it's an important part of how they report the news.
“They’ve been producing amazing content. It shows that citizen journalists can be authoritative information providers. They exhibit integrity, capability and honesty. They blog, which means writing, they take pictures, still and video film, and then they edit.....”
While the economics of news may be changing too fast for some, there have never been more ways for journalists to tell a story. And ultimately the democratisation of technology means more opportunities for collaboration with local citizens in remote locations.
How game makers are struggling to make VR fun
Skipping past the unfairly negative headline, this is a great read about the challenges that game developers face when it comes to creating VR experiences. 3D gaming has matured enough that there is a clear 'language' and set of interactions that have emerged as best practices, such as causing your screen to black out as you take damage in a shooter. Not so in VR.
In VR this language has yet to be written. Every project is a blank slate, and developers are borrowing ideas from each other constantly. Concepts as fundamental as how you even move around or how you direct someone's attention have to be reimagined for VR. It means, for now, players are faced with lots of inconsistency in behaviour between games.
"I see a lot of developers using audio cues. You can't control where people look, but you can use directional audio to whisper in someone's ear, or trigger a loud noise that seems to come from behind them. That makes people instinctively turn around." - Timoni West, principal designer on the Labs VR team at Unity
Get ready to watch live NBA games in VR
Up until now watching an NBA game in a VR headset has been pretty much a tech demo. You get a nice seat and some technically impressive immersive video, but you feel oddly disassociated from things. You're a ghost in the stadium, unable to partake in the atmosphere while missing out on the color commentary.
Now NextVR are changing all that. They're stepping up their weekly coverage to an all-new eight-camera setup, with broadcast-standard graphics, replays and a three-person anchor crew. Their aim is to mix the best aspects of going to a game in-person and watching it on TV.
“Sometimes you choose not to go to the game because it’s better on television. Sometimes it’s better to go to the game. We want an experience that’s better than both, that brings together the best parts of going to the game and watching at home.” - Danny Keens, VP of content and partnerships, NextVR
- Amazon’s $40 Fire TV Stick now comes with the power of Alexa
- Razer acquires THX to “play a leadership role” in VR audio
- Ad buyers see promise in Twitter’s Instagram-like carousel ads
- New platform Inception wants to be the Netflix of 360 video
This flying 1,000 watt spotlight drone creates eerie, beautiful footage
We love drone footage here at Rerun, and this footage by rctestflight is some of the most unique and eerily beautiful we've seen yet. By strapping a 1,000 watt LED light bar to the underside of a Freefly Alta octocopter they can flood an area with flight. This creates incredible shadows, and no doubt causes a small spike in UFO sightings!