Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming

Why Microsoft Wants Activision

Why Microsoft Wants Activision

Business
Even as it looks to distance itself from Sony, Microsoft’s acquisition could also strengthen its position relative to other tech giants with deep pockets — like Amazon, Tencent and Google — that have signaled their intentions to invest more in the lucrative gaming business.Joost van Dreunen, a gaming investor, adviser and New York University professor who studies the business of video games, said buying Activision was “part defensive” because “you make it so the others can’t have it.”“They raise the bar regarding the cost of acquisition,” he added. “If you want to be at the table, you better bring your wallet.”Despite Microsoft’s initial hyping of the deal as a foray into the metaverse, it’s not clear how owning more shooter, role-playing and strategy video games helps Microsoft arrive the...
Gamers Greet Microsoft’s Activision Deal With Guarded Optimism

Gamers Greet Microsoft’s Activision Deal With Guarded Optimism

Technology
Activision’s track record with some of its games also became spottier. In November, it delayed new versions of Diablo and Overwatch. That same month, the newly released Call of Duty: Vanguard was widely panned as being boring and full of glitches.Parris Lilly, a video game streamer and co-host at Gamertag Radio, said Microsoft’s deal to buy Activision would not only help Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft’s video game subscription service, but also let Activision’s developers step off the treadmill. Microsoft’s purchase might permit developers to “take a well needed break” so they can improve games over time, rather than update them so frequently, Mr. Lilly said.He added that the acquisition could be an opportunity to fix Activision’s workplace issues under Mr. Kotick. Mr. Kotick declined to say in...
He Makes Justin Bieber and the Bee Gees Go Viral on TikTok

He Makes Justin Bieber and the Bee Gees Go Viral on TikTok

LifeStyle
Name: Griffin HaddrillAge: 24Hometown: Bozeman, Mont.Currently Lives: In a four-bedroom house in Las Vegas with walls covered in street art.Claim to Fame: Mr. Haddrill is a co-founder of VRTCL, an agency hired by major record labels to make songs go viral on TikTok through remixes, mash-ups, meme-able chorus snippets, creator partnerships and other algorithmic alchemy. “I usually start with the lyric sheet to see if there is maybe a trend we can capitalize on or maybe a creative idea around the beat,” he said. For Lil Nas X’s “Montero,” that meant devil-themed makeup tutorials and interpretive dance routines set to the track. He also works with vintage hits like the Bee Gees’ “More Than a Woman,” which thanks to his efforts, has been featured in more than 279,000 TikTok videos including su...

Webb Telescope Launch: Date, Time and Livestream

Technology
If you wake up early enough on Saturday, you’ll be greeted with a spectacle of science and engineering: the launch to orbit of the James Webb Space Telescope.The telescope is a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and Canada’s space agency, and will be the most powerful observatory ever sent into space. Astronomers have waited decades as budgetary and technical delays have stalled the Webb’s completion and launch.But on Christmas morning, they and the rest of humanity will come one step closer to witnessing the spacecraft begin its scientific mission. Here’s what you need to know.When is the launch and how can I watch it?The telescope is scheduled to lift off at 7:20 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday from a European-managed spaceport in French Guiana on the coast of South America. ...

Netflix and the Internet of Fads

Technology
TikTok and Netflix didn’t invent flashes in the pan, of course. But the infinite nature of the internet and online mechanics have supercharged the 15 minutes of fame.“Some of us and some businesses will learn to accept that fame comes five seconds and not 15 minutes at a time,” Tal Shachar, a media and video game executive, wrote last year.Nearly each day or week, there is a fresh piece of digital entertainment or an online celebrity mania that comes and goes much faster than fast fashion.Netflix drives fads for wearing track suits or taking up chess. The Reddit mobs that tried to track down the Boston Marathon bombers in 2013 morphed into regular TikTok vigilante crusades. The viral internet celebrity machine of the 2010s feels musty compared with the rapid minting of online stars like th...

Twitter Will Take Down Pictures of People Posted Without Their Permission

Technology
A sweeping expansion of Twitter’s policy against posting private information was met with backlash shortly after the company announced it on Tuesday, as Twitter users questioned whether the policy would be practical to enforce.Twitter’s new policy states that photos or videos of private individuals that are posted without their permission will be taken down at their request. Twitter’s rules already prohibit the posting of private information like addresses, phone numbers and medical records.“When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, we will remove it,” Twitter’s new policy states. “This policy is not applicable to media featuring public figures or individuals when media and acco...
How Do You Make Teen Comedies Today? Buy a High School.

How Do You Make Teen Comedies Today? Buy a High School.

Business
Chris Weitz, the co-director of “American Pie” and one of the producers of Ms. Cohen’s film, attributes the shift to technology that puts audiences in control.“It was one thing when the gatekeepers, usually old fogies, controlled what kind of content was going to be put out about teens,” he said. “Now teens can get all kinds of content about themselves made by themselves, which gives them a greater sense of truth to them than something that any feature film producer would cook up.”With that landscape in mind, Mr. Garelick decided to make the films really inexpensively on his own. If done correctly, they could easily be funneled onto streaming platforms, which are constantly on the hunt for new material, especially content that attracts the ever elusive teen audience.He figured out if he sh...

Now TV Wants Nielsen to Measure Up

Business
TV executives have been complaining about Nielsen for years, saying their shows have more viewers than they get credit for. They have also claimed that Nielsen, the 98-year-old research firm whose name is practically synonymous with TV ratings, uses antiquated technology that hasn’t kept up with viewers who have moved away from cable and network TV.Now the television industry is looking for other options.On Tuesday, NBCUniversal plans to host a forum to discuss alternative ways to measure its audience. Representatives of major advertising agencies, industry trade groups and companies including Ford Motor, L’Oreal and Pfizer are expected to attend. NBCUniversal is also sifting through proposals from 80 measurement companies, Nielsen among them, to create new methods for quantifying viewers....

How a Mistake by YouTube Shows Its Power Over Media

Technology
LONDON — The email subject line that arrived at 10:19 a.m. on Tuesday carried some of the worst information a small online news outlet can receive: “Novara Media we have removed your channel from YouTube.”Novara had spent years using YouTube to attract more than 170,000 subscribers for its left-leaning coverage of issues like climate change, capitalism and social policy. Suddenly, and without warning, that powerful distribution tool was zapped — leaving people in the newsroom wondering how the organization could survive.“We had this ambient awareness of our dependence on these big tech platforms,” Ash Sarkar, a contributing editor, said in an interview at Novara’s one-room office inside a converted biscuit factory. “But there’s nothing like having your livelihood snatched away from you to ...
Anonymity No More? Age Checks Come to the Web.

Anonymity No More? Age Checks Come to the Web.

Technology
Richard Errington clicked to stream a science-fiction film from his home in Britain last month when YouTube carded him.The site said Mr. Errington, who is over 50, needed to prove he was old enough to watch “Space Is the Place,” a 1974 movie starring the jazz musician Sun Ra. He had three options: Enter his credit card information, upload a photo identification like a passport or skip the video.“I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress,” he said.In response to mounting pressure from activists, parents and regulators who believe tech companies haven’t done enough to protect children online, businesses and governments around the globe are placing major parts of the internet behind stricter digital age checks.People in Japan must provide a document proving their age to use the dating app Tin...