Amazon Super Bowl Ad Has Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker And ‘Broad City’ Duo Ilana Glazer And Abbi Jacobson Testing Alexa

Read on: Deadline.

Amazon has gone back to the long-form, star-studded well for the Super Bowl, incorporating Harrison Ford, Forest Whitaker and Broad City duo Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson into a 90-second spot promoting Alexa.
The spot, which was released today online…

Facebook Debuts Portal, Its First Video-Chat Device

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Facebook took its first major step into hardware on Monday, unveiling Portal and Portal Plus, two video-calling devices aimed to make it easier to chat or watch shows with friends.
Powered by an artificial intelligence software, Portal’s camera t…

Alexa Could Soon Tell You That It Doesn’t Like Your Favorite TV Shows

Read on: Variety.

Alexa could get a bit more opinionated about media in the future, Amazon Fire TV VP Marc Whitten told Variety. Speaking at the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Whitten said he was toying with the idea of turning Alexa into a 2018 version of a Blockbuster store clerk, who can guide your […]

Roku Shares Jump On News Of Voice Assistant Rollout, Licensing Expansion

Read on: Deadline.

In advance of next week’s annual tech-palooza CES, Roku announced plans to roll out new voice functionality, enabling the company to keep pace with Amazon and Google as the tech industry and TV stakeholders place big bets on voice recognition.
The Roku Entertainment Assistant, along with expanded home entertainment licensing under the banner of Roku Connect, will hit the market this fall. Investors sent Roku shares, already riding high since last September’s IPO, up…

Amazon Tops Q3 Estimates As Sales Soar 34%; NFL Streams Draw 7.1M Total Viewers

Read on: Deadline.

Amazon reported healthy revenue numbers for the third quarter, up 34% to $43.7 billion from the year-earlier period, and CEO Jeff Bezos said Alexa voice services hold the key to continued growth.
The revenue results exceeded Wall Street projections of $41.6 billion and shares started to rise in after-market trading.
The company also said NFL Thursday Night Football games on Amazon Prime Video have drawn a total of 7.1 million views in the first four games – a respectable…

Amazon developing Alexa-powered “smart glasses” for nerds who need something extra

Read on: The A.V. Club.

It’s obviously silly to think that wearing glasses will make you smarter, but only because the truth is that all smart people wear glasses. Now, though, Amazon is developing a pair of “smart glasses” that will actually do something interesting beyond making your vision clearer and giving bullies a convenient target.

Read more…

Last night’s South Park really fucked with people’s Alexas

Read on: The A.V. Club.

We had mixed feelings about last night’s debut of South Park’s 21st season, which, in classic South Park-ian fashion, braided together a few resonant strands of American culture toward an ambiguous but still condemnatory conclusion. (They also didn’t mention Trump while, weirdly, writing about Trumpist white…

Read more…

Facebook Exec: We Are Not Building a Voice Assistant

Read on: Variety.

Apple has Siri, Google has its Assistant, and Amazon has Alexa, but Facebook isn’t looking to join this illustrious group with its own voice assistant any time soon. “We are not working on that actively right now,” said David Marcus, the company’s VP of messaging products, in an interview with Variety at Facebook’s F8 developer conference this… Read more »

Fox Sets ‘24: Legacy’ Alarm With Amazon Alexa, Homepage Pact (EXCLUSIVE)

Read on: Variety.

Fox is bringing the trademark “24” ticking-clock sound effect to Amazon’s voice-activated Echo devices, in a unique promo with the ecommerce giant ahead of the premiere of the franchise’s “24: Legacy” reboot. Beginning Monday, Jan. 30, Amazon Echo users will be able to select the action-drama franchise’s reverberating “plink-plink” audio mnemonic as a personalized alarm tone for… Read more »

Why Video Search Is the New Iron Throne (Guest Blog)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Last week in our first post on video search, we talked about the value of owning the customer search process. We also talked about the coming fight to dominate video search.

Search is not new. Fights to dominate search are not new either; we search for any number of things every day. Behind the scenes are companies fighting minute to minute to host our next search.

The most common search mechanism is, of course, text-based search, and Google is the main game in town, owning 55 percent of global search advertising revenues. Voice-based search is still emerging and for now is a much more competitive space. Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft) and Google Now are all making a play to win in this space.

However, look at video search. No one controls video search. And not only does no one control it, but there is virtually no one even doing next-gen video search today.

Let us explain what we mean by “no one.” Let’s say you’re using your Xfinity (or similar) service today. Everyone knows how to search the Xfinity platform for content. Your search will yield linear channel results as well as on-demand results. But pay TV subscriptions today account for roughly 75 percent of video consumption (and that share is shrinking steadily). That’s because the libraries on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are enormous and offer a ton of value. Add in the dozens of options in the “digiverse” for all kinds of other content and it’s no mystery why people need a next-gen search tool to cover all the bases.

But it turns out that video search is pretty complicated. Current search engines struggle with even the basics of real-world consumer needs. But go a level deeper and the challenge becomes really hard.

For example, say you want to find a movie that features something in particular, like a car-chase or a treasure hunt. Finding such a movie is a challenge. Type “car chase” into your video service search bar and you’re likely to get results all over the place. We’ve done this ourselves, and we have found things like “Car Chasers” (a TV show about buying cars) instead of useful hits like “The French Connection,” “Bullet,” “Vanishing Point” and other classic car chase movies. We even got a link to a video on Chase Utley, the second baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Or imagine you have a kid who’s frightened by violent animals. Being the caring parent you are, you take pains to avoid violent animals on the screen. But few if any services let you filter out violent animals.

Some startups, like the Video Genome Project are making video search easier, but they’re not here yet. Nevertheless, the big TV conglomerates should beware.

Next week, we’ll address the potential value of the video search product.

This is Part 2 in a series on video search by Dan Schechter, Gil Moran and Francesco Di Ianni from L.E.K. Consulting’s Media & Entertainment practice.

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