Is Video in the ‘Dark Ages’? Exec: ‘There Is Next to No Market for Short Form Video’

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What once was the “shiny new toy,” as one publisher put it, is now the problem child for publishers: video. Over the last few years, study after study has cited consumers’ climbing appetite for video — a trend that eager bandwag…

Facebook Video Viewership ‘Still Well Behind YouTube’ but ‘Growing Rapidly’

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If you ask publishers that have a series on Facebook Watch, things have not gone so well on the social network’s first year as a premium programmer. But, according to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg on the company’s third-quarter earnings call, Facebook video viewership, including on Watch, has been grown three-fold in the United States over the last quarter alone. And unlike other calls, Zuckerberg was quite candid about the plans for Watch and Facebook’s continued interest in investing into video products and programming.

Also Read: Facebook’s Matthew Henick Dishes on What’s Working on Watch

During the call, Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg also shed light on the limitations Facebook has experienced thusfar with both audience response and monetizing video. He was also forthright about the company’s lesser position to its largest competitor — YouTube.

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How Conde Nast Entertainment Is Chasing Oscar Glory

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Cheddar to Skinny Bundle With YouTube Live and Hulu

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Cheddar CEO Jon Steinberg has announced a plan to disrupt broadcast cable by taking another slice of the TV-network-playbook: bundling its product with Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV.
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Facebook Watch Has a Big Consumer Awareness Problem

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As Verizon, Spotify, AwesomenessTV and many others have shown, building a premium video business is no easy task. Most fail. And on its first birthday, according to publishers who spoke with VideoInk (acquired by TheWrap in 2018), Facebook Watch is clo…

Taryn Southern on Being First to Use Artificial Intelligence to Make Album: ‘Sky Is the Limit’

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By 2012, global spend on artificial intelligence is anticipated to hit $57.6 billion, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). And one YouTube star — Taryn Southern — is already activating AI to pioneer a new methodology for producing music. Released today, Southern’s pop album “I Am AI” features eight tracks, each produced entirely with artificial intelligence. She’s also released a new music video “Welcome to the New World,” which integrated collaborators from all over the world.

Southern’s first single Break Free reached #48 on the Billboard Indicator Chart , #2 on the Euro Indie Chart and has more than 1.8 million views on the music video. Life Support, her second single, was nominated for a 2018 Streamy Award for Best Immersive Video.

Her  work on “I AM AI” is unprecedented. Until now, producing an album entirely with artificial intelligence had never been done. And, it’s a process Southern said will revolutionize the open-market for aspiring artists and musicians and disrupt an age-old model for the music industry.

“I definitely see it changing the future of the music. I imagine in 20 years, ‘coding’ songs will be commonplace,” Southern told VideoInk (a subsidiary of TheWrap) exclusively in an interview. “It’s still incredibly early for AI, but I could see artists using machine learning for all kinds of applications: to mix and master their songs, to help them identify unique chord progressions, alter instrumentation to change style, determine more interesting melody structures based on a musician’s given sound and style preferences, even gage their audience’s emotional response to a song. The sky is the limit.”

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So, how does producing music with artificial intelligence work exactly?

Southern collaborated with Amperan artificial intelligence music composition software — to develop a process that she says involved telling the computer the sounds, notes, or instruments she wanted. Amper’s software then delivered a “stem,” or audio fragment, to match that criteria. Then with feedback and multiple tweaks, Southern is able to stitch those “stems” together to create a track.

“This is what the future holds. For us it’s all about the collaboration between creator and the AI,” said Michael Hobe, a Hollywood film composer and co-founder of Amper. “That’s what we’re working towards — to have AI truly integrated into the workflow. And Taryn was really the first to use the tools in this way, which has been really exciting.”

Taryn Southern on YouTube, circa 2013.

For Southern, taking the reins on charting a career path in unconventional ways has been her M.O. She was early to YouTube, launching a channel based on slap-stick and musical comedy in 2006. “I’m not really focused on building an audience on another platform until I have at least 250,000 subscribers on YouTube,” she told VideoInk in 2013. She now has nearly 500K subscribers on YouTube, a platform where Southern isn’t as active outside of releasing music videos for “I AM AI”.

“When I was on YouTube, I felt owned by an algorithm,” Southern said. “It’s a really tough job to sustain, and we’ve seen a lot of creators experience burnout the past few years. I didn’t want to become a living breathing vlog machine, so I threw in the towel and started exploring other avenues of interest.”

Aside from the album, Southern is also directing a feature-length documentary on the future of man and machine. “It’s called I AM HUMAN. My album is ironically entitled I AM AI, so I’ve got both sides covered!” Southern joked.

And so Southern has reinvented herself as a technology innovator and AI-storyteller. A musician changing the game, Southern’s work on “I AM AI” is breaking down the old-way of making music and alchemizing the future into the present.

“I AM AI” is now available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play and Apple Music.

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Cheddar to Bring Live Sports News to Amazon-Owned Twitch (Exclusive)

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Streaming broadcast news site Cheddar has locked a deal with Twitch for a new eSports news show called “Cheddar Sports” and a live stream special at TwitchCon on October 27.
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TheWrap Acquires VideoInk, Adds Subscription Business With Digital Video Focus

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TheWrap News Inc. on Thursday announced the acquisition of VideoInk, Inc., the go-to source for business news about the fast-growing digital video industry.

The acquisition represents TheWrap’s first foray into a subscription business model, super-serving its core business readers with highly relevant content on the site, networking through live events and professional insight via services like video webinars.

These offerings have already been included in VideoInk’s membership. Building on that foundation, TheWrap also announced plans to launch a new premium subscription product in the coming weeks.

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VideoInk, founded in 2012 by Jocelyn Johnson, was also early to implement a subscription model tailored toward executives working in and powering the business of “digital Hollywood.”

Johnson joins TheWrap as director of membership and digital video news, leading the new subscription initiative and building greater community around the digital video business through news, live events and education. Existing VideoInk subscribers will be offered a suite of new benefits as the service re-launches.

“I’m excited to merge our business with the highly engaged community that Jocelyn has built at VideoInk, and it is the perfect foundation for the coming WrapPRO service,” Sharon Waxman, the founder and CEO of TheWrap, said in a statement. “The fact that Jocelyn is also a female founder makes this deal all the more gratifying.”

Johnson added, “Since launching subscription we’ve seen that exclusive access, deep intel and community are of high value to our readers. We’ve built a nice foundation for that business to grow and with TheWrap’s scale, existing events and seasoned editorial, we’re excited to accelerate that growth. Also, Sharon and I have a shared vision for the future of media, and I’m looking forward to work alongside her and the team to bring that vision to life.”

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In just a year, the media startup VideoInk has grown its subscriber base to include teams and executives from Fox, A&E Networks, Warner Brothers, Amazon, Verizon, Hulu, Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, Snap, Adobe, WME and CAA.

For VideoInk, the business has seen strong growth over the last few years as leading media companies like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, Verizon and AT&T, among others, have taken heavy swings at Hollywood.

Many of those headlines, including Viacom’s recent acquisition of AwesomenessTV have been scooped by VideoInk, and Johnson.

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