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Comcast’s Watchable Unveils First Original Series, Including Show With Vine Star Logan Paul

Variety reports “Comcast has invested in its first batch of original digital shows exclusively available on Watchable— its free, ad-supported multiplatform video service aimed at reaching millennials, a cohort that notably watches less traditional TV than their elders.

The nine short-form series include “Logan Paul Vs,” a reality series featuring the social-media star from Studio71; Refinery29’s unscripted “Ballin’ on a Budget” starring rapper-comedian Awkwafina (who has been cast in the all-female “Oceans Eight”); street-improv game show “I Want My Phone Back” from CollegeHumor; and travel series “Cholos Try” from Hispanic-focused digital media company Mitu.”

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Slow July sees US game sales dip 14% – NPD

GamesIndustry reports “The NPD Group has issued its newest monthly report that combines physical retail point-of-sale data with digital game sales tracking, revealing that July was a down month overall for the US games business. “Lack of strong new titles for the month resulted with poor comparison with last July’s Batman: Arkham Knight with consumers spending 14 percent less year-on-year on hardware, software and accessories, however the release of Monster Hunter: Generations and the price drop for the 2DS helped to bolster spending for 3DS and 2DS hardware by 44 percent,” said NPD analyst Sam Naji.

The industry saw overall sales tally 480.1 million for the July reporting period, down from last July’s $559.1 million, while software dropped 5% to $210.3 million and hardware fell 30% to $141.3 million. PC software sales also dipped 12% to $11.4 million while accessories dropped 5% to $117.1 million.”

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Viewers engage with ads in VR much more than in mobile or desktop apps

VentureBeat reports “Making money in virtual reality isn’t easy in these early days of the medium. ButImmersv, which has built a VR marketing platform, has some promising early results that show engagement with VR ads is much higher than on mobile or desktop.

Emeryville, Calif.-based Immersv has a platform that tracks whether someone is viewing a particular ad embedded within a virtual reality experience. It found that click-through rates, or more correctly “gaze-through rates,” are nearly 30 percent on Immersv’s platform, compared to industry averages of 1 percent for mobile and 0.4 percent for desktop, according to the Innovid 2016 Global Video Benchmarks.”

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Disney Streaming Into A Perilous Future

Forbes reports “The Internet is changing the way people consume media. That’s why Disney is taking steps to ensure it has a plan B if the current cable TV model falls apart.

Following an in-line earnings report last week, MouseCo announced a strategic investment in BAMTech, the 15-year-old streaming technology company that grew out of Major League Baseball. It will invest $1 billion for a 33% stake with an option to take majority control over the next four to seven years, and build out a new sports streaming business. While BAMTech is best known for flawlessly streaming every MLB game to millions of subscribers – an amazing feat — it is also the technology behind the popular HBO Now streaming service. And that’s important. Disney’s investment is an unsubtle reminder to cable TV operators they should not take their relationship with Disney media properties for granted.”

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Amazon wants to sell a cheaper music subscription service that will only work on its Echo player

Recode reports “Amazon wants to launch a music subscription service that would work the same way services from Apple, Spotify and many others work: $10 a month, for all the music you can stream, anywhere you want to stream it.

But Amazon is also working on a second service that would differ in two significant ways from industry rivals: It would cost half the price, and it would only work on Amazon’s Echo hardware.

Industry sources say Amazon would like to launch both services in September, but has yet to finalize deals with major music labels and publishers. One sticking point, sources say, is whether Amazon will sell the cheaper service for $4 or $5 a month.”

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Facebook improves its “lightweight video” Slideshow ads, including support mobile ad creation

TechCrunch reports “Facebook today is rolling out a number of improvements to its “Slideshow” ads, announced last fall as a means of offering an alternative to video ads in developing markets where bandwidth may be limited. The company this morning says that advertisers will now be able to create these ads right from their phones, as well as take advantage of new features like the ability to add text and music, as well as more photos, including Facebook’s own stock image library.

As a refresher, Slideshow ads launched in October with the goal of offering a video-like ad experience to markets where videos would be slow to load. The format allowed for three to seven photos that would automatically play, lasting five to fifteen seconds. The benefit of Slideshows over video is that the file size could be up to 5 times smaller than a video of the same length. That means they’ll start playing a lot quicker.”

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Rio Games score smallest TV audience since 2004 as streaming hits record high

The Los Angeles Times reports “Video streaming every competitive event at the Olympics may have been too much of a good thing for NBC.

The prime-time TV audience over 17 nights for the Rio Games averaged 25.4 million viewers, the lowest since the 2004 Games in Athens, which averaged 24.9 million viewers. Nielsen data showed an 18% decline from the 31.1 million who watched the 2012 Games in London.”

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How Streaming Is Changing Sports Watching

The New York Times reports “Something amazing may be happening: Television broadcasters may start viewing their content the way the rest of us do — as something you watch, plain and simple, without caring what screen it’s on. And as something you want to see on your terms. Now.

If so, it’s going to be a very big deal for an industry that still thinks it’s special. As Sapna Maheshwari writes, the Olympics seemed to show NBC, which had the rights to broadcast the Games in the United States, that people increasingly want to see live events as they happen.

Perhaps a half-million people a day watched the events on live streams, and a disproportionate number of those were probably in the coveted group of 18- to 34-year-olds.”

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Facebook’s stock projected to climb over 20% on growing ad revenue

VentureBeat reports “Facebook stock has the potential to climb by more than 20 percent over the next year given the growing advertising revenue among its platforms, according to a Barron’s report on Sunday.

The social media giant, which traded at just under $124 a share on Friday, has seen a recent acceleration in growth in part because of its increasing mobile ad load, or, the number of ads Facebook can serve up to its users, the report said.”

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Instagram reaches one billion installs on Play Store

Mashable reports “Instagram has reached 1 billion app installs on the Google Play store, Android Police has noticed. This makes the photo sharing app the fourth Facebook-owned app to reach the milestone, after Facebook itself, WhatsApp and Messenger.

To put it into perspective, consider that Android itself has had 1.4 billion users as of Sept. 2015. Instagram announced in July that it has more than 500 million monthly active users, 300 million of which use the app every day.”

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Samsung Is Finally Shutting Down Its Milk Streaming Music Service

Forbes reports “After two very quiet, uneventful years, Samsung is finally putting its own streaming music offering to bed. According to a statement published today by the company itself, Milk Music will be no more in just about a month, with the web page dedicated to revealing this new claiming that the service will only stick around until September 22.

Despite Samsung being one of the biggest companies in the world when it comes to all things tech, Milk Music was never able to pick up steam in the way the South Korean giant would have liked. When it first launched, Samsung promoted Milk Music with vigor, both online and at a number of concerts featuring high-profile artists at events like South By Southwest. Sadly, the excitement never seemed to build, and subscriber numbers didn’t grow very much.”