Displaying items by tag: video

High profile US Democrat Nancy Pelosi has launched a blistering attack on Facebook for refusing to block the sharing of a video of her that was doctored to make it look like she was drunk.

Published in Apps

Social networking colossus Facebook has seen its shares soar to a record high after it disclosed the financial results of its second quarter, which revealed that its mobile advertising business has grown by a staggering 50%. The results reaffirm the view that Facebook is now the venue of choice for an ever-increasing amount of online advertisers.

Facebook owns four of the most popular mobile services in the world, and it has seen it shares rise by more than 4% to $173 following after-trading on the Wall Street Stock Exchange. However, overall Facebook’s stock price has climbed to almost 44% this year.

Facebook has been adding more and more advertising into its Facebook News Feed, but that has become condensed, whilst it has also added adverts to its photo-sharing app Instagram, which has more than 700 million users. Facebook currently has over 2 billion users worldwide.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that he plans to monetize its two messaging services Messenger and WhatsApp, which combined have more than 1 billion users each. Zuckerberg has expressed his desire to see the company move faster on this aim, but claimed he is confident they will get it right in the long-term.

Facebook also continues to accelerate its push into video, the social networking giant has identified this as an opportunity to win advertising spend from the TV industry, as more and more people spend their time consuming news and video content on its platform. Facebook is expected to launch a new video service that will include scripted shows, which is a sharp change of strategy from an organization which is founded on user-generated content.

Zuckerberg has previously stated that he firmly believes that video represents the future of Facebook’s business over the next 2-3 years. Facebook has officially confirmed that its total revenue rose form 44.8% to $9.32 billion in the second quarter of the year, which beat the average forecast of the $9.20 billion predicted by financial analysts. Facebook enjoyed incredible growth in mobile advertising, which has increased to nearly $8 billion.

Facebook Chief Financial Officer, David Wehner, expressed his delight at the financial results, and claimed that he expected to see Facebook continue to grow its mobile advertising capacity. He said: “In mobile we're continuing to see great strengths. We're seeing more and more ad dollars getting allocated to mobile, and we think that trend will continue."

Published in Finance

Facebook announced it will be rolling out new apps for Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire and Samsung Smart TV. The apps will allow people to view videos posted on Facebook via their smart televisions. Ultimately, the apps will provide a more convenient way to view Facebook videos on a large screen.

Some analysts suggest that Facebook could be moving to compete against Google-owned YouTube or even with streaming services like Netflix to become a premium source of online content for both small screens and large screens. But for now, the apps will simply make it easier to view and share user-generated video.

“Last year we rolled out the ability for you to stream videos from Facebook to your TV, and today’s announcement expands this capability,” said product manager Dana Sittler and engineering manager Alex Li in a blog post. “With the app, you can watch videos shared by friends or pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommend videos based on you interests.”

The new apps should be available “soon” according to Facebook, for users of Apple, Amazon and Samsung, with additional platforms likely to be added in the future. The social media giant also indicated it was modifying video playback for users, with sound to play automatically unless users silence their devices.

Published in Apps

Digital analysts have expressed their surprise at the explosion in popularity of video and messaging app Snapchat in the Middle East region. A global study by a leading research consultancy firm established that the proportion of internet users in the UAE who use Snapchat increased from 15% in 2014 to 53% this year.

These statistics significantly outpace the global trend of growth for Snapchat which has risen from 12% to 23% during the same timeframe. Analysts claim that Snapchat, an app which enables users to capture and share video and photo content which is only available to view for 24 hours before it is deleted, ties into the growing youth population in the Middle East which is searching for new ways to express themselves and be creative.

Some felt that restrictions imposed on Snapchat by the UAE government would have a detrimental effect on its popularity, but that hasn’t transpired which has caught many digital experts by surprise.

Bhomik Chanda, Head of Media and Digital Solutions for the Mena region attributed the success of Snapchat to the fact that it was specifically designed for smartphone devices, unlike some other popular social media outlets. In addition to this, he claimed that the younger population in the Middle East is looking for spontaneity which the popular platform provides in abundance.

He said: “Snapchat has an appeal among the 13-34-year-old age groups, and that’s why it is picking up really fast in the region. Especially in Saudi Arabia, given the fewer forms of entertainment there, Snapchat, unlike some other social media platforms before it, was made for your smartphone. And it’s about being instant. So for instance, you’re walking on the beach and you spot something fun, click it and at that very moment you can broadcast it instantly to your snapchat followers. That is the type of spontaneous and instantaneous platform young people want and Snapchat provides it for them.”

Snapchat was developed by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy in 2011, and they incredibly turned down an offer of $3billion from Facebook to buy them out. Facebook have taken inspiration from Snapchat and have tried to challenge them by developing a special effects camera option on Facebook Messenger which it launched recently. Other attempts to replicate Snapchat’s success from other outlets have ultimately failed as it goes from strength-to-strength, particularly in this region.

Perhaps the biggest factor in its success was Snapchat’s decision to focus on events in the region with its ‘Live Story’ feature last year. Thousands of smartphone users joined the #mecca live story, posting their experiences from Mecca during Ramadan. Businesses are now looking at ways to utilize Snapchat for their benefit commercially, with marketing guru’s declaring that using Snapchat is a smart way to attract attention to as brand and product. It looks inevitable that the Snapchat success will continue to expand in the Middle East.

Published in Apps

UAE based telecommunications firm du have launched a large social media campaign which focuses on making users aware of the potential dangers posed by posting information online.

The social media awareness campaign is entitled #PostWisely - and du created a series of hard hitting videos that emphatically delivers its message to UAE residents about the threat of disclosing their personal information on social media platforms. The series of short films are being shown in cinemas feature monologues from actors - that are incredibly based on real-life crimes that occurred in both the UAE and the US.

In one short film created by du, they reenact the account of one UAE resident who believed it was harmless if he posted an image of his airplane ticket on Instagram. However, the luxury villa in which he lived in was subsequently cleared out by thieves who ransacked his property and made away with a whole host of expensive items – including a watch worth $150,000.

In its second video, du issue an even tougher message, again based on real life events. It features a scruffy looking man in a dingy home posing as a young boy who offers to help a young girl with maths, after sending her a direct message online.

The actor says, “I know maths is tough, but I can help if you want. I’m very good at maths. The girl responds positively to his offer, and then the video shows the man saying, “Yes, I know how to get to your villa, and tonight, you’re home alone which is great.”  It was confirmed by du that the film was tragically based on a real life crime in the US in which a 14-year-old girl was brutally murdered.

Humaida Al Khalsan, Director of Corporate Communications Projects at du said, “The instances in the videos we released really happened – and that’s very scary.

“We did huge research and we saw what was happening, people share a lot of information and they don’t even know who their followers are. “People are putting their boarding passes on social media, with the barcode showing and anyone can get all of their information off that barcode – their names, numbers, where they live and so much more.”

It was also revealed by du that having surveyed a pool of 500 people – it established that 75% of respondents polled have been befriended or followed by people they don’t normally interact with.

Al Khalsan added, “We actually went on a colleague’s social media profile and took all her information that was available. “We put it all in a presentation and showed it to her – we were able to tell which days she went on holiday and where she went. “She was so scared and she completely changed the way she used social media after that.”

Published in Telecom Operators

LinkedIn ventures into user video content

Written on Thursday, 04 August 2016 13:24

Professional social networking platform LinkedIn has ventured into featuring video content, created by users and hosted by the platform itself. LinkedIn hopes to engage its 433 million users more by introducing the engaging tool. The first videos are to be created by LinkedIn’s ‘Influencers’ – an invitation-only group of about 500 users who have a significant following and who regularly post content.

The new videos to feature on LinkedIn will be short, 30-seconds-or-less responses to questions posted to Influencers specifically or to the community at large. In an example video posted by Tech Crunch, the video content style shares similarities to Quora-styled open-ended questions about leadership challenges and the impact of general trends in technology. This relates to LinkedIn’s themes of professional development and trends in the working world.

A specific app called ‘Record’ will be used for Influencers to create their video content. This feature will only be accessible by the Influencers. According to Tech Crunch, the videos will run in-stream on users’ feeds on desktop, and will break out into “immersive” experiences on blackened screens when the user clicks on the videos themselves.

Similar to Facebook Live, LinkedIn’s iOS and Android apps will see the videos emerge on blackened screens when clicked on. This leads on to a selection of more videos from that Influencer, or other Influencer responses to the same question.

The idea behind the video content initiative was inspired by the success of other trending platforms that focus on video, such as Facebook and Snapchat; companies that are building a number of video-based features to increase the amount of time that people spend using their platforms, and also to drive video-based advertising.

Video is already a popular medium on LinkedIn, according to Jasper Sherman-Presser, a product manager at the company who is overseeing the development of the video feature. But until now, video has only been hosted by other outlets like YouTube. Sherman-Presser says there will be no ads or any fees at all associated with the creation of broadcast videos. But given that LinkedIn has a strong premium paying subscriber base and is beefing up its outsourced advertising, it seems like a natural progression for LinkedIn to venture into video content.

The service won’t always be restricted to Influencers, says Sherman-Presser, adding that LinkedIn will likely expand its video tool to more users in the future, similar to how it has done with other new features like its Publisher network. “I think that playbook [of first tapping Influencers and then expanding to others] has been successful for us,” said Sherman-Presser. “We see this as part of the tools that people can use to successfully build out their personal brands.”

Published in Apps

Thanks to the gargantuan success of its mobile app and the introduction of live video, Facebook has blown people away with its impressive Q2 2016 results. The company announced $2 billion in net income for the second quarter of this year, which is double what it was just six months ago. The company’s monthly active users increased to 1.71 billion, with 1.1 billion daily users.

“Our community and business had another good quarter,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook. “We’re particularly pleased with our progress in video as we move towards a world where video is at the heart of all our services.”

The driving force behind Facebook’s latest success is its live-streaming initiative called Facebook Live, a tool for everyday users, as well as broadcasters and enterprises to showcase interviews, reviews or events.

A prime example is Sky, which uses the platform in various ways for its divisions including Sky News, Sky Sports and Soccer AM. Sky has benefitted from the success of Facebook Live, reporting that it saw almost 370 million video views, as well as claiming its ranking as one of the most watched Facebook video publishers in the world. Sky plans to live broadcast “a great deal of content” on Facebook Live in the coming months across news and sports.

Further contributing to Facebook’s success is professional content shared on the platform, for which Facebook is reportedly paying 140 media companies and celebrities over $50 million for Rapid TV News reported that the social network has also “earmarked $2 million to lure various YouTube stars to the Facebook Live platform.”

The content on Facebook Live is supposed to be short and easy to absorb for viewers to make way for new kinds of advertising formats. Q2 advertising growth in North America has accelerated to 69 percent by an incremental $1.25 billion, amounting to the largest aggregate expansion ever.

“Despite facing a bar that has been steadily raised higher, Facebook handily exceeded expectations across all metrics,” said the New York-based MoffetNathanson team in an investor note. “The best wasn’t one of those U.S. market manufactured ones caused by negative whispers driving revision lower ahead of the quarter. Facebook’s Q2 was impressive in terms of organic ad growth and operating leverage. Given that we still expect a strong Q2 U.S. national TV market, the growth is coming from a variety of clients and budgets that don't yet include TV. FB investors should be happy and media investors should be concerned.”

Published in Finance

Ericsson showcased its latest media solutions, paying special attention to the evolution of the cloud and the use of multi-screens at CABSAT 2016 in Dubai, where content owners, TV service providers and broadcasters gathered to discuss the challenges of the TV industry which has resulted in the growth of the cloud, as well as the popularity of multi-screens. Ericsson addressed these challenges by offering simple, yet powerful solutions at its stand during the event by presenting its vision for the future of cloud-driven experiences. Active Telecoms sat with Tarek Saadi, Head of Engagement Practices, Ericsson, Middle East, to discuss Ericsson's latest video offerings.

Can you update us on Ericsson's current video offerings?

Ericsson has a wide range of products relating to video, video compression, video optimizing in the mobile networks and video caching. On top of that we also have a host of services including Media First which was recently announced. It is a broad platform through which our operators can deliver content to multiple platforms: TV, iPad and phone, so it means that multi-screen content is delivered and the user interface is versatile and can profile different users.

Is the video industry a big focus for Ericsson and how are you working with mobile operators and telcos on this?

Yes it is. Consumer Labs is a research facility at Ericsson where we conduct different studies on multiple consumers globally and we gather information that we feed back to the market and to the operators. The studies are telling us that video is becoming the dominant manner of communication for many users and video will constitute more than 75 percent of the total traffic in any given network. A recent study saw that when a user is waiting for a video to download, if the wait time is more than 2 seconds then the feeling of anguish and stress increases. If that delay becomes 6 seconds, the level of the heartbeat for the user goes up by almost 40 percent which is equal to watching a horror movie.

Customer experience is one of the key differentiators for operators, so we work with them to ensure that video content is delivered efficiently and without any delay. We also we want to make sure that this video content does not occupy the resources in the network. The network is an expensive investment for the operator so you want to make sure you're compressing this video making it available as close as possible to the user; this is called caching.

On top of that we would like to enable the operators to capture some of the revenue. It is not just the Over-The-Top (OTT) players such as Amazon and Netflix that should benefit, but the operators also, and that was the importance of the announcement we made yesterday on Media First. The platform enables the operator to capture back some of that revenue now they are able to deliver the content on multiple screens; they can deliver their own content and they can benefit from that revenue and that customer experience.

When can we expect to see the studies from the Consumer Labs go live?

All the technology is available now but it just depends on where you are as a user and if you are connected to a network that incorporates the technology we are talking about; for example, MSP which is a way to optimize video; MDM which is caching technology; and a third technology is compression. If you add these technologies into a network and put them in the right places then you shouldn't have any problems. That is a capability that we have at Ericsson.

The demand for faster connectivity is growing, how will you continue to address that?

It is about expanding the network resources; growing the network, but also growing it in a way where the operators get the right return for their investment. We want to be able to capture the revenue of the video that is being channeled through the network and to expand the network as it is growing, however we do not want to add capacity which is very costly without incorporating these tools. I am talking about the example of these OTT players who are providing content such as Netflix and many other companies; these guys can deliver the content to the user. This is a value, and what the user is looking for, but then the operator, such as Etisalat or du, or other operators in our region, where do they benefit? They will have to invest to make sure that the experience of the user is positive; otherwise the user will start to look at alternative operators and switch.

Will this increasing demand for video have a negative effect on operators?

I think it can have a positive effect. It is a way for the operator to do what they have always been talking about: monetize the mobile broadband, monetize the data, data becomes video and if you implement the Media First platform then you are monetizing it and you are now in command of that content which is very important for the user.

Who do you think is driving this demand?

Consumers. The value is the video, so if operators can manage to capture that value then they are in command; if they don't, there will be another way of value reaching the users. Take the example of Google in the U.S. - they are building their own fiber network because they recognize that value is what we are offering - the content - but of course the operators we are working with including Google, are helping to recapture that value as well.

How does this region compare to others when it comes to the technology involved in the video industry?

It's hard to generalize because this region is very diversified, but I would say we are catching on, from talking to operators, that some are more advanced in the way they address video, while others are still exploring, and some are recognizing the importance, but are delaying the investment and what is required to address video. So as a leader in the industry, we are conveying the message, doing the research and showing the information and demonstrating it to the operators in the region. We're working in advanced markets such as the U.S. where video is extremely valuable and operators are consuming a lot.

Published in Interviews