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Meta expands its partnership with the NBA to offer 52 games in VR

Meta is expanding its partnership with the NBA and WNBA to offer more than 50 live VR games on Meta Quest, the company announced on Monday. Meta Quest is the official headset of the NBA, as Facebook signed a deal with the league back in 2020.
The company will deliver a package of 52 live NBA games, including five immersive 180-degree monoscopic VR games in 2880 on Xtadium and on Meta Horizon Worlds. Meta will also offer a selection of WNBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League games over the course of the season. In Meta Horizon Worlds, you’ll also be able to access game highlights, recaps and archival content.
Users can visit the dedicated NBA Arena in Meta Horizon Worlds starting today to watch NBA content with friends, compete in interactive minigames and support their favorite teams. Meta says that in the future, fans will be able to watch even more content in the app with an NBA League Pass subscription.
Meta also announced that it’s partnering with the league to launch NBA-licensed apparel in Meta’s Avatar Store in the coming weeks. Users will be able to purchase their favorite NBA or WNBA team apparel for their avatar and showcase it across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, as well as on Meta Quest.
“Meta’s immersive VR technology is opening up new opportunities for sports fans to engage and interact with their favorite NBA teams,” said Meta Director of Sports Media and League Partnerships Rob Shaw in a blog post. “Fans will be able to express their fandom by donning their favorite team’s gear on Avatars and enjoy more live NBA games and experience NBA League Pass in a much more social and immersive way.”
The games available in VR on Meta Quest in January include Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons on January 23, Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans on January 24, Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks on January 24, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on January 27, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers on January 29 and Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers on January 31.

Meta’s Quest Store hits $1.5 billion in total revenue to date

Meta expands its partnership with the NBA to offer 52 games in VR by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
Meta expands its partnership with the NBA to offer 52 games in VR

YouTube rolls out new Partner Program terms as Shorts revenue sharing begins on February 1

YouTube will begin sharing ad revenue with Shorts creators on February 1, the company revealed on Monday. To prepare for the upcoming change, YouTube is starting to roll out new terms for all creators in the YouTube Partner Program. Creators need to accept the new terms by July 10 to remain in the program.
The major change to YouTube’s Partner Program will allow creators to earn money from ads that are viewed between videos in the Shorts Feed. Although the new revenue sharing model will replace the YouTube Shorts Fund, the company says it expects the majority of its Shorts Fund recipients to earn more with the new Shorts revenue sharing model. As previously announced, creators can apply to the program if they meet a new Shorts-specific threshold of 1,000 subscribers and 10 million Shorts views over 90 days.
As part of the new terms, creators need to accept specific monetization modules. The first module is called the “Watch Page Monetization Module” and allows creators to earn money from ads served on their long-form videos and YouTube Premium. The next module is called the “Shorts Monetization Module” and lets you earn money from ads that play between Shorts in the Shorts Feed and YouTube Premium. The last module is called the “Commerce Product Addendum” and is for features like Channel Memberships and Supers.
YouTube recommends that creators accept all of the modules to unlock their full earning potential on the platform. Creators that make Shorts and have accepted the new Shorts Monetization Module will become eligible for Shorts ads revenue sharing on their Shorts views starting next month.
As for how exactly the Shorts revenue sharing will work, it’s a bit complex due to music licensing. Each month, revenue from the ads appearing between Shorts will be added together and used to reward monetizing Shorts creators and cover the costs of music licensing. A portion of the total revenue will be allocated to the creator pool based on views and music usage across all watched Shorts. If a creator uploads a Short without music, all of the revenue associated with its views goes toward the creator pool. If a creator uploads a Short with music, the revenue based on its views will be split among the Creator Pool and music partners based on the number of tracks used.
Next, the creator pool is allocated to creators. YouTube explains that it will allocate revenue to monetizing Shorts creators based on their share of total Shorts views in the Creator Pool. If a creator got 5% eligible views out of all Shorts uploaded by monetizing creators, they will then be allocated 5% of the revenue in the creator pool. Creators will keep 45% of their allocated Shorts revenue. For instance, if a creator is allocated $1,000 from the creator pool, they will be paid $450.
It’s worth noting that non-original Shorts are not eligible for revenue sharing. Non-original Shorts are those that include unedited clips from movies or TV shows, re-uploaded content from other creators on YouTube or another platform, or compilations with no original content added. Shorts that receive artificial or fake views, such as from automated clicks or scroll bots, are also ineligible for revenue sharing.
With these upcoming changes, YouTube Shorts is poised to become TikTok’s biggest competitor. If creators can make more money via YouTube Shorts than on TikTok, they’re incentivized to make original content for the YouTube platform. No short-form video platform has quite figured out how to share ad revenue up until now, which gives Shorts a notable leg up on the competition.

YouTube targets TikTok with revenue sharing for Shorts, Partner Program expansion

YouTube rolls out new Partner Program terms as Shorts revenue sharing begins on February 1 by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
YouTube rolls out new Partner Program terms as Shorts revenue sharing begins on February 1

Amazon is working on a standalone app for sports content, new report claims

Amazon is developing a standalone app for watching sports, according to a new report from The Information. The move signals Amazon’s continued push toward investing in Prime Video and live sports content. If released, the standalone app would better highlight Amazon’s sports content, which is currently included in the company’s main Prime Video platform.
The report comes as Amazon CEO Andy Jassy recently called live sports “a unique asset” that Amazon will continue to invest in. Amazon’s current live sports offerings include exclusive rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, along with some Premier League soccer matches and Yankees baseball games. Amazon has also invested in other sports content to complement the live games, as the company launched original sports talk shows on both Prime Video and its ad-supported streaming service Freevee.
It’s unknown when Amazon plans to launch the standalone sports app. It’s also possible that the company may decide to shelve the plans altogether.
Amazon did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.
Amazon’s plans for a standalone sports app suggest that the company is exploring new ways to tap its live sports investments into additional revenue streams. Considering the steep costs of streaming rights, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company plans to charge a separate subscription fee for sports content with this standalone app. It’s also possible that Amazon may decide to offer a separate subscription tier that includes its sports content.
The new report comes as Amazon has been reviewing parts of its unprofitable divisions, which led to the elimination of numerous roles. Even amid these cost-cutting efforts, Amazon appears to be committed to building out Prime Video and its live sports streaming content.
Amazon isn’t the only major company looking to continue investing in live sports content, as the company faces increasing competition from other tech giants who have also inked sports streaming deals. Last week, Google’s YouTube secured the NFL Sunday Ticket in a landmark streaming deal. On the other hand, Apple has gained the rights to Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games.

YouTube secures NFL Sunday Ticket in landmark streaming deal

Amazon is working on a standalone app for sports content, new report claims by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
Amazon is working on a standalone app for sports content, new report claims

How to track Santa Claus this Christmas Eve

If you’re a parent with young children, then you’ll probably hear this a lot on Christmas Eve: “Where’s Santa right now?” With tracking tools like the NORAD Santa Tracker and Google’s Santa Tracker, everyone can know when Father Christmas will arrive.
Here’s how to follow Santa’s journey this Christmas Eve.
Track Santa Claus with NORAD
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) had the first-ever Santa tracker in 1955. While it used to be just a boring animation of Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying across a map, NORAD has added tons of features in recent years, such as fun mini-games, videos, stories and Christmas music.
Image Credits: NORAD
Rather than a 2D model, the NORAD Santa tracker has a 3D visual depiction of Santa’s journey as the platform was built on Cesium’s open-source 3D mapping library. It also uses Bing Maps satellite imagery, making the globe look more “realistic.”
Along with the tracker tool, users can also see a “Santa Cam,” which has videos of Santa making his way around the world to deliver presents to every kid on the nice list.
NORAD’s website has Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, arcade-style games, kid-friendly music, an online library and various videos that can be watched on NORAD’s official YouTube channel.
NORAD Santa tracker is available on noradsanta.org, or you can download the official NORAD Tracks Santa app on Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. The website is available in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian and Portuguese.
You can also track Santa through NORAD Tracker’s social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For a more personable experience, call 1-877-HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6732), and you’ll speak with a volunteer from the organization’s call center who’ll update you on Santa’s location.
Plus, through a partnership with Amazon, NORAD lets Amazon Alexa users track Santa. Users can open the Amazon Alexa app and go to “Skills & Games,” then search for “NORAD Tracks Santa” skill. Once enabled, you can ask: “Alexa, where’s Santa?” You can also say, “Alexa, call Santa,” and the jolly man will hop on the phone with you and your kids. There’s an option to leave a voicemail message for him as well.

Track Santa Claus with Google
Google’s Santa Tracker launched in 2004 and simulates the tracking of Santa. The website features a live map of Santa’s current location, his next stop, a live video feed of his route, and the estimated arrival time for each location. It also shows the total distance that Santa has traveled so far and the number of presents he has delivered.
Image Credits: Google
Throughout December, the page operates as Santa’s Village, where users can play mini-games, take quizzes, watch animated videos and explore other interactive activities. For instance, players can build their own elf in Google’s “Elf Maker” game as well as host a concert with “Elf Jamband.” Kids can also learn how to code with easy and fun tutorials like “Code Boogie.”
Additionally, users can enlist the help of Google Assistant to learn about Santa’s whereabouts. You can ask, “Hey Google, where’s Santa?” or even “What’s new at the North Pole?” which lets you tune into Google’s North Pole Newscast where you can hear what Santa and his elves are up to that day.
Google Assistant also lets you call Santa himself. When you call him, Santa will be rehearsing for a concert and will ask for your musical expert advice.
And don’t forget to ask Google Assistant to tell you a Santa joke!

How to track Santa Claus this Christmas Eve by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
How to track Santa Claus this Christmas Eve

Netflix branches out into fitness content with upcoming launch of Nike Training Club classes

Netflix is officially branching out into fitness content, as the company announced today that it’s going to start streaming Nike Training Club classes next week. The streaming service will release a total of 30 hours of exercise sessions in two separate batches. The programs, which include workouts for all fitness levels, will be available in multiple languages on all Netflix plans.
The first batch of fitness classes will launch on December 30, with the second batch releasing in 2023. A total of 45 episodes will be part of the first batch, which will include the following classes: Kickstart Fitness with the Basics, Two Weeks to a Stronger Core, Fall in Love with Vinyasa Yoga, HIIT & Strength with Tara, and Feel-Good Fitness. Once the classes are released, Netflix users will be able to search “Nike” to access them.
For those unfamiliar with the Nike Training Club app, it offers a range of options for people of all fitness levels, including strength training, yoga and high-intensity workouts led by Nike’s certified trainers. Nike Training Club can in some ways be compared to Apple Fitness+ or Peloton.
“It’s not always easy to motivate yourself to exercise, but the option to feel the burn and then directly transition into one of your favorite shows does have a certain appeal,” the company wrote in a blog post. “And now, that’s exactly what you can do.”
This latest move from Netflix marks yet another way that the streaming service is branching out from its core business of TV shows and series. Over the past year, we saw the company delve into the world of gaming with the launch of Netflix Games. Now we’re seeing another departure from its core business as the streaming service begins testing the waters with fitness content.
The timing of the release likely isn’t a coincidence either, given that people around the world will soon make working out their New Year’s resolution. Considering that Netflix already has a significant user base, the streaming service may be able to entice people into trying out fitness content directly on the platform that they already regularly visit.
It’s worth noting that the launch won’t mark Netflix’s first foray into health-related content, as the streaming service launched mindfulness and meditation content from Headspace last year.
Depending on how successful the launch is, Netflix may decide to add even more fitness content to its platform to compete with the likes of Apple Fitness+ and Peloton. Beyond that, the company may even decide to produce its own fitness content if it can get enough people to see it as a viable option when it comes to fitness.
Netflix branches out into fitness content with upcoming launch of Nike Training Club classes by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
Netflix branches out into fitness content with upcoming launch of Nike Training Club classes