TL;DR

In a hurry? Here's our pick of the top news items of the week.

  • OpenAI launched its first commercial language model, GPT-3, designed to enhance the performance of AI-driven applications. The model has been trained on a significant amount of data, allowing it to execute a broad range of tasks, including writing news articles and composing poetry. (Financial Times)

  • US Gen Z adults consistently prefer watching recently released movies on streamers rather than in theaters. However, during H2 2022 in every month except September, that cohort was more likely than other generations to report going to the movies at least once a month. (Morning Consult)

  • Australia will introduce content quotas for video streaming platforms from the middle of next year. The government argues that Australians are now more likely to watch content on streaming platforms than on traditional broadcasting, that subscription-VOD is an industry worth over A$2.4B, and that streamers are currently not obliged to invest in local content or genres that the government deems important. (Variety)

  • Instagram chief Adam Mosseri says that the platform has gone too hard on pushing videos, and will look to make photos more of a focus once again in 2023. (Social Media Today)

  • Apple launched its new streaming service for Major League Soccer. Instead of looking for buyers of individual ads during the games, Apple is asking marketers to buy a season-long series of spots that will run during the games. It's also not offering advertisers any guarantees. (Bloomberg)

_Industry_ updates

Ad Vendors / Platforms / Data

  • Google has added an "Incognito Lock" feature to the Chrome browser on Android to help users keep their browsing activity private. (The Verge)

  • Worldwide digital ad spending saw growth slow to 8.6% in 2022, for a total of $567.49B. This year, growth will rebound to 10.5%, and spend will reach $626.86B. (Insider)

  • Twitch is changing how ads are displayed during a stream as pre-roll ads have been a consistent pain point for viewers. It's also experimenting with ways to give viewers a heads up that ads are on the way during streams. (The Verge)

  • Ads on FAST services are more likely to be watched by Australian viewers compared to other services. Over half (54%) of Australians engage with ads in FAST/AVOD settings. (Ad News)

Artificial Intelligence

  • OpenAI has ramped up its hiring around the world, bringing on roughly 1K remote contractors over the past six months in regions like Latin America and Eastern Europe. 60% of the hires will be “data labeling” — creating massive sets of images, audio clips, and other information used to train artificial intelligence tools or autonomous vehicles. (Semafor)

  • OpenAI launched its first commercial language model, GPT-3, to enhance the performance of AI-driven applications. The model has been trained on a significant amount of data, letting it execute a broad range of writing tasks. (Financial Times)

  • OpenAI has unveiled a tool to identify AI-generated text. The tool leverages GPT-3 language model to distinguish between human-written and AI-generated text, aiming to mitigate the dissemination of fake news and misinformation. (Bloomberg)

  • ChatGPT has set a record for the fastest growing user base, reaching 100M monthly active users in January - just two months after launch. The record is a testament to the model's versatility and usefulness for a variety of tasks. (Reuters)

  • ChatGPT+, the new and improved version of ChatGPT, has been released to select users for $20/mo and includes features such as the ability to generate code and perform complex mathematical calculations. (CNN)

  • Advertisers are using AI-generated content to create personalized ads at scale, thanks to AI's ability to quickly create large amounts of unique content. AI-generated ads are expected to reach $10B by 2025. (Adweek)

  • Microsoft and OpenAI have dismissed a lawsuit over the alleged copyright infringement of an AI-powered tool, CoPilot. The lawsuit claimed that CoPilot's functionality was similar to an open-source project hosted on GitHub. (The Verge)

  • Google has introduced MusicLM, a new AI tool that can convert text into music in real time. The tool makes it easier for people to create music and opens up new possibilities for AI-generated content in the music industry. (The Verge)

  • Sports Illustrated’s publisher is using AI to generate fitness advice, partnering with AI startups Jasper and Nota to broaden and increase the speed of “its AI-assisted efforts," which include training AI language models on the company’s archives to generate stories which are then edited by humans. (The Verge)

Awards / Festivals

  • Quinta Brunson will host the Billboard Women in Music Awards. The March 1 ceremony will honor Becky G (Impact), Doechii (Rising Star), Ivy Queen (Icon), Kim Petras (Chartbreaker), Latto (Powerhouse), Lainey Wilson (Rulebreaker), Lana Del Rey (Visionary Award), and TWICE (Breakthrough). (Billboard)

  • Harry Styles performed at the 2023 Grammy Awards and was also nominated for six Grammys, including album, record and song of the year. (Billboard)

  • For the first time in three years, Netflix did not receive the most Oscar nominations of any studio. A24's Everything Everywhere All at Once picked up the most Oscar nods (11) while Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick, Warner Bros.' Elvis, Disney’s Avatar: The Way of Water, and Focus Features' and Universal Pictures' Tár also received nominations for Best Picture. (Axios)

  • A Thousand and One, a drama about an impoverished single mother and her son in New York City, won the Sundance Film Festival’s grand jury prize in the US dramatic competition, while Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project was awarded the top prize in the US documentary category. (AP)

Cinemas / Theatrical

  • US Gen Z adults consistently prefer watching recently released movies on streamers rather than in theaters. However, during H2 2022 in every month except September, they were more likely than other generations to report going to the movies at least once a month. (Morning Consult)

  • The summer box office in Australia saw a 27% increase YoY, with over 10.5M admissions and over $100M in revenue. The highest rating film to hit screens this summer has been Avatar: The Way of Water, which delivered 4.44M admission, of which 50% were for 3D. (Mumbrella)

  • Titanic is returning to AMC Theaters in 3D beginning February 10th to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film. It will also be shown in 4K HDR with high frame rate, the same technology used for Avatar: The Way of Water. (AMC)

  • Sony Pictures’ operating income for Q4 fell to $179M, down 86% YoY, due to the lack of major theatrical hits and lower revenue from television licensing. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile was the Sony unit’s biggest earner with $96M, followed by Matilda The Musical and Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody, both logging $25M. (THR)

Gambling / Casinos

  • Fanatics is in discussions to acquire BetParx as it looks to establish a presence in sports betting. It signed a letter of intent to buy the BetParx sportsbook. (Gambling News)

  • DraftKings recently cut 140 jobs, almost 4% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring effort aimed at improving efficiency and streamlining operations. (CNBC)

  • The betting market across all of Latin America is set to triple between 2020 and 2025, surpassing $3B by the start of 2026. The growth will be predominantly fueled by three countries; Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. (Yogonet)

Live Events / Attractions

  • Beyoncé has announced the dates for her 2023 Renaissance World Tour. Tickets are predicted to sell out quickly, and eyes are on Ticketmaster to handle without issue following the Taylor Swift debacle. (PageSix)

  • Several major venue openings in Las Vegas, along with the F1 Grand Prix and the Super Bowl, are expected to drive substantial growth in tourism this year. (TSNN)

  • Maroon 5‘s Las Vegas residency will begin March 24 at the Dolby Live theater at Park MGM. The shows, of which there are 16, will be 90 minutes long. (Movin92.5)

  • A Universal Studios theme park is coming to Frisco, Texas, though an opening date is not confirmed. The park will be a kids-themed park with immersive experiences and rides involving Universal movies and will include a 300-room hotel. (WFAA)

Music / Audio / Podcasts

  • Spotify ended Q4 with 205M paid subscribers, up from 195M the previous quarter. It added 33M total monthly active users to reach a total of 489M free and premium subscribers, an increase from 456M at the end of the previous quarter. (THR)

  • SiriusXM's Q4 2022 earnings showed a total of 38.2M subscribers, an 8% increase YoY. The growth was driven by strong performance in both the satellite radio and streaming segments. (THR)

  • Linda Ronstadt’s song “Long, Long Time” appeared three times in an episode of The Last of Us, and in the hour following the premiere, Spotify streams of the track increased 4,900% WoW. (CNN)

  • Stingray Karaoke and Qello Concerts have launched on Claro Música in Latin America, bringing a new range of music and karaoke content to the platform's subscribers. Claro Música has over 10M subscribers in the region. (Senal News)

Crypto / NFT / Metaverse

  • Meta is starting to test members-only worlds in Horizon Worlds, its social VR platform, which let users build curated worlds for a select community. (The Verge)

  • The Premier League is partnering with French fantasy sports platform Sorare to sell NFTs. The deal gives Sorare a four-year license to sell digital sports cards of players from all 20 Premier League club and could be worth $37M per year. (Reuters)

  • Amazon is launching a digital assets enterprise, and an NFT initiative is expected to begin in the spring. Amazon will place a focus on blockchain-based gaming and related NFT applications. (Blockworks)

  • Apple's upcoming mixed-reality headset will make an attempt to create a 3D version of the iPhone's operating system. The headset, costing $3K, will have eye and hand-tracking systems that could set the technology apart from rival products. (Investing)

  • Apple is developing software to make it easy for users of its upcoming mixed-reality headset to build their own AR apps. With the software tools, even people who don’t know how to code could tell the headset to build an AR app that could then be made available via Apple’s App Store. (The Information)

OTT / Streaming

  • Australia will introduce content quotas for video streaming platforms from the middle of next year. (Variety)

  • FAST channel revenue grew almost 20 times between 2019 and 2022, and is set to triple between 2022 and 2027 to reach $12B. The number of FAST channels is also increasing rapidly with more than 1.5K channels now available in the US. (Advanced TV)

  • Peacock will no longer offer their free tier for new subscribers. Instead, new users who sign up will only be given the option to subscribe to its two premium tiers — Peacock Premium ($4.99/mo) and Peacock Premium Plus ($9.99/mo). (Streamable)

  • Warner Bros. Discovery has signed content deals with Roku and Tubi for a selection of its free, ad-supported channels. Tubi will add more than 225 AVOD titles from Warner Bros. and 14 WB-branded FAST channels. (THR)

  • Netflix has acquired the distribution rights to Inheritance, a film produced by The House Wife, as part of its continued effort to expand its film offerings and build its content library. (THR)

  • Canela Media launched Canela Kids, a stand-alone mobile app featuring over 3K hours of children’s programming in Spanish. (Todo TV News)

Retail / Lifestyle / Travel

  • All Delta SkyMiles members now get free in-flight Wi-Fi thanks to Delta's partnership with T-Mobile. The wireless carrier already offers free Wi-Fi on Delta flights to its subscribers, but starting on February 1st, that program expanded to all SkyMiles members. (The Verge)

  • Walmart is redesigning its stores to be more sleek and modern. The new look is part of a broader effort to sell more discretionary items — like jeans, lipstick and baby strollers — that usually carry a higher profit margin than groceries. (CNBC)

  • Cross border travel between mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau fully resumed on February 6th, dropping existing quotas and scrapping a mandatory COVID-19 test that was required before traveling. (Reuters)

Social Media

  • Instagram Notes has been expanded to the EU, UK, and Japan. Notes are short text posts of up to 60 characters that float above your profile icon and disappear after 24 hours. (The Verge)

  • Twitter is pushing forward its efforts to introduce payments across the platform. In Elon Musk’s vision, the system would use fiat currencies at first, but may add crypto functionality later. (Market Watch)

  • Facebook Messenger users can now choose themes, set profiles for group conversations and use custom emoji as well as reactions. Active status and web link previews now work in a more secure mode, while Android users can take advantage of floating Bubbles to talk through while they're using other apps. (Engadget)

  • Snapchat is planning to charge its users to maintain their "Snapstreaks." A "Snapstreak" is a feature on the app that shows how many consecutive days two users have sent snaps to each other. (Insider)

  • Instagram co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, are launching a new news app called "Artifact." The app aims to use machine learning to curate personalized news content for each user. (The Verge)

  • Facebook's Q4 2022 earnings showed a revenue of $28.1B, a YoY increase of 28%. The growth in performance was driven by growth in advertising and other segments. (Engadget)

  • Only a handful of social media platforms have seen over 50% of US Gen Z adults using their apps daily. TikTok is one of the apps with the greatest difference between daily usage among Gen Z adults and adults overall. (Morning Consult)

  • Over 70% of the Australian population now uses social media, an increase of over 5% YoY, and 60% of the country’s population are active users on Facebook. (Social Media News)

  • Instagram chief Adam Mosseri says that the platform has gone too hard on pushing videos, and will look to make photos more of a focus once again in 2023. (Social Media Today)

  • TikTok is testing a new "refresh" button that will allow users to reset the "For You" algorithm. The purpose of the button is to give users a new set of recommended videos if they feel like the current recommendations are stale. (The Verge)

  • Twitter will end free access to its API, which will affect third-party developers and impact the way in which data is collected and analyzed. Twitter will now require payment for API access and offer a paid premium version with expanded functionality. (Tech Crunch)

Sports

  • beIN Sports has secured exclusive rights to the Formula 1 World Championships in ten territories across Asia. The agreement, lasting until 2025, includes rights to all Grand Prix, Sprint Races, Qualifying and Practice sessions. (Broadband TV News)

  • The NFL took first place for the most-watched programs on TV for the week of January 16-22, with Wild Card and Divisional Round games capturing 12.42% of all minutes watched (up from 8.31% the previous week). (NextTV)

  • Apple launched its new streaming service for Major League Soccer. Instead of looking for buyers of individual ads during the games, Apple is asking marketers to buy a season-long series of spots that will run during the games. It's also not offering advertisers any guarantees. (Bloomberg)

  • The NHL and Disney are partnering for the All-Star Game. The partnership is expected to provide ad inventory for the All-Star Game, which attracts a significant number of viewers and has a high engagement rate. (Marketing Dive)

  • As of October, 36% of adult streaming users feel that a lack of live sports was a problem they had with the services they use. (Morning Consult)

Video Games

  • Since 2018, Meta Platforms has paid gamers to stream their play on Facebook’s gaming service, but in the second half of last year, Facebook Gaming dropped its contracts with at least 200 creators. (The Information)

  • Dungeons & Dragons has released its rules and guidelines under a Creative Commons license, letting fans create and share their own content with the aim of fostering a more engaged community of players. (Tech Crunch)

  • The Sims 4 released an inclusive update that has transgender fans celebrating online in the latest win for LGBTQ gamers. The new series of add-ons includes top surgery scars, binders, and shapewear. (Inquirer)

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