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How big tech became the new titan of television

Hollywood power is in flux, as traditional broadcast and cable networks, which for decades shaped popular culture, try to keep up with technology companies
The geeks are raiding their digital vaults to transform themselves into lords of entertainment – or at least owners of content – and in the process shape what we watch and how we watch.

Apple has budgeted $1bn for original content and is reportedly eyeing the studio where Gone with the Wind was shot.

Netflix and Hulu are vying for awards glory this weekend with Stranger Things and The Handmaid’s Tale, after one of the most intense marketing campaigns in Emmys history.

YouTube is ramping up production of original shows and films with budgets and ambitions a world removed from kitten videos.

Facebook is waving a billion-dollar checkbook and may splurge up to $4m an episode on new programming, with Snapchat possibly not far behind.

Traditional broadcast and cable networks, giants, which for decades shaped popular culture, are scrambling to keep up.

But the revolution has gifted viewers quality, choice and convenience in what has been called a golden age for television. And in theory, it’s also a gilded time for creatives – courted by old and new money, exhibited on multiple platforms.


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Meet the artists using virtual reality as their canvas
Standing in the pristine Gazelli Art House, an art space on Dover Street in Mayfair, London, it might seem that the future is already here. There are no canvases, photographs or pieces of art hung up on the gallery’s white walls. Instead, there are four white headsets and sleek controllers that wouldn’t look out of place at a video game convention.

Return of the B-movie: why big-budget flops could be good for cinema
For Hollywood, summer has been a disaster movie. The likes of King Arthur and Cars 3 crashed at the box office – but could they pave the way for a ‘second feature’ renaissance?

If VR is film's next big thing, how long will it take to get right?
“Let’s raise a glass to risk-taking,” says festival director Amanda Duthie, addressing the glitchy elephant in the room. And indeed, in the context of film festival programming, that is not a bad thing to drink to: perhaps glitches are the price you pay for bold and interesting programming, of the technology-reliant kind.

Virtual Reality and journalistic ethics: where are the lines?
Imagine if you could spend a morning climbing a skyscraper, running with the bulls in Spain, or even walking on Pluto. As news outlets experiment with immersive content like virtual reality and 360-degree video, a smartphone and simple cardboard headset can make that happen.

The constantly evolving Korean film industry: Web Content
As online and mobile platforms are becoming the norm, the Korean entertainment content industry is in the midst of expanding from web dramas to web movies. Mobile video is no longer simply about showcasing short films, with 10-20 min-long web movies specifically developed for mobile content users becoming the new trend.

“Escape The Asylum” and the promise of Interactive Entertainment
When are the voices in your head a sign of insanity, and when are they your salvation? That’s the premise of Chatterbox, a choose-your-own-adventure-style suspense-horror experience in which the audience determines whether the protagonist, Jed, takes his meds, hooks up with other inmates, or trusts the alternate personalities that intrude into his thoughts.

The Shazam for art is like having a docent on your smartphone
In a magical future, whenever you come across a piece of art you know nothing about, all you have to do is aim your phone at it and you’ll get its name, a short blurb, and perhaps even an audio criticism to listen to.

The role of AI in creative industries
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has fast grown to prominence in recent years across the technology sector. Accenture expect the innovation to double the annual economic growth rates of 12 of the largest developed countries by 2035. It’s potential has in some sectors been overhyped, but in Robert Berkeley’s view, it is set to play a crucial role in creative disciplines.

A day in the life of... MD of an augmented reality company
Everybody loves a bit of augmented reality – an exciting technology tipped to have a big impact but not yet having realised its potential (Snapchat and Pok?mon aside).

Why Apple Will Win The Augmented Reality Race
Tim Cook is betting big on augmented reality (AR). The Apple chief executive officer has been publicly bullish about the technology. He has likened the disruptive potential of AR to that of the smartphone upon which Apple has built its $800 billion business. Although analysts do not expect mass consumer adoption for years, Cook has said that AR will eventually become as ubiquitous as “eating three meals a day.”

Why AT&T could put the TV advertising revolution on hold
Like an army amassing troops on the border, AT&T is inspiring a lot of speculation about what it plans to do next. Once the Time Warner merger is complete, will the company sell CNN, forever altering the cable news landscape? Will it snuff out the creative spark at Time Warner, forcing HBO to produce short, mobile-friendly episodes of beloved shows?

White men still dominate behind-the-camera jobs in TV
For all Hollywood’s talk about diversity, the major broadcast networks have made little progress this year in hiring more women and minorities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and confirmed by the companies.

Facebook, Apple, and Google will hasten the next era of TV
Not long ago, everyone saw Hollywood and Silicon Valley as opposites. The news that Apple, Google, and Facebook are all going to make multi-billion-dollar investments in producing scripted video entertainment may seem ludicrous—a folly launched by frustrated nerd-dom.

Market analysts see a coming boom in virtual and augmented reality
The battle to build a new generation of virtual and augmented reality experiences is already well underway, and if a new report from International Data Company is correct, the stakes might be higher than you might expect.

Steven Soderbergh has a new plan to make Hollywood movies outside the control of big studios
For most of his career, Steven Soderbergh has tried desperately to stay out of the movie studio machine.Though his biggest financial successes have come from Hollywood, he’s been most comfortable being an independent. But Soderbergh craved more control as the years went on, and frustrated he couldn’t get it, he retired in 2013. Four years later he has returned with a movie and has full control over it.

In a Heartbeat: the story behind the animated gay love short that's gone viral
It’s not every day that a wordless, four-minute animated short about two young boys falling in love goes viral. But when recent college graduates Esteban Bravo and Beth David posted their senior thesis film on YouTube, that’s exactly what happened.

Is the future VR ... or AR?
Google isn’t trying to hide what it’s doing with virtual reality. The long-term goal, said Google VR boss Clay Bavor on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, is rethinking “any experience with sight and sound.”

VR ads are almost here. Don’t act surprised
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re inside a virtual reality world. You look to your left and an open door appears, beckoning you to walk through it. You enter and suddenly find yourself in the middle of an advertisement—a branded world you can explore and manipulate. Forget banner ads and auto-playing videos. The advertisement of the future is immersive, almost game like. And it's nearly here.

Netflix's secret weapon isn't reboots—it's genre movies
Before this year, Netflix had never brought a project to Comic-Con's largest, most prestigious venue. And it had certainly never promoted a genre movie. But by the end of David Ayer’s presentation, which highlighted both Bright and the forthcoming manga adaptation Death Note, it had sent a clear signal to Comic-Con's favorite studios: there's a new kid in the Hall.

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