Condé Nast Entertainment Launches New Unscripted TV Unit

first_img Condé Nast Entertainment launched in 2011 and, in addition to it’s five unscripted projects, it has also undertaken 24 film projects, a number of scripted series with networks that include Fox, HBO and AMC, and regular digital video programming across 19 brands. Condé Nast Entertainment is upping its commitment to unscripted television, according to a company announcement on Feb. 1. It’s launched a new unit, Condé Nast Studios, which will oversee the company’s five existing unscripted television projects—in production or on air—and will create and develop several more. “With the explosive demand for television programming, CNE Studios is the natural progression of taking our success in developing and selling unscripted series to the next level,” says CNE president, Dawn Ostroff in a statement.  Heading up the new unit as executive vice president is Al Edgington, an Emmy-winning TV vet who has produced unscripted series like “The Amazing Race” and “Last Comic Standing.”  “Al’s expertise and keen production abilities will be a tremendous asset as he and Joe LaBracio work closely on building the next phase of our unscripted television business,” Ostroff says.last_img read more

At CES 2019 Alexa and Google Assistant will howl The rest will

first_img null 0 12 Photos Smart Home Gadgets Tech Industry Tags More digital assistant stories Amazon Alexa 2018 event: Editors react Samsung’s first Bixby speaker, the Galaxy Home, revealed Share your voice CES 2019center_img Google is primed to go big at CES again Amazon’s Echo devices get redesign on the way to world domination Apple, Siri fall further behind Google, Amazon in the smart home 9:57 The world’s largest tech show has become center stage for the digital assistant wars.Amazon Alexa was the belle of the CES ball two years ago when the e-commerce giant unveiled a long list of product integrations that included Ford vehicles and Whirlpool appliances. Not to be overshadowed, Google the following year constructed a large, eye-catching stage and announced four new Google Assistant-powered smart displays.Which brings us to CES 2019, kicking off next week. There, Amazon and Google are expected to make big splashes designed to show the rest of the tech industry that they — not the other guy — have the best platform for operating our smart homes, connected cars and voice-powered offices. Making their cases will be especially important at CES, since the show has become a who’s who for the smart home and automotive industries, two major growth areas for voice assistants.But while both have extended the reach and influence of voice computing, both also need to broaden their messages and showcase their voice assistants’ capabilities. That work could persuade more consumers that they need smart speakers as much as they need smartphones. Currently, 32 percent of Americans own a smart speaker while 77 percent have smartphones, according to Adobe and Pew Research, showing there’s much more room for voice to expand Smart speaker adoption has been growing at a healthy clip, but drawing in new customers may get harder, with increased consumer concern about data privacy and a regular trickle of negative anecdotes about Alexa malfunctioning. Also, Adobe reported the No. 1 reason people don’t own a smart speaker is that they feel they just don’t have a use for one.”If the industry can convince those that do not own a smart speaker to get one, we believe the effects can be exponential,” in sparking new uses in gaming, shopping and search, Adobe Analytics’ Heidi Besik wrote last month.Here’s what to expect from the leading voice-assistant players at CES this year.Amazon Alexa: The market leaderThe online retailing kingpin will likely keep up its strategy of announcing lots of new Alexa partnerships to demonstrate its market dominance and highlight the versatility of its voice assistant.Amazon may also use its now sprawling devices portfolio to help retain its lead. That could mean using CES to unveil new integrations or features for its Fire TV streaming devices, Amazon Key in-home delivery service or Ring home-security gadgets. But don’t expect a long list of new Amazon-branded devices. The company introduced many Alexa-powered devices in September at its own Seattle launch event. At CES, Amazon is all about unveiling new partnerships, like this one with Toyota last year. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET And while Amazon’s playbook of using a large volume of announcements to show voice supremacy has worked well in the past, the company now faces a lot more competition. In mid-2017, Amazon controlled just over 70 percent of the US smart speaker market, eMarketer reported. The research firm last month predicted that number will drop to 63 percent in 2019 as competitors catch up. The Google Home speaker, for instance, should reach 31 percent; other speakers, including the Apple HomePod and Sonos One, will account for 12 percent. (Some consumers use multiple brands, accounting for a total that’s higher than 100 percent.)It’s why Amazon needs the CES spotlight focused on Alexa and not on some rival voice assistant.Google Assistant: The fast-following No. 2lenovo-smart-display-with-google-assistant-3284-012One of the four smart displays Google unveiled with its partners at CES last year. Josh Miller/CNET If any company can make Amazon nervous about its future in voice, it’s Google.The search giant introduced its first smart speaker in late 2016, two years after Amazon unveiled the Echo, but has quickly captured almost a third of the US smart speaker market. Google has also copied some of Amazon’s best ideas — coming out with a cheap, pint-size speaker called the Google Home Mini to rival the Echo Dot, and introducing its own smart displays to compete against the Echo Show.Now Google is signaling big plans for CES 2019, saying it’ll triple the size of its presence from last year. The company may introduce more partnerships as well as smart-home features from its Nest team to help keep pace with Amazon.But while Google has made big strides, it’s unlikely to dethrone Alexa in the next few years.Samsung Bixby: A lot of potentialSamsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, has been working its way into voice via its Bixby assistant. It started by bringing Bixby to its Galaxy S8 in 2017, and even created a dedicated Bixby button on the side of the phone. It also unveiled a smart speaker in August, called the Galaxy Home, which hasn’t gone on sale yet. In late 2017, the company said it would start adding Bixby into its refrigerators and smart TVs. Facebook may make some noise this year, using CES to promote its Alexa-powered Portal smart display. Then there’s IBM. Given that CEO Ginni Rometty has a coveted CES keynote speaker spot this year, we may hear news about Watson, though it will likely be focused more on businesses rather than consumers.For any of these companies hoping to hold its own at CES — and many don’t even want to play that game — coming out from under Amazon and Google’s massive shadows won’t be easy.’Hello, humans’: Google’s Duplex could make Assistant the most lifelike AI yet.The Honeymoon Is Over: Everything you need to know about why tech is under Washington’s microscope. Now playing: Watch this: Samsung has been talking up its plans to make Bixby a more important piece of its future. But so far, it’s well behind Amazon and Google in voice assistant smart-home devices, features and partnerships. It may even be too late to catch up.The company is typically a big player at CES, so it may use the show to keep pushing awareness of Bixby. It’ll be a challenge to stand out, though, against the two top dogs.The rest of the pack: A scramble for relevanceApple’s Siri pioneered voice computing on phones and remains a notable player in the market. But Siri has fallen far behind the competition, and Apple’s HomePod remains an also-ran in smart speakers as the company focuses on iPhones, its main profit driver. In addition, Apple rarely has a public presence at CES, preferring to host its own events. All these factors point to Siri likely being irrelevant at the upcoming show.Microsoft’s presence at CES in recent years has focused mostly on supporting its PC partners’ new devices, so it’s unlikely to make a big Cortana-related announcement at the show. Although an early player in voice computing, the software giant hasn’t pushed Cortana development, keeping its voice assistant a minor player. Google Assistant Alexa Amazon Voice recognition Google Samsung Sirilast_img read more

Trump inauguration prompts celebration in Russia

first_imgThe Kremlin may have spent years reviling America, but Russians hoping Donald Trump will usher in a new era of detente marked his inauguration on Friday with parties and trinkets from commemorative coins to “matryoshka” nesting dolls in his image.Washington was turned into a virtual fortress with an estimated 900,000 people—backers and protesters—descending on the capital. In London, anti-Trump activists draped a banner reading “Build Bridges Not Walls” from Tower Bridge. Protests were planned across western Europe on Friday and Saturday.But according to Gennady Gudkov, a Putin critic and former lawmaker, Russia is in the grip of “Trumpomania”, with state media giving the President-elect blanket air time at the expense of more mundane and sometimes depressing domestic news stories.That, he said, was in part because the U.S. election, unlike elections in Russia, had been unpredictable. The Kremlin is hoping Trump will ease sanctions imposed over the annexation of Crimea, team up with Russia against Islamic State, and cut back NATO military activity near Russian borders.Craftsmen in the city of Zlatoust, east of Moscow, have released a limited series of silver and gold commemorative coins, engraved with “In Trump We Trust” – an allusion to the phrase on U.S. banknotes “In God We Trust”.‘TRUMPOMANIA’Sellers of traditional matryoshka nesting dolls have added Trump dolls to their popular line-up of items carved in the likeness of President Vladimir Putin, Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, ex-President Mikhail Gorbachev and Josef Stalin.And a shop selling Russian military kit located opposite the U.S. embassy in Moscow has unveiled a cheeky promotional campaign offering embassy employees and U.S. citizens a 10 percent discount on its wares to celebrate Trump’s inauguration.Some of Trump’s opponents believe the Kremlin helped him win the White House by staging a hacking campaign to hoover up embarrassing information about Hillary Clinton, his rival. The Kremlin denies that, but few here make any secret of the fact that they are pleased that Trump and not Clinton triumphed.Relations between Putin and Barack Obama had soured badly.“Trump’s election has generated enormous enthusiasm in Russia because his warm words about Russia and Putin have given us hope that the USA and the West will stop their attack on Russia,” Sergei Markov, a former pro-Putin lawmaker, said on social media.“We don’t know for sure if there will be an improvement (in relations) or not. But we Russians are optimists … so we are hoping for the best, while preparing for the worst.”For Russian nationalists, Trump’s inauguration is an excuse to mix fun with self-promotion.They are holding an all-night party at what used to be the main Soviet-era post office in Moscow where they will showcase their favorite prop, a triptych of Putin, Trump and French Front National leader Marine Le Pen.Konstantin Rykov, a former pro-Putin lawmaker and one of the event’s promoters, said on social media it was right to celebrate the first phase of the “New World Order.”“Washington will be ours,” he quipped.last_img read more

Potential Deportation Of Food Truck Operator Spreads Fear In Southwest Houston

first_img Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X 00:00 /01:10 Listen Al OrtizArmando ‘Piro’ García used to operate the Taquería Gómez food truck, but ICE agents detained him on February 8th and he is now waiting for his removal from the United States.The recent detention of an undocumented man who ran a popular food truck in southwest Houston has some immigrants in the area worried.Armando García, known as Piro by his friends, used to operate the food truck Taquería Gómez, but he is not doing it anymoreAgents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained him on February 8th.A statement from ICE says García had originally been deported to Guatemala in 1994.He re-entered the country and was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2002.He remains in ICE custody, waiting for his removal from the United States.Yazmin, who declined to give us her last name, works at the food truck and says they have had fewer Latino customers since García was detained.Al OrtizJosé, a Mexican immigrant who used to buy his lunch from Armando ‘Piro’ García, says the topic of deportation keeps now coming up in everyday conversations since ICE detained him on February 8th.“People got scared about what happened and it’s gone down a little bit,” Yazmin noted, speaking in Spanish.José, who didn’t want to use his last name either, usually bought lunch from García.Originally from Mexico and undocumented, he notes the fear of deportation is spreading in this part of town.“It wasn’t like that before. Now, you just go out, talk a little bit and that topic comes up,” explained José, also speaking in Spanish.José adds that he is now sending more of his money to his home country because he doesn’t want to lose his savings if he also ends up deported.García’s common law wife Rosie told Houston Public Media immigration lawyers she has consulted with have told her there are few chances García will be allowed to stay in the country.A campaign has been launched on Gofundme.com to raise funds to pay for García’s legal defense.last_img read more