Facebook Lasso app lead Brady Voss leaves for Netflix right after launch

Facebook Lasso has a steep uphill climb ahead as it hopes to chase the musical video app it cloned, China’s TikTok (which merged with Musically). Lasso lets you overlay popular songs on 15-second clips of you lip syncing, dancing, or just being silly — kind of like Vine with a soundtrack. It’s off to a slow start since launching Friday, having failed to reach the overall app download charts as it falls from #169 to #217 on the US iOS Photo and Video App chart, according to App Annie.

Forme Facebook Lead Product Designer Brady Voss

And now one of the Lasso team’s bosses Brady Voss is leaving Facebook for a job at Netflix. He’d spent five years as a lead product designer at Facebook working on standalone apps like Hello and major feature launches like Watch, Live, 360 video, and the social network’s smart TV app. He previously designed
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What’s next? The top media executives on the job market

Keep an eye out for the next moves by these entrepreneurs and executives. A number of the biggest names in media left their jobs over the last year (or announced they will be leaving soon), including a handful of now-billionaires who have resources, ambition, and time on their hands to explore something new.

We are experimenting with new content forms at TechCrunch. This is a rough draft of something new —provide feedback directly to the author, Eric Peckham (@epeckham), our columnist focused on the intersection of media and technology. Most notably, there are Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch (with rumored plans to launch a VC firm), Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine, VICE founder/CEO Shane Smith (who transitioned to a Chairman role), Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, and Oath’s CEO Tim Armstrong. There’s also a long list of other names you may not
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Tencent is launching its own version of Snap Spectacles

Some were surprised to see Snap release a second version of its “face-camera” Spectacles gadget, since the original version failed to convert hype into sales.

But those lackluster sales — which dropped to as low as 42,000 per quarter — didn’t only fail to dissuade the U.S. social firm from making more specs, because now Tencent, the Chinese internet giant and Snap investor, has launched its own take on the genre. Tencent this week unveiled its answer to the video-recording sunglasses, which, you’ll notice, bear a striking resemblance to Snap’s Spectacles. Called the Weishi smartglasses, Tencent’s wearable camera sports a lens in the front corner that allows users to film from a first-person perspective. Thankfully, the Chinese gaming and social giant has not made the mistake of Snap’s first-generation Spectacles, which highlighted the camera with a conspicuous yellow ring.

Zuckerberg says the future is sharing via 100B messages & 1B Stories/day

The News Feed won’t sustain Facebook forever, and that’s scaring investors. Today on Facebook’s earnings call, Mark Zuckerberg stressed that sharing is shifting to private chat, where people send 100 billion messages per day on Facebook’s family of apps, and Stories, where he says people share 1 billion of these slideshows per day (though it’s unclear if that includes third-party apps like Snapchat).

But that means Facebook will have to realign its business towards these mediums where monetization is more complex and it has less experience. The result of Zuckerberg’s comments was a reversal of Facebook’s initial 2 percent share price gain after earnings were announced that dragged it down to a 3.5 percent loss. That was only reversed when Zuckerberg said Facebook would reduce limits on video advertising, pushing shares up 3 percent in after-hours trading. Facebook’s year-over-year revenue growth has already slowed from 59 percent in Q3
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Vimeo subscribers can now publish videos directly to LinkedIn

Vimeo announced today a new feature that will allow videos to be published directly to LinkedIn. The added support is a part of the company’s “Publish to Social” feature, which already offers publishing to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and is available to paid subscribers. The expansion to LinkedIn is another example of the company’s shift in focus from being a video destination site to one that sells tools and services to professional and semi-professional video creators.

The company last year scrapped its plans for a subscription video-on-demand service, promoted its creator business lead Anjali Sud to CEO, and acquired live video streaming platform Livestream, as a part of its broader plan to serve the video creator community through services. Earlier this year, it announced “Publish to Social,” a tool that support uploading videos to multiple sites at once, as a part of all Plus, PRO, Business, and live plans.
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Snapchat’s new Camera desktop camera app brings AR masks to Twitch, Skype…

Snapchat is launching its first Mac and Windows software that takes over your webcam and brings its augmented reality effects to other video streaming and calling services. Snap Camera can be selected as a camera output in OBS Skype, YouTube, Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, and more plus browser-based apps like Facebook Live so you can browse through Snapchat’s Lens Explorer to try on AR face filters. And through its easily-equipped new Twitch extension. streamers can trigger different masks with hotkeys.

You can download the Mac and Windows versions of Snap Camera now. Users can us Lens Explorer to preview effects and see who made them, Star their favorites for easy access, and access a tab of your recently used Lenses. Despite Snap Inc’s troubles following yesterday’s Q3 earnings announcement that revealed it’d lost 2 million users causing its share price to hit a new low, Snapchat Camera isn’t about stoking growth.
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Twitch announces group streaming and a karaoke game for its 1M concurrent viewers

The teens were out in force today in San Jose for the annual TwitchCon game streaming conference. There, Twitch announced that at any given time, 1 million people are watching it (up from 746,000 last year), and it seemed like that many game lovers were at TwitchCon in person to meet some of the nearly half-million web celebs that broadcast each day on the service. Considering Twitch said just 2 million were broadcasting per month in December, the service’s growth is still explosive under Amazon’s ownership.

Amongst the major reveals at TwitchCon were a new Squad Streaming feature that lets up to four people broadcast at once in split-screen that will test with select streamers later this year. There’s also a new Twitch Sings game built in partnership with Rock Band-creator Harmonix. Broadcasters can play to perform karaoke (though only with fake versions of songs since Twitch lacks major label
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Why IGTV should go premium

It’s been four months since Facebook launched IGTV, with the goal of creating a destination for longer-form Instagram videos. Is it shaping up to be a high-profile flop, or could this be the company’s next multi-billion dollar business?

IGTV, which features videos up to 60 minutes versus Instagram’s normal 60-second limit, hasn’t made much of a splash yet. Since there are no ads yet, it hasn’t made a dollar either. But, it offers Facebook the opportunity to dominate a new category of premium video, and to develop a subscription business that better aligns with high-quality content. Facebook worked with numerous media brands and celebrities to shoot high-quality, vertical videos for IGTV’s launch on June 20, as both a dedicated app and a section within the main Instagram app. But IGTV has been quiet since. I’ve heard repeatedly in conversations with media executives that almost no one is creating
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Hulu adds a dark mode on the web

Rejoice, dark mode fans. Hulu is joining YouTube and YouTube TV as the streaming video service to embrace a dark theme – something that gives video sites a more cinematic look and feel (as Netflix already knows). The company says it will begin to roll out its new “Night Mode” starting today to all users of Hulu on the web.

The theme, which can be enabled in the settings, can also help reduce eye strain and glare in low light, Hulu notes. That’s useful for those who are watching on laptops, while curled up on the sofa or bed – as many web users are today. While Hulu has timed the launch to coincide with its offering of creepy “Huluween” content, it says the feature is a permanent addition. However, it wouldn’t yet confirm if the dark mode will expand to other Hulu platforms. Instead, the company says it will
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YouTube is down

No, it’s not just you. As of Tuesday evening Pacific Time, YouTube was down for many users. The outage appears to have begun some time between 6 and 7 p.m., making this a pretty long outage for such a major site.

The company is well aware of the issue and tweeting its updates.

YouTube doesn’t experience downtime very often, making Tuesday’s outage pretty notable. We’ve reached out to YouTube about the cause of the outage and will update this story when we learn more.

Gillmor Gang:

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The Gillmor Gang — Keith Teare, Esteban Kolsky, Frank Radice, Michael Markman, and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Friday October 12, 2018. Smartspeaker UI, Post-Advertising micropayments, and other mythical creatures.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor @kteare, @ekolsky, @fradice, @mickeleh, @stevegillmor Liner Notes Live chat stream The Gillmor Gang on Facebook

Facebook follows Twitch and YouTube with launch of Premieres, live polls and fan badges

Facebook today announced the global launch of Premieres, its new interactive video format that allows creators to pre-record a video for fans, then release it during a viewing window they choose, as more of a live event. The move follows YouTube’s introduction of a similar Premieres format just a few months ago. In addition, Facebook says it’s rolling out interactive video polls to more Pages, and making its Top Fans feature available to all Facebook Pages worldwide. Like Twitch and YouTube, Facebook is focused on giving its creators a variety of tools to engage with their fans and viewers. Specifically, these companies have found that allowing creators to delay the release of a pre-recorded video gives them the ability to build up excitement for a live viewing event among their community, which in turn, can increase the video’s viewership when it finally hits. This benefits the creators, platforms, and the
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Plex kills off support for Cloud Sync, Plugins and bookmarking features

Plex is continuing to streamline its software by shutting down features that weren’t broadly adopted or all that functional. The company says it will soon sunset a handful of options in its media player software, including Plugins, Cloud Sync, and its “Watch Later” bookmarking feature. The move to kill off these features comes shortly after Plex announced it would soon shut down its Plex Cloud service, due to technical difficulties. The company had originally began its life as a way for users to organize their personal media collections of photos, music, TV shows and films. But it has more recently expanded into the cord cutting market. This shift in focus has seen Plex adding features that support the ability to watch and record from live TV. However, the change has also meant that support for things like Plex Cloud – which allowed users to stream their media from cloud
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Live streams of karate and niche sports are terrifying major sports leagues

Of the 100 most-watched live telecasts in the US in 2005, 14 were sporting events; in 2015, sporting events comprised 93 of the top 100 telecasts. That shift occurred because TV shows are shifting to online or on-demand viewing, and live broadcasts of the biggest sports are the main thing TV networks have left to draw in live audiences. But the need to keep those sports on TV and off streaming services is only accelerating the rate at which young people are tuning into other sports leagues instead. The rapid adoption of subscription video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and of social live streams on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch is enabling massive growth by sports leagues that you won’t normally see on TV. In the streaming era, more sports – and new types of sports like esports – keep thriving while interest in traditional pro leagues like the NFL
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YouTube to shut down standalone Gaming app, as gaming gets a new home on YouTube

YouTube will no longer maintain a separate app targeting gaming and live game streaming, the company announced today. The YouTube Gaming app, which first arrived in 2015, will be sunset sometime next spring as its host of features make their way over to YouTube’s main site. Over the years, the YouTube Gaming app has been a place where YouTube experimented with features catering to game creators and viewers who like to watch live and recorded esports. Here, it tested things like Game Pages to make games more discoverable, Super Chat, and Channel Memberships – features which the Amazon-owned game streaming site Twitch had also popularized among the game community. Some of YouTube Gaming’s features became so well-received that the company brought them to YouTube. For example, this June YouTube introduced channel memberships to its main site. And before that, it had brought Super Chat – a way for creators
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Review: iPhone XS, XS Max and the power of long-term thinking

The iPhone XS proves one thing definitively: that the iPhone X was probably one of the most ambitious product bets of all time.

When Apple told me in 2017 that they put aside plans for the iterative upgrade that they were going to ship and went all in on the iPhone X because they thought they could jump ahead a year, they were not blustering. That the iPhone XS feels, at least on the surface, like one of Apple’s most “S” models ever is a testament to how aggressive the iPhone X timeline was.

I think there will be plenty of people who will see this as a weakness of the iPhone XS, and I can understand their point of view. There are about a half-dozen definitive improvements in the XS over the iPhone X, but none of them has quite the buzzword-worthy effectiveness of a marquee upgrade like 64-bit,

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MasterClass is mastering scale as a media business

MasterClass’ $80M Series D announced last week marks a triumph in validating the potential venture-scale of content businesses in an era when many are founded with equal parts tech and media DNA. The platform for online video courses on topics from film directing to tennis taught by iconic figures in each field (like Martin Scorsese and Serena Williams) launched in 2015 and has raised $160M from top VC firms like IVP, NEA, and Atomico while gaining brand recognition among millions of Americans. Neither education nor content startups have been particularly hot spaces for Silicon Valley investors over the last few years, so Masterclass’ breakout status calls attention to its strategy.

High-quality original content cuts above the noise

Due to the user inputs of subscription streaming services, a platform focused on its own high-quality original content can gain an advantage against the crowded field of quantity-over-quality competitors in monetization and defensibility
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Instagram confirms it’s testing video tagging with a percentage of users

Instagram is testing a way to allow users to tag their friends in their video posts, not just in photos, TechCrunch has learned and the company confirmed. The option works similarly to tagging photos, but instead of pressing the small icon at the bottom left to see the list of tagged names appear over top of the content – something that would be more difficult with videos – the button links to a list of tagged people. When you tap this button, you’re directed to a new page titled “People in this Video” with all the Instagram users who have either appeared in the video, or who the original poster wants to alert in some way. As far as we can tell, these videos don’t also copy over to the tagged users’ profiles, where tagged photos typically appear today. But that could come further down the road. Video tagging is
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