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LOS ANGELES, July 13, (RTRS): Facebook under its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is more closely integrating its social VR efforts with Facebook proper, starting with video streaming: Users of Facebook Spaces, the social hangout in virtual reality that the company launched earlier this year, can now broadcast via Facebook Live.
The new feature essentially allows Spaces users to host a kind of virtual reality talk show, and stream it to all of their followers, even if those audiences are tuning in with a mobile phone or a desktop browser.
Facebook Live is being integrated into Spaces with a virtual camera, which can capture all the things that are already possible in Spaces. This includes looking at regular and 360-degree videos, drawing with virtual markers, and having video calls to add Messenger users to the conversation.
Users can also interact with their audience via Facebook Live comments, just as they would be able to with a regular Facebook Live broadcast.
Adding live video streaming to Spaces makes a lot of sense for Facebook. The audience for Spaces is still limited, as few users already own one of the Oculus Rift VR headsets necessary to use Spaces. But with Live integration, Spaces users can reach a much broader audience, and also give non-VR users an idea of what the technology is capable of.
Facebook first previewed Spaces at its Oculus Connect developer conference last fall, and then publicly released it at its f8 conference in April.
Some of the top media and technology chiefs are getting a crash course in economics, philanthropy, and the opioid crisis at Allen & Co.’s annual conference in Sun Valley, Idaho.
The gathering is put on by the investment bank and is closed to press. It attracts an impressive array of moguls. Warren Buffett, CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Snap Chairman Michael Lynton, Viacom Vice Chairman Shari Redstone, and Discovery CEO David Zaslav are among the bold-faced names who have flocked to the resort.
According to an itinerary obtained by Variety, the gathering will include panel discussions on the state of the economy, the political divide in America, the drug epidemic, and scientific breakthroughs. Bill Gates, the former Microsoft head who has devoted himself to healthcare and poverty reduction through the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is expected to speak on philanthropy.
Other speakers include Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and General Lori Robinson, who oversees North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command.
There will likely be other surprise guests and panel discussions throughout the week. Past gatherings have included talks from the likes of Argentina President Mauricio Macri, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.
Most of the media attention around the event focuses on the dealmaking that takes place in between the talks. Many mergers and acquisitions have been hatched in the mountainside resort, including Time Warner’s union with AOL, Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the Washington Post, and Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal.
Will internet-video creators emerge as the next generation of directors in the advertising biz?
That’s the hypothesis of entertainment industry veterans Jonathon Ker and Larry Shapiro with their newly formed production company, dubbed A Separate Entity. The duo have assembled a roster of “commercial-ready” directors — adept, they say, at creating content for consumers weaned on YouTube.
“Advertisers reached out to directors of music videos to make their commercials in the 1980s,” said Shapiro, former president of AwesomenessTV’s Big Frame talent division and Fullscreen’s head of talent. “Now they’re going to come from YouTube.”
A Separate Entity’s current roster of directors includes: Scott Winn, known as ScottDW, who has more than 1 million followers on his YouTube channel and has produced work for brands including Oreo, Fanta, Toyota, Macy’s, Mattel and Budweiser; A. Todd Smith, who recently directed a video for Chatbooks that garnered more than 70 million views on Facebook; Matt Enlow, a comedy director who has worked with brands such as Aquafina, Whiskas and Degree; Aaron Hatch, who recently directed the “Beat Scout” video series for FedEx’s latest online campaign.
The firm’s director pool also includes Facebook comedian Laura Clery, who has worked with Breville, Nerd Skincare and Baidu, as well as Penn Holderness, Tonio Skits, Jason Schnell of Reckless Tortuga, and Patrick Scott.
Shapiro and Ker aren’t necessarily looking for big-name digital stars with massive internet fanbases. Instead, they’re looking for impact: ScottDW — who describes his YouTube videos as “short, comedic, musical nonsense” — regularly produces videos that generate views that are a large multiple of his subscriber base, according to Shapiro.
Twitter has hired Ned Segal, most recently a senior finance executive at Intuit and previously an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, as its chief financial officer.
Segal, 43, will start in late August, reporting directly to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. He will take over the CFO role from Anthony Noto, who is currently Twitter’s CFO and chief operating officer. (Former COO Adam Bain left the company last November.)
Twitter, founded in 2006, has never posted a net profit on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis. Segal, in a statement, said he has “long admired Twitter’s impact in the world, and I’m committed to helping the company build on its recent momentum, allocate resources against its greatest priorities, and continue toward its goal of GAAP profitability and beyond.”
At Intuit, Segal was senior VP of finance for the Small Business Group, leading financial and strategic planning for the company’s $2.5 billion division that provides QuickBooks, Payments and Payroll to several million customers. Prior to Intuit, Segal was CFO of RPX Corporation, a publicly traded patent-risk management solutions company, and held various positions at Goldman Sachs from 1996 to April 2013, most recently as managing director, head of global software investment banking from 2009-2013.
“Ned’s experience in financial operations as a public company and business unit CFO, along with his background serving technology companies and investors, are an ideal fit for Twitter as we work to extend our positive momentum, continue growing our audience and achieve greater operating efficiency,” Dorsey said in a statement. “He brings a principled, engaging and rigorous approach to the CFO role, with a track record of driving profitable growth.”
In a tweet, Segal said, “Believe @Twitter has an important mission and tremendous potential; can’t wait to work w/ @jack and the awesome leadership team!”
Twitter is scheduled to report financial results for the second quarter of 2017 on July 27 before market open.
Segal’s annual salary will be $500,000, and he is entitled to a signing bonus of $300,000, according to a Twitter SEC filing. In addition, the company is granting him 794,444 shares of Twitter common stock to vest over four years and 372,223 performance-based restricted stock units that vest based on hitting certain performance targets over next four fiscal years.