TIME movies

See What It’s Like to Hunt Down YouTube Stars as Terminator With This Virtual Reality 360 Video

Thoroughly enjoyable

YouTube have teamed up with Paramount Studios and virtual reality (VR) production company Specular Theory to produce a 360-degree video that lets viewers be the Terminator, Variety reports.

The three-minute clip was uploaded by Lilly Singh (a.k.a IISuperwomanII) Monday and features other famous YouTubers—like Olga Kay, Matthew Santoro and Toby Turner—being hunted down by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s killer robot as he goes on a rampage through YouTube’s studios in Los Angeles, reports Variety.

Terminator Genisys: The YouTube Chronicles in 360 is a promotional project for the latest Terminator movie, which is out July 1.

The plot for the 360 video is simple and introduced by Arnie himself: a new Terminator has been sent from the future and it’s up to the YouTube stars to defeat him.

Viewers can watch the video with Google Cardboard’s VR viewer or on a phone, tilting it to explore different angles from the Terminator’s point of view, Variety says.

YouTube added support for VR videos to its site earlier this month.

[Variety]

TIME Media

This Is YouTube Stars’ Newest Plan to Make Big Money

Vessel
Kris Ubach and Quim Roser—Getty Images/Cultura RF Woman using tablet computer on sofa

A startup called Vessel is courting online video stars with the promise of a bigger payday

Anna Akana has called YouTube home for a long time. The 25-year-old comedian has been posting sketches and web series on the world’s largest video site for five years, amassing a following of more than 1.2 million fans. She earns about $4,000 per month on the site thanks to her popular videos, like a recent sketch in which she was caught cheating on her boyfriend with her cell phone. The earnings have been enough to help her fund her often elaborate videos and short films, but certainly not enough to make her rich — or even well-paid.

“You can’t make that good of a living off YouTube anymore,” she says. “That also means you can’t reinvest a lot of that money into making more stuff.”

This year, though, Akana has a new, potentially lucrative revenue stream. She was one of the first online personalities to sign up for Vessel, a new video site attempting to straddle the line between the TV-like original video content on Netflix and the user-generated free-for-all on YouTube.

Officially launched in March following a splashy media push in December, Vessel is aiming to be a premium platform for online video creators. The site charges users a $2.99 monthly subscription fee to access creators’ videos a few days before they appear on YouTube or other free video sites. Videos on Vessel range from comedy sketches like Akana’s, to cooking shows like Epic Meal Time, to clips from Ellen Degeneres’ television talk show. The idea is to leverage the super-dedicated fan bases these stars have built up elsewhere and convince them to pay a small fee for earlier access to content (users can also access a free version of Vessel with no access to the timed exclusive windows). Right now there are 175 creators on the cloud-based platform.

Jason Kilar, Vessel’s CEO, believes his company can help the online video ecosystem monetize content in a more systematic way. He likens the process to the way movies are able to generate revenue across many different formats, such as theatrical releases, DVD sales, and television licensing.

“We think it’s inevitable that web video is going to evolve in a very sophisticated manner, just like television and movies before it,” he says.

Kilar has plenty of experience with the entertainment business. He was the founding CEO of the popular streaming service Hulu. While Hulu’s main calling card is shows from traditional TV, Kilar says Vessel is aimed at helping find the next generation MTV, CNN or Oprah Winfrey.

That will be a tall order for the fledgling company. YouTube has dominated online video for a decade now, boasting more than 1 billion users. Facebook, another billion-user platform, is now loudly elbowing into the space with an increased focus on video and attempts to poach YouTube’s stars.

Vessel is trying to take on these giants by offering creators more favorable terms. The company splits 70% of its ad revenue and 60% of its subscription revenue with creators. YouTube gives 55% of ad revenue to creators, while the company is planning an ad-free version of the site that will reportedly offer creators the same split. Thanks to a combination of subscription revenue and ad dollars from deep-pocketed brands like Chevrolet and McDonald’s, Kilar says creators on Vessel currently earn about $50 for every 1,000 views on the site. On YouTube, they earn just a fraction of that.

Vessel also offered several creators guarantees on their videos to entice them to try the site. Akana, for instance, said she was guaranteed the same $4,000 per month rate on Vessel whether her videos generated that much revenue on the site or not.

The company has yet to divulge any usage statistics, but the concept has struck a chord with investors. Vessel raised $75 million before it even launched last June and pulled in another $57 million in April from investors such as Greylock Partners and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Though it’s tempting to pit Vessel and YouTube as adversaries, Kilar argues that helping creators make more money will end improving the quality of content on other video sites. “The creators are going to create more content and higher-quality content, and that flows right to free ad-supported content on the heels of Vessel,” he says. The company doesn’t currently have plans to bankroll original content that will be exclusive to Vessel permanently.

It’s too early to judge whether Vessel will be a hit, says Dan Cryan, a streaming analyst at IHS. The startup will face challenges building up its brand, considering YouTube is so well-entrenched as the de facto option for online video. But the big online names and venture capital the service has attracted early on shows there’s an appetite for more options in the world of online video.

“It’s entirely possible that both Vessel and YouTube could start attracting traditional TV audiences,” says Cryan. “We’re still fundamentally at the relatively early stages of how the TV business changes and adapts to the Internet.”

TIME Video Games

YouTube Takes a Shot at Amazon’s Twitch With ‘YouTube Gaming’

YouTube

The popular video sharing site announces plans to overhaul its games content and tweak live streaming options

Remember the scuttlebutt back in March about YouTube ramping up its gaming presence? Turns out it wasn’t wishful thinking: the Google-owned video sharing titan on Friday unveiled “YouTube Gaming,” a new games-centric service not to be confused with “YouTube #Gaming,” the company’s longtime games aggregation channel.

YouTube Gaming, which YouTube says will launch in the next few months, is both a new standalone app as well as a revised web portal for YouTube’s gaming-verse. It packs the site’s gaming videos, livestreams and other community features into a single streamlined space, with new profile customization features that will let you add games to “favorites,” thereafter highlighting them during searches and tagging them as “My Games.”

YouTube is also going to give “more than 25,000″ games their own discrete pages, it says. The company hypes that figure — simultaneously taking a polite swipe at Amazon-owned rival Twitch — by claiming YouTube has “more [gaming] videos than anywhere else.”

That’s a lot of curation, but it could help clean up the service, too. Each game page will now have tabs that show the official YouTube pages for the game’s publisher. Discovery is now focused narrowly on gaming content, thus, to use YouTube’s example, typing “call” is going to conjure a phrase like “Call of Duty” instead of “Call Me Maybe.” If you’d rather bypass all the “free rider” fan or media watermarked versions of trailers or developer diaries for the unblemished originals, this should make finding them easier.

YouTube’s angle on livestreaming’s getting a modest makeover, too. You can already livestream games on YouTube, but conventional wisdom holds that serious gamers prefer Twitch, which offers more gaming-specific features. YouTube Gaming attempts to address some of this by no longer requiring that you schedule a live event beforehand, for instance, and giving you the option to roll all of your streams into a single link.

How well that works, and whether it’s enough to sway Twitch acolytes, remains to be seen. YouTube says it’ll show off the channel at E3 next week. The new site and app should launch this summer, starting in the U.S. and U.K.

TIME Apple

Apple Exec: Apple Music Puts Artists ‘in Control of Their Music’

Tim Cook, Jimmy Iovine
Jeff Chiu—AP Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, hugs Beats by Dre co-founder and Apple employee Jimmy Iovine at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Monday, June 8, 2015.

As some artists say they don't see enough money from streaming

Apple is, yes, putting radio on the Internet.

But unlike the parody on HBO’s Silicon Valley, there are lots of other people doing just that: Spotify, Jay-Z’s Tidal, Rdio, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Google Play and more. What makes Apple’s recently announced music streaming service, Apple Music, any different?

According to Apple execs Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine, the difference is control. They say they want to shift power back into the blistered hands of the musicians and artists that create the industry’s content. So they’ve transformed the recently acquired Beats Music streaming service into Apple Music: a library of music, plus a radio station — Beats 1 — and playlists curated by human DJs. (Rather than robots or algorithms.)

Apple Music also includes another feature, Apple Connect, that lets artists interact with their fans. The appended social network — a bloglike platform that the Guardian describes as “part-SoundCloud, part-Facebook and part-YouTube,” — allows musicians to share messages, tracks, photos and videos with their fans. It’s not hard to see how this could be used to offer exclusive content and behind-the-scenes material to subscribers.

Drake, for instance — the hip-hop artist who helped unveil the service at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference this week — plans to release his next album through Connect.

It’s that kind of control that Apple senior VP Cue hopes will set Apple Music apart. “Our viewpoint was very simple,” he told the Guardian. “Let the artist and label control it. They can put it up on Connect for free if they want to, or they can put it up behind the [subscription] paywall, or they can make it available on the iTunes Store for sale. They’re in control of their music and how they want to distribute it.”

According to Iovine, who also spoke to the Guardian, juggling the interests of all parties involved is no easy feat. “There’s got to be a win for everybody: there has to be a win for the consumer, a win for the artist, a win for the rightsholders,” he says. “We wanted to give artists a place where there’s a rhyme and a reason: where there’s an ecosystem where it feeds off each other. Where there’s a payoff! And not just a financial payoff, but an emotional payoff. A creative payoff.”

Until more details are released — for example, how voluminous the service’s music archive will be, which artists will sign on to the service exclusively, whether the song curation is substantially different or any better than its competitors, and just how much musicians will benefit, economically and otherwise, from the deal — it’s hard to say whether Apple Music’s “payoff” will be worth the payout.

[fortune-brightcove videoid=4284070781001]

TIME sexuality

Watch YouTube Beauty Guru Ingrid Nilsen Come Out as Gay In an Emotional Video

"This is something that is a part of me and has always been a part of me"

YouTube beauty expert Ingrid Nilsen had an important message for her 3.3 million followers this morning, announcing in an emotional 20-minute video that she is gay.

The video, which garnered more than 900,000 hits in just eight hours, featured an alternately tearful and pensive Nilsen explaining how she decided to come clean about something very personal.

“I have had this wall up for so much of my life, but it wasn’t like this brick or stone wall,” she said. “I’ve described it to my friends as this glass wall, where you could see me but you were never getting all of me, because there was always that barrier there.”

The 26-year-old social media maven said that despite a need “to take this part of me and put it in a cabinet and lock it up,” she had decided it was time for a new, more honest start.

“I want to live my life unapologetically because I am proud of who I am and I am not going to apologize for who I am anymore,” she said in closing. “This is the life that I have always lived in my head and now it’s real.”

Read next: How Gay Life in America Has Changed Over 50 Years

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME YouTube

YouTube Users Say This Is The ‘Ad of the Decade’

Selfies took the crown

YouTube’s users recently voted for the best advertisements of the past 10 years as part of the online video site’s 10th anniversary celebrations — and there was some fierce (and adorable) competition.

While Volkswagen’s “The Force” stole hearts the world over when it debuted during the 2011 Super Bowl, Turkish Airline’s “Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout” captured the top title for Ad of the Decade.

It’s a 60-second spot featuring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi in an epic battle for the best selfie. While it wasn’t critically lauded like the other ads in the top five, it was a massive hit. The spot has clocked up over 140 million views to date, nearly twice the views of any of the other top runners.

Check out all five top ads below.

  1. Dove “Real Beauty Sketches”
  1. Volvo Trucks “The Epic Split feat. Van Damme”
  1. Always “#LikeAGirl”
  1. Volkswagen “The Force”
  1. Turkish Airlines “Kobe vs. Messi: The Selfie Shootout”

Read next: Here’s How Much Youtube Is Worth

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Media

This Is How YouTube Is Fighting its Amazon-Owned Rival

FRANCE-INTERNET-TECHNOLOGY-LEWEB12
AFP—AFP/Getty Images A picture shows a You Tube logo on December 4, 2012 during LeWeb Paris 2012 in Saint-Denis near Paris.

It's about to get better for livestreaming video games

YouTube announced Thursday that it will begin live streaming content at 60 frames per second, an important boost that will make it a better platform for streaming video game footage.

For now, the feature is exclusive to browsers compatible with HTML5 — the newest versions of most modern browsers should work fine. In browsers that work with YouTube’s HTML5 player, users will also be able to skip backwards in a livestream and catch up at 1.5x or 2x normal speed.

The changes appear squarely aimed at helping YouTube compete with Twitch, the gaming-focused live-streaming video site Amazon bought for $970 million last year. Twitch can broadcast live-streams at 60 FPS and has amassed a huge following of gaming fans, as well as partnerships with console manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft. Google was reportedly interested in snapping up Twitch to help expand YouTube. Instead, the two sites will be competitors as live streams of e-sports and other gaming content become more popular.

TIME Music

Watch Jay Z Bash Spotify, Apple and YouTube in Freestyle Rap

Jay Z is trying to promote his streaming service, Tidal

Jay Z, owner of music streaming service Tidal, slammed his biggest competitors in a freestyle rap in New York City this weekend.

Spotify, Apple, Google and YouTube were all part of Jay Z’s rap, his answer to the critics who’ve accused the artist of launching Tidal to make more money. It’s not the first time he’s defended his streaming service: Last month the rapper argued how Tidal was in fact doing pretty well, tweeting out a slew of #TidalFacts, some of which, well, didn’t turn out to be facts.

Read next: We Fact-Checked All of Jay Z’s #TidalFacts

TIME Media

How Spotify Is Getting Ready For Apple’s Musical Onslaught

US-IT-MUSIC-SPOTIFY
Emmanuel Dunand—AFP/Getty Images A Spotify logo is seen as founder and CEO Daniel Ek addresses a press conference in New York, December 11, 2013.

The music streaming service could use original video to ensure its future

Spotify is the undisputed king of on-demand music services, but that crown alone may no longer be enough.

The Swedish streaming company is planning to host original videos on its service, according to the Wall Street Journal. Spotify has been in talks with YouTube programmers such as Maker Studios as well as traditional media companies for a move that would vastly expand the scope of what the music service offers. A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment, but the company is holding a media event in New York on May 20 where the video offering could be unveiled.

If Spotify steps into the video arena, it will be entering a crowded market dominated on one end by YouTube, which has 1 billion monthly users watching mostly short-form videos, and on the other end by Netflix, which has more than 60 million paying subscribers binge-watching television shows and movies. But video may be just what Spotify needs to ensure its long-term viability, music industry analysts say.

Though Spotify easily eclipses other streaming services in size with its 15 million paying subscribers, the pool in which the company is playing is shallow. The music industry generated about $15 billion in revenue for recorded music globally in 2014, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Meanwhile, online video services made about $19 billion, according to the firm Digital TV Research, while they’re expected to generate more than $40 billion by 2020. It makes sense that Spotify wants a piece of that fast-growing pie.

“The music business is nice because people use it every day, but the problem is you don’t make a lot of money per minute of music listened to,” says James McQuivey, a media analyst at research firm Forrester. “Video has the ability to command more revenue.”

Original video would also help differentiate Spotify from its competitors at a key juncture. The company’s feature set and song library are extremely similar to services such as Tidal and the Apple-owned Beats Music, which makes Spotify highly susceptible to being knocked off its perch if a larger foe emerges. That could happen next month, when Apple may unveil an on-demand streaming service tied to the iTunes brand. Truly original video content will give customers a better reason to hang onto their Spotify subscription even after the arrival of an Apple service.

“I really do view this as being pre-emptive strike in what has become an increasingly competitive space,” says Larry Miller, a music business professor at New York University.

Spotify’s big-picture strategy could be similar to Netflix’s playbook, Miller says. Netflix was a digital warehouse for old TV shows and movies, facing escalating costs to license the rights for other studios’ content. Through orignal shows, the company has retooled its branding to make programs like House of Cards its primary draw. A Spotify with its own original content would feel less heat if some artists removed their music from the service, as Taylor Swift did last fall.

Still, there are drawbacks to the video plan. McQuivey says streaming video could dilute Spotify’s brand and confuse consumers who simply enjoy using the service as an online jukebox. And the costs for premium video would be considerably more than for music. Spotify is already losing money every year, but a recent funding round means it may have cash to throw at content makers.

“They’d have to go pretty big,” says McQuivey, who believes Spotify should pursue premium TV-like content rather than short-form videos found on YouTube. “You can’t just dabble in content. It’s not all or nothing, but it’s pretty close.”

More than anything, a shift to video would signal to fans and investors that Spotify has no intention of simply ceding its control of the streaming space to Apple or other big-name competitors. The startup made on-demand music streaming viable, and it wants to be around when the financial rewards are finally reaped.

“Strategically, this represents a significant risk that could end up paying enormous long-term dividends for Spotify if they are successful,” Miller says.

TIME viral

Watch Soccer Megastar Cristiano Ronaldo Stand Up for the Little Guy

Haters are going to struggle after watching this

It is true, multimillionaire footballer Cristiano Ronaldo just rubs some people the wrong way, but this video of the Real Madrid superstar defending a young Japanese boy attempting to speak Portuguese demonstrates his kinder side.

The video emerged Monday from a promotional event in Japan last year. In it, the boy opens with some basic greetings but begins to stumble over more complicated sentences.

When the audience laughs, Ronaldo, referring to the crowd, asks his translator off camera, “”Why they smile? Why? He speaks good Portuguese. Very good. They should be happy because he tries very hard.”

The audience was shamed into a bashful applause and Ronaldo earned some serious respect.

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